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one. pasta and napolitana sauce

David already regrets enrolling in this class and it hasn’t even started. He takes in the steel benches, each with their own sink, oven and gas stove top. There was one bench with no one at it, all of the others claimed by pairs except for one where an unassuming man, dressed in a button up and jeans stood, also alone. 

Trying to avoid making eye contact with anyone, David makes his way to the unclaimed workspace with Alexis’ words ringing in his ears. 

“David, what are you going to do? You can’t afford to like, pay rent, and eat at the cafe every day. You can’t cook, David!”

When he insisted that he’d be fine, that he made enchiladas with their mother that time, she’d had the gall to confess, “I didn’t want to say anything in front of Mom, but those weren’t very good David.”

So here he is now, determined to prove Alexis wrong, at an Italian cooking class, because pasta seemed like an easy enough concept and he loves carbs. He can read and follow instructions so it can’t be that hard, right?

Looking across the room, David spots the whiteboard at the front of the kitchen that reads “Welcome to Italian Cooking for Couples”.

“What the fuck?” David mutters quietly. Or so he thought. 

“You got caught out too, huh?” 

David looked over to see the only other person in the room who was alone walking in his direction, looking at him with a rueful smile. 

“I’m Patrick,” he said, holding his hand out for David. 

“Oh, hi,” David said, looking at Patrick’s hand for a second before taking it. He has a firm handshake and when David looks him in the eyes he finds a pair of warm, whiskey coloured eyes looking back at him. “David.”

“So, I’m guessing you also didn’t realise this was a couples class?” Patrick says, rubbing the back of his neck. 

David grimaces. “No, not exactly. I signed up because my sister made some smart ass comment about me not being able to cook, except she’s right but I don’t want her to know that and I—” He stops himself and clears his throat. “No, I didn’t know this was a couples class.” He wonders if it’s too late to leave. 

“I’m new to the area, and I thought a cooking class might be a fun way to meet people.” Patrick offers, with a slight shrug. 

Looking at Patrick and taking in the way the sleeves of his shirt were rolled up to expose his forearms and his mid-range jeans that fit surprisingly well, David raises an eyebrow. “Well that tracks. You’ve got a very wholesome vibe going on, of course you’d sign up for a class to meet people.”

“Not sure what you mean by that, but okay David.”

The instructor starts the class then and Patrick returns to his own bench. 

When it’s their turn to start work on their pasta, David reluctantly takes off his sweater and folds it carefully before putting it in his bag and putting on the supplied apron. As incorrect as it is to be wearing his undershirt in public, getting flour - or worse, raw egg - on his Givenchy would be a travesty. 

As he starts measuring out his flour and setting out the eggs, David glances over at Patrick, who’s working quickly and already cracking his eggs into the flour. He’s quietly impressed at Patrick’s confidence. And his forearms. 

He cracks his own eggs into the flour, beating them quickly as the recipe says. It’s not until he starts working the eggs and flour together that he spots some eggshell that he hadn’t noticed. He lets out a huff and tries to pick it out, but his fingers are sticky with the beginnings of his pasta dough. 

“Fuck,” he says, swiping the back of his hand across his brow. He weighs up whether he can get away with wiping his hands or whether he needs to wash them to get the shell out. 

“Everything okay over here?” Patrick says, suddenly behind him. 

David spins around, arms flailing. “Fuck, what are you, a cat? Make some noise when you move!”

Patrick holds his hands up in apology. “I’ll buy a bell for next week,” he says with a smirk. “Can I help you with something?”

“It’s fine. You don’t need to—”

“What is it, David? You’re obviously flustered about something.”

“I’m not flustered!” David bursts out. He is flustered, is the thing, and becoming more flustered the longer Patrick talks to him. He takes a breath. “Fine. If you want to help, there’s a bit of eggshell in there that I can’t get out because my fingers are…” he wiggles them at Patrick. 

Chuckling softly, Patrick says “I can help you with that, David. But first let me just...” He places a firm hand on David’s bicep and steps closer, then gently brushes his thumb across the top of David’s cheekbone. 

David doesn’t breathe. 

“You had flour on your face.” Patrick says by way of explanation, his arm still gripping David. 

“Oh, um, thanks.” David says, trying not to look too closely at Patrick’s lips. If he was looking, he’d notice that they’re pink, and plump, and very kissable. But he’s not looking. 

Patrick lets go of David’s arm then and claps him on the shoulder. “Right, let’s find that eggshell, shall we?”

 


 

two. potato gnocchi; pan fried with basil pesto 

Patrick sets up his bench as he waits for class to start, his eyes flicking towards the door. Each time someone new walks in, there’s a slight flutter in his belly that he is resolutely ignoring. 

When David walks in and gives Patrick a small smile, more a quick sideways quirk of his lips than anything, the flutter turns into a flip. Patrick is still ignoring it as he catches David’s eye and places a small bell at the end of his bench. 

“What exactly is that?” David asks as he approaches. 

“Hello Patrick, it’s nice to see you again. How was your week? It was great, David, thanks for asking.”

Patrick huffs a laugh at David’s eye roll. He didn’t know it was possible to roll your eyes with your whole body. 

“Yeah, hi. What is that?” David asks, pointing at the bell. 

“It’s a bell, David. I told you I’d get one for this week, remember?” When David turns away wordlessly and stalks to his own bench, Patrick hides his grin behind his hand. 

The instructor takes them through the recipe and then Patrick is working, peeling and chopping potatoes and setting them to boil. He then crushes garlic and blends it with the basil, pine nuts and olive oil for the pesto. Hoping the noise of the food processor coming from David’s bench means he’s distracted, Patrick risks a glance over at him. 

The sight of David working in a t-shirt, his brow furrowed in concentration, leaves Patrick speechless. But when David stops his food processor, dips a finger in, then licks the pesto off his finger and moans in a way that makes Patrick think of other things, his mouth goes dry. He tears his eyes away and busies himself at his own bench, wracking his brain for an excuse to approach David. 

An opportunity presents itself when he hears David groan and swear in frustration. It’s clear to Patrick after the last class that David isn’t the most experienced cook and he’s struggling to bring the gnocchi mixture together. He washes his hands, wiping them on his apron then grabs the bell. When he’s standing next to David, he rings the bell. 

“Oh my god! What are you doing?” David’s eyebrows are almost in his hairline. 

“You said to make noise when I moved, so I’m using a bell,” Patrick smirks. 

“Well, using a bell is incorrect,” David says, turning back to his bowl. “Why are you over here anyway?”

“Seemed like you could use a little help and I’ve made my dough already.” He smiles at David, trying to make it clear he isn’t teasing anymore. 

David meets his eyes. “Oh. Um, well, as you can see, my dough isn’t quite coming together,” he says, gesturing at the bowl. 

“May I?”

Stepping to the side, David says, “Go for it.”

Patrick moves and stands perhaps just a touch closer to David than he needs to. But David doesn’t move away. He can feel David peering over his shoulder, close enough that Patrick can smell his cologne. He very deliberately does not turn his head towards David, focusing on the task at hand instead. He works quickly to bring the dough together then turns it onto the bench for David to knead. 

“You should be good to go, you got it from here?” Shifting slightly so that he can look at David, he finds that David is looking right back at him. 

“David?” He prompts. 

“Oh, um yep. Thanks so much.” David waves him away. Patrick gives him a quick smile before going back to his own bench. 

Later, Patrick watches David cutting his gnocchi and marvels at the precision with which he cuts each piece, curling it with a fork. It’s surprising, given the way David struggled earlier. Patrick’s gnocchi is not as evenly cut and he’s given up on curling it with a fork, instead deciding that little squares will be fine. 

Unable to stop himself, Patrick finds himself moving towards David’s bench as if an invisible string was drawing him there. 

“Impressive, David. You threw me for a bit of a change up there, after you struggled earlier, but look at these!”

“Would we call it struggling?” David quirks an eyebrow at Patrick. 

“I think we both know you struggled last week and earlier.” Patrick offers an easy smile. “Anyway, you’re obviously not struggling with this part and I am, so what’s your secret?”

David looks secretly pleased, smiling a little before tucking it into his cheek. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“C’mon David, you’ve got a pile of perfect gnocchi there and you’re still making them while we’re talking!”

David hasn't stopped rolling and cutting and shaping his gnocchi since Patrick approached him and Patrick can’t stop staring at the way his fingers are artfully manipulating the dough. 

With a shrug, David says “I like making things, I guess. In a past life I was into art, I haven’t made anything in a long time, but I like this.” He flashes a shy smile at Patrick. “You want help with yours? I guess I owe you one.” 

When Patrick nods, David tells him to bring his dough over. They work side by side, David talking Patrick through what he’s doing and Patrick doing his best to mimic David’s movements. 

Patrick relaxes; somehow it’s easy working next to David, and he enjoys the banter flying between them, even if he’s not exactly succeeding in making presentable gnocchi.  But when David grabs his hand to correct Patrick and stop him from mangling another one, Patrick inhales sharply and forgets to exhale. 

All he can feel is the warmth of David’s hand on his, and all he can focus on is the way David’s lips are moving as he speaks, wondering if they’re as soft as they look. 

“Patrick?”

“Huh?”

“I asked if you wanted to try again.”

“Oh, yes. Yep.”

He spends the rest of class psyching himself up to ask David for his number before leaving. But before he realises it, the benches are all cleared up and David is offering him a small wave as he heads out the door. Damn it. 

Next time.

 


 

three. pasta carbonara or cacio e pepe

Taking off his sweater and folding it carefully, David ties his apron over his t-shirt and looks over at Patrick - who glances away quickly. 

Interesting. David had definitely felt a vibe from Patrick the last two weeks, so this was a welcome development. 

“Which recipe are you making today, David?” Patrick was walking towards him holding up the recipe cards. 

Frowning, David reads the recipes in front of him. “How am I supposed to choose between these? On the one hand, cheese and on the other hand cheese and bacon ! I love cacio e pepe. I once had the most delightful bowl of it when I was in a tiny town in the Italian countryside after negotiating to free Alexis from yet another hostage situation and it’s lived rent free in my mind ever since. I’d love to recreate it.”

Shaking his head a little, but smiling, Patrick says, “I’ve got an idea, but feel free to say no.”

David raises an eyebrow and gestures for him to continue. 

“What if… we each made one of the recipes and then we could share them at the end of class?” 

The best part of class, in David’s opinion - other than watching Patrick (which he’d never admit) - is getting to eat what they made at the end. 

“Hmm, I don’t usually like sharing food. But you look like you have a clean mouth so I suppose it’ll be fine.”

“A clean mouth?” 

Sighing, David says, “M’kay, it’s just that some people have a clean mouth and some people have a sloppy mouth. But you look very clean, so yes, I’ll share my food with you.” As soon as the words are out of his mouth and he sees the smirk on Patrick’s face, David wishes that just once there was a filter between his brain and his tongue. But he likes the way Patrick’s brown eyes are sparkling now. 

“But what if you have a sloppy mouth and I don’t want to share with you?” 

“Ugh! You offered! This was your idea! It’s fine, I’ll just choose something.” David shakes himself to try and physically rid himself of embarrassment.

Patrick chuckles softly, “David, I’ll share. Do you want to make the cacio e pepe and I’ll make the carbonara?”

“I need you to never say cacio e pepe again because your horrendous pronunciation might ruin it for me, but yes. That would be acceptable. Thank you.”

They both get to work. David enjoys making the pasta now that it’s not completely unfamiliar, though making fresh pasta at home seems like a lot of effort for a regular dinner. Maybe for a special occasion. Or a date. 

He sneaks a peek over at Patrick working his pasta dough and thinks that cheap button ups have never looked so good, but there’s something about the way they fit around Patrick’s shoulders that is far more attractive than should be allowed. Patrick glances up then, and has the audacity to wink when he catches David looking at him. 

David goes back to studiously not looking at Patrick while he makes his pasta and then moves onto preparing his other ingredients. 

He’s grating the Parmesan when he hears “Ow damnit!” come from Patrick’s bench. David looks up, concerned. “Are you okay over there?”

“Yep, I was just, uh…distracted, and caught my knuckle in the grater.” Patrick says, as he sucks on his knuckle. Okay, that’s a thing. 

“Well I hope your skin isn’t in that cheese, that would be incorrect.” David says, opting for snark to cover his own inappropriate reaction. 

“Nice to see where your real concern lies, David. For the cheese and not my finger.” Patrick says with a wry smile. 

“Put one of those very attractive blue safety bandaids on - it’ll match your outfit - and get back to the cheese please.” For all that he’s trying to maintain his facade, he can’t help the smile that he quickly tucks away. 

“Okay David.”

A minute later, “David? Could you give me a hand with this?” Patrick is holding up a bandaid. 

“Give me a sec to wash my hands.”

David takes the bandaid from Patrick, and takes his hand, turning it gently to assess the best angle to apply the bandaid. He folds Patrick’s ring and pinky fingers down, “keep these there so I can get this around …” and hears a sharp inhale from Patrick. David glances up to see that Patrick is watching him closely and worrying his bottom lip with his teeth. 

Oh.

Sticking the bandaid down, David exhales and steps back. Seeing the plate of bacon sitting on the bench, he swipes a piece and sticks the whole thing in his mouth. 

Patrick gapes at him. 

“What? Consider this payment rendered for my first aid.” He wiggles his eyebrows and Patrick laughs. 

“Sure David.”

David isn’t sure anymore whether agreeing to share food with Patrick was the worst or best idea, but he knows that he doesn’t regret taking this cooking class. 

 


 

f our. bolognese

They’ve fallen into an easy rhythm, chatting before class, a little banter while they cook, sitting together when the class eats the spoils of their labour. Despite this, and his promise to himself, Patrick still hasn’t asked David for his number. He’s sure that there’s something there, that David has been flirting back, but he can’t bring himself to ask. What if he’s wrong? He’s seen David talk to their classmates, charming them effortlessly, men and women alike hanging on his every word. 

So when David arrives, almost late as usual, and smiles at Patrick in a way that makes his eyes sparkle, Patrick resolves again to ask David for his number, to see him outside of this cooking class. 

It’s bolognese week and the instructor explains that while ordinarily the bolognese should really simmer away on a low heat for an hour or more, it’s also a versatile recipe that can simmer for only 30 minutes for a quicker everyday dish and that’s the version they’ll be making today due to time restraints. 

Unfortunately for Patrick, David seems to be managing relatively well this week giving him less opportunity to saunter over to his bench under the guise of being helpful as he had during other classes. They chat a little and Patrick sneaks looks at David working in his t-shirt, admiring the way his arms flex as he kneads his pasta dough and later cuts onion, lifting his wrist to his face to wipe away the tears that form. They share a laugh when David catches Patrick with tears streaming down his own face. 

“I usually wait until I’m alone in a dark room to cry like this.” David says with a wry smile. 

“You don’t go around sobbing in public on a regular basis? It’s one of my favourite things to do.” Patrick counters. 

David only rolls his eyes in response. 

As they plate up their cooking, the instructor tells them that now that they know how to make bolognese, if they also know how to make a roux, then making lasagne is quite simple. David perks up at the mention of lasagne, only to slump back down in his seat when the instructor clarified that they won’t be learning how to make a roux in this course.

“What the fuck is a roux? Sounds like an animal.” David mutters. 

“A roux, not a ‘roo, David,” Patrick laughs gently. “You make it with butter, flour and milk. It’s the base for every great cheese sauce.” 

“Sounds fake, but you had me at cheese sauce.”

Patrick’s heart rate speeds up, sensing the opening he’s been looking for. “I- I know how to make lasagne, David. I can show you if you want?” He wills his leg not to bounce with anticipation. 

David’s eyebrows crease and Patrick watches a series of expressions flicker across his face before settling on something that resembles suspicious. “You’d do that? Why?”

“Why not? You apparently want to learn to make lasagne and I know how to make it. No pressure, just a thought, forget it.”

“No, I-” David’s expression softens a little before he smirks at Patrick. “I never say no to lasagne. Just tell me where and when.”

“Uh, tomorrow night? At my place? Here, put your number in my phone and I’ll text you the address.” 

Patrick holds his phone out to David, who stares at the phone just long enough that Patrick starts to regret being so bold. 

“Tomorrow night? I’ll have to check my very busy calendar and make sure I don’t have any prior commitments. I’m wildly popular, you see. Some might even say beloved.” David throws Patrick a wicked smirk as he takes the phone and puts his number in it. 

Patrick’s stomach flips at the expression on David’s face.

“Oh I’m sure you are, but do any of your prior commitments involve lasagne?” Patrick grins at David, not regretting his lack of chill. 

“I’m sure that I can make myself available,” David looks Patrick in the eye, a serious expression on his face. “You know, for lasagne.”

Oh no, I have to call Mom and get her lasagne recipe, Patrick thinks to himself. 

*

It’s taken him all day, three attempts and a second trip to the grocery store, but Patrick thinks he’s perfected both making a roux and turning it into his mom’s cheese sauce for lasagne. He busies himself hiding the evidence of his prior attempts and sets everything up ready for David. 

He paces, watching the clock nervously. He checks his phone and rereads their messages from earlier that day, laughing to himself. 

 

Patrick:

So I’ll see you at 5.30pm, should give us enough time to cook and still eat at a reasonable hour. 

David:

For lasagne? I’ll be there with bells on.

Patrick:

Should I not wear my bell then? Is matching incorrect?

David:

Not literal bells because unlike some people I’m not a fucking menace

Patrick:

Ding ding

 

He startles when there’s a knock on the door, lost in thought. Patrick opens the door and sucks in a breath when he sees David standing there in a black sweater with a white lightning bolt and skirted black pants. 

“Hi.”

“Come in, come in.”

David steps inside, looking around Patrick’s studio apartment. 

“I brought wine.” David says, holding out the bottle. 

“Thanks, David, you didn’t have to. Uh, do you want some now or with dinner?” When he takes the bottle from David, their fingers brush and Patrick feels the electricity between them. He’s flustered. He doesn’t want to be flustered. 

“Oh, uh … with dinner is fine, I guess.” David replies as he moves towards the kitchen area. 

“So the kitchen isn’t as big as what we’re used to working in, but I think we can make this work.” Patrick is absolutely planning to use the tighter space to his advantage. 

Grabbing the apron that he may or may not have specifically bought to offer to David, he holds it out towards David and continues, “I have this if you want it? I, um, I noticed the way you like to protect your clothes.” He rubs the back of his neck with his other hand. 

David looks surprised. “Oh wow, that’s so…” he trails off, taking the apron. He puts the apron down to take off his sweater and as he does, his shirt rides up and Patrick catches a glimpse of David’s stomach and the dark trail of hair under his belly button leading to—

“Thanks for this, I didn’t think to bring one.” David brings Patrick out of his reverie, gesturing at the apron. 

“Well, I couldn’t have you getting tomato on your clothes. What a travesty that would have been,” Patrick deadpans. 

David narrows his eyes, “Mmmkay, I can’t tell if you’re joking or not. But you’re correct… so, anyway. Where do we start?”

“I started the bolognese earlier, you know how to make that already. So it’s simmering.” Patrick gestures at the stove. “You’re here to learn to turn it into lasagne, so let’s start with the roux.”

Patrick motions for David to stand with him at the bench. “Butter, flour, milk - the basics - a little pepper and I like to add a bit of nutmeg too.” He looks over at David and, well Patrick wasn’t prepared for what it was like to have the full force of his attention focused on him, without the background noise of other people to drown it out. 

He takes a breath and starts showing David how to melt the butter in the saucepan, handing him the whisk to mix the flour in, carefully lowering the heat to add the milk with instructions to keep the whisk in motion. 

They move around each other effortlessly in the small space, shoulders bumping gently in a way that should be awkward but instead feels cosy. Their hands constantly find each other as Patrick hands David ingredients, neither of them attempting to be careful about casually (or not so casually) touching the other the way they do in class. 

If Patrick is shamelessly watching the way David’s arm flexes as he whisks the roux into a smooth mixture under the guise of ensuring he’s using the correct technique, well, there’s no one else there to call him out on it. 

“So are you gonna stand there and stare at me or tell me what to do next?” 

Except David - who’s looking at him with a bemused expression on his face, eyebrow raised and the corner of his bottom lip tucked into his teeth. 

Patrick clears his throat and hopes that the blush he can feel starting at the tips of his ears isn’t visible. But from the twinkle in David’s eye, he suspects that’s wishful thinking. 

“That looks like it’s done actually, so if you turn the burner off, we can taste the bolognese sauce and then start assembling the lasagne.”

He takes a spoon and dips it into the bolognese, then brings it towards David’s face. 

“Oh!” 

There’s an awkward moment where Patrick regrets not just handing David the spoon like a regular person would but he’s come this far now and has to commit. 

David opens his mouth a little, his tongue slipping out to wet his lips a little before tasting the sauce on the spoon. His hand grips Patrick’s to hold the spoon steady. 

When David groans as he swallows the sauce, the sound shoots straight to Patrick’s dick. Along with some of his blood flow. 

They look at each other then, and the air feels weighty. Patrick swears he sees David’s eyes dart down to his lips. He takes a breath. 

Bzzzzzz. 

It’s David’s phone vibrating on the table. 

“Fuck, I have to get this. Alexis is on a date and, well if you knew her and the situations she gets herself into …” he picks up his phone, tapping at the screen, frowning. He looks at Patrick, an almost guilty expression on his face. “I’m sorry, I have to go get her. I’d love to stay but I can’t, it’s my sister. I’ll explain later.”

He’s taking off his apron, putting on his sweater and is out the door before Patrick can recover. 

Patrick stares at the door stunned. He’d been so sure that there was a moment and that David felt it too. He scrubs at his face and runs his hand over his hair, frustrated.

He paces between the kitchen and living room, trying to parse what happened. One second, Patrick had been sure that they were going to kiss and the next, David was leaving. 

What if … was that a pre-arranged SOS text to get David out of there? Had he been too forward? Did he freak David out? 

Maybe he’d misinterpreted David’s signals in class? Patrick cast his mind back, now remembering times when David smirked at their classmates, offered his opinions freely and the way he used his whole body to speak. 

David had never said he was interested in Patrick, or even in men. Wait, no. He had definitely referred to exes who were male. So that’s something. 

But what the fuck just happened?

 



five. pizza

When David arrives, the instructor pulls him aside and explains that the bench he’s been working at is off limits, he doesn’t really take in why, because he’s being told that he needs to share Patrick’s workspace today. Patrick has apparently already agreed. 

David hasn’t spoken to Patrick since he ran out of his apartment the other day, too embarrassed about running out on him like that. They’d had a moment and fucking Alexis had ruined it and Patrick probably hates him now. 

Better it’s over before it even started, he thinks. It’s less painful that way. 

“Um hi,” he says hesitantly as he approaches Patrick, crossing his arms in a preemptive defence of whatever is coming. 

Patrick looks a little tense. “David, hi. Apparently we’re sharing today.”

“Is that … is that okay? I can figure something else out, or leave, or—”

“David, it’s fine. We can share, I don’t mind.” Patrick gives him a quick smile, though it doesn’t quite reach his eyes. 

“Thanks. I didn’t really want to miss pizza week. I’m… um, sorry about the other night.” He pulls his lips between his teeth. 

“Is Alexis okay?”

“Alexis?” David is shocked Patrick even remembered her name, the way he always seems to remember the little details from David’s stories. “Yeah, she’s okay. This time, it wasn’t even an emergency in the end, she just wanted to bail on a date. Usually when she sends me an SOS she’s in actual trouble. Like once she’d been forced onto a private plane and didn’t know where she was going, or there was the time she had to win her friend’s freedom in a game of pool - don’t ever play pool with her - but then needed me to wire her money and a new passport…” 

He stops awkwardly, and looks at Patrick, waiting for a reaction. 

He’s got a small smile on his face, which he quickly hides under his hand as he leans on the bench. “Wow. So I can see why you needed to leave the other night, with a history like that.”

“Yeah, I should’ve known she’d be fine. Around here. Shit like that doesn’t happen to her anymore. But it’s just instinct? Or something, I guess.” David shrugs. 

When he looks at Patrick, he’s surprised to see that the expression on his face is fond ?

“David, it’s fine. Your sister needed you, or you thought she did, so you went to her.”

David can’t stand the sincerity in Patrick’s eyes, so he looks away, busying himself with setting up for class; taking off his sweater and putting on the apron, glancing over at Patrick who looks away very quickly. David smirks, though Patrick can’t see it. 

Okay, maybe there’s still something there

He reads the recipe in silence; he’s not sure what to say to Patrick, and is unsure where he stands. 

Patrick clears his throat. “So I think we have enough space here to do our own thing, but … if we made two different pizzas, we could share? Like with the cacio e pepe and carbonara.”

David raises an eyebrow, “you nailed the pronunciation that time, have you been practicing?” He swears he sees Patrick blush a little. “As for sharing pizza, it depends whether you’re a pineapple topping heathen or not.”

The tips of Patrick’s ears go red. 

“I knew it!” David can’t help but grin.  “Pineapple on pizza is incorrect!”

“I disagree. But I was planning to make a margherita pizza today.”

“A classic. I’ll allow it.”

They start working then, making their dough, chatting while they work. David watches Patrick covertly as he kneads the dough, watching the way muscles in his forearms flex as he works the dough, the way his fingers dexterously lift the edges of the dough away from the bench so it doesn’t stick. He can feel Patrick’s eyes on him too, but refuses to meet them. 

The kitchen is hot with all of the ovens on as high as they go. David knows his hair is fighting a losing battle against the heat. It’s falling into his face limply, no doubt starting to curl at the ends. He’s been flicking his head to move the lock that keeps falling into his forehead but now it won’t move. David tries to sweep it out of the way with his upper arm, his hands covered in flour and dough. 

“You okay over there David? You look—”

“I’m fine. It’s fine. It’s just my hair. Don’t look at it, it’s a mess in this heat.”

Patrick looks right at him, of course. Eyeing the offending lock of hair. He washes his hands quickly, then steps up to David. 

David resists the urge to step back. 

“Here, let me.” Patrick reaches out to brush the hair off David’s face, his fingers sweeping lightly across David’s forehead as he pushes the hair up and back. 

David sucks in a breath and holds it. 

Patrick looks at him for a moment, then clears his throat and turns away, muttering something about running out of time to get the pizza done. 

Fuck. 

 


 

six. gelato

(+ 1)

Patrick’s heart sinks a little when he walks into the kitchen for the last class and notices that David’s workspace has been fixed. Working right next to David last week had been almost too much, in a good way, and he wants that again. He regretted not seizing the moment and just kissing David when he’d brushed his hair out of his face, because he had subsequently spent the week trying to figure out what to say to him in a text. But in the end, Patrick had said nothing. Again.

So when David walks into class and straight over to Patrick’s workspace without a second glance, Patrick’s heart leaps into his throat. David says hello and then takes his sweater off to put on an apron as he did every week. Patrick’s heart is back in his chest where it belongs, but it’s jackhammering away as he realises that David has every intention of working right next to him this week.

Maybe he doesn’t realise that his workspace is free? Whatever the reason, Patrick isn’t going to do anything to discourage him.

“So, it’s the last week of class,” Patrick says to David, casting his mind for something, anything to say.

“And it’s gelato week!” David’s expression is positively gleeful as he shimmies his shoulders in excitement, a grin spreading across his face.

Patrick can’t help but smile back at him. “I take it you’re a fan then?”

“Um, yeah! What’s not to love about anything that resembles ice cream? I once had this amazing matcha tea gelato in Tokyo that was like an out of body experience. And another time, there was a tiny gelato store on the Amalfi Coast that sold the most amazing nutella gelato that I would sell my soul to eat again.” He tips his head to the ceiling, eyes closed at the memory.

Patrick lets out a laugh, charmed by David’s enthusiasm for gelato. 

They set up quickly as the instructor explains that due to the need to freeze the gelato, they’ll be making the mixture and churning it in the ice cream machines provided, but will have to take their gelato home to freeze it properly at the end of class. David’s face falls until the instructor says that they have made a chocolate gelato for the class to sample at the end.

Patrick feels relief when he realises that he will still get that time at the end of class with David. Even though he has his phone number and could contact him at any time, he resolves to ask David out before they leave today. It’s the last class after all.

They get to work on the custard bases, both of them standing shoulder to shoulder at the stove. Patrick clocks the sly glances from David, the casual brushes of their hands as they pass ingredients and utensils to each other. He’s certain that it’s not just him who feels the connection between them. 

“Patrick, what flavour are you making?”

“Caramel, why? Haven’t you decided yet? Your base is almost done,” he looks over at David who seems to be debating something with himself. Patrick’s never met anyone else whose face speaks without words the way David’s does.

“It’s just that, I was going to make the chocolate, but I love caramel and I’m having second thoughts. I might have regrets.” David seems like he’s not quite finished speaking, so Patrick waits him out, calmly stirring the custard. “Do you think that maybe … is it okay if we share?” David asks the question in one breath. 

“I don’t know David, what if I have regrets?” When David’s eyes widen a little at that, Patrick lets the smirk he was holding back appear, making it clear he was teasing. 

David narrows his eyes at him, “Ugh, forget it then, I’ll just keep the chocolate for myself. Thought that maybe I’d do you a favour by letting you have some of my gelato but it’s fine.”

“Pretty sure that’s not what you said when you asked me to share David, in fact, I think what you said was ‘I might have regrets’ and ‘is it okay if we share?’” Patrick chuckles at the expression on David’s face then. 

“I think you’re being rude.”

Patrick worries then that he’s taken things too far, that maybe he’s upset David. “David, I was kidding, of course we can share. I’m sure we can get some extra containers.”

David flicks his hand, “I mean, sure. If you want to, I guess that’d be okay with me.” A tiny smile appears at the side of his mouth. 

They fall into an easy silence as they work, pouring the mixture into the ice cream machines when they’re done. 

Patrick decides that now is the time to say something about seeing David once the course is done and steps closer to him. David startles when he looks up from the ice cream machine. “Fuck! You have to stop doing that!”

“Forgot my bell, sorry.”

They’re interrupted then by the instructor who checks on their progress and mentions to David that she’s surprised he wasn’t working at the other workspace, which had been fixed. David freezes when she says that, looking at Patrick then looking away. 

“I didn’t realise,” he mumbles before the instructor moves to check on other students. Not looking at Patrick, he says, “Sorry, I didn’t know the other bench was available this week, I just assumed … I thought that she would have said … I—”

“David, it’s fine, really,” Patrick interrupts him because David is flustered and if David is going to be flustered, then Patrick wants to be the cause of that.

“This is so embarrassing, I just took over your space without even checking if the other bench was free.” David is pacing now as if he’s unsure whether he should move there now, even though they’ve almost finished.

Patrick grabs his arm, “David.” David stops, looking at Patrick in surprise, then glancing down at Patrick’s hand where it grips his forearm. Patrick doesn’t let go. He moves his thumb across David’s skin a little. When David looks up at him again, he goes to speak but finds his mouth dry with nerves. David doesn’t move away. 

“David, it’s fine. Really. I don’t mind, I’ve liked working next to you today, and last week too.” He smiles at David and shrugs. “I think we make a good team.” He takes his hand off David’s arm then, and shoves it into his pocket. 

“I guess I didn’t not like working next to you either.” David says. Patrick can see he’s aiming for carefree but doesn’t quite get there. 

When David doesn’t say anything else, Patrick takes a breath and a chance. 

“So, remember the lasagne we were making?” David gives him a tiny nod. “I made it after you left and there was enough to make two so I froze one.”

“Lucky you,” David says drily. 

“No that’s not what I meant,” Patrick is frustrated with himself. “I’m telling you because I wanted to ask … I thought - I thought that you might like to share it with me?”

David looks at him blankly, as if he doesn’t understand.

“I’m asking if you want to come over, David. Come to my place for dinner tonight and we can share the lasagne and maybe the gelato?” Patrick sees the surprise in David’s eyes and the smile that David works to pull between his teeth. 

“That would be … acceptable. I guess,” David says, his eyes searching Patrick’s face. “Thank you.”

Patrick tries not to punch the air to celebrate his success and focuses on his gelato instead. 

Later, they sit with the class as the instructor runs them through a summary of the tips and tricks they’d learned throughout the course and then finally brings out the gelato, dishing it up into small bowls and handing it out to them. 

The moan he hears out of David’s mouth when he tastes the gelato is absolutely sinful and when he looks over at him, his eyes closed as he savours the taste of the gelato in his mouth, Patrick wonders whether he might be able to put a similar expression on David’s face. He pushes that thought away before David opens his eyes again.

“It’s good gelato then?” He asks David, sticking a spoonful in his own mouth, his eyes widening a little at the rich chocolate taste.

“Good is an understatement. I think this might be closer to a religious experience.” David says before bringing an overloaded spoon to his mouth.

Patrick watches as David’s tongue darts out to catch some gelato that’s about to drip off the spoon, before putting the whole thing in his mouth, pulling the spoon out between his pursed lips. His eyes follow the movement of David’s throat as he swallows the gelato, something warm beginning to curl at the base of Patrick’s spine. But when David starts licking at the spoon, to taste the remnants of the gelato there, Patrick chokes on his own breath.

He’d never considered a spoon sexy before, until this very moment, watching David doing what could only be described as fellating a spoon. Patrick isn’t sure he’d survive David eating the rest of the bowl; he’s not even sure he remembers how to breathe.

David is clearly unaware of the effect that his own religious experience is having on Patrick, happily eating spoonful after spoonful while Patrick sits there, mouth gaping.

Once Patrick regains some semblance of control over his senses, he clears his throat. “David, I’m going to head home, come over later? Is 7pm okay?” He ignores the fact that his voice cracks at the end of the question.

“Mmhmm, I’m just gonna finish this and I’ll see you later. Can you text me your address again?” David doesn’t even look up.

“Sure, see you soon.” Patrick hurries out of the kitchen before David can put another spoon of gelato in his mouth.

*

Patrick is keyed up waiting for David to arrive at his apartment. He’s tidied and put the lasagne in the oven. But he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the way David was eating the gelato. The way his pink tongue wrapped around the spoon before his lips closed over it. He took a deep breath to try and calm himself, he’s been in a state of semi arousal since leaving David at the cooking school. 

When he hears a knock at the door, he takes another breath and squares his shoulders. He opens the door and gestures for David to come in.

“Hi, can I put this in your freezer?” David holds out his gelato.

“I’m great thanks, David, how are you?” Patrick laughs as he takes the container.

“Please, I just saw you this afternoon and I’m worried the gelato melted on my drive over!” His eyes narrow as he spots the wine he’d brought over last time on the counter. “Patrick, is that the wine I brought last time? I’m surprised you didn’t drink it.”

“Uh,” Patrick rubs the back of his neck as he takes a step towards David. “I just thought … it would be rude to drink it alone, when you brought it to share.” He looks up at David, a small smile on his face. “I hoped that you might come back to drink it with me.”

“Oh, I-” David’s eyebrows lifted slightly in surprise, though he looked pleased. He looks at the oven then, and spots the lasagne inside. “How long until that’s ready?”

“About another 30 minutes,” Patrick says.

David looks slightly disappointed but then brightens. “I haven’t tasted your gelato yet! Can I taste it before dinner?”

Oh no, Patrick thinks to himself, unsure now that inviting David over for gelato was a good idea. Or maybe it was an excellent idea. 

“Just a taste,” he says to David, “wouldn’t want you to spoil your appetite.” 

“Fine, just a little taste.” David says rolling his eyes with his whole body the way that Patrick finds so charming. Patrick winks as he turns to grab a bowl.

As he hands David the bowl of gelato, David looks at it and complains, “what is this, Les Mis?”

Patrick laughs, “just a taste, remember?”

But then David’s tongue shoots out of his mouth to taste the gelato before putting the whole spoon in his mouth and the laugh dies in Patrick’s throat when David groans at the taste of gelato. He watches as David pulls the spoon out of his mouth slowly and licks it.

When David looks up at him and makes eye contact, Patrick sees his expression change as David takes in whatever he sees on Patrick’s face. Patrick closes the distance between them and closes his hand around David’s wrist with one hand, using the other to take the bowl away from him. He places the bowl on the counter, then takes the spoon out of David’s hand and puts it in the bowl.

“I can’t watch you eat that anymore.” Patrick says, his voice gravelly.

“No?” David asks, his eyes dipping down to Patrick’s lips.  

Placing one hand on the side of David’s face Patrick breathes, “No”, before pressing his lips to David’s. It’s gentle at first, but David slips the arm Patrick isn’t holding around his back, pulling him closer, running his tongue along the seam of Patrick’s lips. David’s tongue is sweet and cool from the gelato but that fades quickly as the kiss turns heated. The kiss is a sweet tangle of teeth and tongue and the needy little noise David makes in the back of his throat when Patrick uses his teeth on David’s bottom lip punches through Patrick, making him feel heady with need. 

Patrick drops David’s wrist, gripping his hip instead as he slots a thigh between David’s and deepens the kiss. He’s so hard already and grinds against David, a little surprised to find him hard as well. David’s hand drifts down Patrick’s back to slip into the back pocket of his jeans, squeezing his ass and  pressing him closer. 

“Fuck Patrick, if only you knew how many times I’ve thought about this over the last six weeks,” David says, as he shamelessly grinds against Patrick.  

Hearing David say that he’s been thinking about Patrick the way Patrick has been thinking about him does something and all he can do is smash their mouths together again, before pulling away to suck at the soft spot where David’s jaw meets his neck. He feels David shudder against him as he does and doubles his efforts, licking and sucking down to David’s collarbone. 

David cups his erection over his jeans, squeezing and Patrick groans into his shoulder. “Patrick, can I—“ his other hand is at the button of Patrick’s jeans. 

“Yes, fuck.” Patrick gasps. 

David flicks the button open and slides the zip down slowly, the hand that was cupping him now holding the back of his neck as David licks into his mouth. David slips his hand into Patrick’s boxer briefs, finding his cock and sliding his hand up down its length, before flicking his thumb over the tip to collect the pre-come there and using it to slick his tight grip. 

Patrick runs his hands inside David’s shirt, up his back, down the ridges of his spine. He pants into David’s mouth and David is still making that same needy noise in the back of his throat. The sound makes something hot curl in Patrick’s belly, spreading to the base of his spine. 

“Fuck, David, that’s—” he cuts himself off, licking at David’s neck, unable to resist scraping his teeth along the tendon there as David tilts his head to give him better access. 

He can feel David’s erection at his hip, and slides his hands down to David’s ass to pull him closer and encourage him to grind against him again. 

David’s hand is working him hard and fast, just the right side of rough, and the noise that Patrick lets out when David twists his wrist over the head of his cock would be embarrassing if he could think of anything else other than David in that moment. 

David rests his forehead against Patrick’s. “Can I suck you Patrick?” His hand doesn’t stop moving. 

Patrick swallows. “I-“ His mouth is suddenly dry. He tries again. “I saw the way you licked the gelato off that spoon. I’d never considered a spoon erotic until today.”

“Is that a yes?”

“That’s a ‘hell yes, what are you waiting for?’

David drops to his knees, pulling Patrick’s jeans and underwear down. He grips the base of Patrick’s cock and just looks at it before looking up at Patrick through his lashes and licking his lips. 

Patrick thinks he might die of arousal before David even gets his mouth on him. 

“Ready?” David’s grin is wicked.

“Still not sure what you’re waiting for David.” Patrick isn’t sure how he’s still speaking in sentences.

The look David gives him is positively feral before he takes his tongue and licks his way up Patrick’s dick, laving his tongue around the head the way he’d licked the gelato off the spoon earlier. 

The only thing keeping Patrick upright is his iron grip on the bench behind him. He’s not sure how he ended up pressed against the kitchen bench. 

David replaces his mouth with his hand as he turns his attention to Patrick’s hip bone, sucking and biting a mark there before licking over it. He looks up at Patrick again pausing briefly, then he takes Patrick’s cock into his mouth, moving up and down, hollowing his cheeks. Patrick thrusts involuntarily and his cock hits the back of David’s throat. His hands fly to David’s hair as David pulls off. 

“Sorry, I didn’t-“

“Do it again.”

Patrick’s brain short circuits as David swallows him down to the base of his cock, gripping his hips. His hands tighten in David’s hair as he thrusts lightly into David’s mouth. David moans around his cock and the vibrations combined with the wet heat of David’s mouth around him send him hurtling to his release. 

“David, I’m close, fuck,” he gasps out, tugging on David’s hair in warning. He glances down and sees that David has his own cock out, fisting it as he swallows hard around Patrick.  The sight of David on his knees, so turned on by sucking Patrick’s dick that he couldn’t resist touching himself is all it takes. David gentles him through the aftershocks before pulling off, licking his lips to check for come before resting his head on Patrick’s hip, still working his own cock.

Patrick pulls at his shoulders, “Get up here.”

When David stands, Patrick pulls him in for a bruising kiss, fucking his tongue into David’s mouth and tasting himself there. His hand finds David’s cock, already slick with pre-come and he works him quickly, David thrusting into the tight circle of Patrick’s fist.

“Fuck, Patrick, so good,” David gasps into Patrick’s mouth. Patrick swallows the sounds David makes greedily, while working to coax more out of him. Patrick flicks his wrist on an upstroke the way he likes it himself and David is panting “so fucking good, I’m gonna come,” into his ear, and seconds later he’s spilling over Patrick’s fist with a shout. He rests his head on David's shoulder before reaching up to give him a sweet kiss. 

It’s David who speaks first. “God that was…”

“Actually I’m Patrick.”

“You’re an ass is what you are.” David says, laughing and pinching his side. 

Patrick grins at him, wiping his hand on a tea towel.  “I’m just gonna clean up, I’ll be back in a second.”

When he comes back from the bathroom, he finds David peering into the oven, two glasses of wine poured on the bench. 

“That shouldn’t be too much longer,” Patrick says, moving to stand beside David. 

“Fuck! You’ve really got to make some noise when you move!” David blurts out, clearly startled. 

Patrick hands him a glass of wine. “So that’s not how I envisaged this night going,” he starts. 

David cringes. “Um, so…you have regrets?” His eyes are darting around the apartment as if he’s assessing escape routes. 

“What? No! That was amazing! David, really,” he places a hand on David’s hip, pulling him closer. “It’s just that I thought we’d eat dinner first before there’d be any prospect of…that.”

“I see,” David takes a sip of his wine before placing it on the bench and draping his arms over Patrick’s shoulders. “So your plan was to wine and dine me, before seducing me?” His eyes are sparkling and his smile is easy and open. 

“Something like that,” Patrick says, putting his own wine glass down. 

“You didn’t think that six weeks of very intense flirting was enough foreplay?” David raises an eyebrow at him. 

“Well when you put it like that…” Patrick pulls David in for another kiss, languid and slow this time, as if they have all the time in the world. 

He pulls away when the oven timer goes off, smiling when David shimmies as he realises what it means. 

“Go sit down, I’ll dish this up for us,” he says to David. 

“I don’t know what I’m more excited about, this or the prospect of more gelato,” David throws over his shoulder as he walks to the table. 

“I don’t think I can resist you if you eat gelato again, David.”

“What makes you think I want you to?” David turns back to him and winks. 

Patrick isn’t sure he’s going to survive David, but he’s sure as hell going to have fun trying.