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- 2034 -

 

The fiftieth wedding anniversary of Clint and Marci Brewer is, with curious surprise, no small affair. 

They spend the better part of the prior year traveling, and they’ve been everywhere under the sun, so a family trip is off the table. At Christmas dinner, when the conversation turns to it, David suggests an elegant dinner party. Clint’s sister Christine suggests they host it in the hall of the same church where they were married those fifty years ago. The church where Clint was a deacon up until Patrick’s freshman year in college, when he stepped down rather suddenly to spend more time coaching.

That idea makes Marci’s lips draw into a thin frown. David catches this from his spot across the table from her, over the rim of his wine glass. She reaches for her own glass and takes a sip.

“We haven’t set foot in that church in over twenty-five years,” she says, almost bitterly, which is a tone David hasn’t heard her take since they ran into that old hockey teammate of Patrick’s at dinner several years ago and he’d side-eyed David’s sequined sweater. “We don’t know anyone there anymore.”

She shares a hard look with Clint, but David misses what’s reciprocated since his father-in-law sits on his right. Patrick swoops in.

“What about renting the banquet hall at the Rosewood? They just put in a dance floor.”

The Rosewood is the newest edition to the Rosebud Motel Group; a place David could actually consider cute and Stevie’s current pride and joy. It’s near enough to make a trip out of, close enough to home to be a one-night outing. It’s a great middle ground and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

“We can make a guest list. Invite your friends from the quilting circle and your old baseball buddies. Dress fancy. Decorate. Rent a block of rooms. Make a big deal out of it. Because it is a big deal!”

David smiles at his husband’s enthusiastic sentiment. “That’s really sweet, honey.”

“I’m putting you in charge of decorations,” he replies, pointing his fork towards David’s sleeve.

“Well, naturally.” David looks to Marci again, grinning, and finds she’s smiling right back. That soft, small, happy smile she always has for the two of them. Her boys.

“That’s a pretty good plan, actually. How ‘bout it, Marce?” Clint says.

“Yes, actually,” she says. “I think I’d like that. I think that sounds very nice.”

She goes back to her plate, still grinning. David takes a self-satisfied sip of his wine. 

Patrick reaches to run a hand across his shoulders, and when David glances up at him, he gets his husband’s  signature squinty half-wink.

-

David does take on decoration duties. And catering.

“I can’t help that I understand palates of all kinds, Patrick. Including flavor,” David shouts one afternoon while they’re making dinner. Patrick’s making dinner. David is curating a Pinterest board.

Patrick’s shoulders bounce with a chuckle from the island where he is chopping veggies. He feeds David a sliver of banana pepper fresh from their garden.

“I’m not complaining, I promise. I love having your help,” he says while David crunches. “Your parents’ fiftieth was a great time and all thanks to you. Can we repurpose any of the decorations and ideas from that party?”

David rears back. “Decor and repurpose never go in the same sentence. No. This has to be absolutely unique to them.”

Patrick sweeps off the surface of the cutting board into their big salad bowl. “Right. Of course.”

He watches David scroll a bit on his phone, tapping pointedly at the top corner of the screen when he finds something he wants to save.

Just months ago, Mr. and Mrs. Rose’s fiftieth anniversary party was a glittering, glimmering affair with family at its center. Each of the Rose children had given teary speeches. Johnny kissed Moira’s damp cheek as they cut a cake the same flavor and drank wine from the same label as they had on their wedding day. By the end of the night the Roses and the Schitts, still every bit as disgustingly in love to this day, were reluctant to leave the dance floor and let such a romantic night end.

Patrick still clearly remembers the night at the cafe so many years ago, with too many crab cakes, his mom's smile he hadn’t seen in two whole years, and feeling the most solidly loved he’d ever felt.

“You do a wonderful job at making people feel special, David,” he says softly, with a tenderness that shifts the moment.

His husband looks up at this change in tone, meets his gaze that’s hopefully telegraphing everything warm and good and grateful he feels, and those perfect lips Patrick has kissed countless times curl into a knowing grin with a flash of teeth. He straightens up a little, and shakes his chin as he starts to speak, in the way that tells Patrick he’s too endeared to keep all the emotions inside.

“Well. One of the most important traits of being an excellent party planner is the ability to balance what’s correct and what the guests of honor would want, so… it’s really just the most sensible way to do things.”

Patrick stares starry-eyed for a moment more. David beams right back.

“Should we have our salad?” he says finally.

“Oh!” David pushes away from the island. “I need to make the dressing. Remember you’re supposed to be cutting back on your sugars.”

“Right. Thanks, doc.”

David cuts him a glare from the fridge.

-

“Oh this place is nice.” Marci peers at her iPad over the top of her reading glasses, swiping through pictures David sent of the Rosewood.

“Hmm. Very nice.” Clint looks over her shoulder then reaches to right her glasses and kiss her temple.

She huffs at him with a bemused smile and straightens the glasses on her nose.

That little button nose he’d fallen in love with over fifty years ago. 

He can hardly believe it’s been that long. Time with her has passed with an easy pace. 

“I hope I didn’t hurt Christine’s feelings too much with my attitude about the church,” she says, resting her tablet in her lap.

Clint settles into his recliner next to Marci’s. “Oh I don’t think she’s bothered at all, sweetheart.”

Marci looks sad, uncertain, a contemplative expression on her face, just like Patrick.

“I still think about what happened at that church,” she says.

“We worked it out didn’t we?” Clint says gently, and Marci smiles genuinely now.

“We did. We’re quite good at that.”

“Lots of things we uncovered about ourselves in that process.”

Marci nods, but looks a little uncertain, contemplative just like Patrick gets when he’s caught up in his head.

Clint waits patiently.

“I think I saw something in Patrick back then,” she starts. “I don’t want to say I knew, because that’s not it, but I maybe realized he wasn’t… comfortable. There was something he was quiet about.”

Clint nods in understanding. He remembers those days. Cool and confident Patrick, ruffled and skittish just under the surface. He’d chalked it up to teenage years back then, but now he understands it was something Patrick hadn’t even wrapped his own head around yet. 

“People at church would say things…” Marci goes on. “Just about celebrities or the topic in general… but you got the general consensus that things went beyond people being unwelcomed. I hated staying quiet about it.”

“I remember the discussions you and I had,” Clint says. “Lots of things we grew out of alignment with. Lots of things we didn’t even know were lines until we uncovered them.”

Marci nods, her eyes a little teary. “We made a beautiful life out of that mess.”

“Honey, I’ve always had a beautiful life with you.”

Marci breaks into a watery giggle and reaches over for his hand.

-

“Everything’s ready in the rooms.”

“Oh perfect. They’ll be here any second.” Stevie turns from the computer at the front desk to accept the kiss Celeste presses to her cheek.

She pauses, touches Stevie’s shoulder. “You look nervous.”

“No, not nervous. Just our first big event here and I want to make it special for them.”

“Stevie, this place is flawless. They’re all going to love it.”

Stevie groans with apprehension even as Celeste pulls her in, hooks her arms around her neck.

“You’ve worked so hard,” she whispers, swaying them a little. 

Stevie wrinkles her nose playfully. “This sounds like the prelude to something sexy.”

“Could be,” Celeste says saucily, her beautiful lips curving in a way that alights butterflies in Stevie’s stomach. Her eyes dart over Stevie’s shoulder towards the front door of the lobby. “After you’ve checked everyone in.”

Celeste kisses her—brief, but it lingers—before she slips away to the back room, just as the lobby doors open.

Stevie grins after her as she goes, then turns towards their guests, which just so happen to be David and Patrick themselves.

David gapes at her as he follows in behind his husband, one wrist hanging limp.

He’d fucking seen them. Of fucking course he had—they both fucking had—and now Stevie won’t live it down. At least for the next ten minutes.

Patrick’s smile is warm but devious as he approaches the desk, pulling their luggage behind him.

“Hi Stevie,” he says, like he’s missed her, but like he also won’t do anything to stop the coming onslaught. Stevie rolls her eyes. 

David shimmies up to the counter, looking completely conspiratorial. Stevie watches him approach, already ready for combat with her smug smile.

David leans in to tap a single finger against the desk between them.

“Cute,” he says simply, then straightens up to look around. “Very very cute.”

“David,” Patrick chides.

“What?” He flips a hand. “What? I was referring to this mid century wonderland we’re in right now. Is this the original furniture?” He gestures widely around the lobby.

“Refurbished,” Stevie says.

“Ooh,” David purrs, probably not in reference to the re-upholstered chaise lounge. “And who was that?” He throws a small point towards the back room. 

Stevie squares her shoulders. “My business partner,” she says evenly.

Patrick snorts. She looks to him, betrayed.

“Mm-hm. Mm-hm. And why didn’t you fucking tell me?”

“What’s the name on the reservation?” Stevie shakes the computer mouse.

“Doesn’t she want to meet us?”

“You mean doesn’t she want to field twenty questions in a motel lobby?”

David frowns. His brows tick up with feigned offense. Stevie shakes her head and smiles.

Patrick signs their receipt and takes the key card Stevie offers.

“Bring her to the dinner. To the thing,” David says while Patrick tries to corral him out the door again. “Make it a date. It’ll be cute.”

Stevie waves. “Enjoy your stay!”

-

The vendors of Rose Apothecary never fail to deliver beyond measure.

They’ve been called upon countless times, when damage control was needed for the wedding, when RA celebrated its tenth anniversary, when Patrick blew out his knee last year and couldn’t make vendor pick-ups for three months.

Their enthusiasm and dedication is a testament to the camaraderie David and Patrick have formed around the Apothecary over the years. Sort of an unexpected outcome. They cut no corners for this party either.

Kay hand-delivers gorgeous arrangements of flowing ferns and flowers in orange and red that pop against the backdrop of the Rosewood’s clean lines, authentic mod furniture, and simple color palette. Pierre brings delicate pastel macaroons and pastries. Sierra provides hand-poured candles that are a luxury centerpiece Patrick squints an incredulous eye at, but David’s guilty, cheeky grin softens him.

Looking over it all, Patrick feels a swell of pride for the combination of David’s vision, their wonderful vendors, and Stevie’s hard work bringing this new motel addition up to a standard that makes even David’s jaw drop.

David’s still obsessing over the crisp midnight blue paint on the doors, the palms, and the poolside furniture when Patrick slides the keycard into their door.

“I’m obsessed with this place. I’m so proud of my friend. She’s really outdone herself here, holy fuck.” 

David abandons his rolling suitcase at the foot of the queen bed to stare stunned around the freshly renovated room.

“It’s a perfect place for this party, David. It’s gorgeous. Everything’s gorgeous. Thanks for doing this for my parents.”

David swivels towards him, beaming. “Honey, by now they’re my parents just as well as yours. They deserve nothing less.”

Patrick is struck for a moment with a vision of David almost eighteen years ago now in the passenger seat of his old Toyota, glowing and grinning, the word generous on his lips

He can’t help himself. He steps in, pulls David close. He comes easily of course, smiling and snaking his arms around Patrick’s neck, crossing his hands and holding Patrick there. Like he always does. 

“Did you see the way she was looking at her?”  David whispers after a moment.

Patrick feels the corners of his mouth quirk. “David, we saw them through the glass. We didn’t get that good of a look.”

“She’s in love with her,” David says with certainty.

“Maybe so,” Patrick murmurs, letting his palms drift across David’s back.

Definitely so.”

“Hope so,” Patrick says, a little brighter, earning a laugh and a big, warm kiss.

“Let’s get ready,” he says, kissing David’s cheek once more.

-

David’s outfit for the party is—of course—nothing short of gorgeous.

“Celebrating this half-century long marriage is making me feel incredibly fucking old,” he mourns to the hotel mirror where he’s alternating between fixing the cuffs of the crisp white shirt under his rich velvet suit jacket, and patting at his under eyes. Patrick is sure that David’s under eyes are in the ninetieth percentile of youthful under eyes in their age bracket. 

“You’re as young as you feel, baby.” Patrick bounces one dress-socked foot that’s dangling from the side of the bed where he’s lounged out, propped on one elbow.

“Easy for you to say. You have your youth.”

Patrick smirks. David’s fifty-first birthday had passed with unexpected ease—much less hysterical than his fiftieth—with a wine and cheese night at their cottage with friends. Patrick tags behind at forty-nine still, which David thinks is an egregious gap. 

David’s comfortable with his age now, most of the time. There are blips, like this, but Patrick would like to think David’s strict abhorrence of any mention of age or aging has lessened not because he’s resigned to the inevitable, but because David loves his life now. Likes who he is. He’s fulfilled and happy in other ways that make the rest seem small.  He still fights against a new wrinkle and begrudges the gray that’s grown through his hair, but it isn’t something he runs from, and it's plain for anyone to see that he still looks damn good.

Patrick stands up and pads over to stand behind David, to wrap his arms around his middle. One hand tucks itself under the lapel of David’s jacket to brush over the soft, cool linen of his shirt, over his stomach that’s only a little softer with age and pastries.

His eyes peek out from around David’s shoulder, watching them in the mirror.

“I love you,” he murmurs, against soft midnight-black velvet.

“Love you too,” David breathes, hands coming to rest over his husband’s.

Patrick holds him a little tighter. “You look so beautiful.”

David grins at their reflections. He blushes at the picture they make together, his eyes fluttering closed with bliss, chin tucking towards his shoulder with his signature, wound up little grin. Patrick sways them a bit until David opens his eyes and looks into the mirror again, gazing at Patrick’s reflection with heat, with familiarity.

“You too,” he says, then turns in Patrick’s arms, hands finding Patrick’s shoulders, smoothing over the new blue linen of his own suit jacket that he himself picked out. His smile is sweet and sexy and a little silly when he says, “Like the day I married you.”

Patrick laughs, burying his smile into David’s shoulder. He hums at the comfort, the easiness of the moment, and traces a hand down David’s back.

“Let’s go,” David says after a moment. “I can’t wait to see your mom’s face when she sees.”

-

Marci and Clint enter the room to applause from their family and their closest friends. Marci claps a hand over her mouth as she scans the crowd, and the room in all its beauty. Her gaze lands on Patrick and then David, who’s clapping wildly.

They share a dance, just them on the dance floor. Patrick dabs at his eyes with the back of his hand, then looks over at David’s who’s doing just the same.

Patrick can’t believe there was a time he was too unsure, too guilty of his own actions to let his parents into his life. It was all his own fears that complicated things. He was frightened, a little wary, of meshing his old life with the new. If he could still be both parts of himself. But his parents… his parents had been that link that kept both sides of him together. And they loved David so very much. So much more than any basic requirements. It was hard not to, but Patrick was a little biased.

Seeing them together like this, bonded even more strongly through everything that’s happened over fifty years—of which Patrick really could only know the half of—makes him think about what fifty years might be like with David. Regardless of how long they get, whether it’s fifty years or fewer, he knows that they have it. That magic thing. That close-ness and together-ness that a milestone like this requires. The thing he sees now—has always seen, his whole life—between his parents.

He stands up and takes David’s hand, and pulls him from his chair once other couples start joining the floor. David’s eyes twinkle under the string lights overhead. He tilts his head back with a shining smile, feigning his reluctance, and lets himself be pulled, then winds his arms around Patrick’s shoulders. They’ve danced like this so many times, but now… in this particular setting, with his heart so full… it’s something else.

It’s all still there. Everything he felt. Everything they felt and had together from day one. Shaped with time. Made even more their own with every year. It isn’t surprising in the slightest, really. He feels grateful for it. That the good they have doesn’t ever reach its end. 

He’s grateful that the people in their lives have known that same love of their own, and have modeled it and upheld it everyday. 

The music switches, an all too familiar guitar, the familiar swell of synth keys, and David’s cringing away with a grin, doing his level best to wiggle away but Patrick holds him fast, pulls him back against him.

The famous Dolly and Kenny Rogers duet leads the party to a new level. Patrick spins David under his arm, imagines he’s showing off David’s smile to the whole room. The beads on Marci’s pink dress catch the sparkling lights. His dad does his stunted sort-of dancing that doesn’t quite fit the song and makes David laugh aloud. 

He looks over to the edge of the dance floor. Stevie and Celeste are sitting at their table, heads bent close together. The upbeat music is a contrast to the way Celeste is outright smiling and tracing tender circles on the back of Stevie’s hand.

Patrick touches David’s shoulder and nods his head in their direction.

David looks. He grins, triumphant and happy, and pulls himself even closer into his husband.

-

Celeste wears a deep green dress that’s gorgeous against her caramel skin. Her curly hair is pulled back from her face,  and her pretty earrings glitter under the light. She’s stunning tonight, at their first event here at the Rosewood, and while it might be strange to crash an anniversary party for a couple they hardly know, even if Stevie does know David and Patrick so well, it’s a significant moment. They worked hard together to get here.

Celeste didn’t have to do any of this. She isn’t an employee of Rosebud Motel Group. She’s just a good person and has great taste, which Stevie would never admit aloud to David. She helped her build this place; helped her make it what it is. 

It only makes clearer what Stevie’s been feeling for weeks now.

They share a table with David and Patrick, but they're long gone to the dance floor. It’s just the two of them now, alone in a room full of people they hardly know though the atmosphere is filled with nothing but love and… all of the sudden, it just feels like the right time.

Stevie reaches for Celeste’s hand. She laces their fingers and embraces the flutter of butterflies in her belly when it comes. 

She wouldn’t have been able to recognize this feeling before the Roses. Before they crash landed and shook her out of the indifference she’d made a home in. Back then, she had expected to live out her life in Schitt’s Creek, the same as her aunt had and never bring another person into her misery. It was fine that way. She could’ve been fine that way. But then the Roses, and then David, and then David and Patrick… It had all helped her see that there was more than she’d ever pictured herself having.

“I want to tell you something,” she says, hoping her voice doesn’t tremble too much. “I’ve actually kind of been wanting to tell you something.”

Celeste grins at her knowingly, like she already knows what’s coming. Her smile is beautiful under the low lighting.

“Tell me,” she whispers. Her fingers brush tender circles on the back of Stevie's hand, an encouragement.

It serves its purpose. Celeste always has this magical way about her that makes Stevie feel settled. Comfortable. Confident. 

“I love you,” Stevie says, trusting herself, trusting her voice.

Celeste is still smiling when she kisses her, soft and slow and stilling the din of the party around them. 

Stevie can’t believe it’s this perfect.

-

Later on, once everyone’s gone home or to their rooms and things have quieted, David and Patrick hold hands in rattan loungers by the kidney bean-shaped pool, the stars sparkling above them.

“I want a party like that with you one day,” David breathes, tired but satisfied, and brings their hands to his lips to kiss the spot near Patrick’s wedding ring. Patrick’s stomach swoops.

Stevie groans. Celeste laughs and presses closer into her side on the singular lounger they’re sharing. David ignores them entirely and instead makes a show of standing to retrieve his suit jacket from the back of a nearby empty chair.

“But first I want to sleep,” he says. “For a very long time.”

“Check out is at noon,” Stevie chirps.

David swings his jacket over his shoulder and dips his knees. “You’ll make an exception, thank you.”

The four of them walk to their rooms together, sharing quiet whispers and quiet laughter in the still of the night. They hug Stevie and Celeste at their door. David squeezes Celeste so tight she chokes out a laugh.

In their own room, they slip into their pajamas, and finally into bed. David pillows his head on Patrick’s arm, as he always does. Patrick kisses his temple, which makes David curl in closer. 

Patrick closes his eyes and settles into the new mattress, sleepy and happy. Maybe by now that feeling should be commonplace, but it never is. 

Never will be.