David turned a bit in bed but stopped when he felt an unfamiliar sensation: the weight of someone to his left side. He cracked his eyelids open slowly and smiled to himself when he remembered. Patrick. Memories of the night before came flooding back and he felt an involuntary shiver up his spine.
In the light of day, David took the time to study the other man. His short, dark hair, interspersed with copper highlights stood out against his pale, porcelain skin. Faint eyebrows contrasted David’s own thick, dark ones. His face had the slightest traces of light stubble, which didn’t look like it could ever become much more. Patrick’s mouth hung open slightly as he slept and his plush and pink lips invited kisses. David didn’t want to wake him, but as he looked at him he longed to trace his thumb over them before claiming Patrick’s mouth with his own.
David further reflected on the man himself. Patrick was modest and kind and seemed to have come from nowhere. He barely knew anything about Patrick, but after last night he wanted to know everything about him. What was even scarier was that he thought– maybe– that he wanted Patrick to know some about him, too.
He thought of how confident Patrick had been walking into his space. It wasn’t something he was used to. The people in David’s orbit had confidence based on alcohol and the knowledge that they had a “sure thing” by way of a financial transaction. Patrick’s confidence seemed to stem from knowing he’d found what he wanted and could go after it. Not in an arrogant way, but in a way that he seemed to sense that David wanted him, too. And he wasn’t wrong.
No, David wanted him. He had hoped Patrick would come to the show and felt the stab of disappointment when he didn’t see him. Then, when he saw him outside, knowing he had come, Stevie’s words came back to him and it seemed like a sign to shed at least some of his insecurities and see where things could lead.
David hadn’t been expecting more than a conversation, even if he was secretly hoping for more. Especially once Patrick took that first step toward him. It was subtle and daring and somehow the sexiest thing anyone had ever done for him.
“Good morning,” Patrick mumbled sleepily next to him, bringing David back to the present.
“Good morning to you, Mr. Brewer.” He heard Patrick hum contently next to him. David decided that a sleepy Patrick Brewer was definitely something he’d like to see more of. But he didn’t want to think about what that might mean right now, so he leaned down and pressed a kiss to his forehead, his nose, and then his lips. Patrick leaned up into it and it wasn’t long until he was on top of David, the two of them rutting into each other’s hips. He grabbed Patrick’s delicious backside and squeezed, pulling him tighter to his own body. The moan that ripped out of Patrick’s throat, humming against him, was enough to send David right over the edge. Moments later Patrick joined him, fingernails gripping David’s shoulders.
“Do all your guests get this kind of star treatment?” Patrick asked, breath still ragged. David winced even though he was 87% sure Patrick hadn’t meant it in a malicious way.
“Actually, no.” David stared away from Patrick. “Because nobody ever stays.”
Patrick angled his face to look at David in disbelief. “Their loss then. Obviously, they don’t know what they’re missing out on.”
It was an innocent statement but it rattled David, so he did what David does best and deflected, “I mean I am a pretty good fuck, after all.”
Patrick’s expression turned serious, his brows pinching together. When he spoke it was heartfelt, honest and left David breathless. “You know that’s not what I meant. Not even a little bit.”
It’s far too early in the morning–without having had any coffee–to be engaging in this sort of sincerity. “We better get cleaned up and find some breakfast before we get stuck together.”
When I had walked into the Moulin Rouge last night I was hoping to see David and had only anticipated doing so from a distance. I hadn’t expected to talk to him, let alone wind up in his bed and find myself there the next morning. It had been a strange feeling at first, waking up next to him. Coming out of sleep, I first became aware of his earthy, musky scent. I inhaled and felt overwhelming happiness from a yet unrecognized source. Next, I noticed the heat radiating off his skin and the solid feel of his body next to me. David.
Waking up there seemed surreal and like being hugged in sunshine. I wanted to lay in the stillness and simply breathe him in, bask in his presence. I was so sure that if I opened my eyes the spell would be broken and I’d be plunged back into a dreary world where I could only be on the outside looking in at David Rose. But as hard as I tried, I couldn’t stop my eyes from opening and forcing time to march on.
Even in the early moments of waking David was perfect. He was rumpled from sleep and bathed in the unguarded beauty of not holding himself back. It only added to the already intimate moment when we chased our releases against each other’s bodies.
Afterward, I hadn’t meant what I said as anything to hurt him. I truly wasn’t expecting him to say that I was the only person to stay through the night. David was handsome and charming, not just in the way he projected to the public. Underneath all the pizazz his soft, vulnerable edges had reeled me in and made me want to know even more about him. I needed to let him know that he didn't have to put on a show for me. No lights, no makeup, just David, perfect as he is. I only hoped in time I could show him that and give him the gift of seeing it for himself.
Several Weeks Later
With The Duke’s financing it was possible for the Moulin Rouge to stop its usual fanfare while the theater was constructed. This gave David, and everyone else, the time and energy to focus on rehearsals. David having the time to focus on the show was equally to my benefit. It made it simple to find perfectly legitimate reasons to spend more time with each other.
I would attend every rehearsal to monitor the impact of my script and make any necessary adjustments. I would also impatiently wait for the moments when everyone took their break and David would inevitably come find me. We sometimes had meals together, but more often than not, we were magnetically drawn to each other’s bodies, taking what we could get until we would meet in the evenings.
“Shh,” I breathed into David’s shoulder, continuing to work my slicked-up hand over his cock. We were in his dressing room with everyone milling about just on the other side of the door. Today had been exceptionally difficult to keep my hands off him. The moment we got a break I had dragged him away from everyone. I could feel he was getting close but the sounds he was making were going to give us away. I sensed that it took every ounce of effort for him to focus on biting his lip and being quiet while he came into my fist. I leaned in for a kiss to help muffle the sound and welcomed the feel of his tongue finding mine.
“Fuck,” the exclamation was breathy and content. “What’s gotten into you today?”
“You did,” I stated like I was telling him the weather. “I watched you in your scene today, kissing Jake, and I needed to have you.”
“Oh, did you now?” David quirked an eyebrow with an amused grin. “How jealous were you? Like a scale of one to ten. Did you sweat?”
“Not jealous. I just wanted to remind you of what will be waiting for you later.”
“Mmhmm,” he hummed. “I’ll be sure to take you up on that .”
“Noted.” I couldn’t help dropping a sweet kiss to his lips. It would be so easy to sneak away with him now and give in to everything our bodies wanted but even I wasn’t that foolish.
The Duke had made it clear he was quite interested in David as well. At every chance he was looking to make arrangements for supper or to take him for some sort of outing. David, of course, had no idea about the deal Sebastien had made with Johnny. His father had only told him to keep wooing him since he was financing everything. Johnny made it clear that David was to keep his focus on keeping Sebastien happy.
When David got tired of finding excuses to avoid Sebastien’s invitations, he would go along with them. Sometimes I would be invited along on picnics so I could carry their gear and discuss the show. I was often conflicted about whether it was more difficult to not know what was going on between them or to see it firsthand. Since David was supposed to be buttering up Sebastien, we kept our relationship a secret. The plan was that we would wait until the dust settled after the show premiered. Needless to say, it was difficult watching him shamelessly flirt with Sebastien. Even if I knew it was for show, I was more than happy to funnel all my feelings about it into our nights together.
“We should get back out there, yeah?” I asked.
He pouted before finally conceding, waving his hand dramatically. “If we must.”
“I know. But I’ll see you tonight and kiss that worried looking face of yours and make everything better.”
“Okay,” David smiled at that and gave me a quick kiss. “You go out first and I’ll be along in a few minutes.”
“Okay, David.” I did a final check of my clothes and tried to look casual going back into the crowd. I’m not sure if anyone would believe we were doing something innocent, but I would never apologize for any time with David. I was the writer and he was the star, so that had to count for something.
David was just coming out of his dressing room when Sebastien approached him.
“David, how are you?” Sebastien reached out to kiss his hand. David felt himself recoil slightly but quickly remembered what he had to do.
“I am just lovely, dear Duke. How are you finding the show?” David flipped into his most bubbly persona, hoping to have a quick chat and move back to rehearsals.
“It’s coming along quite well. That writer–”
“Patrick.” David interrupted.
“That writer’s name is Patrick.”
Sebastien waved dismissively, “Right. Anyway, I was going to say that he’s done a fine job putting this all together. I thought maybe you could use a respite tonight?”
“Well, there’s still so much to do,” David began. He could only think of being with Patrick tonight and repaying him for what had just happened in his dressing room.
“But you’ve been working so hard lately. I’ve arranged for supper tonight. Please join me. I insist!”
“Dear Duke, I would really love to but I’m afraid with these new scenes I must get extra practice in. Thank you so much for your kind invitation.” David gave a little wave before scurrying off toward the stage.
Sebastien fumed and felt himself get hot with irritation. He had to find Johnny and insist David have dinner with him tonight. So far David had given him the bare minimum of his attention despite the deal he’d struck in the contract. David was always rehearsing with the group or with that damn writer. He had enough and it was time for Johnny to uphold his end of the bargain.
“Sir?” Mutt, Sebastien’s bodyguard, had come up beside him. “Is everything alright?”
Sebastien took a deep breath, “Find Rose. Now!”
“Of course. Right away.” Mutt took off to find Johnny while Sebastien stalked back to the stage to keep an eye on David and–whatever his name was.
“Have a good night, everyone. Tomorrow we’ll pick up on the newest scene where the lovers are discovered!” Johnny’s voice boomed through the space.
Damn. He’d wanted to catch David to tell him about the supper with The Duke tonight, but he was already running off somewhere. As if being called by his thoughts, Sebastien showed up just then and he did not look particularly happy.
“Ahh, my dear Duke, how, uh, lovely to see you! I just wanted to let you know that everything is all set for the supper in the Gothic Tower tonight. I hope you’ll find everything to your liking.”
“You may as well eat it yourself, Rose! David has been rejecting me left and right and is insisting he has to rehearse tonight. He’s always with that–that damn writer!”
As Sebastien spoke, movement from the balcony caught Johnny’s attention. It was none other than David heatedly kissing said damn writer. “Oh, well, um. I’ll speak to David and insist he take tonight off. He’ll be there at eight o’clock.”
Sebastien huffed an annoyed breath to center himself. “See that he is, Rose. Eight o’clock. If he’s not there this deal is done. Do you understand?”
Johnny’s insides churned. “Yes, of course. He’ll be there.”
With that Sebastien turned on his heel and stormed off. Johnny had no idea what David was doing with Patrick. What he did know was this had to be over before Sebastien figured it out for himself. Johnny took a deep breath and made his way up to the balcony. By the time he arrived Patrick was nowhere to be seen and David was alone.
“David, son, what are you doing?”
“N–nothing. Why would you think I’m doing anything?” David fidgeted with his hands and hoped Patrick hadn’t left any incriminating marks.
“I know you’ve got something going on with the writer. And I know because I saw you together just now.”
David became nervous about what his father was about to say. It was one thing to be told to woo The Duke, it was quite another to be (probably) told to stay away from Patrick. To stay away from the man that was claiming pieces of David’s heart one kiss at a time.
“It’s just an infatuation really. It’s nothing.” David tried to play it off hoping it would throw Johnny off the scent, but even he didn’t believe the words coming out of his mouth.
“David, The Duke holds the deed to the Moulin Rouge. He’s giving you everything! Or at least he’s trying to. Whatever it is you two have going on stops now. I can’t have you storming over my business dealings because of some little moment of fancy!”
David’s mouth opened and shut again. He wanted to shout at his father that he’s wrong. This is more than some crush or infatuation. It’s not love– is it? –but it’s something. And David wants it to be something much more than he’s wanted anything in his life. God, does he want that.
“Go to Patrick and tell him it’s over. The Duke is expecting you in the Gothic Tower at eight o’clock tonight.” Johnny turned and walked away from David, indicating he’d decided there was nothing more to say on the issue.
David walked in a haze back to his flat. He wanted to rush to Patrick but decided he needed time to gather himself before he had to drop this bomb on him.
When David stepped inside, he flopped in his favorite chair, rubbing his face in frustration. A few short weeks ago David had known nothing of Patrick. David had led a life of indulgence that served to protect him from feeling … these sorts of things. He knew batting his lashes at strangers and playing hard-to-get in a way that would make him more desirable. In little more than a day Patrick had breezed in like the first warm day after winter and shattered all that.
Until being confronted with it today, David had been loath to call his feelings what they were: love. In the past he’d fallen too hard and too fast only to be hurt time and time again. He was teased and laughed at and told he was too much. Patrick teased and laughed, but in the most loving way David had ever experienced. He burrowed into all the hurt, empty spaces of David and filled him up with love and laughter. And– god –the way Patrick looked at him. His big, brown heart eyes that looked at David like he’d hung the moon.
It took feeling the wet spot form on his hand to notice that he was crying. The realization seemed to open a floodgate of emotions and make him weep that much harder. David’s chest tightened and he felt the breath leave him. His hands felt tingly and darkness crept in around the edges of his vision. He gripped the arms of the chair, trying to focus on keeping his breath even.
It was all too much: the show, his father, Sebastien, Patrick. The repercussions were too much and David felt his breathing becoming more rapid and shallow before his vision blacked out. He slumped into his chair which is where he found himself well past eight, with his father and Stevie hovering over him.