The first time, David is sixteen. It was a girl from his biology class whose name he doesn’t even remember anymore. She was beautiful, of course, all blonde hair and long, tanned legs. Like everyone else at his boarding school, she was the kind of rich that left a person lonely, desperate. It was messy, all hands and teeth, but it had gotten the job done. For the first time in his life, David had felt seen, hadn’t felt quite so lonely.
They never spoke another word to each other and she transferred schools soon after.
But that was okay with David — he hadn’t expected anything more from her.
He’s seventeen and it’s summer break, so he is reluctantly home. Alexis failed some class or another so their parents did what they did best — threw some money at the best tutor they could find so they wouldn’t have to deal with the responsibility of actually parenting.
He’s twenty-five and David finds any excuse to be in the room whenever he’s over. He’d known for a while that he was attracted to men, but it had never hit him full force like this before. By the way he looks at David, he knows it’s only a matter of time.
By the time he feels his warm brown skin press into his, David thinks he knows what religion should feel like.
He remembers his name — James.
But it doesn’t matter. After a week of “fooling around,” James tells him that it wasn’t serious. He had a fiancée and he was done with David.
He quit the next day, leaving David lonelier than ever.
His birthright trip is a blur of hands and mouths — men, women, everyone in between. Sometimes more than one at a time. David drank in the attention he was getting, soaking up all that he could before they, too, all left him.
Every crack on his heart hardened over, calcified, until there was nothing left. No loneliness anymore, but also a numbness he could never quite shake until the next mouth pressed into his skin, telling him he was beautiful.
So David chased the high.
Sebastien Raine is the first time it feels different. It lasts nearly three months and David starts to pry open his calcified heart. There are others, of course, how could there not be? People weren’t meant to be with just one person their whole lives, not when there were so many beautiful people in the world, all as lonely and desperate as David was.
But perhaps someone could have a favorite person?
Sebastien convinces David to showcase his photography at David’s gallery because he knows David would do anything to please him, to keep him around that much longer.
The next day, Sebastien tells him that it’s been fun but humans weren’t meant to be monogamous and that he was itching to get out of the oppression of New York and “find himself.”
David’s 2,500 square foot loft had never felt so empty and the walls slammed up around his heart in an iron vice.
The years pass in a blur and David is rarely sober. High on whatever he could get his hands on, drunk on the most expensive alcohol that he was rich enough to throw up, drunk on whatever person comes along and tells him that he’s beautiful, that they want to give him everything, that they have a connection. David chases the highs and drowns the lows out with drugs and alcohol.
Through it all, David worries about Alexis. She’s always at the back of his mind and he’s always there to bail her out whenever she needs it.
It’s not what he wants, but Alexis is probably the closest David would ever come to loving another person.
Schitt’s Creek. A rundown town with an unfortunate name full of unfortunate people. They all smile at David and his family, extending sympathy that feels more like pity. It must be nice, he thinks, to be content with having nothing.
David couldn’t relate as he tries to push away the emptiness that is gnawing in his chest that has nothing to do with losing his money. There was nothing, no one, for him in Schitt’s Creek and that shouldn’t have upset him as much as it did.
But David Rose worked best when he was in pain, so he grit his teeth and pushed through it.
Stevie was beautiful and sarcastic and just the kind of person David needed in this godforsaken town. When he kissed her, it felt off, like a painting that was just a few centimeters off balance. It was fine and most people couldn’t have recognized the difference, but it was painfully obvious to David.
But she was here and she was touching him and David felt drunk on her touch, on the attention she was giving him. The high was back and he had to find a way to chase it, even if it wasn’t with Stevie, even if it felt like a sweater that didn’t quite fit right.
Jake was next and he was more what David was used to. It didn’t bother him that Jake wanted to date both David and Stevie, he had certainly had his fair share of more than one partner at a time himself. Like Sebastien had said, humans weren’t meant to be monogamous. There was always another beautiful person willing to touch David, willing to lie to him and say they have a connection. Even here in Schitt’s Creek.
So why did it feel so wrong?
Patrick is confusing and not only because David can’t figure out what his preferences are. Patrick seems to like being around David and he was completely unfazed by Alexis’s aggressive flirting.
When Patrick tells David that he’s going to go in on the store with him, David wants to tell him no. He hasn’t actually ever done anything on his own and he wanted to prove that he was capable.
But Patrick was right and he did need more money, so David agrees.
For the money and nothing more than that.
Touching Patrick feels different. David tells himself that it's because there’s nothing sexual at all about it (because, still, he can’t parse Patrick’s preferences) and he definitely doesn’t think about the way it feels like an electrical current ripples through his body whenever Patrick so much as brushes past him. Because that’s just insane — sparks don’t actually fly outside of rom coms and romance novels.
And David Rose had long accepted that he wasn’t cut out to star in a romance.
The first time David kisses Patrick, he can’t deny that it’s different. Patrick looks at him, touches him, kisses him like he’s something precious, like he matters.
When he closes the door to his motel room, David can feel a layer peel away from his calcified heart.
Four months. Longer than anyone has stuck around, longer than David has stuck around. One month longer than Sebastien. Patrick looks at David like there’s no one else in the world he would rather be looking at. When David is being dramatic, Patrick rolls his eyes but he’s not annoyed — there’s a fondness in his gaze that makes David squirm with all the feelings blooming in his chest, his heart starting to feel whole and alive again.
Four months and David is starting to think he could have this forever.
But then Patrick’s fiancée shows up.
Maybe it wasn’t so different after all.
It is different it is different it is so different and David wondered how he ever thought otherwise.
After Patrick tells David that he loves him, there is a reverence in his touch. He doesn’t touch David like he’s something that is easily broken, Patrick knows him better than that, but more like he’s an idol to be worshipped. Like there’s nothing else in the world Patrick would rather do than touch David, kiss him, surround him in all the love he has to offer.
When Patrick touches him, the hundreds that came before him disappear.
When Patrick touches him, David finally knows that this is the feeling he’d been chasing all his life.
And he has no intention of letting it go.