“David!” it was the third time he'd said his name before David noticed someone trying to catch his attention.
David leant back to see who was calling his name, and almost fell off his bar stool, before regaining his balance. “Patrick!” he yelled and lurched towards him, “tell this man that I am okay. To-tally fine. Fine, fine, fine…. Jus a lil… jet-lagged…”
“Hi,” Patrick placed his hand on the small of David’s back to support him and then turned toward the bartender, with one of his warm smiles that he had perfected to get anyone to bend to his will. “I got him, mate.”
“He needs to get off the premises, or we will get in trouble for overserving. I’m not taking that risk.” The bartender's stern face softened for Patrick.
“Yeah, I'm sorry about that. He’s had a rough night; I’ll take him home.” Patrick smiled at the bartender and then looked over at David, shaking his head. How did he get so smashed so quickly? “Okay, David. I’m going to help you get out the door and then we can organize you an Uber to take you back to the hotel.”
David complied with Patrick’s request, sliding down off the barstool. He sunk a little further than necessary, his legs clearly weren't ready to support him, and Patrick had to get under his arm to heft the man up and then steer him out of the club.
Once outside, David seemed to realise what was happening. He started to pull away from Patrick, which resulted in him nearly falling into the bus lane on Oxford Street, so Patrick dragged David’s arm back around his shoulder.
“Let’s get you home David. Give me your phone and I’ll call you an Uber back to the hotel.”
“I can’t go back to the hotel,” David whispered softly, dropping his head.
“What?” Patrick asked, not sure if he heard correctly.
David picked his head up before yelling in Patrick’s ear, “Sebast… Sebastien is fucking the… young people. Persons. Dancing boys. I don…. Don't wanna fuck them with him….”
“He took those young dancers back to your hotel?!” Patrick said incredulously.
“Hmm, let’s drink. Let’s go to, to another. Drink bar.” The lids of David’s eyes looked very heavy and he was slurring his words as he spoke.
“Oh no, I don’t think so David. Even if I thought it was a good idea, you wouldn’t get served.” Patrick’s mouth was curving into a smile of its own volition. As much as he wanted to be peeved by this drunk man taking him away from his opportunity to score, he found drunken David very amusing. He couldn’t leave him or send him back to that sleazebag like this. Sometimes he hated his Canadian manners, but Marcy Brewer would kill him if he didn’t look after somebody who couldn’t look after themselves. He knew what he needed to do.
“Okay, David. We will go back to my place; I’ll make you some coffee and we will sober you up a bit before you go back to the hotel.” Patrick pulled out his phone to book an Uber and luckily, due to it being a busy night, there were drivers everywhere. Only a three-minute wait.
David pulled his head back and was looking him up and down, trying to put on a sultry look by raising an eyebrow and smirking at him. “Mr. Lifeguard! Are you tryna get into my pants…?” His words drifted off as he looked down and noticed his leather pants, “because I haf ta warn you… these pants are very difficult to get off…” his face dropping to one of confusion, as if he was trying to imagine how the hell to get out of said pants.
Patrick threw his head back and laughed. God, he was adorable.
“David, I promise you I’m not trying to get into your pants,” Patrick said with a soft smile.
“Oh. Okay.” David managed to step back and did a little shoulder shimmy, “You sure ‘bout that? You wanted…” David hiccoughs “…. to b’fore.”
“Yes, I did. You are very beautiful David. But now that you’ve consumed your body weight in alcohol, I’m not really sure that consent comes into play.”
“Hmmm, I’m too much….” David said quite softly, looking a bit broken, “Seb says that.”
“No offence, David, but your boyfriend is a dick.”
Luckily at that point, an Uber had pulled up, the driver winding down the window, “You Patrick?”
“Yes, that’s me,” Patrick said while he cross-checked the number plate.
“If your mate vomits, you are paying a $50 fee.”
“Yes, I know. He’ll be okay,” he said as he maneuvered David into the back seat of the silver Toyota Celica, really having no idea if he could make good on that promise.
Once they arrived back at Patrick’s, thankfully vomit free, he got them into the shared kitchen to find two of his other housemates, Tim and Andy drinking tea. Tim and Andy were the matriarchs of the house, even though they had only been there for a few months. They were renovating their Paddington townhouse and decided it would be fun to rent a room a bit closer to the beach for the summer while the major parts of the renovation happened. Hamish met them at the club one night and they got to talking…. And maybe more. Hamish never clarified exactly if he ended up in their bed that night before he told them about the available room.
“Oh, hi guys,” Patrick said trying to get David onto a chair.
“Hey. Hello, hi! Patrick says he doesn’t want to get into my pants, which is good because these are very tricky pants…. Mmmm, do you have toast? I love toast,” David said while Tim and Andy’s eyes widen, their mouths starting to quirk up. “David, my name is Dav –”
“Good lord, Patsy…. What have you brought home with you? This is not your usual standard…” Tim said with a smirk.
“No,” Patrick huffs out a laugh. “I kind of met him at the pool this morning, and then tonight I found him at the Colombian after his boyfriend had run off with a pair of you dancers…” Patrick grimaced as he moved around the kitchen, getting out bread and putting it into the toaster. “You guys just having tea before bed?”
“Yes,” said Andy. “There is more in the pot if you want?”
“Thanks, it might help this one out a bit,” Patrick said gesturing towards David.
“I’m right here! I can hear you; you know!” David exclaimed in a moment of clarity before his head drooped down, appearing to have fallen asleep.
“Oh god, what am I going to do with him?” Patrick looked genuinely concerned for a moment.
Tim and Andy looked at each other meaningfully and then back at Patrick. “You know….” Tim looked at Patrick with a cheeky smirk on his face, “In the morning, he won’t be so drunk and might be ever so grateful that you saved him from himself….”
“Ha-ha, you guys. You make me sound like a predator,” Patrick winced at the thought.
Tim and Andy chuckled softly, “No, no, sorry. We know you would never take advantage of anyone that didn’t want to be taken advantage of. He’s just very cute… actually… Do we know him?” Tim asked, narrowing his eyes like he was trying to puzzle something out.
“Hmmm, maybe? His family is very wealthy and well known in Canada?” Patrick said, shrugging his shoulders.
“Oh yes, we read his profile in Out! He was in the Hot 100 – his gallery in Soho was getting a pretty significant wrap at the time. He was one of the up and coming under 30. That was a couple of years ago, but he was hot, so you know, Tim and I paid attention. Sorry, not sorry.” Andy said with a smirk.
Patrick raised his eyebrows at that information, but it did track. David seemed like the kind of guy that would own a gallery in New York. And he said he lived in New York, so that was another puzzle about the man solved.
David stirred on the chair sitting upright looking around nervously. He raised his hand slowly to his mouth and said, “Ima throw up!”
Patrick jumped at the information shouting, “Crap! Come with me!” and guided (essentially shoved) him into the shared bathroom across the hallway.
Patrick stayed with him while he emptied his stomach into the toilet (thank God, they made it, cleaning up vomit was a step too far) and then got a washcloth to clean him up, while David slumped against the wall in the bathroom.
Drawing in a deep and raggedy breath, David looked up at him and seemed so small and fragile compared to the man he had been dealing with this evening. “Thank you, Patrick. You’ve been so…. nice… to me. And I don’t deserve it.” The sadness and vulnerability that crept into his voice tugged at Patrick's heartstrings.
“David…. Nobody deserves to be left to fend for themselves in the circumstances you found yourself in this evening. Don’t worry about it,” Patrick said shaking his head.
“Well… thanks.” David looked at him and smiled softly which made Patrick’s heart break for the man. He took a deep breath – he knew he couldn't send him out into the night. David was so arrogant earlier but seemed so sure in his relationship. His heart was probably aching knowing he has been cast aside for a couple of younger men. Patrick helped him up and led him to his bedroom, lending him a t-shirt and a pair of pyjama shorts before tucking him into his bed. He quickly got changed himself and fell into the bed next to him and passed out.
Patrick’s alarm went off at five and he stretched out his arms, bumping into something solid in his bed. Oh… that’s right.
“Mmhnf,” came the noise from the other side of his bed.
“Okay- wake up David. You can go back to the hotel and deal with your skeezy boyfriend now,” Patrick said, a little tongue in cheek.
David sat bolt upright. “How! What!” eyes wide and looking appalled. “What the hell happened here?!”
“You don’t remember mainlining a bottle of champagne, and getting kicked out of the bar?”
“And what? You took advantage of me in my inebriated state?!”
“WHAT!? I would never….” Patrick was appalled anybody could think that of him.
“Then why am I in your pyjamas?” David was screeching. It was too early for this kind of noise.
“Because you didn’t want to go home to Sebastien fucking those young men, so I bought you here to sober you up. But then you vomited and passed out, and I didn’t want you to have to sleep in leather pants, so I helped you change and let you stay!”
A banging came from Hamish’s room next door, “Keep it down Patsy!”
David’s face dropped as he understood the reality of the situation he had found himself in, looking around the room in a bit of a daze.
“Ummm. Okay. Well, I need to get back to the hotel” David said sombrely.
“Yes, I plan on walking down the hill in fifteen, so you don’t have long to get changed. You can keep the t-shirt; I’m assuming you’d rather not head home in a mesh shirt and a harness.” Patrick quirked his eyebrow at David, who still seemed rather agitated.
“Thank you,” David said rather haughtily. “That would be acceptable.”
“Oh, acceptable! Well, don't strain a muscle exercising your appreciation!”
“I would have been just fine without you dragging me back here!”
“You would have ended up under a bus on Oxford Street!”
The banging from next door returned.
“Sorry, Hamish!” he yelled before he lowered his voice. “David, just get dressed, we have to go.”
“Okay, okay,” David gritted his teeth and leaned his head back, before looking Patrick in the eye asking, “Bathroom?”
Patrick explained where to find it and watched him slink out of the room. Even in his hungover and rumpled state, he was the sexiest thing on two legs. Patrick groaned and rubbed his hands into his face. How could he be attracted to this man? He was such an arrogant dick. And then Patrick thought back to the night before and how small and vulnerable he had seemed; how broken-hearted by the actions of his boyfriend, the person who he thought he could trust.
As he started getting ready to go to work, his mind wandered around all the things that he had found out about David in the last 24 hours. He knew his history as gossip magazine fodder. He was always with different beautiful people and was always getting photographed looking like he was under the influence of substances when he was younger, but couldn’t remember that happening recently.
He clearly had a pretty fancy art gallery if Tim and Andy had heard about it. And yesterday at the pool when Sebastien was being obnoxious, he looked so embarrassed. In fact, right through the course of the night, it seemed there were moments where his facade of self-importance would slip and he just seemed so vulnerable. Maybe he should give him his number as a precaution? He might be walking into anything when he walked back into that hotel room.
Patrick started thinking back to the reasons he had left Canada. And the main one was that everybody had an idea of who he was, and he just continued to be that person, regardless of how it was killing him; how it was eating him up every day. He also knew that nobody in Canada even knew him as an out gay man. He was so glad to have this opportunity to explore himself with no preconceptions. Maybe David needed that chance too?
At that moment David walked back into the room, somehow looking like he’d just walked off a runway, even though he was hungover and running on five hours of drunken sleep.
“I’m ready,” David said, tight-lipped and trying to look anywhere but at Patrick. Once again Patrick was pretty sure he was embarrassed, trying to give off an air of nonchalance.
Patrick slung his backpack with his necessities for the day onto his shoulder and headed out the door.
The walk to the hotel didn’t take long, but David was mortified. He’d vomited and passed out in this sweet man’s house. Good lord, what was he doing? And after talking up Sebastien being an artist and how they had an exclusive relationship, he had then apparently just spilled all the details of how he took the young men home. How embarrassing. And to top it all off, Patrick was definitely propositioning him, right? Before David shot him down? God, he was such an idiot. Now he would have turned him off for good with his antics. The thing was, yes, Patrick was objectively good looking, but somehow, he was more than that. Patrick had looked after him, made sure he was safe and, if he remembered correctly, Patrick was chatting up that chunky blonde himbo earlier in the night, so he must have ditched the gym guy to help David out. He couldn’t figure him out and he guessed it wasn’t his problem to solve, but something about him had him curious. He had such cocky straight boy energy.
Anyway, Patrick was not his main concern right now. Hopefully, when he got back to the hotel, the pretty young things would be gone and he could just go back to sleep. Although he didn’t want to sleep in the bed they were all in last night… Ugh, what was he going to do?
If he just kept up his façade that everything was fine, then Patrick wouldn’t need to know how embarrassed he was about everything that happened. He could just play it cool, never mind if it came off as arrogant. He didn’t owe him anything. He didn’t ask him to help.
When they arrived at the entrance of the hotel and club, Patrick turned to him and said, “Look David, I know that you don’t know anyone else in Sydney, and no matter what you want me to think about last night, I just know it was rough. So, here is my number,” Patrick handed him a slip of paper with his phone number written in pencil, “and if you need it, please use it. I will try and help if I can.”
“Why would I need your help?” David tried to appear unaffected by the generosity of this sweet man.
“Okay, David. Just know I mean it.” Patrick shrugged his shoulders and turned and walked away.
Fuck. It was five-thirty in the morning and God knows what he was walking into. And this gorgeous sweet generous man had done nothing but be nice to him and he couldn’t even let him.
David struggled with the idea that someone would help him just because he needed it. But Patrick had pulled him out of the club, and taken him back to his own home, and let him sleep in his own bed, even after he vomited! Ewww, he hadn’t even asked if he had made it to the bathroom; maybe Patrick even had to clean up his vomit. Oh my god, he hoped not. Patrick wouldn’t have even mentioned it if he did. David was so self-centered! Sebastien was right. He was too much, and he would have to put up with what he could get. If that meant an open relationship with Sebastien, then that is what he would take.
He cracked open the door to find Sebastien sprawled across the middle of the bed, fast asleep. Thankfully, the room seemed to be empty aside from him. David breathed a sigh of relief and entered the room, pouring himself a glass of water and collecting two ibuprofen before heading out to the balcony.
He could tell himself it was just to enjoy the peace of the quiet morning and sunrise, but if it meant he caught a glimpse of Patrick doing laps of the pool, well, then there wasn’t anything he could do about that.
Sebastien stirred as David walked back into the room. He had to sleep. Five hours passed out drunk was not real sleep. He looked at the bed, hesitating as he assessed the damage. Was he really going to get into a bed that Sebastien had been fucking two other people in only hours before?
Sebastien stirred and opened one eye, “Come to bed, David.”
“Hmmm, it’s just…” David said, surveying the way the bedding was thrown around.
“Don’t worry about Travis and Trent. We used condoms. It was very tidy,” Sebastien said, sitting up and running his fingers through his hair. He was naked and his chest had the outlines of several hickies starting to bloom.
“Oh well then,” David started, with a hand on his hip and a raised eyebrow.
“Day-vid. I want you to know that I care about what happens between you and me.” Sebastien continued in his sleep affected voice, “And while you seem…. surprised by my actions last night…. you and I were never meant to be monogamous… we are not cut out for that path….”
“I’m sorry. Is this you deciding what someone else wants?” David narrowed his eyes at him. He knew he was going to give in, but didn’t want to make it too easy for him.
“David…. I do appreciate your pain and I think that we should explore that… physically….”
David looked at Sebastien. Like really looked at him, assessing the man in front of him. He was attractive, that’s a given; with his height and his feigned nonchalance, and his gorgeous cocky face. He knew that hanging off Sebastien’s arm at an event was a good look for him. And they did have the whole art crowd at their feet in New York. He also knew that there weren’t any feelings between them. David had been trying to make something happen for so long, he had fooled himself into thinking that it would happen at some point.
However, the reality was he also knew that it was the best he was going to do. He was so damaged emotionally from all the shitty relationships, the poor familial bonds, and the lack of anything closely resembling real friendship, he should take what he could get. At least Sebastien fucked him well, and wanted to be seen with him in public.
He decided to play a little coy. Make Sebastien work for it. “Well, I shouldn’t,” David bit his lip suggestively.
“Oh, you should,” Sebastien’s mouth curled up in a cocky smirk the way it always did when he realized he was going to get exactly what he wanted. David walked over to the bed, shedding his clothing on the way.
After they had finished, David managed to get another few hours sleep, so when Sebastien left to go to his photo shoot, he knew he was going to head straight down to the pool. Even if he’d turned Patrick off last night with his behaviour, he still wanted to watch him walk up and down the side of the pool in his little uniform. Today he knew he wasn’t going to be distracted by Sebastien. He grabbed some coffee at the breakfast bar and headed out to the pool. He couldn't stomach the idea of food yet.
He found a lounge that was in a perfect viewing position of Patrick and set up all his poolside accessories. Patrick hadn’t noticed him yet, and David had already decided he was going to swim, so he stripped down to his trunks and headed towards the pool with his most confident stride, until he was almost behind the lifeguard.
“Hi,” he said softly into Patrick’s ear, making him turn around.
“Oh hey. You look much better than last time I saw you. Everything go okay?” Patrick smiled at him warmly, like they were old friends rather than acquaintances filled with animosity.
“Oh yes. Everything is fine. Just a misunderstanding.” David waved his hand around to indicate he was waving off the incident.
Patrick’s eyebrows shot up to his hairline, and the man looked like he was buffering.
“Your understanding of your entire relationship was pulled out from under your feet and it’s just a misunderstanding?!” Patrick looked incredulous.
“It’s not like that.” David rolled his eyes. He really didn’t want to get into the details. Most people would not ask such a personal question, but he had slept in the man’s bed, so maybe he felt a little bit involved in the situation.
“Isn’t it?” Patrick questioned.
“No,” David was standing firm on the no details thing.
“Oh, okay then… what’s it like?” Patrick crossed his arms and was clearly waiting for an answer from David.
David knew there was no stopping his face from telling a story he didn’t want to reveal, so he decided on a diversion. “I’m going in for a swim.”
Patrick harrumphed as David walked towards the pool.
“Make sure you check the signage… people get very upset if you swim in the incorrect lane.”
Patrick watched David slink into the water. Faarrrk, he thought as he rubbed his face. If he wasn’t careful, he was going to get an erection standing poolside, and that was definitely not a good look for him. David was, for all his annoying pretense, the epitome of everything Patrick wanted, and Jesus, what he really wanted was to pound him into the mattress. Or be pounded, he wasn’t fussy.
David had ruined Patrick’s chance of banging out these feelings with Todd last night, and unfortunately, he was starting to feel like he wouldn’t be able to shake this off with someone else. He needed to feel David’s body, run his fingers through that chest hair, pull his long legs up over his shoulder…
Patrick shook his head and searched the pool for something else to look at. Right. There was Jim, the eldest member of the club at eighty-six, rocking his speedo, and there was a young mom playing in the shallows with her very small toddler. Thank God he got out before that was Rachel and his child. He would have been tied to her in a way that he never wanted.
Maybe Sebastien being a dick would work in his favour. It was eleven o’clock now, he was off shift in an hour. He could come up with a plan.
He tried to keep his eyes off David as much as possible while he was swimming; he was so graceful, which was not really surprising. But when he swam up to the stairs, and his body started to appear above the water, the drips running down his body, Patrick was well and truly fucked. Rivulets moved through his chest hair, and as his arms came up to wipe his hair back from his face, he noticed the droplets clinging to his eyelashes, highlighting his stunning dark eyes.
David’s head turned towards Patrick before he could close his mouth, and remove the look of desire that he was sure was firmly perched there. So, when David walked past him, dripping wet, with his eyebrows raised, well Patrick might have needed to drop his head and chuckle to himself, and then look up at him through his eyelashes, which made David smirk, and he probably thought he had the upper hand. However, Patrick knew his coy move, it was definitely one of his best plays.
Patrick kept his eyes on the pool and only glanced around to check up on David a few times. He saw him rubbing sunscreen all over his body (oh my god) and leaning back in his chair soaking up the sun with one knee raised (holy fuck), and then he turned around to see that he was lying on his stomach, so Patrick really couldn’t look past his stunning ass (Jesus Christ!).
When his colleague Anthony walked over and patted him on the shoulder for changeover, he spent a few minutes in pleasant chit-chat before he left and walked directly over to David.
“So, David…” Patrick announced himself without thinking about what he was actually going to say.
“Whaaa…” David looked up slowly, as if he was shaking himself awake.
“I didn’t realise you were sleeping, but I’m glad I woke you up. Only fools and Englishmen stay out in the midday sun.” Patrick said with a convivial smirk.
“I don’t know what that means.” David said, with a grimace.
“Don’t worry. It’s a saying here. You can’t lie in the sun at midday. It will kill you. Literally. Highest rates of skin cancer in the world."
“Oh. Can I help you with something?” David said, shaking his head in a manner that indicated he didn’t really understand what Patrick was talking about but had given up caring about it while still sounding put off.
“Maybe,” Patrick said hopefully.
Patrick sat down on the edge of his lounge as David turned over. He sat up and looked Patrick in the eye, shading his face with his hand. “What is it?’
Patrick licked his lips slowly and narrowed his eyes at David, hoping David could read the look of desire on his face.
“Well…. I know you said that you and Sebastien had a little misunderstanding. And now that has been cleared up, I assume that your understanding is…. that he wants to be able to….” Patrick reminded himself that he was at work, and should keep his language from teetering into the explicit. He also wanted to be a bit delicate with this conversation in case David was too upset to consider his offer.
David’s face dropped a little and he looked down as he answered with a non-committal hum, clearly trying to look like this information wasn’t bothering him.
Patrick lifted his hand and brushed it gently over David’s cheek, and watched as David looked up and sharply breathed in, searching Patrick’s face for meaning.
“David, I wondered if you would also like to take advantage of your new understanding of your relationship?” Patrick smiled in a way that he hoped was warm and seductive, and then bit his bottom lip, pausing before he continued, “with me?”