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The Night I Looked at You

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Saturday afternoons are for romcom marathons spent withering in bed nursing a hangover from the night before. They’re for hydrating face masks so he could go out later, get fucked up all over again and look damn good doing it. Instead David had to wake up at some unholy hour to attend a friend’s wedding. After spending considerable time making himself presentable, he found himself seated among five hundred of the “closest friends and family” to the bride and groom. 

Whose wedding was this again? He peeked at the program in his hand. Oh, right, Paul and Julia. Who the fuck got married at one in the afternoon?! Didn’t anyone have the decency for an evening wedding anymore? If he had to sit through someone declaring their undying love (that might last a year tops) he preferred it be a slightly more humane hour of day. 

The only thing that might make it worth it was the top tier catering, open bar and knowing he could probably find someone fuckable as a distraction if he got bored. The guest list was a healthy mix of elites at least as attractive as himself. From his spot in the pews he surveyed the wedding party that had just filed in to take their places. Not bad. Fucked her. Ex of an ex...that could be something. Too plastic. Too clingy. Oh! Hello, we haven’t seen you before.  

David covertly gawked at the best man. He thought he had met all of Paul’s friends but apparently not. Maybe this was one of his college bros that lived out of town. The best man had a solid build with broad shoulders, trim waist and - my god! - what David wouldn’t give to bury his cock in that fantastic ass. Or those thighs. He offered a silent prayer for the tuxedo pants responsible for restraining it all. 

He really shouldn’t be making plans for his dick in a house of God but, knowing the couple, this shouldn’t really be taking place here anyway. Having a giant church wedding was just one of those things that balanced the moral scales when you had enough money to make supremely questionable life choices. 

The string quartet started up with the quintessential Canon in D, signaling the bride’s entrance. Even if there was a remote possibility in the universe that he would ever get married there was no way in hell he would choose this to play. David was not going to allow some trite piece of classical music at his imaginary wedding. 

He joined the rest of the crowd, standing to look at Julia coming up the aisle. Even being as tall as he was David could barely see through the mass of bodies. No doubt she had her hair in some complicated updo Paul would have to fight with later. Or her maid of honor would have to spend twenty minutes removing the pins keeping it in place. Her makeup was probably done in such a way that cost thousands of dollars to make her look “natural”. The dress was undoubtedly some custom made designer piece because god forbid you make Daddy pay for something that looked remotely like anything else worn that season. Ugh, it was all terribly ordinary. 

Already losing focus, David snuck a glance back at the best man. If he tilted his head just so he had a direct line of sight to him. He was caught off guard by the soft, chestnut curls perfectly pomaded in place. They hadn’t been as visible before but they definitely had David’s attention now. He had boyishly good looks with rosy cheeks and...deep brown eyes staring straight at him. 

David ducked his head, turning back to pretend to look at the bride he couldn’t even see. God, this processional was taking forever. For the shortest of moments he actually wished Alexis was in town instead of...where was she right now? No doubt gallivanting around with her latest shipping heir boyfriend. At least if she were here she would be able to throw some entertaining gossip his way. 

The bride had finally made it to the end of the aisle, allowing everyone to sit. There’s a question: Why did you have to stand for the bride? They aren’t royalty. No one stands for the groom. Hmm. Now that he was sitting David could see more clearly she had, in fact, checked all the boxes for Rich Bride Bingo. Her whole ensemble certainly wasn’t the timeless look he might have suggested.

David let his mind wander through the ceremony only coming back in for the ring exchange. Could anyone blame him for wanting to watch the best man move around a bit? David chuckled to himself at how ready he was the moment the rings were asked for. He probably also made bulleted lists and kept a physical inbox on the corner of his (very practical, pedestrian) desk. David wondered if the guy kept so much as a succulent in his office. 

Soon enough the formalities were blessedly over. Julia and Paul were married, in sickness and health, till death do them part, blah-fucking-blah. Oh, god, standing again? Seriously, who designed these things? David turned his attention back to Curls who was already looking his way. He winked confidently at David before taking his place with the Maid of Honor for the recessional. Who the fuck was this guy and how had he never known of him before? 

David mourned not being able to watch him strut down the aisle and see his ass on the way out of the church. He supposed there would be plenty of chances at the reception. Speaking of which, he was going to need a good strategy to get the hell out of here and over to the Iris Club in decent time. If David was going to survive the rest of the day he was going to need an endless supply of stiff drinks as soon as possible.

 

🥂 🥂 🥂 🥂 🥂

 

Wow. They really hadn’t spared any expense. The cocktail hour alone consisted of food and drinks in every direction. Then the actual ballroom for the reception was sprawling with calla lilies and ice sculptures. Were they still a thing? A small orchestra played quiet dinner music from the back corner of the room and a wooden dance floor was set up near the table for the bridal party. 

He wasn’t really in the mood to mingle but knew it was his best chance to avoid being cornered by anyone he didn’t want to talk to. 

“Ladies and gentleman-” Oh, thank god, saved by the MC. “Good evening. My name is Ray and I’ll be your host. Welcome to the wedding of Julia and Paul. Our happy couple will be here soon! So everyone find your seats and we’ll get started in just a minute.”

David surveyed the room looking for any indication of seating arrangements. Dozens of identical round tables were covered in ivory tablecloths with candles in varying heights set atop small mirrors. Tented name cards with a loopy black script adorned each place setting. Well, this should be interesting. 

“David! How are you?” A bubbly voice came from beside him. Jocelyn. And that probably also meant-

“Dave!” Fuck!

He turned to face Jocelyn and her husband, Roland. David gritted his teeth and used his most saccharine tone. “Jocelyn! Roland! How did I not know you were coming?”

Roland clapped him on the shoulder and David made a mental note to burn this suit later. “Well, of course we’re here. Can’t have a big soiree without the Schitts. Can we honey?” The way Roland leered at Jocelyn made David want to vomit immediately. 

“That’s right, Rollie. Anyway, David, I saw you’re at our table.” Oh, god.  “Why don’t we all go sit together?” Hell. I’m in hell right now.

“Mmhmm. Yep. Let’s go...do...that.” He trailed behind them and, when Roland not-so-secretly grabbed Jocelyn’s ass, he wondered if he could get to the bar and back in time. Nope. Absolutely not. Not without a drink.

“Ya know what? I’m just gonna go-”

Ray came back to the center of the dance floor and the lights dimmed. Great, now he was going to have to scramble to his seat with nothing to dull the inane banter from the Schitts. At least he’d remembered to take that painkiller earlier. 

“Uh, good evening everyone! The happy couple has finally arrived. Now that everyone is seated let’s begin! Introducing, for the very first time, Mister and Misses Paul Gulia!” Ray clapped and let out a high-pitched squeal. He looked like he couldn’t have been more excited than if someone had handed him one of those obnoxiously large lottery checks.

David bounced his knee under the table and pretended to study the silverware. Because he was definitely not anxiously waiting for the sexy best man to come in. His stupid body kept betraying him, looking up every few seconds to see if he had arrived yet. When he walked in, arm in arm with the Maid of Honor, David definitely did not watch him the whole way to his seat or picture bending him over a table. Not more than once anyway. Fine, twice.  

David tuned out the rest of the wedding party, only occasionally glancing up at Curls. He was pleasantly surprised to find most times he was already looking in David's direction. 

Before long, servers were swirling around with entrees and drinks. David’s dinner consisted of roast duck with a raspberry glaze, some sort of rice and vegetables. The skin on the duck was perfectly crisp and the flavor exploded across his tongue. It was to die for. At least it would have been if Roland hadn’t been going on about some foot ailment and not-so-subtle references to what role playing he and Jocelyn were doing later that night. 

“Hi, everybody! I hope you’re all enjoying your meal. It is so delicious isn’t it?!” Could Ray say anything without an exclamation point at the end? “Now, if you’ll turn your attention to the happy couple they will be sharing their first dance together!”

Julia and Paul looked at each other with giant fucking heart eyes before standing to make their way to the dance floor. She held a delicate hand out for him to lead her. David’s stomach clenched when the opening notes to At Last began to play. The whirlwind of string instruments - ugh, and Etta’s incredible vocals - never failed to catch him off guard. He coughed to cover up the fact that he was trying not to cry. It may be acceptable for other people to sob at weddings but there wasn’t enough $300 eye serum in the world to risk tearing up in front of the Schitts. 

After the first dance Julia’s father stepped in for a very incorrect father-daughter dance set to Brown Eyed Girl. Good god, did no one listen to the lyrics anymore?! Paul and his mother at least had the more respectable In My Life from the Beatles. 

The DJ invited everyone out to the dance floor. Roland and Jocelyn were out of their seats before the announcement was over. David watched Curls stand and offer his hand to the Maid of Honor. She was a petite thing with red hair, a warm smile and twinkling eyes. They moved together naturally and played off each other’s energy during Beyoncé's Crazy in Love . It gave David an uneasy feeling thinking about all the other ways they might be intimately familiar with each other. He needed some air.

He shoved his chair back from the table, joints popping and cracking when he stood. Crazy in Love faded to Amazed and he couldn’t help looking to see if Curls and Red were still dancing. He huffed an involuntary sound of disgust seeing them wrapped up in each other, swaying slowly. It was like watching a trainwreck and, ever the self-saboteur, David couldn’t look away. As if the universe was throwing him one more Fuck You, Curls looked up at him in perfect time with the taste of your kiss blaring from the speakers, taunting him.

Fuck your flirting. Fuck your perfect girlfriend. Fuck this wedding. Fuck love. Fuck you.

David turned abruptly, making his way to the bar with tears pricking the corners of his eyes. The bartender was nowhere to be found. David helped himself and snatched a bottle of scotch to take with him. There was a rooftop terrace where he knew he could drink by himself and feel lonely without the prying eyes of other guests. He took a last look around for Curls (What the actual fuck was the matter with him?! ). Red was chatting with other guests but David didn’t see Curls anywhere. Whatever, you’re not my problem anyway.

The heavy exit door bounced against an exterior door stop where he’d shoved it open. The cool evening air hit his skin and his rushed footsteps echoed off the metal steps. Up on the roof crickets chirped their night song and a winged insect fluttered near a light at the other end of the terrace. 

“You just- you stay over there,” David instructed, breaking the intricate wax seal on the scotch. 

It had probably been a mistake to come today, the presence of the Schitts aside. As if they weren’t bad enough the table had filled up with other couples gushing over the newlyweds and talking about how goddamn great it was to be in love and find your forever person. The reminder of how lonely he was had been hammered home by the empty seat next to him. 

David wasn’t supposed to come to the wedding alone. When the invitation had arrived he had happily marked that he would be bringing a plus one. Because he’d actually had a plus one to bring. Then Sebastien had gone off and fucked his way through half of Manhattan, only letting David in on the secret when he had found out for himself. 

He took a long swig of the hundred year old scotch and let it burn his throat like the memory of finding his boyfriend fucking other people in their bedroom. He wasn’t sure if he was more pissed about Sebastien cheating on him - in their bed - or that he had to buy a whole new bedroom suite. He had really loved that bed. Not to mention the luxurious bespoke comforter and sheets that he’d bought for it. 

He had thought about abandoning the wedding altogether. Even with it being months away, and the idea that he might find someone else to bring, he understandably wasn’t interested in watching one more of his fucking friends get their happy ending. Sure, he had already sent his RSVP but he certainly wouldn’t be the first to no show. People might gossip and speculate why he wasn’t there but people gossiped about him regardless. 

Lightly buzzed and reeling from the night so far he reached into his pocket for his phone. Like a reflex, he dialed the one person capable of talking him down when he got like this. 

“I’m out to dinner with Ruth. This better be good.” The voice snarked. 

“Stevie, I’m so sorry. Go- go back to dinner. It’s fine. I’m fine.” He made no move to hang up, hoping she wouldn’t either.

“David, you don’t call if it’s fine.” A heavy sigh came over the line. “What do you need?”

“This was a mistake, coming here. Everyone is all gooey and in love with each other. And I’m the sad, lonely person just watching it all. I’m never gonna have this.”

It became so quiet he pulled the phone from his ear to see if she had hung up on him. It wouldn’t be the first time. “Stevie?”

“Sometimes I forget what life was like before I knew you. You know that? Where are you anyway? It’s awfully quiet for a wedding.”

“I’m up on the roof, drinking alone and talking to you. There was this guy. Stevie, he was flirting all night but then he’s all dancing and handsy with the Maid of Honor. I think I’m just gonna leave.”

“Are you sure they’re together?”

“Yes? I don’t know. They looked like it.”

“You’re such a dumbass sometimes, David. How many times have we gone out and people thought we were together?”

She had him there. He could recount dozens of times they’d had to keep their distance at bars so they didn’t have to explain that, no, they weren’t a couple. 

“You’re going to go back inside and here’s what’s going to happen. Ask the guy to dance - or don’t - but get your mopey ass back in there. Drink the stupid custom cocktails, eat the pretentious food, dance with a stranger. Have some goddamn fun. You’re not David-and-Sebastien. You’re not the token lonely guy at a wedding. You’re David-fucking-Rose.” Well, that wasn’t the talk he was expecting to have. “Now, if you don’t mind, I’m hanging up so I can get back to dinner and you can stop whatever the fuck it is you’re doing. I don’t want to hear from you until tomorrow morning. No texts, no calls. Nothing unless you’re dying. Understand?”

“Love you, too, Stevie.” He chuckled to himself when he went to hang up and saw the call had already ended.

Another gulp of scotch seared down his throat, warming his belly. Stevie’s words echoed in his head: Ask the guy to dance. Dance with a stranger. He could do that. David straightened his tuxedo jacket, capping the scotch to leave it for later. 

He stood tall and squared his shoulders before opening the door to go back inside. Curls and Red were back at the table. He was leaning in close to her while they laughed and whispered to each other. David’s heart dropped to his stomach when Curls put a hand on her bare shoulder and threw his head back with laughter at something she’d said. David would have given anything to make him laugh like that. 

Curls looked over and locked eyes with David like he was happy to see him. His hand slid slowly off of Red’s shoulder and he straightened in his seat. The woman looked to see what Curls was looking at. It made David realize he’d been standing there, like an idiot, gawking like they were some exhibit in the zoo. Red whispered something and gave him a playful swat. He nodded in her direction but never took his eyes off David. 

The muscles flexed and shifted under Curls’s white dress shirt when he stood, picking up the tux jacket draped over his chair. David’s brain buffered watching the way he gracefully slid his arms into the sleeves and deftly maneuvered each button into place, never breaking eye contact. He really hoped he would get to see that happen in reverse. Curls’s gait was smooth and confident, stopping just short of where David stood. 

“Do you always stare at weddings or is this one a special occasion?” The tone was teasing and playful. 

David quirked an eyebrow and fired back, “Only when there’s something worth looking at.” 

Curls’s cheeks flushed a bright pink, but he didn’t back down. “Oh, so you think I’m worth looking at, then?”

“Fishing for compliments is in poor taste.”

A smile tugged at the corners of David’s mouth watching Curls smirk and introduce himself. “Patrick.”

“David.”

“I’m glad you came back, David. I was a little afraid you’d left earlier.”

“Yeah, I, uh, just needed a little air.”

Patrick nodded thoughtfully. “I’m glad you're here now.”

Playful notes from The Way You Look Tonight cued up in the background. “Well, David, this is a classic. And it would be a damn shame to waste this opportunity. May I have this dance?” Patrick extended his hand out with the invitation. 

“What about your...girlfriend?” David pointed back toward Red.

Patrick furrowed his brow in confusion, “Rachel? She’s not my girlfriend. Just good friends.”

Stevie was right, he was a dumbass sometimes. “Well, then. Let’s dance.” 

David tucked a smile in his cheek, sliding his hand into Patrick’s and letting himself be led out to the dance floor. The hand that wasn’t holding David’s settled effortlessly on the small of his back. He and Patrick moved together like they had done this thousands of times before and it wasn’t the first time. David laughed and felt the lightest he had in months when Patrick lifted his arm and twirled David in a circle. He never wanted it to end. When the song slowed down, and the closing notes played, Patrick shifted his weight, dipping David backward. David let Patrick support him and felt flayed open when Patrick’s soulful eyes searched his own.

“David?” His name sounded downright reverent coming from Patrick. He’d heard his name in the context of snipes, shouts and moans. He’d heard it in moments of pleasure, irritation and anger. No one had ever said it the way Patrick had just now and David needed to hear it again.

“Yes, Patrick?” He whispered. 

“Dave! Hey you found someone willing to dance with you. Good for you, pal!” 

Roland’s voice cut through David like seeing a clearance sign at an upscale boutique. He cleared his throat and shifted his weight to stand, noting the way Patrick seemed to smirk at the whole ordeal. 

“Aren’t you going to introduce us to your friend?” Jocelyn looked between David and Patrick ignorant to what they had just interrupted.

“Patrick. Patrick Brewer. I’m actually a good friend of Paul’s.” 

“Oh, how wonderful, Patrick! Forgive David’s manners here. I’m Jocelyn and this,” she put her arm around Roland’s waist, “is Roland. We go way back with Julia’s family. It’s always so nice to meet Paul’s friends, too.” 

“So sweet of you to say, Jocelyn.”

The four of them stood deadlocked in a conversational standstill. David realized the Schitts weren’t going to go away and they would all just be there like this until one of them died. David threw an arm around Patrick’s shoulder, “Patrick! I just remembered I left something out...outside. Care to join me?”

“Big Dave here can probably get it himself. You can stay here with us and catch up, Pat.”

Patrick slid his arm around David’s waist, “Maybe another time. You never know when there could be some loitering youths or something. Come on, David, I’ll walk you out.” Patrick looked up at him with a truly awful wink that David found disgustingly adorable. 

They gravitated towards the door leading to the terrace. David pushed against it, gesturing for Patrick to go first. Definitely not so he could watch his ass while he walked up the stairs. The bottle of scotch was still tucked where he’d left it. David plucked it from the ground, offering it to Patrick.

“Do you keep bottles of liquor stashed around for awkward scenarios?” Patrick flashed him an upside-down smile.

“Why, yes, Patrick. Don’t you?” David screwed off the top and took a lengthy sip. “I actually brought this up here earlier when I was hiding out for a bit. I don’t normally share drinks but you look like you have a clean mouth.”

“I’m sorry, a clean mouth? What does that even mean?”

David’s free hand flapped around as he spoke, “You know. Some people have clean mouths and some people have sloppy mouths. You just look like you have a clean mouth.” 

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Patrick teased in a way that went straight to David’s dick and took the bottle for himself. 

David’s mouth hung open. What was he even supposed to say to that? “Mmhmm. May I have my scotch back?”

“No, I don’t think so. You have a sloppy mouth.” Patrick winked and wrapped his lips around the top of the bottle. David wantonly watched the way Patrick’s head angled back and his Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed. 

“You know what? You’re kind of rude, Patrick.” 

“Oh, I don’t know about that. A lot of people think I’m pretty nice, actually.” 

“And what kind of misguided people are they?” 

“Little old ladies I help cross the street. Kittens stranded in trees. Handsome guys I save from awkward conversations.” 

“Uh-huh. So you’re always this nice then?”

Patrick shot him a smoldering look, raising a faint eyebrow, “No, David. Not always.” 

Fuck. David tugged at the collar of his shirt, suddenly feeling warm in spite of the cool air. 

Patrick edged closer, rolling his hips with every step until he was right there. David wasn’t a fan of fucking outdoors (bugs and sex were incorrect) but David thought he might be able to make an exception just then. 

“Let’s try this again.” Patrick spoke softly, flicking his eyes down and tracing his thumb along David’s lower lip. “David?”

“Yes, Patrick?” His heart fluttered in anticipation of what might happen next. 

“I want to kiss you now. Can I do that? Please?” 

“Since you said pl-” 

Patrick’s lips were pressed to David’s in a soft kiss before he could finish his answer. David wrapped one hand around Patrick’s waist and the other around the back of his head, gripping at the short curls there. The bottle of scotch landed with a thud when Patrick dropped it in favor of gripping David’s hips, tugging him closer.

David had kissed hundreds of people and none of them had felt like this. The way Patrick kissed him was intoxicating. Was it too soon to want this all the time? David pulled back, cursing the biological need for air. 

“Hi,” the single word was light and breathy.

“Hi. So that was…” Patrick trailed off, his thumbs rubbing small circles over David’s hips.

David let his hands glide up the smooth fabric of Patrick’s tux until they found a home settled around his shoulders, “Yeah, it was.” 

Patrick slid one hand up from David’s hip, across his side and under his jacket until he rested in the small of David’s back. The touches were simple but said a lot more than Patrick probably realized. David reveled in how carefully Patrick treated him, like he was someone who deserved that. Patrick lazily trailed a finger along David’s spine through the soft material of his dress shirt. Pools of warmth rippled across his skin and he wondered if Patrick had any idea what reactions he was causing. 

“Hey, David?” 

Fuck, here it came. The part where Patrick told him it had been fun but this is where it ended. This had to be some sort of record. David hadn’t even taken him home. 

“Yes?” David’s voice lilted tentatively higher, bracing himself for the inevitable.

“I really want to see you again.” What?! 

David looked off in the distance and let his fingers skate along Patrick’s shoulders in feigned indifference. “Well, I mean if that’s what you want…”

Patrick’s lips crashed into his, pulling him in for a searing kiss. When he pulled back, Patrick’s gaze was intense. He looked up at David as if to make sure he was paying attention. “Yeah, I want that.”

“Well, then, it’s settled,” David’s mouth relaxed into a soft smile. “Just one thing first?”

“Yes, David?”

“Kiss me again.”