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Coffee's on the House

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1.

Patrick doesn’t drink coffee. He prefers tea nine days out of ten, but every once in a while he’ll say something to David like, “Ugh, I just can’t wake up today,” or “I’m going to make coffee tomorrow, early day!” and then the next thing David knows, he’s married to a whole different person.

Today was one of those days. He had gotten up at the disgusting hour of 5am to head to Elmdale on a mission to explore the farmers market before they opened the store that morning. Luckily, David was able to squirm his way out of joining Patrick, since he had to get to the store a bit early to 'rearrange the window display.' 

Just before 10am, he was greeted with a very intense Patrick.

“Well, hello. How was the farmer’s market?”

“It was GREAT! Really fun. Did you know that Heather sells her cheese there every week?” He whizzed past David and went straight to the backroom completely disregarding him and their long-held tradition of a good morning kiss. 

“Hey!” David whipped around and followed him to the backroom. “You walked right past me!”

“And now I’m running right past you!” He lunged forward, faked to the left, dashed around him to the right and out of the confined space.

“What?” David huffed and followed him back to the floor, “Patrick, who brought home this… basketball player, and where's my husband?"

"I'm right here, bro." He grabbed a bath bomb and pretended to throw it into an imaginary hoop.

"Okay, enough of that. Also you didn't give me my good morning kiss!" David whined, his eyebrows knitted together. How did one cup of coffee do this to him?

Patrick continued to speak in his quintessential frat boy sportsman tone, lunging and pretending to dribble in his button up and dress shoes, “Oh you wanna kiss, bro?”

“Oh my god,” David breathed and brought his hand to his forehead, tucking in a smile. This was ridiculous.

“A smoocheroo? A little,” he made a kissing noise with his mouth. He stopped jumping around and walked towards David with his chest puffed and arms outstretched. “Let’s go, David.”

“I didn’t sign up for this,” Patrick’s chest bumped into David’s shoulder as he turned away. Sure, he was laughing, and sure, this was the stupidest thing that Patrick had done in at least the past month, but it was also the funniest. “Where's my Patrick?”

“I’m right here, my dude. Come on, give your husband a freakin' kiss, man,” he leaned forward and grabbed David’s neck, even though he was trying to break free from his grasp.

“I don’t know if I need one on second thought.”

Patrick laughed, finally allowing himself to crack through the character he’s created for himself. Wrapping his arms around David, he got serious, “Okay, okay I’ll stop. Please? Kiss?”

“You were never even in basketball,” David tried to say, but Patrick cut him off, meeting his lips on David’s and softening under his touch.

After a few seconds of teasing tongues and silent sighs, they pulled apart. Patrick gave him a childlike smile. Oh no.

“Slam DUNK, David!” He smacked David's ass and tore off to the backroom to do god knows what. David left him to it.

 

2.

A few weeks later, they woke up in bed together on a drizzly Monday morning, without showing any signs of urgency. The store was closed, they were both exhausted from the very active and strenuous fun they’d had last night, and even after brushing their teeth and showering, they both were lazily lounging on the couch.

Patrick's head rested in David's lap, half paying attention to some Interflix series on the tv and half to the fabric on David's knee that he had gathered between his thumb and index finger.

If they were going to make it to dinner with Stevie that night, they both were going to need to perk up.

It wasn’t even 11am and Patrick yawned the words into existence while he pushed himself upright, “Gosh, I just can’t wake up today. I’m going to make some coffee, want some?”

“Hmmm yes,” David looked up but immediately went back to his book.

Five minutes later, David’s coffee was set in front of him with a small thud on the end table, “Thank you.”

Patrick replied with a soft kiss. He was half-way up the stairs before he called over his shoulder, “I’m gonna be up in the office.”

“Okay!” David hollered after him. 

David secretly loved days like this. It was just gross enough outside that neither of them wanted to do yard work, yet it wasn’t snowing or icy and freezing. He held up the steaming mug to his nose and took a deep inhale. The aroma centered him. It smelled like what he imagined the woodsy cabin that the snowed-in lovers in his book were staying in, with only one bed. The first sip warmed him from the inside out. 

A few pining pages later, the empty coffee cup sat beside him. He heard the faint sound of Patrick listening to some music upstairs. Not loud enough to distract him, but noticeable. 

However, only fifteen or so minutes later, he heard Patrick’s voice joining in the music. David chuckled a bit, and went back to his book. 

Chris, the tired, jaded accountant was about to finally admit his true feelings for shy, quirky Jeremy, when soon all he could focus on was Patrick’s voice. Dammit, he knew this was the scene they'd kiss. He'd read it three times and still felt the swoop in his stomach.

But not today. Because Patrick was singing at the top of his lungs now.

"I've been with you such a long time! You're my sunshine and I want you to know…"

David snapped his book shut and yelled up, "Patrick, can you keep it down?"

The music stopped abruptly and he heard a faint, "sorry," from the office upstairs. Silence fell again, but before David could even find his place in his book, he heard the creak of the steps as Patrick descended. He rounded on the couch and stood in front of David, smiling.

“What?” David glanced up, a little annoyed.

Patrick’s smile was devilish. He reached out to pull David’s legs out from under him as David gave a groan. Patrick placed a hand on each of David’s knees and bent down to give a kiss to his cheek, humming as he pulled away.

“Ooooh, ya makin’ me live.”

“Patrick.”

“Ooh, I've been wandering 'round, still come back to you!”

“Pa-”

STILL COME BACK TO YOUUUU!” He stood up and twirled around with a flourish.

In rain or shine, you've stood by me,” with a wink he turned toward, “ - DAVID. I'm happy at home, HAPPY AT HOME!”

David laughed with realization, “Oh that’s right, you had coffee.”

Patrick continued, unfaltered, “You're my best friend.

“Mmkay.” He went back to his book, losing the battle with his smile. Patrick continued to dance and perform around him. 

As much as David tried to conceal the joy that bloomed whenever Patrick was like this, Patrick somehow always knew. Knew that David still sometimes needed permission to be a little less serious.

 

3.

It was another early, early, morning for David and Patrick. They had gotten up at the insane hour of 4:30am, seriously, to get on the road early enough to be in Patrick’s hometown by 11:00am for brunch with his parents. They were visiting on a weekend that their schedules finally lined up with the store and while David was eager to catch up with Marcy (and Clint, of course), he hadn't at all been looking forward to being conscious at this ungodly hour.

Not to mention, Patrick had made coffee for both David and himself. 

Patrick let David sleep during the car ride for a good hour and a half, but a bit after 6am, he rattled him awake to watch the sunrise in the East.

“Ahh, David, wake up.”

Groaning, he lifted his head from the window and looked to his right, “Yeah, wow, cool.”

“It’s so pretty. Don’t really get to see the sun rise everyday, huh?”

“Hmmm.”

Against David's groans, Patrick continued to speak, “A ways back I saw a few deer. There was a little one, still had its spots on.”

Patrick wasn't about to stop. He was in full awake-mode. David sat up, shifting in his seat and resting a hand on Patrick’s thigh, hoping to wake up a bit himself.

"One time when my family was driving to my mom's sister's, or I guess I could just say my aunt. Aunt Mel, her full name is Melissa-"

"Yes, I know Aunt Mel, Patrick." David had met her about four times already and even had spent multiple evenings laughing with her two sons, Colin and Cory, learning about 12 year old Patrick from the stories they told.

"Oh right! You've met her. Anyway we were driving to their old place near Sudbury. And these deer, like ten of them, I swear, just jumped out in front of us, and it was kind of like this out, so it wasn't night, but it was maybe later in the morning, like 8am and we all sat there and watched them all cross the road, and it was so cool."

David was trying so hard to keep his eyes open, and nodded along, letting Patrick get the caffeine out of his system.

"We'd never seen that many deer at once, at least in the wild, it was nuts. It reminded me of the deer parks we used to go to as kids. Did you ever go to those? Probably not I guess. But there was one time when, I kid you not, we saw a moose," Patrick stopped talking and looked over at David, seemingly hoping for a dramatic reaction. David came up short.

"Hmm, that's crazy," he said, trying his best to keep up.

"I'm serious! It was a moose."

"Yes, I believe you."

Patrick looked back to the road and then at David again, "Am I talking too much?"

David sunk down into his seat, leaning over and putting his head softly on Patrick's shoulder, "It's the coff-"

"It's the coffee," Patrick finished his sentence.

David gave a small chuckle and closed his eyes, "It's 6am, Patrick."

"Technically 6:40am, and I'm just bored, sorry."

David's eyes opened, now he felt a little guilty for making him drive without any company. He sat upright and took a deep breath, squeezing and gently scratching at Patrick's thigh. His free hand rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, willing himself to wake up.

"Okay, so it was a moose? Was it huge?"

Patrick broke into a smile and continued, speaking a mile a minute while David nodded along and hummed in all the right places. 

Only four more hours to go.

 

4.

"God I've been feeling gurgly all morning," Patrick held his stomach with a grimace.

"Ew, don't say that, gross," David and Patrick were folding laundry on the couch after Patrick had returned from a morning meeting with the local Chamber of Commerce board that Patrick now served on.

Monday's still seemed to fill up every once in a while. Meetings, housework, errands, and lunch dates all seemed to accumulate on their only day off during the week if they weren't careful.

"What did you eat?"

"I haven't eaten anything yet today."

"What?!" David was appalled, already moving to stand and get something for Patrick from the kitchen. "Didn't they have pastries or something at the board meeting?"

"Nope, just coffee today."

David talked across the room, now in the kitchen, "Okay, well it’s still early, would you want some eggs? Toast? We have bananas?"

Patrick grimaced as he plucked the sock that was caught on a pillowcase, "I think just toast for now. I'll try a banana later."

"Peanut butter?"

"Nah, just butter."

David immediately went to work and a few minutes later came out with a small plate.

"Thanks," Patrick smiled as David placed a soft kiss as his hairline.

Patrick took the plate and sat back on the couch, knowing that if he got even a drop of butter on their duvet in front of him, he'd never hear the last of it from David.

"Have we heard anymore from the realtor?" Patrick chirped with a mouthful of bread.

David had one of Patrick's undershirts in his hand and spoke as he flipped it right side out, "Actually yes, he called when you were gone, but no major updates. He's still hopeful since we're paying cash."

They had finally crossed a point where it made sense to own the building that the store was in, knowing that the upper landing and connected building would come in handy as they expanded and needed more room for stock.

"Hmmm, good. Okay." Patrick swallowed and stopped. Looking at the floor, wincing. 

David noticed immediately, “What?”

“Um, hold that thought,” he said as he quickly rose and shuffled into the bathroom. 

David shook his head and went back to the stack of kitchen towels he was folding. He chuckled with the knowledge that Patrick seemed to be so buttoned up to everyone else, and David got to see the side of him that literally couldn’t handle a few cups of coffee. 

A noise from the bathroom jolted him out of his thoughts.

“Patrick!” David yelled from the living room.

“I know! The coffee was a mistake.” 

David heard the toilet flush and watched his husband walk out and sit down beside him, “Okay, phew! Back at it.”

“I’m not letting you have coffee anymore,” David scowled as Patrick took another bite of toast.

Patrick huffed a laugh through his nose and widened his eyes, raising his eyebrows, “Yeah, not going to argue with you there.”

 

5.

The entrance to the store tinged as Patrick passed the threshold, a drink carrier in hand and a plastic bag hanging off his wrist. David looked up from restocking the handmade soap from Joan & Diane. 

“Hello,” he smiled at Patrick. “Thanks for getting lunch.”

Patrick handed David's coffee over with a kiss on the cheek, "No problem, the café was packed , sorry it took so long,” then went to go grab his tea from where he placed it on the counter.

“Gonna eat in the back?” David finished restocking the last bar of soap and sauntered over to Patrick, pawing at his shoulder.

Patrick nodded and took a sip of his tea and his eyes widened, “Ope, ooh.” He smiled devilishly.

“What? Did they mess up the order?” David smelled his coffee and took a sip. Nope, perfectly sweetened caramel macchiato.

“This isn’t my tea, but it’s delicious. I think it’s like a coffee with hazelnut or something. Caramel?”

David reached forward to take the cup out of Patrick’s hands, “No, you’re not drinking that, you know what happens when you drink coffee. Coffee with sugar no less!”

Patrick turned to pull the cup out of his reach, “No! It’s good, I want to drink it.”

“Patrick!” David thrusted his fists down at his sides.

“It’ll be fine! I’m drinking it with food!”

David eyed him as he grabbed the bag and turned to disappear into the backroom.

 

An hour after they had finished with lunch, they were out on the floor together. David was helping a few customers while Patrick was inputting some of the sales from today into their accounting system after he had rung up a couple that just left. He was bouncing at the computer, humming to the song that was playing on the store’s sound system.

David had just landed the sale with the three customers and started walking them up to the cash, laughing at some weird comment they’d made about their dry elbows. 

Patrick turned to smile at them cheerfully, “Hey folks! Find everything alright?!” His voice was much louder and peppier than it needed to be.

The customers looked at him with raised eyebrows and faltering smiles, nodding as he rung them up.

“Alright, that will be fifty four eighty three! Need a gift receipt?!” David tried to eye him, brows furrowed. My god why was he talking like – oh my god the coffee.

The customers gave them tentative smiles and moments later headed to the door with their purchases.

“Thanks so much for stopping in! We’ll see you soon!” Patrick yelled after them.

David whispered, “Patrick! My god, lower your voice.”

Once they were alone in the store, Patrick turned to David, “What?”

“This is the coffee again. You were literally yelling at them.”

“No I wasn’t!!”

“Yes you were, and you’re doing it now,” David grabbed his shoulders, chuckling at the innocence of his husband's lack of self-awareness. “It’s okay, but I will need some sort of acknowledgement that I did, in fact, tell you not to drink it and now you’ve probably scared away three customers.”

Patrick’s face contorted with disagreement, but then fell away into a smile. He pulled David into his and placed a hungry kiss on David’s lips. The jingle of someone entering the store pulled them away from each other.

“Yuck,” Stevie sneered with a smile as she walked in.

“STEVIE!” Patrick shouted as he shoved David out of the way to go and hug her.

As he watched the one-sided embrace, Stevie looked at him with confusion. She had only been away for about three days helping set up a motel in Elm Glen, but Patrick was hugging her like he hadn’t seen her in a year.

“He had coffee today,” David supplied as Stevie smiled and nodded knowingly. “Don’t worry, I’m never letting him have it again.” 

 

+1.

Today was the day. They were meeting with their realtor and hopefully closing on the rest of the building. Having pulled into the parking lot, Patrick turned to David before they entered their agent’s office building. 

“Okay, so no matter what happens, it’s gonna be fine. The store is doing really well, we can afford the lease, and there’s always the chance they’ll be willing to sell in the future.”

David nodded, “Right, yes, right.” He flapped his hands around him in the car, but Patrick grabbed at them and caught the one closest to him.

“David, everything’s gonna be fine,” he kissed David’s palm before they parted and exited the car.

As Tony made his rounds of forceful handshakes once they entered the office, he offered David and Patrick both cups of coffee, already pouring. Tony was always a little intense, so this was right on par with the rest of the interactions David had with him.

David tried to stop him, “Oh, no, that’s not necessary, we’re good.”

“Oh I insist, here you go,” offering the cup to Patrick, who took it? He eyed him darkly.

Tony gave David a cup as they sat around the desk in his office, but before Tony took a seat in his leather office chair, he motioned to his own coffee.

“I take cream in mine, I’ll go grab some, be right back!” He exited, leaving David and Patrick alone.

David pointed at the cup in front of Patrick, “If you drink one sip of that, I swear to god.”

“I am not drinking any. I felt bad! It was basically in my hands before I could say no.” 

“Not one sip,” David pointed at Patrick’s cup as Tony walked back in with a few creamer cups. 

He poured four of them into his cup as he spoke, “So, I wanted to wait to share this in person, but we have some good news.”

David sat up straight and placed his hand in Patrick’s lap. Patrick grabbed it and cupped it with his other hand.

“Okayyyy,” David smiled.

“Your last offer has been accepted. As long as it’s cash like you offered, they’re willing to accept and close within the month.”

Patrick and David looked at each other, smiling wide and laughing with excitement. They embraced awkwardly in their seats, unable to hold their elation in getting the deal.

“This is incredible, wow,” Patrick spoke, full of joy. “Let me know their timeline, yeah. I can work to liquidate some of our assets to write the check. This is excellent news, thanks so much.”

“You’re welcome! We’ll start some paperwork today, and get you guys all settled when they’re ready. Like I said, they’re hoping to close before next month. Should be a pretty smooth process.”

David squeezed the hand he was still holding, gazing at Patrick softly. Patrick looked over the paperwork and signed on the dotted line before they were headed out the door and back in the car.

The both laughed into the kiss once the doors were closed, unable to keep their hands off each other for another second. After a few giggles, they separated.

Patrick sat back in the driver’s seat and yelled, startling David, “YES! UGH!”

“Jesus christ,” David said after the outburst.

Patrick’s smile hadn’t faltered even a little, “This is SUCH good news, David. It’s going to be so great to have more space.” His body did a little dance as he stomped on the car floor and shook his fists. 

David laughed at Patrick’s display of excitement, “And this is how you reacted without coffee. I imagine you’d be running around the block like a maniac if you actually drank that cup.”

The seat jolted as Patrick thrusted his head back into the headrest, laughing and smiling. David couldn’t help but join him in the thrill of what this next chapter would bring them, and felt content knowing that in some past life he might have felt a sense of dread after the initial high that drinking too much caffeine sometimes brought him.

However, he noticed that recently he hadn’t felt that sense of dread in a very long time, even if it did feel like he’d been riding the high since the day he’d met Patrick. And if they ever did crash from the caffeine, David wasn’t afraid. He knew they could handle any of its side effects.