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outrageous fortune

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“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?”
-Hamlet, Act III, Scene i

FINALE

Hamlet Review: Patrick Brewer a Charming Prince in an All-Consuming Marvel

Patrick Brewer is an Impressive Hamlet in Uneven Toronto Production

Patrick Brewer-Starring, David Rose-Helmed Hamlet to Open on Broadway in April

Hamlet Set to Begin Performances March 19th at the Broadhurst

Shubert Organization Plans to Beef Up Security When the Internet’s Boyfriend Makes His Broadway Debut

🎭  🎭  🎭

David does not have enough hands for this bullshit. 

He’s got his phone in one, clumsily fumbling out a text to Stevie with enough typos that even his autocorrect is like fuck it, a script under his arm, and a coffee and his keys held like a claw in his other. Something is surely about to go crashing to the floor and it sure as fuck won’t be the coffee. 

“David, are you even listening to me?” Ronnie’s voice says, deadpan through the bluetooth headphones in his ears. Because apparently he’s not multitasking enough.                           

“Do I ever listen to you?” He tries to lift the elbow not holding the script to greet the Uber driver idling outside the studios on 48th Street and nearly sends everything to the pavement. 

“Would you like to work again?” his agent asks. 

“Yeah, okay,” he snaps, before groaning as the show at the Longacre across the street lets out. He continually tries to beat the rush and get out of midtown before the Sunday matinees can end, yet every week, the endeavor is a masterclass in failure.  

“David?” the driver asks as he gets the door open and drops his script on the seat before crawling in after it. 

“That’s me. Soho, thanks,” he manages, slumping back against the leather and sighing towards the roof. 

“When are you heading back to Toronto?” Ronnie asks, and he startles because for a brief, blissful moment, he forgot she was still in his ear. 

“Probably not for a few weeks. My agent kinda booked me solid.” 

“Your agent wants to renovate her kitchen."

Then his phone buzzes in his hand with a new text from Stevie before he’s even gotten a chance to reply to her first one. “Oh my God, why is she being so needy?” 

“What? Who?”

“Stevie!” 

“I don’t know, David, why is she,” Ronnie pointedly replies. It’s definitely not a question. Not with that tone.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” 

“It means that you’ve called me li-ter-al-ly every hour today.” 

Um, no. “Not every hour. That’s not - ” 

“Fine. Every hour and twenty minutes. Don’t make me get your stage manager on the phone to corroborate.” 

“Kay, yep, that won’t be necessary.” Oh God, has he been just as bad? It’s not his fault his best friend and boyfriend are in another country! 

Okay, it’s kind of his fault.

“Where are you?” Ronnie asks. 

“Oh my God, I’m in a car from the rehearsal for the reading you made me take! You know I don’t do musicals!” 

“Could have fooled me.” 

“Okay, Hamlet is not a musical. It is a play with music.” He is tired of having to explain that. You’d think that every writer of every article announcing the Broadway run had never actually stepped foot in the theatre district. 

“I’ll be sure to have them emboss that on the Broadhurst’s marquee,” Ronnie drawls. “Are you having a good time?” 

And fuck her, yes he is. He feels fulfilled artistically, which hasn’t happened back-to-back for a solid decade. But he also misses the important people in his life like someone misses a limb so it’s a tradeoff, he supposes. 

“Where are you now?” she asks before he has a chance to answer her previous question. She probably doesn’t need him to anyway.

“Jesus Christ, I’m still in the car! Did I not just say that?” And he still hasn’t texted Stevie. God knows what she’s posting about him on the internet in retribution. “Sorry,” he mouths to the poor driver in the rearview mirror who absolutely did not sign up for this. 

It’s late September, Hamlet has opened to almost universally good reviews (save for a few petty bitches) and word just broke about Broadway. He’s barely had time to contemplate his next meal, let alone when he’s next shipping off to Toronto in between the projects everyone is suddenly clamoring for him to do. David Rose is in demand, and he honestly forgot what that felt like. 

Fortunately, his next meal has already been planned and by someone other than him. Unfortunately, said meal is with his family and it’s Sunday, so there’s no getting out of it. If being the victim of revenge porn doesn’t excuse him, nothing will. He has just enough time to get home, wash the day off, and change before heading back uptown, but as the car turns onto Greene Street, he hits the metaphorical wall and all he wants to do is shower, slide into his comfiest joggers, and climb under the covers. 

Being in demand is exhausting. 

“Are you home yet?” 

Why do you keep asking me where I am? Would you like me to share my location?” 

Ronnie’s answering eye roll is practically audible. “If it would actually get you to our meetings on time, then yes.” 

“I’m just pulling up outside, if you must know. And I cannot imagine what this conversation has done for my Uber rating.” 

But the driver just chuckles as David gets the door open and tries to gather all of his belongings once more. Luckily, the coffee cup is empty by this point so when it inevitably falls to the ground, he’s not nearly as depressed as he might have been twenty minutes ago. 

“Sorry, thanks!” he shouts as he elbows the door closed and tries to unhook his keys, which have somehow gotten tangled in themselves. It was a mistake not to bring his bag today, but if it isn’t one thing, it’s another these days. 

Door unlocked, he hits the button for the elevator and sighs obnoxiously as he steps inside. “What were we talking about again?” 

You called me.

He pauses, frowning at the numbers as they tick by. “I did?” 

“Oh for the love of - call your boyfriend. Let him deal with your nonsense.” 

He wants to. Oh, he wants to, but - “I can’t call my boyfriend. He’s probably still showering the blood off.” 

“Well, now I know you don’t read your rehearsal reports. The show started at 2pm instead of 3pm.” 

“What? Why?” he snaps as the elevator slides open and he steps off. 

“Some Toronto holiday celebration thing. I don’t know. But I know the show started at 2pm, which is why I also know he’s probably been finished for about two hours, give or take traffic.” 

“Traffic?” He frowns as he shoves his key in his lock and opens the door. “Then why hasn’t he called - ” but the me that was supposed to end that question dies on his lips as swiftly as everything in his hands goes crashing to the floor. “Patrick.” 

Who is inexplicably standing in the middle of David’s living room, hands shoved into his pockets, small smile lighting up his tired, beautiful face. 

“Oh my God,” David breathes. “What-what are you doing here? What happened? What’s wrong?” 

“Wow, hello to you, too,” Patrick laughs softly. 

“But - how did you - ?”

“The perk of having access to a private jet.” 

“Now I don’t want to hear from you before the start of business on Tuesday,” Ronnie snaps in his ear. 

“Did you do this?” he asks her, but all he gets is a disgusted noise in response before she hangs up. It’s not a no. She’s certainly expressed her sentiment in odder ways but never quite something this momentous. This needed.

But he can’t care about that when Patrick, whom he hasn’t seen in weeks, who was onstage not two hours ago, who looks unfairly good, is coming around his sofa, stepping over the detritus he dropped, and cupping his slack jaw in his hands. 

“Hey,” he whispers, pressing a slow kiss to lips that take more than a second to respond. It’s sensual, but also sweet; a Hi, I’ve missed you and a Hello, I want you. 

“What are you doing here?” David gasps as he pulls away long enough to get the words out, but the space is already too much, and he’s wrapping Patrick in his arms before giving him a chance to reply, holding on like someone is going to come and take him away. 

“Burn, David,” he laughs, again approximating an entirely too convincing imitation of his sister, but it doesn’t have nearly as much bite. Then Patrick tightens his grip and sinks into the embrace, inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly, the heat of his breath warming David’s neck. “It’s our anniversary,” he whispers, rocking David’s world. 

“I beg your pardon?” He pulls away once more - just far enough to look him in the eye. No, it’s… it’s not, is it? He’s not even sure what this is yet. It’s something, yes, but surely not the kind of something that requires anniversaries.  

(Unless there are gifts, and then the topic can be revisited.) 

“One year ago,” Patrick begins, stepping back towards the couch and, as if he’d heard David’s inner monologue, carefully picking a small box up from its hiding spot on the cushion, “you came to the Crosby Street Hotel.” 

Oh. 

Well, that’s… that’s a something worthy of an anniversary. 

He wants to be profound, to say anything sentimental to mark what is clearly a momentous occasion, but instead, what comes out of his mouth is, “That was a year ago?” 

Patrick laughs and moves closer, sliding his thumb beneath the tape holding the white box closed. “‘Fraid so.” Then he lifts the lid to reveal four perfectly iced red velvet cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake. On the underside of the lid, a short note, hastily written in black sharpie, clearly in Patrick’s own hand: 

Thanks for taking the meeting. 
- M. Hall

“Patrick,” he breathes, shaking his head, throat gone tight. He could tell him that he still has the slip of paper, two lines written on the back of a Playbill insert asking people to turn off their cell phones. He could tell him it’s just over there, in the basket beneath the turntable, safely tucked in between Banjo Hitter and Shoestring Catch, awaiting a frame David is sorely tempted to put it in. He could tell him he wants to hang it on the wall so the world can see what it means, but it’s too much so fast so he doesn’t. Instead, unable to find his words, he lets Patrick’s do the job for him. After all, David doesn’t need to read the note to remember what it said:

 “You made something special here,” he whispers. “Maybe we can do it again.” 

Patrick’s face goes through a million tiny transformations, like it’s trying to break down and build itself back up. It shouldn’t be able to move that way, but it does, and what’s left is one of the most beautiful things David has ever seen. 

“We did make something special, David.” Patrick murmurs, eyes a little misty, and David hears the words he doesn’t say: In more ways than one. 

Patrick leans in for another kiss, but because David is David, he abruptly rears back and blurts out, “And everything’s really okay? You’re not, like, here to tell me you’re quitting or something?” 

“No, David,” he says fondly. “Not quitting.” 

He accepts the kiss then, before the realization of what he actually was arriving home to do comes at him full force. 

“Oh God, it’s Sunday,” he groans. “Shit, I have dinner - ” 

But Patrick just smirks. “I called your parents.” 

“You… you called my parents?” Oh-oh no. That’s… that’s not good at all. 

“Yes. They’re lovely people. It’s a shame you’ve barely let me say two words to them before swooping in and whisking me away,” he says knowingly. 

“Excuse you, I don’t swoop.” 

“Your hair begs to differ.” 

Wow. Okay.” He takes a step back as Patrick’s hands chase him, finding purchase on his hips and tugging him back in once more. 

“I love your hair.” 

“Uh huh.” 

“I’ve missed your hair.” 

“Keep talking.” 

“I’ve missed you.” 

But David doesn’t have a reply to that because how can he tell him that the last couple of weeks have seen him utterly and completely adrift? He’s always been a balloon on the breeze, but Stevie and now Patrick have been the weights holding him down. The hands gripping his string tightly but lovingly, afraid of letting him float away on the next gust of wind. Without them, he thinks he could be carried off if someone just blows hard enough, and it’s a terrible existence, feeling so unmoored. 

But here Patrick is, in New York and not Canada, close enough to catch David’s string and bring him back down to earth. It’s almost too much for David to handle. 

“How long do I have you for?” 

“For the next 43 hours,” Patrick replies, and the feeling of disbelief in David’s gut morphs into desire, into want, accompanied by something he cannot yet name. 

“Then we better make the most of them.” He takes Patrick’s hand, the one not holding the cupcakes because he’s not a neanderthal, and begins to lead him to the stairs. Everything he dropped remains on the floor, and he still doesn’t know exactly how Patrick got into his apartment, but none of that matters because Patrick is here and Patrick is staying for the next 43 hours if nothing else. 

David takes his time undressing him, peeling back his layers, memorizing what he’s missed in the intervening weeks. He clocks a still-healing cut from where a fight call went awry and a bruise from when Patrick was rushing to answer his call and clipped the corner of his coffee table. David looks at it all, every change, every mark, every map; this time spent away from him and the memories they won’t ever share. 

He’s not sure when he started thinking like that. Of shared and not. 

Of together and apart. 

“David, please,” Patrick pants, naked and spread out in the middle of David’s California King. It’s been too long and there’s no way this will last, but fuck if they won’t give it their all. Their everything. 

David falls on top of him, arms braced on either side of his shoulders and noses along his jaw. God, he’s missed this man. 

He takes it slow, kissing a careful line down Patrick's heaving chest, his tensed stomach, his trembling thighs. He takes him in his mouth, moaning as he relishes his taste, grunting as Patrick’s fingers tug at his hair just on the edge of too hard. 

It’s a rush after that - a hasty prep with spilled lube and grabby hands with digging fingers, leaving red marks on skin that will take time to fade away. The sound that leaves Patrick when David first enters him echoes in his brain, is branded on his heart. Will haunt his dreams until he can hear it again. 

“Fuck,” he whispers, dropping his forehead down to press against Patrick’s as he tries to acclimate to the heat, to the pressure. To the emotion. 

“You feel so good, baby,” Patrick murmurs against his lips before trailing his mouth to his ear. “You’re so good.” 

David whimpers and just tries to hold on as he pushes his hips in, pulling a guttural grunt out of Patrick that has David’s hips snapping forward again. ‘Slow’ is a lost cause after that, and tenderness gives way to necessity. The headboard bangs against the wall, Patrick’s heels dig into the backs of David’s thighs, and their cries reach a crescendo that makes David grateful he’s on the top floor. 

Patrick spills over his fist and David manages a “God, fuck” as he follows right after him, trying to milk Patrick through his aftershocks as David’s body shudders through an orgasm that flays him down to his bones. He honestly thinks he whites out for a moment, because next thing he registers, Patrick is murmuring nonsense in his ear as he strokes the back of David’s head where it rests on Patrick’s shoulder. 

The nonsense, though, eventually takes shape and David hears the “You’re okay. You’re okay” beneath the hum of pleasure and sated desire still coursing through his veins.  

“Jesus,” he slurs, a string of drool horrifyingly dripping onto Patrick’s skin. 

“Patrick,” he corrects, and David doesn’t even have the energy to groan at the joke. He’s not alone, though. Patrick’s chest is still rising and falling like he just ran a marathon, and his heart hammers against David’s like it’s a competition. His legs fall open, pressing them together once more and they both groan at the oversensitivity. 

David manages to get a hand between them to hang onto the condom as he pulls out, pressing a kiss to Patrick’s bent knee before disposing of it without the care he usually takes. He’ll have to check the hardwood floor later. He stands on wobbly legs and runs into the doorjamb of the ensuite, before getting a warm washcloth because his hand is still covered with Patrick’s come and Patrick’s chest is a gorgeous disaster. 

Skin clean and washcloth tossed somewhere, David collapses on the bed, right into Patrick’s waiting arms, and exhales heavily.  

“We needed that,” Patrick whispers, running his fingers around the curve of David’s elbow where it’s draped across his chest. 

“Fuck yeah we did.” He still sounds drunk, his vowels long and his consonants sloppy. Patrick’s answering chuckle rumbles behind his ribcage, the vibrations tickling David’s jaw and causing him to laugh in return. 

They’re quiet for a moment, just enjoying the heady bliss that comes from a reunion following a separation. Not that it was particularly long. It’s not like David sent Patrick off to the front or something, but still. There’s something… different, about the first time back. Something precious that he’s still not quite ready to let go. 

He eyes the cupcakes that Patrick had the forethought to place out of harm’s way on the dresser and sighs. They’re too far and he’s too fucked out. And that’s saying something, David Rose turning down baked goods. 

“We didn’t get together then,” he murmurs, his brain not quite in sync with his mouth yet. 

“Hm, what?” Patrick asks. 

“A year ago. Today isn’t really our anniversary. We didn’t start dating then.” 

Patrick just hums. “It’s an anniversary, then. Not ours.” He goes quiet for a moment and David thinks he’s done, until he softly says, “I wanted to.” 

David inhales, wondering how this man can just be so cavalier with his honesty. How he can just say things like that. And yet - 

“Me, too.” 

He can hear the rustle of Patrick’s head on the pillow as he lifts it and looks down. David refuses to meet his gaze; it’ll be too much. Patrick lays back down without comment, even though David knows he has one, so naturally, he gives into his desire to fill the silence. 

“We’ll just have to… celebrate twice. As long as it involves cupcakes for the next five or however many years.” 

Patrick lifts his head again. “Oh, so you think we’re gonna be together five years from now?” 

David squeezes his eyes shut. 

He didn’t mean to say that. 

“I think I need an overabundance of sweet treats, for all celebrations, in whatever way you wish to shower them upon me.” 

Patrick laughs and presses a kiss to the top of David’s head. “Got it.” Thankfully, he doesn’t press the subject. He doesn’t needle David to further explain what he meant, because he knows when to back off. He knows when David isn’t ready. 

The fingers running up and down his forearm slow and eventually stop, Patrick’s grip on him going lax as he starts to gently snore. Despite David’s rather spectacular orgasm, sleep proves elusive, and some time later, he blindly fumbles for his phone on the nightstand, careful not to jostle Patrick who has somehow gotten them both on their sides and is spooning him from behind. Not that David minds. 

He thumbs open his phone, purposefully avoiding looking at the time, and winces as he clocks Stevie’s unread texts: 

[Stevie]
I’m going to take your silence as proof that he arrived in one piece. 

It’s late but not too late for a Broadway baby the night before a day off, so he thumbs out a response, because she deserves one: 

You’re a good friend.

Her reply is immediate, like she knew. 

[Stevie]
Gross. 

And then: 

[Stevie]
I know.

He grins and sets his phone on the nightstand once more, pressing back against the sturdy chest behind him and matching his breaths. 

“Happy anniversary, Patrick,” he whispers. 

He can feel a smile against the back of his neck, the sleepy soft reply just as quiet: 

“Happy anniversary, David.” 

🎭  🎭  🎭

Grammy Nominations Revealed! See Who Got What

Grammy Awards: Complete List of Nominees

Grammys: Patrick Brewer in the Lead with Seven Noms

Patrick Brewer Has More Grammy Nominations Than Anyone Else This Year

Brewer May Want to Rethink Broadway

🎭  🎭  🎭

PATRUVK OH MT GOD 

He can’t even be bothered to fix the typos. Not when his boyfriend just got seven fucking Grammy nominations. 

He paces from one end of the apartment to the other, still in his pajamas, still without caffeine because his alarm went off at 8:26am, leaving him zero time to turn his espresso machine on before he had to bolt downstairs and cue up CBS This Morning. 

Seven nominations. 

He can’t believe he’s not there with him. (He also can’t believe he’s awake at this hour. Yes, it’s almost 9am but still.) His group text with Patrick and Stevie has been going strong, but when the nominations for Album of the Year were announced, putting Patrick to a grand total of seven, the responses from his boyfriend dropped off, not that David could blame him. Whatever major publication/network/news outlet Rachel undoubtedly is calling him with obviously takes precedence. David remembers the morning of his first Tony nom. It was so insane, he didn’t even eat until 3pm, which is saying something. And that was only one. 

This is seven.

His phone buzzes in his hand and for a moment, he thinks it might be Patrick despite all logic saying otherwise, and sure enough, he looks down to find Stevie’s name lighting up the screen with an incoming FaceTime call. He can’t be disappointed, though, because she’s with Patrick and that’s the next best thing. 

“Holy. Shit,” she greets before her features have even come into focus. Her manic expression is evident even through immense pixelation. “David, holy shit.” 

“I know!” he yells, sounding entirely too much like Monica on Friends. “Where is he? Is he okay?” 

Stevie’s also dressed in pajamas, currently situated in Patrick’s living room with a mimosa in the hand not currently holding her phone. Patrick had asked David if it was okay if Stevie spent the night so he didn’t have to be alone the morning of the nominations. It was honestly very sweet and David, of course, offered to let Patrick borrow his best friend, though truth be told, he’d rather be there himself. 

With them both. 

“Hang on, he’s just…” she trails off and the phone jostles, sending the picture momentarily out of focus once more. “Oh, I think he’s on with Variety?” She flips the camera around and David sees Patrick just through the sliding door, pacing the back patio, phone to his ear. “Maybe it’s Entertainment Weekly. I dunno. A big one,” Stevie says, turning the camera around again well before David has looked his fill. “He shouldn’t be long, though.” 

David’s excitement deflates, but only a bit. It’s fine. He’s used to this by now. 

“That’s what you face. When you partner with me.” 

After all, he signed up for it. 

“Please remember you have a show to do tonight,” he reminds as Stevie downs what is definitely not her first mimosa.  

“That’s why God invented naps.” 

“Stevie.” 

“And electrolytes.” 

He bites his lip, knowing she’ll give him shit for this, but he can’t help himself. “Let me see him again?” 

Sure enough, she snorts. “Wow.” But she flips the camera around dutifully anyway, because she’s a good friend who will never admit that she misses David as much as he misses her. And she’ll never acknowledge that he misses Patrick probably even more, so instead, she’ll hold a phone up to a patio window so David can watch his boyfriend laugh towards the sky, hand tucked into the joggers that he wears, socked feet probably very cold on the stone given the fact that it’s late November in Canada. 

“Isn’t he freezing?” he asks.

“Adrenaline high,” Stevie says sagely. 

“Please hand him a coat if he stays out there too much longer.” 

“Yes, Mom.” 

He ignores the quip and really examines Patrick. He looks good, relaxed. He laughs again at something the reporter on the phone is saying, and David is reminded that this isn’t his first rodeo. Or even his second. David idly wonders who decided what the proper amount of rodeos is to know all you’re supposed to know. 

It’s been over a month since he’s seen him, since Patrick showed up in his living room with a box of cupcakes and his heart written on the lid. Work obligations in New York kept David from going to Toronto for Canadian Thanksgiving, and Patrick will still be doing the show for the American holiday. Patrick invited Stevie to the Brewers and David cannot adequately describe the FOMO he felt that weekend without potentially jeopardizing his relationships with the two most important people in his life. 

Alexis had to step in with distractions. It was embarrassing and absolutely necessary. 

“Hello?” Stevie’s voice cuts through the lingering sadness (it really was Not Good), and he startles enough to almost rethink the need for coffee (almost). 

“Sorry, what?” He can’t see her, the camera is still directed at Patrick, but he’s sure she rolls her eyes. 

“I asked if you had booked your flight for closing.”

“Oh. Yeah, the other day.” That’s a lie. He booked it the second the damn show opened, and he hates that it’s still three weeks away. He hopes she believes him. 

“Uh huh,” she says. She doesn’t. 

But at least he’ll be occupied in the meantime. Thanksgiving is this weekend, and his family has insisted that they celebrate together. He could get out of it on a technicality - it’s a Thursday, not a Sunday - but the terrifying part of it all is the realization that he doesn’t actually want to. Then it’s gearing up for holidays, plans which he does not have yet, and the closer he gets to the new year, the more he has to switch his focus back to Hamlet. There are some changes to make, some things to adjust for Broadway. A bigger budget, for instance, which means an upgrade to the costumes and some of the set pieces. Some script and music revisions that never quite landed in front of an audience, no matter how many changes they went through during previews in Toronto. Ruth has already reached out to him about setting up a regular production meeting and he was so happy to receive the email, he nearly cried. 

Okay, that’s an exaggeration but also not really. Working on a project as special to him as Hamlet makes every reading, workshop, and subsequent venture pale in comparison. Which is exactly what Ronnie wants to hear when trying to book his next gig. 

He goes back to staring at Patrick. His shoulders are now bunched up around his ears to ward off the chill. “You really should get him to come back inside,” he says, and he hears Stevie sigh behind the camera. 

“I’ve tried. He says the cold keeps him alert.” 

“He talks to the press all the time. I’ve never seen someone as laid back as Patrick was when sitting across from Diane Sawyer. No one should be laid back in front of Diane Sawyer!” 

“Well,” Stevie starts, “he’s got a bit more to keep to himself these days, doesn’t he. Sometimes he needs to remind himself when he can talk openly… and when he can’t.” She says it in a way that indicates it’s not the first time she’s talked about it, and David wonders just how many conversations like these she and Patrick have had while David can’t be there. 

He hates that he’s jealous. 

“Don’t be jealous,” Stevie murmurs, and he hisses “What the fuck?” because did he actually say that out loud? “You’re obvious,” she states. 

“I am not.” 

“David.” 

“Fine.” 

“Look, you know I’m just a… a fill-in for you, right? Or for Ted? I’m here and I’m someone to talk to.” 

“That’s not true.” He knows Patrick adores Stevie and the feeling is mutual as much as she might try to deny it. 

“It’s getting harder for him,” she says softly. “To keep you to himself.” 

And that - that’s a lot for his severely under-caffeinated brain to handle. 

“I’ve seen him almost slip so many times,” she murmurs.

Patrick turns to the window, as if he knows they’re talking about him, and his face just - lights up. David can see it even through a screen, some glass, and the 345 miles between them. He gives a little wave and David’s heart leaps and then plummets. How can he take joy from coming so close to ruining everything? 

“I don’t want him to slip,” he whispers. 

“I know,” Stevie replies. “And he doesn’t either. He wants to protect you.” 

“I don’t need protecting.”

“Years of knowing you would disagree.” 

“Hey!” 

“Hey.” But the voice that greets him isn’t Stevie’s. It’s Patrick’s.  

“Oh, um, hi,” he says rather dumbly as the phone changes hands and Patrick’s beautiful face comes into view. “Congratulations,” he breathes. 

“Thank you,” he replies just as quietly, like the moment is too fragile to break. 

“I’m so proud of you.” It’s not like he can take any sort of credit for this, though. The entire album was recorded before Patrick ever knew him. But then “Store 785” flashes in his brain and David bites his lip because maybe he did influence Patrick in some small way. Maybe he made an indelible mark on this man the way he has been marked in return. 

“Thank you, David.” 

“Remember, that’s my phone. No inappropriate photos. No bodily fluids.” 

“Stevie!” Patrick yells, scandalized. 

“I meant drool, you pervert.” 

“Uh huh,” David murmurs, smiling fondly as Patrick shakes his head, obviously watching Stevie walk away before returning his eyes to the phone. “So, busy morning.” 

Patrick hums. “I wish you were here.” 

“I do, too.” So badly. David likes all versions of Patrick, but this one might be his favorite - soft and sleep-rumpled and about a minute away from telling David to come back to bed. It’s a rare morning that finds David Rose up before his boyfriend, but when he is, it takes very little persuasion to coax him into his arms once more. “Please remember to eat before the show tonight.” 

“I know. Rachel’s got a few more interviews lined up and Ted promised to bring breakfast, or lunch, I honestly don’t know what time it is.” 

“Dawn.” 

Patrick laughs, and David silently savors his victory. “How are you?” 

“Me? My boyfriend just got seven Grammy nominations, I’m great!” But as soon as the words are out of his mouth, the idea pops into his head unbidden of actually going to the Grammys with Patrick, which of course cannot happen. It deflates the balloon of joy in his chest faster than getting sold out of VIP tickets to Beyonce’s Formation tour. 

“Well, you know the show is the priority at the moment,” Patrick says, possibly misreading whatever Eeyore expression has taken over David’s face. 

“No, no, I know. I’m not - I have no worries about that. At all. Hell, you could go up on To be or not to be and I wouldn’t even be remotely mad about it. I mean, Heather would murder you, but I’d be fine.” 

“Fine with my murder? I’m wounded.” 

David scoffs and says entirely too heatedly, “If someone murdered you, I’d scorch the earth.” 

Patrick’s face goes from teasingly offended to horrifically fond. Ugh, it’s wonderful. “I don’t doubt it,” he murmurs. “Likewise, by the way.” 

And that makes David feel a certain way, a certain way he’s still unwilling to examine, because no one’s ever been willing to do bodily harm for him. Then again, seeing Patrick’s reaction after Sebastien released the photos, bodily harm would have been the least of Sebastien’s troubles had Patrick gotten within reach of him. 

“Brewer, I’m not your secretary,” Stevie suddenly snaps, and her hand shoves itself into frame, holding Patrick’s buzzing cell phone. 

“Oh,” he says, tone apologetic. “Must be time for the next one.” 

“Duty calls,” David whispers quietly. 

“I’ll talk to you tonight?” 

“Yeah. When things calm down.” But will they? He wants to tell himself that it won’t always be like this, but it will. Sure, they’ll be together for Hamlet, but there will always be another show, another tour, another obligation. 

“I’ll get you before half hour, I promise.” 

“You better.” 

Patrick hands the phone back to Stevie and David hears him answer the call from Rachel, connecting him with whatever journalist is up next. 

Stevie is looking at him knowingly and a little pityingly and that is just unacceptable. He clears his throat and lifts his chin. “He’s going to call me later.” 

“Of course he is. You two are gross like that.”  

Are they? 

Case in point, though, David makes a mental note to send Patrick a gift basket from Tim Horton’s because flowers are all well and good, but sugared carbohydrates are the way to Patrick’s heart and Timmies delivers. 

“I should leave you to it,” he murmurs and that balloon of joy in his chest has inflated, but not by much. 

“Should you?” Stevie presses and David honestly isn’t sure if she can’t see right through him or if she’s just being contrary because she’s downed a bottle of prosecco already. Before he gets his answer, though, Patrick jogs over and mutes his call, leaning in close to the screen. 

“I’ll see you next month?” 

David swallows and nods, because how could he say no to that face? And why on earth would he ever want to? 

“I’ll see you next month.”

God, he hates this. 

Staring at Patrick’s name long after the call disconnects, he opens Instagram and finds the photo he took at Patrick’s concert almost a year ago, debating for all of a moment before reposting it to his stories. It’s not nearly the word he wants to choose or the pride he wants to express - 

He hopes the pride comes through anyway. 

Seven.

🎭  🎭  🎭

David uses his key to unlock his parents' front door, never so happy to not have Hector there to greet him. Despite their multiple foibles and general lack of societal niceties, Moira and Johnny Rose have always been good about giving staff time off on holidays, deigning to open their own doors and pour their own drinks for a few days a year.  

At least they still have Georges who, being French, has no care for the American holiday beyond what new dishes he gets to try. And thank God, because if he didn’t work, David doesn’t know how any of them would eat. The image of his mother mashing potatoes makes him giggle, though, and he’s still smiling when the elevator doors slide open into the living room. 

“Happy Thanksgiving!” Alexis trills from her spot on the couch, kneeling on the cushion like she used to when she was a child. 

“Happy Thanksgiving,” he murmurs with far less enthusiasm, the smile sliding from his face. Though he has much to be thankful for this year, he’s not feeling a ton of gratitude towards his fellow man at this particular moment. Part of it is typical holiday malaise and part of it is the fact that everyone he wants to spend time with is currently out of the country. Unfortunately, that means he’ll have to settle for those he’s blood related to. 

“David, why does your face look like that?” 

“Like what?” 

“Like someone just stole all the marshmallows off your sweet potatoes.” 

“Georges made sweet potatoes?!” 

“Oh your face doesn’t look sad anymore, yay!” Alexis claps and flops back down onto the couch, and he can’t help but huff out a laugh as he heads for the tray of wine someone has put out (Alexis, probably, going by the way the glasses have been arranged in the shape of a lopsided pumpkin). 

He pours himself a glass of Pellegrino first, considering he spent the morning watching the parade with Stevie via Facetime and enjoying multiple bloody marys. They took a drink whenever any of the pop stars wobbling by on floats fucked up their lip-syncing, which meant that David needed to take a mid-afternoon nap because it turns out they fucked up a lot. He grabs a glass of red wine as well and takes his place next to Alexis, who’s flipping through the Vanity Fair their mother was featured in more than a decade ago. 

“Where is everyone?” 

“Dad is continuing the yearly fiasco of attempting to help Georges make dinner and Mom is measuring the table. Ever since you got her that book about Downton Abbey high tea - ”

“I was trying to not-so-subtly suggest she host one.”

“... she’s obsessed. Like, she made Hector dig a ruler out of the supply closet yesterday.” 

It’s no surprise that Moira Rose cares about presentation. But it’s fucking mind-boggling to expect her to take care of it herself. 

“Well, this I have to see.” 

“Tiptoe,” Alexis hisses, hopping over to join him as he inches his way towards the dining room. “You don’t want to spook her.” 

“She’s not a gazelle and this isn’t The Lion King!” 

“Have you seen her try to walk in Louboutins?” 

Which, fair. 

David peeks in through the crack between the double doors that have been left slightly ajar and watches the cat-eye glasses perched on his mother’s nose slide down as she gets up close and personal with a water goblet. 

“Oh my God, I’ve turned her into Carson.” 

“Like she’d be caught dead in a uniform she didn’t design herself,” Alexis whispers, her chin perched on David’s shoulder. 

“David? Is that you?” His mother lifts her head and adjusts her glasses, gaze shrewd behind the lenses.

“Fuck,” he hisses, trying to figure out how he can sneak away and down that glass of red before she notices, but Alexis thwarts his escape by accidentally (or not) stepping on his foot. “Ow!”'

"David?"

"Um, yeah," he manages, stumbling through the door. "It’s me - I am here." He feels like he’s ten-years-old and getting caught going through her wig room all over again. 

"How fortuitous. I would like your opinion on this napkin folding technique. Swan or Sydney opera house?"

"Neither, please, God," he blurts. There is a level of kitsch he just cannot abide and tourist traps made out of a cotton-polyester blend absolutely fall under that category. 

“Um, Mom, how much wine do you think we’re having?” Alexis asks, counting off the variously sized glasses on parade at each place setting. 

“Georges set out one for each course. Naturally.”  

David leaves her to it because he’d honestly be happy with a simple meal of some turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and canned cranberry sauce, which is both terrible and delicious. 

“It’s such a shame sweet Pat isn’t joining us,” his mother starts before he can make his escape. “I heard he loves a cabernet,” she says, adjusting a wide red wine glass. 

“Again, that’s a hard no on Pat. And he’s a little busy at the moment.”

“He’ll be missed,” she intones, like he’s died or something.

“It’s not like he’s never coming back!” 

“Well, he could stand to visit more often.” 

“He’s performing in a show you’re producing!” Then he narrows his eyes at her. “I think you like him more than you like me.” 

She whirls around and the long wig she wears (Marta, maybe?) nearly destroys all of her careful measuring and half their glassware collection. “Now, David, what a villainous accusation to lay at the feet of the woman who bore you.” 

“Ew.” 

“Of course I like sweet Patrick.” Then the facade slips for a moment and she levels him with a knowing look. “He sees you for all that you are.” 

The words take a minute to wash over him but when he absorbs their meaning, his head whips towards Alexis so fiercely, he hears something pop. She just stares back wide-eyed, though, and shakes her head, mouthing It wasn’t me, but who the hell else could it be? He’s worked very hard to keep the true nature of his relationship with Patrick a secret, for Patrick’s sake as well as his own. Adding Moira Rose into the fold is like wrestling a herd of feral cats into a burlap sack.

Not that he’s actually tried

“But we need not speak on the sensitive subject further,” she suddenly clips, tapping the side of her nose and turning on her heel, clip-clopping back to the kitchen to no doubt torture Georges some more.

And David doesn’t think he’ll ever stop underestimating his mother. 

“Are we that obvious?” he asks when the door has safely swung shut behind her. 

Alexis shrugs, toying with a napkin that David thinks is supposed to be the Eiffel Tower. “Only around people who know you. Know you well. Like, Dad doesn’t know. Oh my God, can you imagine?” 

And yes, he can, because his mother could barely pick him out of a lineup until a few years ago (he knows this for a fact - she had to once). It makes no sense for her to know about their relationship because every time she’s seen him with Patrick, they’ve been in work mode, like before the workshop presentation or during the press performances in Toronto. 

But then he remembers a private moment he and Patrick stole during the opening night party at Casa Loma after word got around that the review from The Globe and Mail, the first one in, was a rave. He remembers how Patrick slid their fingers together as David stood against the wall by the bar and gave him a gentle squeeze and a suggestive tug, silently urging David to follow wherever it was that Patrick wanted to lead him. 

They ended up in a small room on the first floor, Sir Henry’s Study (or so the sign by the door where Ivan stood guard said). Nothing untoward happened, just a few quiet words and a long, much-needed hug. But when they returned to the party - separately, David would hasten to add - he found his mother looking at him keenly, before offering him a small smile and a slight tip of her champagne flute. At the time, he thought she was toasting his success, but maybe she saw more than he cared for her to. 

His phone vibrates in his pocket and he extracts it, smiling slightly at Patrick’s name on the screen before glancing at the time - 7:14pm. He must be getting ready. But then he looks at the message and his heart kicks into overtime. 

[Patrick]
Do you wanna come to the Grammys? 

What? He thumbs out a hasty reply:

With you?

[Patrick]
No, with Adele. 

Oh with Adele? Then yes. 

[Patrick]
But not with me? 🙁

He snorts. 

Be serious. 

[Patrick]
I am. 

… Is he? He can’t be. That would be - that would…

Patrick, think about what that would look like. 

[Patrick]
I think it would look good.

He sharply inhales, ignoring the look of concern Alexis throws his way. Being seen with Patrick is all he wants and yet he also respects and completely understands the desire to keep it to themselves. The need. Hell, he agrees.

And yet. 

Have a good show. 

He knows they can’t.

[Patrick]
Happy thanksgiving. 

David notices that he didn’t answer the question and Patrick didn’t press him for it. Neither of them said thank you, either. Maybe they’re both feeling a little bruised. 

“What happened?” Alexis asks softly. 

“He asked me to go to the Grammys,” he says a little hollowly, still staring at the screen. 

“But…” Alexis begins, “I didn’t think you could.”

“I can’t.” He sighs and shoves his phone back in his pocket when an ellipsis indicating Patrick is typing never shows. 

“So why did he ask?”

Patrick would never purposefully cause him pain - he’s not Sebastien - but David does wonder if Patrick realizes what even hypothetically asking a question like that does to him. 

“I don’t know. I think he knows I want to go. I think - I think he knows me.”

Alexis nods. “You let him know you. And I think he changed you a bit,” she offers. “Maybe he’s hurting just as much as you are, which is why he asked.” 

“Yeah,” he whispers. “I just didn’t think it was going to hurt quite this much.” 

“It matters,” Alexis says with a simple shrug; with a sageness he never thought her capable of. “Of course it hurts.” 

And isn’t that a truth bomb of nuclear proportions. 

He feels… something, something itchy and pressing and unavoidable. “I think I need a hug or something,” he whispers.  

She laughs lightly. “Sure, David.” But he doesn’t move and the smile slides from her face. “Oh my God, David, really?” 

The feeling grows stronger. Urgent. “Uh huh, yep. I need a hug.” 

“Aww.” She reaches out to boop him, and he smacks her hand away.   

“Alexis, will you please give me a hug?” Has he always sounded that hysterical? 

But she quickly drops the act, much like their mother had done just moments before, and steps forward, wrapping her arms around him and holding him tight. He exhales against her shoulder and sinks into it, breathing deeply. 

A hug is such a simple thing. 

But he never realized that when Patrick started offering so many, just how much he would miss them when they stopped.