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Paint on the Colours

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David was really glad that he had made Patrick take the time to come back to him. Arriving in New York after everything that happened in Sydney made him reassess every aspect of his life.

He was so busy the first two days being back at the gallery, dealing with his temperamental new artist, and getting his exhibit bumped in, he couldn’t even give in to his jet lag. Once he regained his equilibrium though, he found out that his fantastic assistant Keisha was one of the people that Sebastien was fucking behind his back, and that she continued to fuck him, even after Sebastien had returned in disgrace.

She had alerted Sebastien to David’s whereabouts so he could ‘accidentally’ run into him and try and coerce him back into his bed. God, Sebastien really was the worst. So fucking good at being manipulative. Imagine talking your current lover into helping you fuck someone else? It was his gallery connections he wanted truth be told, and he clearly thought David wouldn’t be able to resist him, even after everything that happened in Sydney. Everybody was giving Sebastien a wide berth after the scandal, and his parents had indeed, cut him off financially. Plus, David was the one that used to supply pay for Sebastien’s coke habit, so he was going through some pretty hefty withdrawals. It was not attractive.

So, after David ‘ran into’ him three times in two days, Sebastien let slip that Keisha was the one supplying him with information on David’s whereabouts. He sacked her on the spot and decided at that very moment he needed a new direction for his gallery. He was so done with the duplicitous people in his life. 

He put an ad in the paper and found a new assistant the next day. She had walked into the interview, insulted him and never left. She was new to New York, but had run a hotel somewhere in Canada for her Great Aunt, before the aunt died and she inherited it. She wanted to do something different, so she sold it and took the cash to run off to New York. She didn’t know anyone else, so it might have been borne out of necessity, but they became fast friends. Also, she was able to cut through all his shit so succinctly, in a way that nobody had ever been able to. He felt like she was his missing twin. He enjoyed her lack of connection to the art scene, and her highly developed ability to read people instantly.

They may have ‘connected’ one night, after way too many shots and a very strong joint, but David broke down and told her everything about Patrick in the morning, sobbing about how much he missed him, and she told him she was aro so that worked for her. In fact, it kind of cemented their friendship. Of course, he and Patrick had said they could do whatever they wanted in these two months, but it turned out, he didn’t want anyone else after all.

David cut off his entire social circle. They didn’t want him if he wasn’t paying for everything anyway. Alexis had decided to stay in New York after her break up with Stavros, and something had made her give up on that crowd too. She had talked her way into an internship at a major PR firm and they were helping her get her degree, for some reason. But she really could be very convincing when she wanted to be. She had direction and was really sticking with it, so he had her around for company and he was enjoying it (although he wasn't telling her that). 

After seeing the incredible modern indigenous art in Sydney, David changed the whole direction of his gallery.  He started to track down some artists who were American Indian and First Nations people of Canada. This art was meaningful and he felt energized to support and promote their incredible artwork. It filled him with purpose, unlike the pretentious performance artists he had specialized in before, who mostly created art on their parent’s dime, so they could say they did something other than spend money on their parent’s credit cards for a living.

Alexis helped rebrand his gallery as one that was specializing in modern indigenous art. He had made some awesome connections and they ran in very different circles than his old pretentious art scene crowd, it was a relief to be out of that circle and also to be selling art he actually liked.

And yes. He kept in touch with Patrick. Who he was expecting next week, after spending two weeks at home with his parents. Patrick was going to be staying with him, and he was pretty excited about it.

***

Patrick spent his last few weeks in Sydney, hanging out with his house mates, working at the pool, and trying to do those last few things he hadn’t gotten around to doing yet. He spent more time at the art galleries than he would have previously, visited some of the other awesome beaches, and even did a day trip to the Blue Mountains for some hiking, which was very cathartic.

He stayed a full three weeks in South East Asia and it was a blast, but the lazing on the beach and partying was no fun when it all just reminded him that he’d rather be doing it with David. He made sure he took in all the sights though; he didn't want to miss the opportunity. The sightseeing and the food were incredible.

He did have a one-night-stand with a Spanish guy named Miguel, who was swarthy and tall and lean, and to be honest, reminded him a lot of David. After three beers at the hostel, he was missing David so much he just leaned in and it was… bad. The only thing he got out of it was the surety that David was all he ever wanted. He left the hostel before dawn the next day, not wanting to have to explain himself, even though he was pretty sure Miguel had felt the same way he did.

Overall, the trip was a worthwhile experience, he was glad he didn’t skip it just to be with David sooner, because the chance that he would be able to do it another time were small. It did, however, make him realise how sure he was that it was David that he wanted.

Patrick had been at home for a week, spent time with his nanna and played the dutiful son, filling them all in on how beautiful Australia was and as much detail as he was willing to give them. They also now knew everything they needed to know about David, and he promised to bring him home to meet them as soon as possible. But he was itching to get to him.

He and David had decided that he would stay with David to start with, and he would look for work and then they could decide if living together was too big a step to take so soon. He knew he just wanted as much of David as possible, and couldn’t see it being a problem, but he knew they both needed to be on the same page and there were no certainties in life.

They had face timed a bit when Patrick was still in Sydney and texted when they could while he was in Asia. The connection was patchy, and the time differences were hard to keep track of, but they did what they could. He tried not to contact him every day and honour their understanding of their time apart, but David was expecting him. He had told him everything that had happened since he’d been back in New York and they had discussed him doing the finances for the gallery. He was impressed with the changes that David had made in the direction of his life, and had such trust in him, that he had moved on from his destructive lifestyle, permanantly.

David knew Patrick was home in Canada, and they had managed a few FaceTime sessions since he had been there. Patrick planned to move the following week, but he was impatient to be near the man he adored, so he bumped up his ticket a week, and took an early morning flight. He planned to go straight to the gallery, which opened at ten.

As Patrick pushed through the door of the gallery, he breathed a sigh of relief. It was a few minutes before ten, but he was glad he didn’t have to stand outside and wait. He dropped his backpack on the floor right in the middle of the gallery. He’d finally made it to where David was. . The space looked like David; he could feel him here. A wave of relief ran through him. It had only been two months, but it had felt like a lifetime. He was so ready to have the thing he wanted more than anything else; a life with David. He knew he was falling in love with him; he’d never felt this way about anyone before. He wasn’t ready to tell him, but he knew that it was the truth.

He looked around the gallery and took in the new exhibition. David had told him about the changes in the gallery and it was impressive to see what he'd done in such a short time. His new artists truly had something important to say. Patrick was so proud of him. 

"Can I help you?" He was approached by a brunette whose face gave nothing away. This was not David. 

Patrick eyed her up, and was pretty sure he knew who he was talking to, but out of politeness asked, "Hi there. I’m just wondering if David is here?"

She raised her eyebrow and without the hint of a smile she answered, "If you are who I think you are, then you would know he is not. It's not even 10am yet."

Patrick laughed and held out his hand, "Stevie, right? I've heard a lot about you." 

"None of it is true," she held out her hand and shook it firmly, finally giving him a hint of a smile. 

"So, you two didn't have sex?" Patrick asked raising his eyebrow, his tongue firmly in his cheek. Stevie had been the one true friend David had made since he got home and excommunicated his whole social circle. After everything, he was just really glad David had made a real friend, and cut off all the sycophants. 

"Oh no, that is true," Stevie said with a smirk.

"Well, it's a pleasure to meet you," Patrick released Stevie’s hand and shoved both of his own hands into the pockets of his jeans, and rocked on his feet. 

"You too. Finally, he might stop talking about you." Stevie was so deadpan he couldn't help but laugh out loud. He knew they would be fast friends. He could see the glint of a smile dancing in her eyes.

"When do you expect him?" He was trying so hard to be chill, but knew he was failing. 

"Is he expecting you?" She raised her eyebrows knowingly. Damn David was right about her being able to see right through people.

"No, he thinks I'm coming next week. I couldn't wait." He shrugged his shoulders and smiled softly.

"Oh fuck. Look at your face. Maybe it's not going to be better now you're here… it's going to be worse!"

"You have no idea," Patrick smirked. 

"Fuck." Stevie took in his smiling face and shook her head, and then something caught her eye over his shoulder. "He's coming."

Patrick spun around to face the front door. David was on the phone, drinking a coffee in a takeaway cup, looking up and down the street, ready to cross. He was wearing massive white rimmed sunglasses, a black sweater with a lightning bolt across the front, and pants that seemed to have a skirt over the top. Fuck. He'd forgotten. He'd forgotten the physical reaction he had to David, the way his body just started humming with electricity. He was so jittery that he couldn’t stop himself from moving towards the front door. He needed to move.

Patrick watched David scrunch up his nose distastefully at whomever he was on the phone to, clearly trying to stay calm in the face of something that affronted him. Patrick couldn’t stop himself from smiling at David’s expressive face. He finally looked up towards the gallery as he crossed the street, and Patrick saw the moment David’s mouth dropped open when he realised it might be Patrick was standing in his gallery. He saw him say, "I'll call you back" to whomever he was on the phone with. 

David used the hand holding his phone to pull his glasses off, narrowing his eyes to peer into the gallery. Patrick kept moving toward the door, unable to stop the desire that propelled his body forward. Patrick could tell the instant David was confident it was Patrick, because he blinked slowly, and then his face lit up from within, the most beautiful smile Patrick had ever seen spreading across David’s face. Patrick laughed and he thinks maybe Stevie said something, but it was unimportant in that moment. The only thing that was important was that David was so close he could nearly touch him.

David pulled on the door, opening it and his bag dropped off his shoulder on the floor before he wrapped his arms around Patrick’s shoulders without a word and pulled him in. Patrick’s hands instinctively went to David’s waist, and before he had time to process that he was in the arms of the man he had been dreaming about for the past two months, they were kissing. The feeling of David’s mouth on his was like waves of the ocean crashing over him. The power and the wild intensity that was everything didn’t know he needed until he met David. The drama, excitement and unpredictability of the ocean. Every fibre of his being felt calmed as he let David wash over him, just as he felt in the ocean. In this moment, kissing David, was everything.

He was home.