Patrick Brewer wasn’t really the kind of person who took risks. He always played it safe. Well, except for that time he completely blew up his life and moved away from home without any idea where he was going. And when he decided to go into business with a total (very hot) stranger not long after that. And when he asked his new business partner out on a date. And, okay, when he serenaded that same business partner in front of a bunch of people. And also when he later asked that man to marry him.
Okay, maybe Patrick was a risk taker after all.
But still, he wasn’t. So much of his life had changed drastically in the last few years, but most things about him had stayed very much the same. He still wore the same clothes, drank the same beer, and listened to the same music that he always had.
Patrick opened his closet and looked around. Jeans, button-ups, Henleys. Hanes boxer briefs. Even his pajamas were always plain white T-shirts and pajama pants. Clothing was never something that mattered to him before. He didn’t feel one way or another about what he wore. Clothes were just clothes. They provided a function. They were simple. Easy. Safe.
Patrick started looking at clothes online. Site after site showed the same clothes for Men. Pants. Shirts. Repeat. He wanted to try something different. Something decidedly not-Patrick.
He thought about the skirted pants David sometimes wore. They were so perfectly David and he looked sexy in them. Could Patrick make a skirt look sexy? Patrick laughed at the thought. No, probably not. But could he?
He thought of asking David for help, but that felt like asking Barry Bonds to give him batting tips. Patrick wanted to figure this out on his own first.
The first time Patrick went to the new department store in Elm Glen, he sat in the parking lot for 20 minutes before chickening out and heading home. The second time, he went into the store, passed by the right section, picked out more boxer briefs, paid and left.
The third time though. This time was different. This time he was determined. He was Patrick Fucking Brewer and he was not going to let fear or expectations keep him from trying something new. Not anymore.
He strode up to a rack, picked up a hanger, and took it to the register before he could change his mind.
The sales person smiled as they bagged the dress, glancing at his left hand.
“Buying a gift for your wife?”
Patrick almost laughed, but stopped himself, certain it would sound hysterical. There was so much wrong with that question, he didn’t know where to begin. So instead he smiled politely and said, “something like that,” paid and left.
The whole way home, Patrick fought with himself. It felt good to do something different. This is dumb, why did he waste that money?
What’s life without a few risks? What if someone saw him wearing a dress?
Patrick stuffed the shopping bag in the back of their closet, under a pile of winter gear. He would tell his husband about it sometime in the future, once he wrapped his own brain around what he was doing.
A few weeks after his successful shopping trip, Patrick found himself home alone. David was at the store with the new employee they hired, so he had the day off. Patrick went for a run. He paid the bills, cleaned the house, and started some chicken in the crock pot.
Once he was out of excuses, Patrick went upstairs, closed the bedroom door and dug the shopping bag out of the closet. He held the dress out in front of him and looked at it for the first time. It was a sleeveless black dress with a knee-length skirt. Nothing fancy. His palms were sweaty and he felt vaguely nauseated. This was so outside his realm of possibility, so very not-Patrick, yet here he was.
Patrick shucked off his clothes and slid the dress up his body. With surprising difficulty, he managed to zip up the back. The dress was so tight around his chest that it felt difficult to move. But the fabric was soft. It felt good against his skin. He looked in the mirror and was greeted by a very surreal image. He recognized the face and the body in the mirror but it didn’t really feel like him. Patrick looked down at the dress. He honestly didn’t know if he liked it or not. It felt new, and different and that felt… good. He was having trouble taking a full breath, but he couldn’t tell if that was an emotional reaction or a physical one. It was a very tight dress.
Patrick realized the bedroom door wasn’t actually locked when David opened it. He froze, standing before the mirror with his hands at his sides.
Fuck fuck fuck. No. This wasn’t supposed to happen yet. He shouldn’t have done this. This was a mistake. Now David has seen him in a dress, and this was going to become a Thing they have to Talk About. David was going to ask him questions that he didn’t have the answers to. Patrick didn’t want to talk about this or analyze it. He still didn’t know what any of this meant. He didn’t know why he was standing in the bedroom he shared with his husband, wearing a little black dress.
David’s look of complete shock almost immediately gave way to one of deep, lustful admiration. Normally, it’s a look that thrilled Patrick, but not now.
David cleared his throat and his facial expression, and walked toward him slowly. For the first time in their relationship, Patrick’s body tensed as he approached. He could feel himself shaking. Feel a sharp pricking feeling behind his eyes. The need to run became overwhelming.
Without a word, David folded his arms around his husband. Patrick released the breath he didn’t realize he was holding. Muscles that were tense, now softened. The shaking stopped. His breathing returned to normal. Patrick felt his body melt into David’s. Blinking back tears, he took a breath. Then another. It’s okay. David’s here. It’s okay. He’s safe now.
They held each other for another minute, then David rested a hand on Patrick’s cheek and softly, so softly, kissed him. Just once. “You look good, honey.” He said quietly.
Patrick genuinely smiled. “Thanks.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to surprise you. Sue’s coming by the store with more lip balms this afternoon, and I left my checkbook here,” he said softly. “Who still uses checks anyway? Haven’t people heard of Venmo?”
“That’s small town life I guess.” Patrick sighed and kissed him again. Only David had the power to bring him back to earth.
David hummed in agreement and grabbed the checkbook off of the dresser. He kissed Patrick’s cheek and said, “okay, I’ll see you tonight. I love you.”
As he headed to the door, Patrick called after him, “actually, David?”
“Could you help me with this zipper?”
David’s gasp was barely audible. He blinked a few times before responding. “Yes. Mm-hmm. I can do that.”
As he walked back over, Patrick turned around. David’s hands fumbled a bit, but he unzipped the dress and placed a gentle kiss on the back of Patrick’s neck. Patrick took David’s hands and wrapped them around him again, relaxing back against his chest. He could feel David’s heart beating quickly, but he held Patrick still and steady.
David kissed the back of Patrick’s head. “I have to get back,” he said regretfully.
“I know.” Patrick let go of David’s hands and turned around to face him. “But maybe we can pick this back up tonight after you get home?”
David nodded rapidly and licked his lips. “I would like that. I would like that a lot.”
Patrick smiled and kissed him again, longer and more urgently than before.
“Okay, I really have to go.” One last kiss and he headed toward the door. “I love you, Patrick.”
“I love you, David.”
Patrick took off the dress. He pulled a hanger from the closet and hung it up next to his button-up shirts. With a small smile, he closed the closet door.