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Paint on the Colours

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Jet lag is a bitch.

It was only five AM, and David had already been awake for over an hour. There was only so much that even Xanax could do when your body thought it was one pm in the afternoon- yesterday. He’d been scrolling through his phone in the dark, checking out what his friends in New York had been doing in the past twenty-four hours it had taken him and Sebastien to fly here. Thank God the family jet was available. Even first-class commercial wasn’t going to cut it when you had to fly for twenty-four hours to your destination.

He looked across the bed at his boyfriend. Not that they had DTR, but after 3 months, it was definitely more than dating. They were entwined together. They were a team. He had come along to support Sebastien for his job, leaving his gallery in the hands of his assistant. I mean, Keisha was amazing, he trusted her no question, so that wasn’t an issue, but still, they were travelling to the other side of the world. Sebastien needed his emotional support for this job, he had said, “Your presence is the substructure underpinning the innovatory nature of my artistic vision.” Thankfully, he’d grown up around Moira Rose, otherwise, he might have needed a translator to work out that he was basically saying David was his muse.

However, somehow Sebastien was still asleep. Perhaps that’s because he’d been awake for about three days before they arrived. That man could do blow like nobody’s business. Thankfully, David had a great relationship with their dealer; in fact, probably the longest relationship he’d ever had if you didn’t count Alexis. He knew him well enough to know the cocaine he sold was pure and safe. I mean sure, it wasn’t cheap, but David was happy to know that Sebastien wasn’t going to die because he was snorting drain cleaner, or whatever. That was another reason the private jet was helpful. They wouldn’t have been able to bring as much blow into the country as Sebastien was going to need if they’d flown commercial. Without some substantial bribes, anyway. He didn’t want to risk buying it from people he didn’t trust and he still didn’t really trust Australians.

David had pretty much given up cocaine, and most other party drugs. Well, not when he went out drinking obviously, because, well, nobody needed messy David after six cosmos and a few polar bear shots. Everybody needed him upright at the end of the night to sign the tab. But he was sick of getting photographed by the tabloids sloppy, or with his eyes looking like saucers at four am stumbling out of a club. So yes, a tiny bump…. A bumpette, if you will, was fine, to stop him from becoming a sloppy drunk. But after that, he stuck to prescription medication, prescribed to him, only. Nothing illegal, thank you very much.

Listening to Sebastien snuffle in the dark he suddenly became aware of the brightness of the room shifting around him. A small sliver of golden light crept into the room through a tiny crack where the curtains were supposed to meet, falling softly on the dark walnut floorboards between the bed and the ensuite. David realized that this was probably the only chance he would get to do this, so he opened the balcony door as quietly as he could manage and snuck out of the enormous suite they were sharing.

In the peaceful bliss of the predawn, he sat in the rattan lounge on the balcony and watched the sun commence its journey to daylight; rising over the Pacific Ocean and sending a golden luminosity over Bondi beach. It was stunning. Other than the sounds of seagulls squawking up and down the beach, there was no-one else around. Orange streaks of sunlight were peeking over the water, glistening over the ocean, beginning their dance with the waves. The ocean pool below the hotel was aquamarine and contrasted against the yellow light.

David knew there was very little chance he would be awake to see it again. They were only here for a week. The only other opportunity he’d get to see it would probably be at the end of a hard night partying and then he wouldn’t be sober enough to care about it or even remember it later.

He and Sebastien had arrived last night, landing around eleven pm. Even with priority, it still took forever to get out of the airport and then into their town car. It was midnight before they even checked in. Sebastien had been specifically requested to photograph some pop princess that was headlining the Mardi Gras party.

David could admit that he had always wanted to come to Sydney Mardi Gras. Sure, it was no New York Pride, but it was still a pretty big deal. Sydney had a massive queer community. The idea of partying the night away and being able to lie on the iconic Bondi Beach to recuperate in between the night’s festivities had always appealed to him. He had seen the photos of those lifeguards at the beach… he might be in a serious relationship with Sebastien, but it couldn’t hurt to look, right? And he planned to spend some time doing just that.

Movement caught his eye and he looked down at the ocean pool that lay right beneath the hotel. The morning had barely broken, but there was enough light now to see that someone had rippled the top of the water. They must have dived in. David couldn’t understand what would possibly give anyone the urge to dive into a swimming pool voluntarily at five am in the morning. He was sure it wouldn't be pleasant. Although, even when they arrived last night it had been pretty muggy. The humidity would kill him if it stayed like this. Surely it couldn’t stay like this, it was the end of February which meant it was the end of summer here, right? He had to admit that swimming would be the perfect foil to his overall stickiness.

As the man resurfaced and started swimming, David noticed he was wearing an obnoxious red and yellow speedo, which, ew… but then his arms started moving out of the water and David realized he was doing freestyle laps of the pool. David was mesmerized. The man’s arms were strong and muscly, moving slowly and confidently through the water. As his body peeked out to turn at the end of each lap of the pool, he caught glimpses of very sturdy shoulders. Hmmm, delicious. He watched the man swim, turn and repeat for a while, enjoying the bliss of his repetitive and calming actions; it was almost meditative. David watched him for so long, he didn’t realize the sun was above the horizon until the glare coming off the water hit him with full force. He went inside to find his sunglasses, noting that miraculously, Sebastien was still asleep, and headed back out to the balcony.

With his sunglasses firmly in place, he returned to leaning on the balustrade watching the swimmer, only to notice the pool was empty, ripples moving slowly and reflecting the early light. He scanned around the immediate area and noticed a trail of wet footprints leading to… bingo! Oh yes. There he was, and oh my god, he did not disappoint; he was even hotter out of the pool. David watched the man run his towel down his legs, and even from this safe distance, David noticed his thighs were like tree trunks. Then the man stood up, flinging his towel around his shoulders, rubbing his back with the towel between his two hands. As David ogled the muscles in the man’s biceps rippling in his methodical approach to drying himself, he seemed to look up at David and pause his routine. Surely, the man hadn’t noticed him? He guessed it wasn’t that far between him and the pool, but he probably looked like he was just watching the sunrise, right?

David pulled himself away from the railing he was leaning on and lifted his arms up in a stretch, moving his eyeline to the horizon and giving himself an excuse to move. He kept one eye on the swimmer, who hadn’t resumed drying himself –he just stood still like he had become stuck somehow.  David didn’t like the idea that the guy might be watching him, so he nonchalantly wrapped his arms around himself and headed back indoors.

Deciding that he might as well try and get a few more hours sleep before hitting the pool – it wasn’t like Sebastien was emerging from his coma-like state any time soon. He crept back into bed cautiously, trying not to cause the bed to dip or shake. Sebastien really didn’t like to get disturbed when he was sleeping. He had been more temperamental than usual lately and while David was used to melodramatic artists, he was really hoping for a more relaxed holiday where they could…. Reconnect.

****

It had been a magical summer for Patrick. He’d always fantasized about leaving Canada behind, swapping the rural snowdrifts for the golden sands and sunshine. Watching all his friends and family back home dealing with snowstorms and below-freezing temperatures on social media had made him appreciate his decision to take a break from home a great deal. And the ocean. He was really enjoying the ocean. The lakes around Toronto were beautiful and calming, but the Pacific Ocean with its power and beauty was something else, it couldn’t be held back. It was a force to be reckoned with.

Patrick also loved doing the early shift at Icebergs. He had early access for daylight-breaking solo laps of the most stunning ocean pool he’d ever seen. He loved diving in to the salt water pool to start his laps, it was the first step to waking up for the day. The laps were like meditation. Watching the light change around him while he was swimming was captivating. Getting out of the pool in the peace of the early morning gave him a warm satisfaction to his core. If he timed it right (and being Patrick, he timed it right most mornings), he was able to grab a quick bite to eat and some tea at the club before the patrons started rolling in at six am.

He was the only guard on duty between six and nine in the morning, when the pool was filled with serious lap swimmers, and the biggest issue he had to deal with was one person not approving of the speed that somebody else was doing in their lap lane. After nine, he had a colleague on shift with him and although he had to deal with the social swimmers until lunchtime, it was usually just the locals and Iceberg’s members and the occasional hotel guest. It didn’t usually get that busy until the afternoon.

One of the most important parts of his move to Sydney, was that it had allowed him to explore his new lifestyle without any baggage.

Sydney was a queer mecca. Patrick had arrived at the beginning of November, managing to snag a job at Icebergs as a lifeguard, which was a club house and cafeteria for the two beachside ocean pools that sat on the iconic Bondi Beach. He also found a room in a massive share house halfway up the hill to Bondi Junction. There were six bedrooms in the early federation style house, and it was filled with a whole family of queer friends that had helped him hit the ground running. The house was big and well cared for but unrenovated, so it didn’t cost a bomb.

It was an eye-opening time for Patrick. Especially his quick and easy friendship with his housemate Hamish, who was the same age as him but had been out virtually since he could speak. He was like a check-list for gay stereotypes; camp and bitchy as hell and he even did drag at the Colombian. Patrick was a regular for his shows as it was so much fun. He loved the atmosphere and the opportunities to pick up. Patrick always did well at the Colombian. His Canadian earnestness made men want to ravish him and he used it to his advantage. With a bit of encouragement from Hamish, he now understood what he was working with.

He’d been enjoying being out in Sydney. He didn’t even need to officially come out, he just turned up and started sleeping with men, and there was nobody here to question if that was how it had always been. It had given him the confidence to be everything he wanted to be, without anything holding him back. He could be carefree in a way he was sure he would never have been at home. It didn’t matter how many men he slept with; he was never seeing them again once he left. So, when they all started talking about Mardi Gras, Patrick knew he’d be staying for the whole festival and then moving on before winter hit. His job was also only a contract until the end of March so it worked out perfectly.

Patrick pulled himself out of the pool after his refreshing swim, feeling ready to face the day. As he was drying himself off, mind empty and calm, he happened to look up and he noticed he was being watched. There was a hotel guest about three floors up on his balcony, watching him dry himself off. He froze, he wasn’t used to seeing anyone until he got inside to see Rita and Dot at the cafeteria. The man must have noticed him and he reached up into a stretch, moving his eyes to the horizon. He was long and lean and very dark-haired, which Patrick had to admit, was definitely his type. He looked pretty good from a distance, and there was something familiar about him.  Patrick hoped he might come down to the pool today, and he would get a chance to check him out up close.

Wrapping his towel around his waist, he walked into the club to get breakfast.

****

As much as David wanted to, he could not sleep. Lying in bed next to his comatose boyfriend just wasn’t working for him. He was hungry, but sitting in the room trying to quietly eat room service wasn’t appealing. They had booked a suite, and while it was large with all the amenities you’d expect of a suite, it was still just one big room. He decided to go down to the hotel buffet breakfast, then head straight out to check out the pool, and maybe he’d find that gorgeous swimming man there.

He got up, pulled on his black Tom Ford slim-fit swim trunks, a white fitted tee, and grabbed his beach towel, sunscreen, and large white framed sunglasses, stepping into his Gucci slides and heading out of the room, closing the door oh-so-quietly behind him. While he definitely wished Sebastien was awake, so they could spend a romantic morning together down at the pool, he did not want to be the one to wake him.

David walked into the hotel dining room, and while the buffet spread was excellent, he decided to go light before going downstairs to swim; coffee, fruit salad, yoghurt. And a few rashers of bacon. Protein was a good idea, right? Sebastien had noticed he had put on a few pounds over the winter in New York and he didn’t want to have those on show when he was lying poolside.

It was barely eight am by the time he got into the pool area. It was already 27 degrees, if the temperature gauge on the digital clock hanging on the wall of the clubhouse was to be believed. Sheesh, how hot was it going to get today? He started dropping his stuff onto one of the empty white lounges by the pool. Now that the sun had completely risen, he could see it was spectacular. The aquamarine water of the pool glistened, offset by the ocean behind it, and the waves were crashing on the beach, marking time in an irregular fashion.

After taking in the spectacular view, he scanned around the pool. People seemed to be doing laps. The long pool, directly to the front of the hotel was full of people swimming up and down, with various degrees of capability and varying strokes. And standing over them was the swimmer from earlier, with a red peaked cap sitting awkwardly on his head to match the ridiculous red swimming trunks he was now wearing, Icebergs emblazoned across the bum in yellow. A flash of a memory rattled through David’s jet-lagged brain. Red and yellow were the colours of a lifeguard’s uniform… of course! That’s why he was wearing the hideous Speedos this morning in the pool. The swim shorts covered up his tree trunk thighs, which was disappointing but it didn’t stop David from remembering exactly what was going on underneath them.

David removed his shirt and sat down on a pool lounge, which were all empty at this early hour, and his eyes didn’t stray from the man. He watched him from behind his massive sunglasses while he rubbed sunscreen all over his chest and legs, wondering what he would have to do to get his attention. The man must have sensed he was being watched, as he turned around a little; just a quick half spin. Then came the double-take. David smirked and raised an eyebrow. Yes. He’d been noticed.

***

Patrick took a double-take. Yes, that was the man from this morning for sure. Tall, dark, and lean.  With the quirk of that thick eyebrow and that smirk, Patrick knew the other man was interested; his face gave everything away. Great. He just couldn’t move too far away from the edge of the pool; he was on duty after all. He just had to wait for the man to come to him.

***

David watched as the man went back to overseeing the pool. He guessed that was his job and he wasn't really allowed to move too far away. It didn't matter. He was only here to look. Sebastien and he were exclusive. The man leaned over to talk to somebody who was in the pool, and Jesus, that ass was delicious. He guessed if swimming lengths of the pool worked to keep him this toned and fit, he could have conceptual understanding of why he did it. It would never be something he would do, but he was here for the rewards it reaped. The man squatted to get closer to the person he was talking to in the pool, and David got the opportunity to see those thighs in a crouching position. He'd love to see those thighs on his chest while he fucked into his mouth. Mhmm, what a delightful train of thought; a train of thought he had to change quickly. He was in danger of being more than a little turned on, and that would be inappropriate considering the size of his swim trunks.

The man stood up and walked halfway up the length of the pool, keeping an eye on everyone. Then he turned and walked back. This gave David the opportunity to check out his pecs and his abs, that were definitely defined, but still a little soft, which he liked better anyway – it was comforting. The man glanced his way and smiled at him, raking his eyes down his body, seemingly appraising David’s attributes in the same way he had been taking him in. David preened under the attention, smiled back at the handsome lifeguard, and was about to get up and go chat with him when… 

"David, there you are." Sebastien leaned over and kissed him. David stilled and glanced up at Sebastien. He was surprised to see him to be sure, and his eyes darted quickly back to the lifeguard and he watched the man’s smile drop.  Sebastien looked around and spotted the sexy lifeguard that David was now watching. "You. You work here?" he called out in a lazy but still patronizing tone.

"Me?" The lifeguard held his hand up to his chest with a look of shock on his face, looking around as if Sebastien might be talking to someone else.

"Yeah, we are going to need another lounge over here, so I can lie next to my boyfriend. And organize some drinks… I need coffee," Sebastien said with a complete lack of self-awareness while scratching his toned belly underneath his ratty t-shirt, a flash of his six-pack being visible.

David was going to die. He was waiting for the ground to open up directly beneath him and swallow him whole. He was mortified. “Oh, no, Sebastien, that's not… he's not…" He started to say, shaking his head slightly, when he heard the most gleeful, wholehearted belly laugh, and turned around to see the lifeguard almost doubled over with mirth. David wanted to disappear into his chair.

***

"Yeah, that's not happening," Patrick said, placing his hands on his hips as he raised his eyebrow at Sebastien, letting the smile fall from his face. What an arrogant tool. He looked over at the gorgeous man he’d been checking out and was pleased to see that he at least looked mortified by his boyfriend's behaviour; head hung low, not looking at Patrick anymore. But seriously, if that was his boyfriend then he was not wasting his time there, gorgeous or not.

The douche canoe kept talking. “Is there a manager I can talk to about your attitude? What sort of service staff laughs at their guests?” He pulled himself up tall, trying to make himself seem larger, he was obviously filled with self-importance and arrogance. “I could get you fired!”

“Mate. I’m a lifeguard. I work for the club and I’m here to ensure the safety of members and their guests. I’m not here to be at the beck and call of wealthy hotel….. patrons.” Patrick turned back to the pool. He’d had enough of that conversation. He wasn’t getting any further into it. What an unfortunate ending to what was shaping up to be a lovely session of checking out a new guest, and what he was hoping might lead to some flirting to distract him for the day. Hands clasped together in front of him he watched the other guests swimming laps until his heart rate settled. When he finally looked over his shoulder, he found that the two gorgeous but arrogant guests were gone.

***

“Sebastien, he’s a lifeguard! He’s not hotel staff. He belongs to that little Icebergs club. The pool is theirs. They just allow the hotel guests to use it.” David tried to reason with his stubborn boyfriend as they walked back into the building to get into the lift to the hotel.

“Whatever, David. We won’t be going back there again!” Sebastien exclaimed, waving him off haughtily.

“Are you kidding me!? I literally booked this hotel for access to that pool. It’s one of the most exquisite examples of an ocean pool, anywhere in the world, and I am not giving up on it because you don’t understand the job of a lifeguard!” David stomped half a step behind him, throwing his arms around as he talked.

“He was a tedious example of how déclassé the Australians can be. They lack elegance and charm of any kind.” Sebastien said, still sounding like he was not bothered by anything that was happening.

“Mhmm, I’m not really sure he was Australian, actually. That accent seemed a little North American to me.” David said with a small smile that he knew Sebastien wouldn’t notice. He couldn’t help but think about the man and his thick thighs leaning over the pool.

“Whatever, David. Are we going to eat breakfast, or should we just go back to the room so we can fuck before I go to my initial meeting with the P.A. of that little singing star I’m supposed to photograph?”

“Sure, let’s fuck Sebastien. I may as well get some benefit out of your little poolside display,” David rolled his eyes. He knew one thing; when Sebastien was wound up, he could be counted on to fuck David hard. And he if he still had the image of that lifeguard’s thighs in his mind while he was getting pounded by his arrogant boyfriend, all the better for David.

***

Patrick could hear the strains of Gloria Gaynor pumping through the house when he turned the lock after returning from his morning at the club. He followed the music to Hamish’s bedroom and rapped on the door. The music stopped and after a little shuffling, the door swung open to find Hamish in a skin-tight tank top, very short loose short shorts, and a pair of death-defying platform heels.

“Rehearsing?” Patrick greeted his friend with a smile and a raised eyebrow, leaning against the door frame. How Hamish walked in those things was beyond him and it impressed him no end that he could dance in them too.

“Patsy Cline!” Hamish sing-songed the nick-name Patrick had been bestowed by the household, “Yes, I’m on tonight. You coming?”

“I’ll be there, Hame, what time?”

“I’m on at ten, but there are some incredible performances tonight. It will be packed, so come in with me? You’ll do well.”

“I can’t say I ever have any problems at the Columbian, Hame,” Patrick smirked. Hamish loved encouraging Patrick to explore his slutty phase of coming out. Of course, they’d fucked when they first met, but neither was that into each other, so they had that kind of easy solid friendship that you can form with someone, knowing full well that nothing was lurking beneath the surface. Hamish had also been encouraging in helping Patrick move past his nervousness at being new to sex with men.

“You’re such a cockslut, Patsy,” Hamish teased giving him a wink, Patrick knew there was no malice at all in it, and reveled in taking power from the name.

Coming into this understanding, and being in such an enthusiastic community, was a godsend to Patrick. Not that his upbringing in Thunder Bay was prudish in any way, but it was pretty hetero-normative and the idealization of a straight monogamous relationship had kept him tied down for too long. It felt so good to fuck his way through half of the gay community in Sydney, with no judgment from anyone. He got to try things out, experience a full range of things that other people enjoyed, and was starting to solidify his own desires and kinks.

None of the men he had been with were concerned about the brief nature of their connection. Whether it was once, or a couple of times over a week or so, they all moved on happily knowing that it was sex – pure and simple. Patrick was always planning on going back to Canada, and was upfront about it. Having been in a long-term relationship for the better part of his adult life, he was so happy having this time to explore his sexuality. It didn’t hurt that he had his Canadian boy-next-door thing going on. He knew the novelty of being from elsewhere definitely helped him pull, so he leaned into it, hard. Hamish had helped him realize his best features and how to use them to get what (and who) he wanted.

“Okay- well I’m going to go have a disco nap, otherwise I’ll be asleep on the dance floor before you perform. Meet you for dinner?”

“Patsy, who are you kidding? Girl, you are never on that dance floor,” Hamish said with a smirk, his hand on his hip and a wave of his wrist. Hamish had seen Patrick dance and knew that was best saved for special occasions. “I’m meeting Marco and Killian for dinner at ‘Thai me up’ at 7.30. Sound good?”

“Cool, I’ll be ready by seven.”

He wandered up the stairs to his room and grabbed his stuff to shower to get the salt and sweat of the day off, before settling in for a nap. He loved hanging out with Hamish and his drag friends. They were all so deliciously camp and were funny and bitchy in a way that never felt mean. He always laughed so hard around him and they, in turn, adored his straight-laced energy and trolling humour.

In the shower his mind was drawn back to the couple he encountered that morning at the club. God, what a pair of pretentious assholes. He hoped he didn’t have to deal with them again.

Even if the scruffy boyfriend complained, Patrick wasn’t at all worried. He was well-liked and popular, and nobody from Icebergs, with its down-to-earth attitude, actually gave two hoots about what the patrons that came down from the hotel had to say.

But despite their entitlement, he couldn’t stop thinking about how the gorgeous dark-haired asshole had been staring at him from the minute he arrived. He was hoping he would get to flirt with him a little, tease him a bit and then head back to his room with him to fuck him senseless at the end of his shift. It wouldn’t be the first time his morning had gone that way. However, with the revelation that he had a boyfriend, and that his boyfriend was a giant dick, he knew he wasn’t going to be able to make that happen. Unfortunately, desire didn’t always work the way you wanted it to, and he still wanted to fuck the dark-haired man which was annoying. Those long legs would be in his thoughts for a while.

Patrick slipped his soaped-up hand down his body thinking of the man’s tiny black swim trucks and his long legs covered in dark hair. His hand slid down underneath his dick and soaped up his balls, imagining that smirking mouth sucking on them, licking them, and tugging at them. His semi-firm length sprang forward and was fully erect by the time he moved his fingers to encircle it. He stroked himself gently, imagining those long legs wrapped around him while his very generous cock sunk into his open hole. He imagined the way that expressive face would contort and the sounds the man would make as Patrick started sliding in and out of him.  How the man would cry out Patrick’s name as he brought him to climax by relentlessly pounding his prostate. Patrick would collapse on top of him, heart beating fast and breath raspy as he shot his load into the man’s desperate hole. It was this image that made him come so hard he actually groaned out loud in the shower. With five housemates, he was usually more careful than that, but he shook his head and laughed. Hopefully, nobody was home.

Patrick opened his eyes from his shower fantasy, and assessed the damage. He removed the shower head from its wall bracket, so he could rinse the cum off the tiles which had made it a pretty impressive distance and smirked to himself, knowing he wouldn’t have to think about the man again. Tonight, was another night, and he planned to get balls deep in somebody else. Whoever took his fancy.

Chapter Text

The Colombian

David had done his research on Sydney and after a small bump of cocaine at the hotel, and a couple of glasses of champagne to wash it all down, he was heading into Darlinghurst to meet Sebastien at the Colombian. He knew there was a drag show there every night leading up to this Saturday’s parade, and he wanted to make sure he got to see at least one show before he and Sebastien got caught up in the celebrity socializing that always happened on jobs like this. Sebastien usually met the client, got invited to private parties and that was the end of checking out what was actually happening in the city they were in. David preferred to get a sense of the city though, and feel like he had actually been there.

His uber dropped him off out the front and he could see there was already a queue. The Colombian was heaving, which he supposed should be expected this time of year. He had heard people referring to Mardi Gras here as Gay Christmas. Through the entry he could see bodies pressed into the bar and hanging out the ground floor windows. Even David Rose wasn’t arrogant enough to think that his Out 100 profile, or the knowledge that he was heir to a Canadian Video Empire, was going to get him out of the queue. He dutifully fell in line and pulled out his phone to see if there was any news about how far away Sebastien was.

As the queue solidified behind him, he took the time to watch the goings on of Oxford St; it really was a queer Mecca. There were seven-foot drag queens made up so well that Ru Paul would be proud, talking a mile a minute and screeching greetings when they ran into people they knew. He noticed an older greying couple with matching beards and leather vests, walking peacefully hand in hand and there were scrums of young queer men giggling and squawking. Pairs of women were also holding hands; from the glamorously made-up in heels and tight corporate outfits, to the leather wearing women who had decided bras were a symbol of the patriarchy that needed to fuck right off. It made him feel happy, even if he couldn’t show any outward evidence of his happiness; Sebastien had told him he looked pathetic when he smiled, too eager, so he kept his New York face on. And while it wasn’t New York, David knew he was at home here, safe and surrounded by his people, regardless of the way he decided to present at any given moment, nobody was batting an eyelid.

Today’s clubbing outfit and armour was a black mesh t-shirt and his favourite leather pants. He was slightly regretting wearing the pants, regardless of how good his ass and legs looked in them, due to the blasted heat in this country. Over the top he wore a leather harness buckled around his chest that still left his nipples and his one nipple ring on obvious display.

As he moved forward in the queue, only three people from the door now, he saw Sebastien pull up in a cab. He exited the cab and two tiny toned young things slid under his arms, one on each side. He walked up to the entry, not bothering with the queue, as the young men he was with started chatting to the doorman.

“Sebastien!” David called out, annoyed that he hadn’t been noticed and that his boyfriend had two flashy pieces of arm candy hanging off him. He was literally four feet away from him, but Sebastien was so engrossed in his conversation with the young men and the doorman, he didn’t even see David. He walked through the rope that the doorman had opened for the three of them, leaving him in the line. David groaned and leaned his head back, closing his eyes and counting to three to keep himself calm.

He knew that dating artists was always going to be complicated. They tended to be temperamental and self-involved, but he put up with it. It was enough to be a part of a partnership where he felt good about what he brought to it. He had a prize-winning gallery and was Sebastien’s muse – Sebastien needed him. He wasn’t ridiculous enough to think he was in love with Sebastien, but that wasn’t on the cards for him anyway. A solid respectful relationship with good sex and a healthy reciprocal arrangement out of the bedroom was enough for him.

Even though he was already basically at the door, it was another ten minutes before David got into the club, considering the crowds. As he entered, he scanned the room he noticed the two young men grinding up on Sebastien on the dance floor. He rolled his eyes and headed straight to the bar, dropping his black Amex behind it to set up a tab ordering a Caipiroska. It was a good cocktail to have in the heat, refreshing with the lime, and enough soda water to keep you hydrated considering it also had a double shot of vodka. As he waited for the bartender to make the cocktail he perused the bar, checking out who else was out and about and noticed…. Holy fuck, it was the hot lifeguard from this morning. He was wearing a navy short-sleeved Henley that was very snug across his shoulders and chest, and a pair of very tight dark jeans. He almost looked more delicious fully clothed, if that was even possible. His hair was just a little bit on the side of too long, which showed off his curls and gave him a boyish charm. He wanted to put his hands in it and pull.

After a minute checking him out (he didn’t want to be a creep – or get caught) he grabbed his drink from the bar and turned to lean on it, trying to work out what the fuck was going on with his own boyfriend and those annoying little dancers.

***

Patrick had come into the bar via the back entrance with Hamish and his friends, taking the opportunity to say hello to all the Queens that he knew in the back room, before moving out to the bar. The place was heaving, he loved the energy, there was always a giant cross-section of the gay community in situ, and the dancefloor was packed waiting for the show to begin. Hamish was on third, with Killian and Marco, or should he say Ivana Rimjob, Peggy Harder, and Marcy Mounty. It made him chuckle that Marco’s stage name was the same as his mom’s name, but the three of them were hilarious together. They always did a bit of hysterical banter and call-outs before performing a few choreographed songs. He loved it. By the time they performed, he had usually found his mark for the night and was busy flirting with them. By the time their act had finished, he was ready to head out with the man that would share his bed for the night. Luckily for him, most didn’t want to stay when he told them he had to be up at five am for work.

He ordered a drink and started assessing the quality of the men in the bar, and he noticed the lanky asshole from this morning on the dance floor with two very sexy and toned young men grinding up against him. They looked like dancers, their movements were precise and professional, keeping time with the strong house beat flowing through the club. The elder man was lost in the music, running his hands all over the young dancers. Patrick found the whole thing extremely distasteful. Not that he wanted to judge anybody and their preferences, but that guy seemed like such a pretentious dick, he looked super creepy with his hands all over the young men, so possessively. Anyway, he guessed it was not his problem, they were consenting adults. 

He started looking around trying to see if he could find someone interesting to approach or, have someone interesting approach him, when he noticed the gorgeous leggy man leaning up against the bar, watching his sleazebag boyfriend on the dance floor. He didn’t seem to be enjoying the show his boyfriend was putting on, in fact, he looked pretty upset. He shook his head, annoyed at himself for feeling oddly protective, but not enough that he could leave the gorgeous dark-haired man alone. He was so drawn to this man and decided he needed to know what was happening between him and his boyfriend. Maybe their relationship was open. Patrick sidled up to the gorgeous man at the bar. He looked stunning and sexy as hell in what he was wearing, his leather pants hugging everything so tightly Patrick got a very good idea of what was happening underneath them – more so than in his swim trunks. He took in the nipple ring and the chest hair under the mesh top and it made his cock twitch in anticipation. Patrick hadn’t had to deal with much rejection in the past few months.

“Hey,” he said loudly, quite close to the man’s ear. The music was loud and it was the only way to be heard. The dark-haired man was startled out of his own thoughts.

“Ummm, hi,” the guy shouted back turning to look at him, shaking his head a little to indicate he didn’t really know who he was.

“I’m Patrick,” he yelled. “We saw each other at the pool this morning. Your boyfriend was a dick? Threatened my job?”

***

David was nodding. It’s like not anything that Patrick said was untrue. Sebastien definitely was a dick this morning by the pool. “Patrick,” the man said again gesturing to himself with a warm smile. He seemed very confident and it was very alluring.

David was trying to decide which way he wanted to take this conversation. Should he address the part about Sebastien being a dick, or just carry on as if it wasn’t important. Glossing over things was a very strong skill that he had developed to move past other indiscretions, so….

“You’re a lifeguard.” David decided Sebastien’s behaviour this morning wasn’t his problem.

“I am,” Patrick replied, a small quirk flashing at the side of his mouth.

“And you are North American,” David continued.

“Canadian,” Patrick nodded and smiled just a little bit more.

“Hmmm, me too. Well originally – I live in New York now. I’m David.”

Patrick narrowed his eyes as he took in David’s face. “Hang on, are you David Rose?” David looked sharply at the man; he really hadn’t been expecting to be recognized on this trip. But given the man was from Canada, and most people had heard of Rose video, especially since it moved to online streaming, it wasn’t too surprising he’d been identified.

He decided not to confirm or deny. “What are you doing out this late? Don’t you have to be up early? For your little swim before you start?” David cocked his eyebrow. A little flirting with a good-looking man that Sebastien hated seemed like a good idea considering what he was doing on the dance floor.

“You were watching me this morning, weren’t you, David.” Patrick looked cocky, like he knew what he was working with.

David raised his eyebrow in answer, waiting to see where this was going.

“So, I was wondering, seeing as your boyfriend is out there grinding up against two dancers, does that mean your relationship is open?” Patrick said, very confidently, giving David full eye contact, and running his finger down David’s bicep leisurely. “Because I’d be open, to, well…. pretty much anything with you.”

David was taken aback. The confidence Patrick exuded was mesmerizing, people he knew weren’t usually this sure of themselves, or they wouldn’t have admitted they were actually interested in him. He was usually the one doing the asking. However, he really did prefer to be a monogamous person.

“Sebastien is just having a good time; we will be going home together.” He’d had enough experience from multiple relationships and David was finished with the idea of being one of many in his partner’s bed, separately or simultaneously.

“Oh, you think, do you?” Patrick gestured over to Sebastien on the dance floor and David glanced over to see him sticking his tongue down the throat of one of the two men.

David rolled his eyes. “Yes, yes we will.”

Patrick’s eyes widened; clearly, he was as disbelieving as David felt at this moment. What the actual fuck was Sebastien playing at?

“If you say so,” Patrick said, taking a swig of his drink.

“Sebastien is an artist, sometimes he just needs to follow a stream of consciousness until the art reveals itself to him.”

***

“Mhmm, right, right.” Patrick rolled his eyes at David. If he wanted to be treated that way in his relationship then he guessed it wasn’t really his problem. It’s not like you can understand what happens behind the closed doors of other people’s relationships anyway. “Okay, then. Have a... Have a good night.” Patrick said stumbling over his words a little and then tapped on the bar twice before moving away from David. He was unsure why he cared about this guy. David hadn’t done anything to endear himself to him, aside from some very delicious eye contact that they had at the pool this morning before his boyfriend turned up, and he needed to get this guy out of his head.

Before he moved too far away, he spotted the antithesis of David standing at the bar. Blonde, blue eyed and stocky. He was leaning against the bar looking like he was waiting to be served. Patrick walked past him and took the opportunity to check out the tight white t-shirt straining across his shoulders. He clearly went to the gym.

Patrick stopped, turned and cozied up beside him at the bar. “Can I get you a drink, gorgeous?” he said waiting for his reaction with a suggestive smile. The guy turned and smiled at him, and then took a moment to give Patrick a very obvious once over, before giving him a flirty look, pretending like he was trying to decide, tapping his chin with his forefinger before nodding and saying, “Sure handsome.”

“What are you drinking….” Patrick said leaving a blank for the guy to fill in.

“Todd. Vodka soda please.” Todd winked at him, suggestively licking his bottom lip and then running his top teeth over it.

“I’m Patrick. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Todd.” He smiled charmingly at Todd, knowing the way to get what he wanted. He was the clean-cut Canadian that they all wanted to take home and take apart.

Patrick looked up to try and find the bartender and clocked that David was still in his sights, he hadn’t really moved far enough away before finding his mark. He glanced over at him to see David was smirking at him, clearly watching him putting the moves on Todd. David raised his eyebrows at him and lifted his drink to his lips, before turning so he was side on to Patrick, and took a drink from his glass. Patrick was mesmerized watching him swallow, his Adams apple sliding down his throat. Fuck, he shook his head and turned back to Todd, who was now regarding him a bit differently.

“Everything okay, Patrick?” Todd asked quizzically. He raised one eyebrow.

Patrick moved back to his easy charming smile, knowing he had to turn it on, so he played his killer move, dropping his head with a chuckle rubbing the back of his neck, before looking up through his eyelashes. Todd’s smile came back to the vibrant and charmed one he was looking for. He needed to keep his eyes on his target. He finally got the bartender’s attention and ordered the Vodka soda for Todd and a lager for himself.

“So, Todd, are you from Sydney or are you just here for Mardi Gras?” he smiled at Todd, waiting for his answer.

“Oh, I just live around the corner actually,” Todd answered.

“Well, isn’t that convenient?” Patrick answered, with a sweet smile and a cute raise of one eyebrow. Patrick noticed the music had calmed down and the MC Ruby Lonesome had taken the stage with her mike. She was a stocky bearded man who dragged themselves up in the image of Doris Day.

The bartender returned with their drinks and Patrick turned to pay him, and while waiting for his change he noticed Sebastien had returned to David, with one young man still under each arm. David looked affronted, his demeanour guarded and hands were moving around animatedly. He didn’t look happy.

“Patrick?”

“Sorry, what?” Patrick focused back on the man in front of him.

“I asked what you were doing here? You’re clearly not from Sydney.”

“No, I’m Canadian. I’m working as a lifeguard down at Icebergs for the summer. I’m just staying until after Mardi gras.”

“Only here for a good time, not a long time then?” Todd looked like he couldn’t believe his luck.

“Something like that, yes,” Patrick said, eyes twinkling.

Over the loudspeaker, Ruby’s voice rang out with the words that Patrick was listening for. “Can everyone give a warm welcome to our next act, Ivana Rimjob!” The bar broke out into loud applause, cackling at Hamish’s stage name as he flounced onto the stage. “Performing tonight as trusty cockslut sidekick, Peggy Harder,” more screaming and applause. “…and supported by everybody’s favourite service top, Marcy Mounty…”

The three hit the stage blowing kisses to the audience and Patrick leaned into Todd’s ear and said “That’s my housemate,” proudly.

“Which one?” Todd yelled back into his ear over the ringing applause.

“Ivana Rimjob,” Patrick said with a chuckle. It was hard not to laugh every time he said Hamish’s stage name.

“And does she?” Todd said, suggestively raising his eyebrow.

“Oh yes, she always does.”

They both smirked and then giggled at the forward conversation, their eye contact letting Patrick know he was good to go. And as long as they suited each other’s preferences, he would be hopefully getting pounded into the mattress tonight. That would take his mind off David’s legs.

Leaning back on the bar and taking in the show, Patrick took the chance to look over at David without Todd noticing. It seemed that David was alone again, watching the show but looking thoroughly unimpressed. The scowl that had overtaken his face didn’t do anything to take away from David’s beauty. Patrick glanced at the dancefloor and couldn’t see Sebastien there, or anywhere else in the bar, and his heart skipped a beat for David, who looked like he was going back to the hotel alone after all.

***

David watched Patrick move away and start chatting up the gym guy at the bar. Sure, he was cute if you liked that pumped up look. Patrick looked up and caught his eye so he quirked an eyebrow at him and then gave him his best side view swallowing. He could let Patrick imagine what else he might be good at swallowing.

Just as he was about to continue the game of distracting the hot lifeguard while he was trying to pick up, Sebastien barreled over, young men in tow. Smiling at David and then ordering a bottle of Veuve Cliquot vintage Rosé, with three glasses and telling the bartender to put it on David’s Amex.

“Am I not getting a glass, Sebastien?” David arched his eyebrow at him, sipping the last of his cocktail and placing it on the bar behind him.

“Well, it depends David,” Sebastien said slowly and nonchalantly.

“On what exactly,” David tried to pull what he thought was a flirty face, instead of the annoyance he was probably showing.

“If you want to join Travis, Trent and I?” Sebastien said simply.

“I just said I wanted a glass….” David declared, throwing his arms up questioningly while looking confusedly at Sebastien and the two pretty young things.

Sebastien cocked his head and regarded him quietly for a moment, in that annoying manner he had when he was trying to imbue what he was saying with artistic meaning, so David waited patiently.

“I think that you should join us, as we reveal ourselves to each other.”

David paused for a second, narrowing his eyes at Sebastien, trying to work out what he was actually saying.

“We will drink this bottle and go back to the hotel and delight in the impermanent beauty of youth…”

“Sebastien, are suggesting that we take these two back to our hotel room?”

“Yes, David, of course!” rolling his eyes, as if it was obvious.

“But, we are exclusive!” David’s eyebrows shot up to his hairline, mouth hanging open.

Sebastien scoffed, “Wherever would you have gotten that idea, David?”

“From YOU!” David was almost screeching now, happy that the bar was so loud, nobody else was really noticing.

“Oh David, you always hear what you want to hear, but I can assure you that the strength of our relationship comes from being open… to all possibilities…”

“And how long have YOU been open to all possibilities…” David was trying so hard to keep control. He knew how much Sebastien hated when he made a scene.

Sebastien shook his head and smiled at the young men under his arms like David was being ridiculous.

“Day-vid,” Sebastien reached out and ran his hand along David’s jaw. “I have always been open to all possibilities…”

“So, you’ve been fucking other people this whole time we’ve been together!?” He narrowed his eyes as he waited for confirmation, but the realization hit him pretty quickly. All those nights when David would leave parties before him, and not hearing from him for a day or two he thought were just lost to cocaine, were actually lost to cocaine and fucking other people.

“Connecting, David, we’ve been connecting….” smiling smarmily at the young men. “Are you coming with us? Travis is fascinated with your nipple piercing….”

“No. Nope. None of that, thank you Travis,” David said quite firmly, waving his hand around Travis’ face.

“I’m Trent,” the young man said with a smile, seemingly unaffected by David’s tantrum.

“Well, then maybe we will just head back to the hotel before you make even more of a scene David. You are very good at making a scene… come on guys… he’s a good fuck but sometimes he’s just a little bit too much,” Sebastien said as he slunk off into the night.

At that moment a voice came over the loudspeaker and David looked around to notice the stage and a gorgeous bearded, chunky Doris Day type taking the stage.

“Welcome everyone to our next act, Ivana Rimjob!” the bar broke out into loud applause, cackling at Hamish’s stage name as he flounced onto the stage. “…Performing tonight as trusty cockslut sidekick, Peggy Harder,” more screaming and applause. “…and supported by everybody’s favourite service top, Marcy Mounty…”

David slunk down in his barstool, turning around to see the bartender had deposited the already uncorked $200 dollar bottle of champagne on the bar with three champagne flutes. He let him fill one before ordering a shot of vodka neat and then waving him away, which he downed before turning around to watch the show that had been announced. It seemed like he was staying, watching the show, drinking the bottle and hoping that they were done by the time he got back to the room, otherwise, he could see if they had any other room vacancies. He wasn’t missing the drag show though. He was going to have the full Mardi Gras experience, and cackling Aussie drag queens that reminded him of ‘Priscilla Queen of the desert’ were definitely an essential part of that experience.

****

As Hamish and his friends flounced off the stage, Patrick and Todd were in stitches. The act was hilarious tonight due to the number of tourists offering themselves to be roasted by the three obnoxious drag queens.

Patrick turned around to seal the deal with Todd when he noticed David again. This time he was clearly arguing with the bartender. The bartender was gesturing to the door and looked seconds away from calling security. Fuck. He couldn’t just ignore him. As much as he wanted to just have hot meaningless sex with Todd, David was clearly hammered and Patrick knew he had no one here looking out for him. He couldn’t do it. He knew Sydney’s drinking laws were tight, and if he was deemed intoxicated, he was getting sent out of the club. Yelling at the bartender was a sign of intoxication they didn’t take lightly.

Patrick put his hand on Todd’s arm and looked him in the eye before saying, “Look, I’m really sorry, but there’s a friend of mine over there and… well it looks like he’s in a bit of trouble,” jutting his chin out to indicate David to Todd. “I need to go help him out…. Can we take a raincheck?” He might not be getting there tonight but he knew better than to burn his bridges.

“Next time, gorgeous, next time. He’s a lucky friend to have you looking out for him,” Todd said with a smile, but Patrick could sense his disappointment.

Patrick leant in and gave him a quick chaste kiss; it was pleasant enough, nothing to write home about. He took a deep breath and moved down the bar toward David.

 

Chapter Text

“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.

“Patsy!”

“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?”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 4 title

David didn’t say anything, but reached over to the table beside the lounge, grabbing his t-shirt and pulling it on, still considering. Oh, he definitely wanted it, there was no question of that. But there was no way he was playing his hand that quickly. Patrick was hot, sweet and cocky, and he was here for it. His confidence was sexy as hell, and he moved through the world in a way that made space for him, without having to move others out of the way. It would make David feel better about the way things had gone down last night, like he was balancing the scales in his relationship with Sebastien.

Patrick didn’t seem like he was after him for anything other than sex either, so that was a definite point in his favour. Plus, he’d always fantasized about those hot lifeguards and so if they connected, he would be able to have those visuals tucked away for private times when he needed a little inspiration.

“Okay,” David said, shrugging his shoulders and trying to look nonchalant about the whole thing.

“Okay?” Patrick’s face lit up and he smiled so genuinely, it was disarming. David couldn’t remember anybody being so happy to have talked David into bed. Most people he had been with were trying too hard to be cool.

“Yes. They should have changed the sheets by now,” David said nodding casually and moving around on his lounge, making sure he had everything he came down to the pool with.

“Or we could go back to my place?” Patrick said, more than a little hopefully.

“Your share house?” David said, taken aback. “When we have the privacy of my suite and access to quality linens? I don’t think so,” David narrowed his eyes and shook his head very quickly dismissing the idea.

“Are you implying that my bed didn’t have quality linens?” Patrick pretended to be offended.

“I’m not implying anything. I’m saying outright,” David retorted.

Patrick laughed and stood up allowing David to swing his legs off the lounge and into his slides.

“Plus, I don’t really need your housemate banging on the walls again when I make you scream my name.”

Patrick smirked, clearly not ill at ease with David’s forward suggestion.

“What time are you expecting the wanker back?”

“Wanker?”

“Wanker. Yes. One of my favourite words I picked up here. Means someone who masturbates. However, is akin to something like….. douche canoe?” Patrick pursed his lips together looking thoroughly too pleased with himself.

David huffed out a laugh. How could he not? It was actually the perfect description for Sebastien.

“So, are we doing this?” David confirmed.

“Yes. Sounds perfect. I just have to get my backpack and get changed,” Patrick gestured to his uniform.

“Or you could leave it on? Room 313. The door will be unlocked. I’ll be in the shower. Lock it when you come in.” David raised an eyebrow in question, and Patrick nodded once, blinking slowly with a smile, looking thoroughly pleased with himself as he spun around and walked toward the club house. David watched him go until he and his compact body were out of eyesight, and started towards the hotel.

***

David stripped down quickly and jumped into the shower, wetting his hair and trying to get through his whole hair washing schedule before Patrick got there. After the salt water and the sun, he really didn’t want to miss this step of his regime, no matter how much he was looking forward to the sex.

He had the conditioner in his hair, and was soaping up his body when he heard the door of the bathroom open.

“David?” Patrick asked timidly, like anyone else would have left their hotel door unlocked.

“Did you lock the hotel door?” David double checked.

“Yes,” Patrick confirmed.

“What are you waiting for then?” The timbre of David’s voice had changed, he could hear it himself how much he wanted this man. He had wanted him since the moment he laid eyes on him.

David was standing behind the glass screen of the walk-in shower, but it was fogged up from the time he had spent washing his hair. He could see the outline of Patrick still in his red swim trunks moving toward him in the shower. As he rounded the glass, Patrick looked David in the eye and David moved his soapy hands down to encircle his own semi-firm cock, pulling his smile into the corner of his mouth. Patrick returned the wicked smile then tracked his eyes down David’s wet body that was on display, glistening with rivulets of water pouring over him. Patrick breathed in sharply when his eyes reached David’s cock being gently tugged under his own fist.

“David,” Patrick breathed out, “Fuck, you are stunning.” He looked back up into David’s eyes and the smile has gone, replaced with a look of desire David can’t remember ever seeing on another person before. With one more step forward Patrick’s mouth was on David’s, and his hand was gripping the back of his head, kissing him under the spray of the shower. The kiss was electric; it was fireworks, it was the calm of the waves lapping the coast of Lake Huron. It was immediate and never ending, and David didn’t know it could be like this.

Patrick pulled away gently, and David’s eyes sprung open to see if he was having the same reaction. But his eyelashes were fluttering, and it seemed he needed a minute more to stop feeling the kiss that already ended. As Patrick’s eyes opened, they widened as he seemed to search David’s face for answers to questions that David didn’t think existed. So, David leaned back in and Patrick surged forward and their lips met again, this time more forcefully. Patrick nipped at his bottom lip and then his tongue thrusted forward, and it was like they were fucking with their mouths. David ran his hands down Patrick’s sides but when he reached his waist, he had to pull off.

“Why the fuck are you still wearing your trunks?’ He said whispering breathlessly, eager to get back to the kissing.

Patrick’s mouth quirked up at the corner and he answered in a voice filled with the same desire David was feeling, “You said I should leave my uniform on, so I thought you might want to….. take them off me?”

“Mmmm, you might be right about that…” David said, and moved to get their lips back together as quickly as possible. He slid his hands to the front of the trucks to undo the tie. Once he managed that he pulled back to look Patrick in the eye and asked, “May I?” as he began sliding his fingers under the fabric of his shorts.

“Please,” is all Patrick could say, before David shoved them down over his magnificent thighs to check out the gorgeous cock that was now standing proud, fully erect and jutting out from Patrick’s body. David finally understood where Patrick got all that cocky energy from. The man was hung. He’d seen him in his Speedo, but only from a distance, and when they were at the pool together, he was always wearing those fugly trunks. Oh, this was going to be fun, he thought as he licked his lips in anticipation. He looked up at Patrick’s face and he could tell from his knowing smile that this was not the first time Patrick had gotten this reaction. He knew exactly what he was working with.

David pulled Patrick in by his waist so their bodies were aligned and their hips were grinding together, kissing and enjoying the feeling of each other’s bodies under the spray of the water. Patrick ran his hands through David’s chest hair and then around his waist, until they were on his ass and he pulled David's hips into his. The friction was glorious and David couldn’t take it, it was too much, he had to stop but he never wanted it to stop. He pulled back breathlessly, locking eyes with Patrick and asked simply, “bed?”

Patrick nodded but pulled him back into kiss him one last time before moving out of the shower, while David shut it off. They didn’t even bother drying off, they just walked out to the bed. Patrick dove on top of it, right onto the quilt cover and throw, and David scrunched up his face, appalled.

“No. Nope. Sorry. Up.”

Patrick looked confused and got up while David hastily pulled the cover off and threw it to the end of the bed, then did the same with the top sheet. (David didn’t understand this countries obsession with a top sheet but that was definitely an enquiry for another day).

Patrick was just standing there, watching him. Once David was done, he walked over to Patrick and pushed him down onto the bed. Patrick growled in reaction to David man handling him, grabbing David’s arm and pulling him down on top of him. Their legs entwined and their engorged cocks touched and they started kissing languidly and passionately.

Patrick ran his hand up David’s chest and took a minute to flick his nipple, the one pierced with a sterling silver ring. David pulled away from the kiss far enough to groan wantonly. Patrick smiled knowingly, like he was cataloging the reaction. Patrick rolled them over, so now he was on top. He started kissing down David’s neck, sucking at the juncture of his neck and shoulder.

“Oh my god yes, Patrick, yes.” Patrick took this as permission to bite down harder, and David couldn’t help but growl in pleasure. Patrick kept moving, kissing further down until he had David’s nipple-ring in his mouth. “S’good, Patrick…."

The fire in David’s belly needed more fuel to burn and somehow Patrick managed to sense it, running his other hand up his thigh until he was cupping his balls; playing with them gently while still sucking on David’s nipple. David moaned and panted, “Patrick,” like he didn’t know any other words. Patrick was teasing him, rubbing one finger behind his balls and skimming the briefest of touches over his rim. The desire radiated from his nipple and his cock were working him into a frenzy.

Patrick pulled back. “David?”

“Mmm?”

“I want to put my mouth on your incredible cock,” Patrick said, voice dripping with desire and want.

“Yes, yes, I want that,” David could only pant through his answers, he needed things to keep moving.

“I want you to fuck my mouth, can you do that for me?” Patrick had been in control this whole time and here he was, just handing that control over to David, trusting him, allowing David to feel safe in the situation. David’s eyes widen, he wasn’t used to people in bed just giving up control without a full kink negotiation and safe words.

“Oh my god, yes, yes, I want that,” David was practically whining at this point. ‘So needy’, he heard Sebastien’s voice in his head, and if he could, he would be worried about it, but with Patrick looking at him like he wanted to devour him, he couldn’t worry about it in this moment.

“I’ll tap your thigh if it’s too much.” Patrick said and then smiled at him softly. It was all David could do not to shout when he responded, “Mhmm, green, so fucking green.”

Patrick kissed down his body and teased him further by kissing softly across his hip, seeming to relish it, before moving across to the other side, breathing out directly over his cock. David felt his own jerk forward. “Patience, gorgeous,” Patrick said with a smirk in his voice. David melted a little with the pet name, but he was going to scream; he couldn’t take it anymore. Patrick pulled back, put one hand around the base of David’s cock and held it steadily while he slowly licked across the slit at the tip, and it felt like he was tasting and savouring the pre-cum that had gathered. He looked up at David through those stupidly beautiful eyelashes, like he was waiting until he had David’s full attention, before he sunk his mouth over David’s engorged member, sucking him in until he hit the back of his throat. He then slid his mouth back up, popping up off the top.

“Can we maybe…?” David gestured toward the edge of the bed, and although the question of logistics took a minute for Patrick to process, he was quickly seated on the edge of the bed, David standing with one leg on the floor and the other bent at the knee, foot planted firmly beside Patrick’s thigh on the bed. Patrick moved his hands around to David’s ass before saying quickly, “feel free to pull my hair” and then he slid his mouth over David’s eagerly waiting cock.

David ran his hands gently into Patrick’s gorgeous curls and then moved one to his shoulder. He then started thrusting, slowly at first. Hearing the noises of appreciation coming from Patrick, he started to move faster and harder, thrusting so far into Patrick’s throat he thought he’d wouldn’t be able to breathe.  Patrick looked up at David with eyes that urged him to keep going; Patrick’s tightening grip on his ass indicating the same thing.

David thrust harder and faster and tugged at his hair until he felt that familiar coil starting to curl at the base of his spine. He let go of Patrick’s hair, pushing him back by his shoulder, until Patrick popped right off. David groaned, “I’m gonna…”

“Face, please!” Patrick pleaded.

Always one to comply, David grabbed a hold of his cock and pumped it once, twice, three times, watching with pleasure as Patrick opened his glorious mouth and let ropes of cum land on his tongue, across his cheeks and even on his closed eyelids. Patrick looked completely blissed out and serene; it was an image David will always hold sacred. He was completely and utterly beautiful in taking his pleasure.

David stepped to the side, and collapsed on the bed, face first, feeling completely spent, but watching Patrick out of his heavy lids. He couldn’t believe this cocky but somehow generous man was in his bed. He was so delicious. Patrick fell backward on the bed, feeling around for the top sheet so he could give his face a cursory wipe down. He opened his eyes, smirked, and Patrick rolled his body on top of David’s, kissing his shoulders and up his neck.

David could feel Patrick's cock nestled between the cheeks of his ass and God, he wanted it, but he was too wrecked. “Patrick?”

“Mmmm,” he said, tongue still laving against David’s body.

“Want to fuck my thighs?” David was proud of himself for coming up with this solution. He got to enjoy feeling Patrick orgasm against him, but Patrick had to do most of the work.

Patrick halted his movement briefly, before answering with a question, “lube?”

“Bedside table.”

Patrick rolled off him and grabbed it.

***

Patrick's body was thrumming with energy. Sex had never been like this. He'd never asked anybody to cum on his face. Sure, he'd done it to other people, but the idea of somebody marking him, covering his face with a symbol of ownership, had never appealed to him. But with David. God, he wanted to be owned.

He grabbed the lube from the nightstand, where it was sitting on top, a brazen image of sexuality for anyone to see, and squirted a hefty amount into his hands.

"David, I need to…"

"Mhmm, yup, ok," David said breathlessly and he rolled onto his side with his back to Patrick, moving his legs slightly apart so Patrick could spread a generous amount of lube between his thighs.

Patrick wiped the remaining lube on his still straining member, – so hard and so ready for release – hips jutting forward under his own touch. "Ffffuck, hmmmm, David?"

"Mhmm, ready."

He laid behind David in a spooning position, running his hands down David's arms, then to his hips. He held on firmly as he slid his cock between David’s muscular thighs, and the groan that escaped made him glad they weren’t back in his share house. Hamish would have definitely been banging on the walls.

"Oh my God, David! You're incredible. I can't…"

"C'mon baby, fuck me!" David turned his head to try and kiss some part of his face and it landed somewhere between the side of his lips and his cheek before repeating his request, "fuck me, baby."

“Ungf,” Patrick exhaled and he started moving slowly. The desire was mounting swiftly and he wanted to stay here forever to enjoy the feeling of David, but he knew his self-control would only take him so far. He was so close to coming. David’s incredible ass bouncing off his hips, the feeling of his own balls against David, the muscles in David’s thighs holding him, giving him exactly what he needed. He couldn’t keep control though; he was whispering David's name on every breath.

"David, David…. Fuck… hmmpf… David!"

The desire was building and coiling around in Patrick’s stomach, moving down to his balls, and although he tried to connect with the control centre of his brain, it was offline. There was nothing he could do; the system has crashed and he had no choice as he screamed David's name and came – Really. Fucking. Hard.

"Oh my god," he panted, utterly spent.

David chuckled and loosened the grip of his thighs to roll over. Their faces were inches away from each other, and Patrick was breathing heavily into David's face. But he didn’t care, he couldn’t move.

"Fuck," Patrick gasped, eyes closed and trying to focus on his breathing.

"Mhmm, I told you," David said smugly, kissing Patrick softly. It felt chaste after everything else they had done, but warm and grounding at the same time.

"Wha…. What?" Patrick asked as he opened one eye a very tiny amount.

"Told you you'd be screaming my name."

Patrick's eyes shot open and he watched David preen. God, he was just the most beautiful thing he has ever seen, and Patrick started to laugh softly. David laughed and then they kissed gently with no urgency or desire, just simple pleasure. Until they heard David's stomach grumble.

Patrick pulled back and raised an eyebrow.

"Do you want to stay for some room service? I haven’t actually eaten since last night,” David asked.

“You slept and came straight down to the pool?” Patrick asked, still trying to recover his normal pattern of breathing.

David hummed a dismissive answer to the question, so Patrick let it slide.

"Okay. I might need a minute," Patrick said, still winded; wiped out by the force of the intense orgasm he had just experienced. Something had shifted. Sure, he'd been so much more into having sex since he started doing it with men, but this was something else. The sex they’d shared was just incredible. He felt so connected to David. So right. Some sort of residual something he didn’t know he was holding onto had been released. He felt freer, more himself than he had ever felt.

Patrick looked over at David and took a minute to really take him in. He was the most beautiful man that Patrick had ever seen, sure, but it wasn't that. He just felt secure, good and happy right now. Normally after his one night stands he felt relief? No, that wasn't right. It was enjoyable, sure, but it was never this satisfying. This bone deep contentment. He couldn't wait to do it again. After his trysts, he was never really thinking about the next time.

David scooched off the bed and turned around to raise an eyebrow at him with a soft smile, and Patrick knew that he was not the only one who just had some mind-blowing sex – he was pretty sure that he was the only one who was catching feelings, though. Argh.

"I'm going to rinse off in the shower quickly and then I'll order. Any preferences?" David asked.

"Hmmmm? No. Anything. Thanks," and he watched David’s incredible body slink off to the bathroom. Jesus. Patrick wanted to believe that now that he’d had David, he'd be able to move on; tick the box that said 'fucked David Rose', and his body and his heart would happily go back to the perfectly nice acceptable sex he'd been having since he arrived in Sydney.

But as much as he wanted to convince himself, there was a corner of his brain already scheming to make sex happen again with David; an errant idea that was scratching against all of those very sensible thoughts, irritating them and annoying them, making them move to the side. Not for the first time (and definitely not for the last time) since he met David Rose, he rubbed his face with his hands, groaning out a very soft, "faaaarrrkkk," before jumping up out of bed and heading toward the bathroom to take his turn.

***

By the time he had exited the shower, David had pulled on some very soft looking sweat pants and a snug white t-shirt, and was by the mini bar selecting beverages.

"I ordered mineral water, but do you want a soda?" David asked, looking over and tracking Patrick in the sweats and t-shirt that he wore to work that very morning.

"Sure."

"Coke or sprite?"

"Sprite please."

As David was handing him the soda, there was a knock at the door and a call of "Room service!"

David opened the door to a uniformed young man in a shirt, tie and vest, which Patrick thought particularly cruel considering the weather. He wheeled in a trolley, covered in several silver cloches, and Patrick became very aware he’d never stayed anywhere this fancy before.

"Mr. Rose, where would you like me to set up?"

"The couches please," David responded, obviously very used to this sort of service.

The young man wheeled the trolley over to the sitting area, and started pulling out cutlery, napkins, glassware and an ice bucket, setting them all on the coffee table. He added a bottle of mineral water into the ice. 

"Please just return everything to the trolley when you are done and leave it outside the door," the young man said and looked at David hopefully.

"Thank you," David said politely, shaking his hand and casually slipping him a twenty dollar note. Small town Patrick was a little impressed with how smooth it all was. But when David started pulling the cloches off the plates he giggled.

David spun around, cloche still in hand, and with a look of confusion on his face and asked, "What?"

"Are we expecting somebody else David? Are Sebastien and his friends turning up? Because I'm not sure if we need three burgers between us, onion rings, fries, mozzarella sticks and…." He wandered closer to the trolley and picked up the last cloche, raising his eyebrows and looking back at David, "Fried chicken?!"

"Well… I just didn't know what you wanted, and I got three burgers because I wanted the triple cheese, but if you also wanted the triple cheese, I didn't want to share. But if you don't like cheese, I thought you might prefer a chicken burger… so I wanted you to have a choice and then…. Sometimes people don’t like bread, so I thought I should get something else…." David was gesturing wildly towards the gourmet spread.

He looked up, brows furrowed and Patrick could see how important it was to him that he made sure Patrick had something he enjoyed. David must have seen the smile that was forming across his face because while he was definitely ridiculous, it was endearingly sweet that he cared so much. Patrick couldn’t help himself so he moved into David’s space, putting his hands on David's hips and kissed him softly. It was only a few seconds, but it wasn’t like before. It wasn’t a kiss that said, I want you, I need you. It was a kiss that said, you're ridiculous and it's adorable. It was a kiss that lovers give each other when they come home for the day. It was a kiss that Patrick hadn’t experienced with any man before, and he wanted more.  

He was so fucked.

David pulled away and smiled, before returning to the food. "I'm sorry, but while that was very nice, I am starving…."

"Sure… sure," Patrick nodded gently and dropped his hands from David’s hips.

They moved to the couch and Patrick selected the chicken burger, adding a few fries, onion rings and a mozzarella stick to his plate. Before he took a bite of his burger, he watched David load up his plate. The man was clearly very hungry.

"So, David, are you just here for Mardi Gras?" He sat at one end of the couch and tried not to read too much into when David sat across from him in the arm chair.

“Yes. Well, Sebastien got requested to photograph some pop princess? She’s the special guest for the after party, I guess? And, I’ve always wanted to come and check out the parade. It’s one of the biggest truly iconic queer festivals around the world. They do a month of events, so I thought I’d tag along.”

“A pop princess?”

“Mhmm, that’s what people keep calling her. No doubt to keep it a surprise, being a special guest and everything.”

“Is it Kylie Minogue?”

“Mmm, I don’t know, but that tracks. I'm sure I've heard her name mentioned. He was meeting her today to discuss what she wanted from the shoot. Once when we were at Chateau Marmont, Kourtney told me how Kylie Jenner tried to trademark the name Kylie for her make-up line and couldn’t get it because of her. She’s pretty massive, right? Just not so well known in North America."

“Yup, massive in Britain, Europe and especially here in her home country. Hamish would lose his shit if I told him it was Kylie. He’s been crossing his fingers and toes that it’s her since the rumour started.”

“Does he like her?”

“She’s Australia’s darling, David. She is a massive gay icon in Australia and Britain, so yeah. The crowd will go pretty wild if it’s her.”

“Are you going to the party?” David asked while shoveling onion rings into his mouth.

Patrick had just picked up his burger and was steadying it in his hands, but he looked up. He wanted to see David face when he heard this. “No – I’m in the parade though.”

“WHAT?” David's face snapped up and he looked at him with wide eyes and a smile like he had heard Mariah was the surprise guest.

“Hmmm,” he smirked cheekily. “The Surf Life-Saving Federation has a float and a bunch of queer life guards will be on the float. I thought it might be fun, a once in a lifetime chance, I guess.”

David had paused with a French fry halfway to his mouth. He seemed to be buffering with this information before he spoke. “And what exactly,” he cleared his throat, “Will you be wearing? On the float?”

“My Speedo.” Patrick let that information hang in the air, feeling pretty smug, “and maybe some body-glitter,” he finished with a shrug that he hoped came off as nonchalant.

“Ahem, that is….” David couldn’t seem to find an adjective to complete the sentence.

“It’s Mardi Gras, David. Any more clothes and I might feel overdressed?”

“Hot. It’s going to be hot.” David shoved the French fry that had been hanging mid-air into his mouth and chewed it with vigour, a look of glee filling his face.

“The parade is not to be missed, David.”

“Will you be dancing? Gyrating in your little Speedo?”

“I’ll do my best, but it’s not actually in my skill set.”

“Hmmm, with thighs like tree trunks, I guess you knew that going into it?” David replied, smirking at his own joke.

Patrick laughed out loud, throwing his head back.  David was acerbic and funny. He enjoyed him so much.

“But you're not going to the party?” David asked again.

“Well, the tickets are hard to get, and I’m not really an all-night party kind of guy. But we are having a party at my house. Hamish will be performing. He’s no Kylie, but he can be persuaded.”

“Persuaded to do what?” David asked cocking an eyebrow.

“Be Kylie.”

“Oh, does he do drag?”

“M-hmm, that was him last night at the Columbian. That’s the main reason I go. He’s Ivana Rimjob.”

“Oh my god, she was great. I mean I can’t remember the entire show, but….” David bit into his burger with gusto, making Patrick wait for the end of the sentence. David was smirking again while he finished his mouthful, and Patrick was pretty sure he was going to get roasted again, but he was enjoying it.

"But I'm pretty sure it's not the ONLY reason you go…. " David said, raising his eyebrows twice, in a comically suggestive manner.

Patrick was ready for it so he easily held his curious demeanor and said, "Well, that and cruising for cock, obviously."

David laughed unabashedly; his mouth opened wide and he threw his head back, and although Patrick could see he was chewing something, it doesn't matter. He was so fucking beautiful. He radiated joy. He could only watch him for so long; was like looking at the sun. David laughed so brightly that it almost came as a shock to Patrick when he snorted. This made Patrick start laughing which only made David laugh louder and he snorted again.

It took a minute or two before they both calmed themselves down, wiping their eyes and breathing heavily.

“Yeah, so the party...” Patrick continued once his breathing was normal. “Well, yeah, the three of them from last night will perform, and I think maybe a few of their friends. Katie, our youngest queer house mate, will DJ, plus, we have Tim and Andy that you met….”

David screwed up his face in confusion, shaking it slightly.

“But clearly you don’t remember. You met them last night in my kitchen…. They are our older generation of gays at the house so it will be a pretty fun and diverse party. There are five bedrooms at that house, and they contain multitudes. I am okay to miss the official after party.”

"Sounds fun. I can't imagine living in a house like that."

"Like what?'

"So full of people."

"Do you live with Sebastien?"

That comment drew a laugh from David, but this one was not joyful. It was cynical and drew a dark cloud across David's face. Patrick wished he hadn't said anything. He was enjoying the relaxed happy David.

"No. No, that's not…" David seemed to want to choose his words carefully. "Just no. We …."

Both of them froze as they heard a swipe card in the door and it swung open.  Sebastien walked in and only as the door clicked behind him, did he look up and notice the two of them.

“Sebastien…. I didn’t…. I didn’t expect you back….” David stuttered out.

Sebastien scoffed, quickly taking in the bed still in total disarray, then looking back at them both, barely any acknowledgement of caring on his face. Patrick could see that he is the antithesis of David, who cannot keep his emotions off his face. He sighed and nodded slowly at them, leaning back and lifting up the hem of his shirt to scratch his belly, contemplating what was going on.

Time stretched out like taffy. Patrick could not sit in this awkwardness.

“I should go.” Patrick jumped up collected his backpack, searching for his slides. He kept looking back at David for something. Anything. All he wanted was a sliver of hope that perhaps he wasn’t the only one that had felt this was bigger than how it started. But David’s head was hung, looking down at his lap and playing with his silver rings.

Sebastien started speaking as if Patrick wasn’t there, “David, really? This guy? Why would you lower yourself to the help? You never did have any self-esteem did you?”

Patrick wanted to punch him in his smarmy face, but David just shrugged and let Sebastien’s condescending comments lie between them as if they were a brick wall. He was used to being with people just for sex, but was not used to those people being embarrassed about it. He knew Sebastien was a douche, but he really thought that after their afternoon together, and Sebastien’s behaviour the night before, David would have made a little more effort, after-all, Patrick had kept him from falling under a bus.

“Wow. Thanks, David.” Patrick said with disappointment and contempt.

David looked up with glassy eyes, and Patrick spun on his heel and stormed out of the room, his shoulder barging into Sebastien just a little, enough to make him take a step back, but not enough to knock him off his feet.

 

Chapter Text

In the few hours that he had spent with Patrick before Sebastien had returned to the room, David had almost forgotten that Patrick was not for him. Patrick was just for now; he wasn’t someone that would take him seriously. David didn’t get to have cute, funny guys, that were super sexy and nice. Share houses and house parties and house mates that banged on the walls; that wasn't the world he lived in, and could never be.

He was with Sebastien and it was a sensible decision. It made sense. They made sense together. They moved in the same circles, they came from the same sort of families, it was easier this way. Sebastien needed him for his support and to inspire him, and Sebastien could deal with him being too much.

But oh my god, he was so embarrassed.

Patrick had made the whole afternoon more fun that he could remember having in….. Nope, he couldn’t remember the last time he had that much fun. Maybe with Alexis when he was still in high school? There were nights when their parents were away and he didn’t want her to be afraid, so they would do makeovers in his bedroom, like the middle school sleepovers they didn't get invited to, and sing into a hairbrush pretending to be Madonna, or Mariah. That was probably the last time he could remember laughing as much as he had that afternoon.

Which… it was a bit weird that he wasn’t even thinking about the sex, right? The sex was delicious, a shared experience that had left him wanting more, but it wasn’t even the first thing on his list that he liked about Patrick.  How was that even possible? He barely knew the man. Anyway, he thought, shaking out his distracted brain, so he could be the David Sebastien expected him to be. Time to turn himself back on.

“Sebastien, what are you even doing back here? I thought you were meant to be shooting all day,” he said with a disaffected air, like he hadn’t just been caught out with a lover.

“Clearly….” He said with barely a raise of an eyebrow, walking over to the couch to make himself up a plate out of cold leftovers. I mean Patrick wasn’t wrong, he had ordered a lot of food, even by his standards.

“So, why are you back so early?”

“Hmmm, what?" Sebastien seemed to barely even register he was still there, let alone care that he had been entertaining a guest all afternoon. "There is a party tonight. Get yourself red carpet ready. It’s the pre-parade event. All the A-list crowd will be there to open the Mardi Gras festival. Although you can hardly call what passes for celebrities in this country A-listers, but I need to develop a better artistic vision with the artist, to understand how she would be best presented to the world,” Sebastien finally looked up at him and gave him a measured once over, cocking an eyebrow like he was considering something.  "I'm glad I came home early, and that you will have… time… To get yourself ready."

What was Sebastien even saying? He looked sun kissed and relaxed, didn't he? He stood slowly, not wanting to indicate to Sebastien that what he said had touched a nerve.

"Okay. I'll just shower then. Is there a theme? A guide for what I should be wearing?"

"Wear a suit. I need you to look impressive," Sebastien drawled, waving his arm around but barely looking up from his meal.

Okay, this was what he was here for. To be seen on the arm of one of the world's most in demand photographers. To make Sebastien feel good and support him. He was his muse after all. If Sebastien needed him, he could easily put the thoughts of that cocky lifesaver behind him.

***

Patrick was barely in the door of the share house before he was accosted by Hamish.

"Patsy! I need you!" Hamish whined, looking more panicked than Patrick had ever seen him.

"Whoa. I'm barely in the door," Patrick said, putting his hands up in mock surrender.

"It’s just …. I've been invited to perform. WE have been invited…. you know the three of us, have been. Tonight. At the Intercontinental Hotel. It's a very fancy pre-Mardi-Gras party. The original drags got food poisoning or something... Will you be our roadie?" Hamish was wringing his hands and looking at him pleadingly.

"Oh, Hame, it's been a tough day. Not sure I'm up for it." Patrick rubbed his face, he needed space to sort out his head and his feelings.

"But Patrick! I need you!" Hamish was insistent.

"I just…. " Patrick dropped his hands and sighed.

Hamish seemed to finally click that his friend was not exactly himself, because he stopped pushing and really looked at Patrick, circling his hand around in front of Patrick. "Okay, pause on my thing. What's happening over here? This is not your usual face after hooking up the night before."

"That was NOT a hook up last night," Patrick said firmly.

"I distinctly remember banging on your wall this morning. It was early but… I remember now. Were you arguing with your hook up this morning? And he stayed? You usually convince them to leave…" Hamish was looking decidedly confused.

"Not a hook up," Patrick grimaced.

"What was it then?" Hamish questioned.

Patrick knew that Hamish could be counted on to cut through anything. His no-bullshit approach to life was something that Patrick needed sometimes, so he decided to tell him the abridged version everything. "There was a guy at the Colombian last night, that I had met earlier at the pool, and his boyfriend was there, hooking up with a couple of much younger men…"

"As in, more than one?" Hamish questioned.

"Yep. Right in front of him," Patrick shook his head. "Turns out the guy didn't know he was in an open relationship."

“Ouch. Sucks to be him.” Hamish was wide eyed but smirking, he loved a good bit of drama.

"Anyway, he got smashed, and was about to be thrown out of the club, so I brought him back here to sober him up. He doesn’t know anyone else."

"Then why were you arguing?" Hamish looked confused.

"Honestly? He's a bit of a pretentious asshole. Once he sobered up, I think he was embarrassed I had to look after him." Patrick shook his head.

"So, you didn't hookup?" Hamish looked very confused.

"Well…. " Patrick rolled his eyes and couldn't stop the smile that crossed his face when he thought about the afternoon of glorious sex.

"You didn't sleep with him while he was drunk, Patsy?!" Hamish looked appalled.

"Hamish! I would never!" Patrick said, eyes wide.

"Okay, sorry, just had to check…." And with a flick of the wrist, Hamish gestured for him to continue.

"He came back to the pool this morning and he was….” Patrick realized David hadn’t apologized or even indicated he had been sorry for not appreciating everything Patrick did for him. Wow, he really couldn’t be upset about his behaviour. It’s not like he didn’t know what he was getting into. What was he thinking? “Hmmmm… He is just so fucking gorgeous…."

"And…?" Hamish questioned.

"He's staying at the hotel above the club. I suggested he might like to even the score with his boyfriend…. So, I went back there and… well, I just came from there," Patrick said with a sheepish look on his face. “And, I don’t know. It’s not like he wasn’t everything as advertised on the box. But after we…” he paused; he really didn’t want to say connected again.

“Fucked.”

“Yes,” Patrick dropped his head in embarrassment. As cocky as he could be in the moment, he wasn’t really one to kiss and tell. “He ordered room service and it was really fun. It’s like he dropped his guard and we got along really well. It was the best date that wasn’t a date that I’d ever been on.”

But he has a boyfriend.” Hamish stated “Not your usual M.O. Patsy.”

“Yes. The boyfriend turned up and David basically ignored me. And Sebastien was such a dick, not just to me, which wouldn’t bother me, but to him!”

“Sebastien is a dickish name,” Hamish said contemplatively, tapping his chin with his forefinger.

“I know,” Patrick said raising his eyebrows.

“What are you going to do about it?” Hamish gave him one last push.

“Nothing. I don’t know. I want to see him again. He deserves better than that dick.” Patrick’s voice was laced in frustration.

“Unfortunately, that’s something people have to work out for themselves,” Hamish said simply.

“I guess you are right,” Patrick sighed in resignation.

“Sounds like you need a distraction….” Hamish’s mouth began to twitch at the corner and he raised his eyebrow.

"Okay, all right, back to you. What’s your thing?”

"Patrick. The performance tonight…. There's a rumour she'll be there!"

Patrick had to stop for a second and tried to circle back to what Hamish was talking about before he’d started explaining about David. He had never seen Hamish look so excited. He was pretty much unflappable, and well, he looked…. Flapped.

"Who?" Patrick asked as he shook his head.

"Her royal highness the princess of pop. The Impossible Princess…… Miss Minogue!"

"Kylie Minogue is going to be at this party?" Patrick was a little surprised himself. Hamish had spent so much time talking about her, he was excited for his friend.

"And I'm going to perform for her! Argh! We need you there to keep us from teetering over the edge. I will literally pass out into the crowd. Your little straight-laced vibe will keep us all grounded."

“I don’t know…” Patrick wanted to wallow, but to what end?

Patrick could never run away from being helpful,  and he could tell his friend could sense that his guard was down, “Pleeeaaaase Patsy?” he said, fluttering his eyelashes and running his hand up his chest flirtatiously.

Patrick laughed at his friend’s antics. "Okay, okay, I'll come. I'll need a nap. What time are we leaving?"

"Nine? You've got a few hours."

Patrick headed off to shower before he got into his bed, but couldn't stop his thoughts from running away from him. What the fuck even was that with David?

Sure, he knew he had a boyfriend, and that his boyfriend was a giant douche canoe, but the way he shut down when Sebastien arrived? It was as though all the time he had spent chipping away the pretentious exterior had been a complete waste. Patrick didn’t care at all that Sebastien had referred to him as ‘the help’. What he cared about was the way he used that fact to belittle David, and David just sat there and took it like he deserved it. The same way David had thought he was in an exclusive relationship until the night before. It had clearly upset him seeing Sebastien with those dancers, but he had brushed it aside this morning like it didn’t matter what he wanted; like he didn’t get a say in his own relationship.

Patrick remembered feeling that way. He remembered his on and off again relationship with Rachel, and while it was a good relationship, they were respectful and generous with each other, he often felt like he didn’t have a say. It didn’t come from Rachel, just society as a whole telling him what was 'normally' expected of people; that he always felt he had a certain path.

He only proposed because he thought that was what everyone expected of him, especially Rachel. However, he guessed if he hadn’t done that, the pressure would never have made him crack and break it off. He still hadn’t told anyone that he had finally figured out why he couldn’t get married.

An overnight work thing in Toronto, had led to a drunken solo night out at a bar, contemplating his impending marriage. Four beers in he was making out with a guy who’s name he still didn’t know, but had clearly grasped he was gay before Patrick realized it himself, and had hit on him quite brazenly. He had complimented the way his sweater ‘brought out his lips’ and offered to buy him a drink, and it had set him alight with a fire that he didn’t know his body could even feel.

Patrick knew that if it wasn’t for that night, he wouldn’t be here. He would have slunk back to Rachel, again, no matter how much he knew it wasn’t right, because he just didn’t know what was right. Thankfully the idea of being somewhere else, where nobody knew him, where he could make his own decisions with no expectations came to him, and he knew he could get a working holiday visa in Australia, so he went for it.

But David – with his life under the microscope – didn’t have an opportunity to step away from what was expected from him. And like most people in awful and abusive relationships, David probably thought he deserved it.

***

David had worn a skirt. If he was going to wear a suit in this heat, he was wearing a skirt. Thank goodness for Thom Browne. He wore his sketch print pleated suit skirt. He hadn’t brought the matching boots with him, but he preferred it with his black combat boots, white socks with black stripes across one; he looked good. He was happy with his suit, a bit femme and out there, but still classic. Enough to stand out while fitting in at a party celebrating the queer community.

They had walked the red carpet together, Sebastien in a black Valentino smoking suit, with an oversized bow tie and black and white loafers. He and Sebastien looked hot together; like the very important power couple that they were, and it took approximately 87 seconds for Sebastien to drop his hand once they arrived inside the party, with excuses of finding the team he was working with and ‘why didn’t David get them drinks?’

Which… there were servers everywhere with trays of drinks, but he guessed this way he could get himself a Negroni to start the night before he moved onto champagne. By the time he found Sebastien again he had finished his Negroni and had grabbed a glass of champagne, anyway. Unlike when they went to parties in New York., where David knew everyone, unless he didn’t and they knew him. Everybody wanted to talk to him, because everyone wanted a piece of him. Here, he may as well be a nobody, there was no-one that he knew here other than Sebastien.

"Sebastien," David said, handing him his old fashioned. He moved his now empty hand onto Sebastien's shoulder and leaned into him possessively, smiling at the small group gathered around him. "Hi."

"Day-vid. This is Adriana, she's the stylist on the shoot, this is Ryan, he's another one of Kylie's dancers, Travis you've already met and this…." Sebastien stopped, smiling warmly and dropping his head like he was flustered, "is Kylie."

David had nodded politely at everyone else but held out his hand to Kylie, which she took. They gave each other’s hands a little squeeze in lieu of a handshake. "So nice to meet you. I've heard many wonderful things about you." It wasn't like Sebastien had told him anything good, but he knew her well enough to be the good socialite his mother raised him to be.

"And how do you know Sebastien?" Kylie asked, looking happily between the two men.

David was a little taken aback, but guessed when Sebastien was working, he was being professional. He probably didn't mention he was here with his boyfriend.

"I'm Sebastien's bo…."

"He's my gallerist in New York, we work together. He likes to support me when I travel," Sebastien said, talking over the top of him.

David tried not to let his face drop but he knew how well his face telegraphed his emotions. Damn eyebrows. He saw Travis whisper to Ryan and they both giggled. David watched them, eyes flashing between the two men.

Kylie looked extremely uncomfortable and tried to break the tension that had quickly descended upon the group. "Oh, that's nice of you. What kind of gallery do you have?"

David cleared his throat and gave her a small smile of thanks. She had obviously been given full socialite training as well.  "I have a contemporary gallery on the east side. I specialize in performance pieces, we recently had Janet Kempflugen in residence for a month, however at the moment I have a video artist, Valencia Isagawa. Their pieces celebrate their upbringing, which are a comment on the cross-cultural heritage hierarchies that affect our world view living in New York, and how they, in turn, control gender bias."

"Sounds amazing!" Kylie said genuinely. "I'm in New York next month, I'd love to come in. Do you have a card?"

"Of course," David said and he slid one out of from the inside of his breast pocket and handed it to the pop princess. He really could see why she was Australia's darling. She was absolutely charming.

"Thank you so much, David. I'll be in touch, I've got to…" and she signaled a circle to indicate she had to mingle.

"Yes, lovely to meet you Kylie," David said, waiting until she and Andrea had taken two steps away before spinning to Sebastien and raising his eyebrow. "I'm going to get another drink, Sebastien," David said icily and strode away. What the fuck was that?!

It's one thing for him to invite other people into their relationship, but to deny they were even in one? David knew he looked hot, there was not a hair out of place, what else did Sebastien even want from him? He stood behind a few people at the bar seething quietly, waiting to take his turn, when he heard Sebastien's name and realized it was the other dancer from the night before, Trent. He was giggling with another man at the bar and David was not above eavesdropping.

"Yes, Seb said that he is just so hung up on him, that he pays for everything. Like a sugar daddy, and he's not even old old, I mean he's pretty old, like maybe forty? But already having to resort to being a sugar daddy? Oh em gee. Trying to make himself seem edgy and femme by wearing that funky skirt…" Trent and the other man giggled again and so David cleared his throat, raised his eyebrow and waited for the men to turn around.

Their faces dropped in slow motion as they realized they had been heard.

"I'm thirty-one actually, two years younger than Sebastien, no matter what he told you. And this... is not funky," he said, making a circular motion, indicating his outfit. "This is luxury. Clearly something you'll never have any knowledge of."

With that, David turned and walked towards the nearest fire exit, grabbing two glasses off the tray of a waitperson on the way. He stumbled into the dimly lit alleyway, the fire exit doors barely slamming behind him before he had downed the first glass of champagne. He threw the flute against the opposite wall of the alleyway, watching it smash and yelled "FUCK!" then sank back against the wall of the hotel, without even thinking about his suit. He gained some satisfaction looking at the flute, thinking he was not the only thing smashed into a billion pieces.

"Why am I so stupid!?" He chastised himself, "What the actual fuck was I thinking?! Argh!" and he stomped his foot like a petulant child.

"David?" A voice came from the other end of the alleyway and a shape moved into the street light, so all he could see was an outline. He knew that voice though, and the stocky outline confirmed it.

Oh, holy mother of all that was holy…. It couldn't be? Really? David wished the ground would open up and swallow him whole. The mortification that he was feeling swelled to a whole other level.

"Seriously Patrick? How are you present for every single fucking embarrassing thing I put myself through?" David hung his head and closed his eyes, hoping if he screwed them up tightly enough it would all be in his imagination. Patrick couldn’t be here, could he? David looked up again. He was definitely here.

Patrick approached him slowly with the care one would take around a skittish animal, a half-smile on his face, gentle and kind, and David was done for.

"Just lucky, I guess…. What's happening here, David?" Patrick said, so calm and collected, just leaning up against the wall next to him. He was wearing a grey patterned shirt, with sleeves that weren't really short enough for the style, but they did fit snugly on his biceps, so there was that.

“God, this is embarrassing enough, I don’t know if I can even tell you without melting into a puddle,” David said softly.

“Okay. Sure. More embarrassing or less embarrassing than almost falling under a bus, or throwing up while I watched,” Patrick said with a cheeky smirk.

“Oh FUCK. You watched me vomit? Why the fuck would you watch me vomit?” He rolled his eyes and covered his face with his hands.

“It’s a share house. I didn’t want to have to clean it up,” Patrick said with a giant grin and David wondered how he could be so nonchalant about it?

David shook his head. “Not that it will come as any surprise to you, but… I’m so stupid!”

“What?” Patrick moved in front of him and the cheeky look dropped from his face, replaced with a look of pure incredulity. “Why would you say that?”

Patrick put a hand on each of David’s biceps to support him without being overly touchy and David couldn’t help but spill his story to this man. "I just met Kylie, and Sebastien introduced me to her as his 'gallerist’ and then…” he took a deep breath, “when I stormed off to the bar, I was in line behind Trent…”

“Was that one of the guys from last night?” Patrick raised one eyebrow questioningly.

“Yeah, he’s one of Kylie's dancers….” David nodded in confirmation

“They looked like dancers…” Patrick seemed happy to have his conclusion confirmed.

“Yup, so anyway! Back to me, literally pouring my heart out to you….” David said dramatically.

“Sorry David, continue…” Patrick said, gesturing with his hand.

“I overheard him telling another dancer that I was pathetic and Sebastien's sugar daddy....” David dropped his head again. Was his life always like this, he just hadn’t noticed before?

“Aren’t sugar daddies usually older?” Patrick said, looking genuinely curious.

“He thought that I was forty, Patrick, FORTY!” David's hands were flailing at this point, Patrick must have thought him a lunatic.

Patrick sighed and looked at David with a look so soft he didn't really know what to do with it. “David, why do you go out with him? The guy is clearly a dick, and you’ve what? Paid his way?”

“Well, yeah, I guess.” David shrugged his shoulders.

“Why?" Patrick looked incredulous.

Why wouldn’t I?” David screeched back at him, throwing his hands in the air.

“He treats you like dirt and you let him.” Even Patrick was getting frustrated with him. Great.

“Patrick, it’s just the way it is,” David sighed. “I have money and so I help my friends out. Sebastien… Well, I know it’s not love, but it’s the best I am going to get, I just really didn’t think he was as callous as he is. I thought he actually respected me too, and we had a sensible, mutually beneficial arrangement.”

“And what exactly do you get out of it?” Patrick said, raising his eyebrows. “Because all I’ve seen him do is belittle and embarrass you. And what do you mean ‘the best you are going to get’? David, I have only been in your presence for two days, and even I can see that you are worth more than that dick is ever going to give you.”

A small amount of hope flashed from somewhere within David. “You think you mean that don’t you? Dear, sweet man," David took that hope and squashed it back in the box of dreams he only opened when he was alone. "Even you would pretty quickly work out that I'm too much once we spent more than 48 hours together.”

“If there is one thing that I know, is that if we keep expecting things to be a certain way, they will continue to be a certain way.” Patrick shook his head. "Somebody else helped me out of my comfort zone recently, maybe I could do the same for you?"

“I just… I just don’t know what to do…” David hung his head.

“Do you want to be with Sebastien?” Patrick asked. It was a pretty direct question.

“No…but…” David looked up at the same time he threw his hands up.

“No buts.” Patrick grinned cheekily. “I have an idea…. Are you okay with him getting publicly humiliated?” he said, biting down a smile.

“Am I? What a question?! As long as I get to watch!" David's mouth started to quirk up at the edges, but he bit the smile down. He was getting his hopes up. He’d been embarrassed enough on this trip and in this relationship.

Patrick held out his hand to David. “Come with me, I think we need to go and talk to Ivana.”

“Ivana Rimjob?” David questioned.

“Maybe later David, but we have some things to do first…”

 

 

Chapter Text

Kylies

Patrick dragged David to the back stage area where Hamish, Marco and Killian were getting ready. They were already completely ready and just primping in front of the mirrors. All three were dressed as different versions of Kylie, and they looked ah-ma-zing. Hamish was wearing a firm fitting gold sequined dress, the sequins dangling so when he moved, it was  like being in the presence of a  disco ball.

"Hamish!"

'Ivana darling. You know the rules, face on, name on!"

"Right, sorry. Ivana…."

"And who is this tall, dark handsome stranger?" Ivana said suggestively, raking her eyes over David. "Punching above your weight there, Patsy!"

"This is David. We need your help."

"Oh…. David!" Ivana said, again suggestively and with a little shoulder shimmy. "The pretentious asshole from the pool…." Ivana's eyes sparkled, more brightly than the sequins on her gown, she knew what she was doing.

David laughed out a shocked laugh, but he was well versed in the 'straight for the jugular' humour of drag queens. "I mean, you're not wrong!" he said, returning her shoulder shimmy.

"I see what you mean though, Patsy," giving him a salacious wink.

"What?" David asked looking back from Ivana to Patrick.

Patrick coughed and then said, "We don't have time for that right now. Ivana, do you mind…. Picking a target for us tonight?"

A broad smile spread across Ivana's face and she looked to David, then back to Patrick, cupping her friend’s cheek  with her perfectly manicured hand and batting her ridiculously long false eyelashes. "Anything for you, Patsy Cline!"

***

"Okay, David, you ready for this?" Patrick asked. David looked nervously back at him. He looked confused and shy. Nothing like the arrogant man Patrick had met at Icebergs.

"Why are you doing this, Patrick? Aren't you sick of saving me? We’ve known each other two days, and this is the third time you’ve saved me from myself."

"More like saved you from Sebastien. All you’ve done is express valid human reactions to being treated poorly by the person you thought was your loyal boyfriend.”

"But why?" David asked softly.

"Yes or no, David? The girls are about to go on, you've got to get out there!"

"Yes… yep, okay," David kissed Patrick quickly (and unexpectedly) and said, "thank you, I don't deserve this," before running out the side door, and hurrying to find Sebastien in the crowd.

***

What David needed to do was get Sebastien to the front near the stage. It was an event room, not a theatre, so the lights wouldn’t change when the queens went on, but he needed him as close as possible to the stage. He found Sebastien, flanked by his pretty young things, who gave David stink eye the minute he arrived and started talking to him. Whatever… a pair of twinks didn’t scare him.

It was easy enough to get him to the front of the room. He claimed his time away from Sebastien had been used to meet and get to know the editor of British Vanity Fair, and Sebastien was so poorly read, and so vain that when David made up her name on the spot and called her Madelaine Waistcoat, he didn’t even bat an eyelid.

“Of course, David. Trent and Travis, you’ll have to excuse me for a moment,” Sebastien said, running his hand suggestively down Travis’ shoulder and squeezing his bicep before walking away.

Once they got to the front of the room, the crowd was pretty thick and David made quite the show of trying to spot the imaginary editor.

"Oh, that’s strange, they seem to have disappeared… but look! Here's Kylie!" David said with a flourish, trying to distract Sebastien and keep him at the front of the room.

"David! Sebastien! Are you having a good night?" Kylie asked as if they were old friends.

"M-hmm, I'm looking forward to the drag show," David said biting his lips into his mouth. He was a terrible liar, he needed to keep it together. He saw a waitperson with a tray of champagne so he took a glass for himself and Kylie, passing her one.

"Oh, me too!” Kylie said excitedly, accepting the glass of Champagne, “I love drag."

"Drag is such a terrifyingly important statement about the status of the queer movement," Sebastien said, not even looking at either of them, just looking around smugly, like other people were listening to him. Which they weren’t. Nobody really knew who he was here, aside from Kylie’s people, and that was just because he spent the last two days working with them.

David noticed Kylie rolling her eyes and stifled a giggle.

She motioned for David to lean down and she whispered in his ear, "How do you put up with him? I mean sure, he's an okay photographer, but…. What a wanker!"

David burst out laughing and Sebastien finally looked at them both. Luckily at that point the music faded out and the overhead speakers started up, a loud tongue in cheek announcement booming across the room.

"Ladies, gentlemen and non-binary people, everybody and everyone, and that includes all the Queers…. Please welcome to the stage, Kylie's Kissing Cousins!"

Kylie shouted, "Oh My God!" and covered her mouth while the rest of the room dissolved into laughter and applause as the curtains pulled back, and out strode Patrick's friends, looking as much like Kylie Minogue as possible, considering they were all more than 6 feet tall in their very high heeled platform shoes.

Ivana had the microphone first and stormed to center stage, waving with her other hand. "Darlings! Daaarrrlings! So good to see you all…." She was blowing kisses to the audience dramatically, until she spotted David and winked. "I'm Ivana," she said demurely, until she was interrupted by Peggy Harder.

"Ivana who?" Peggy called out, looking confused.

"Ivana Rimjob!" Ivana said comically, slowing down her first name so that everybody could enjoy the joke.

"Oh sweetie, maybe later? I don't think this is THAT kind of show…." Peggy called back theatrically.

The crowd howled with laughter and Ivana gave an exaggerated open-mouthed wink to the crowd. They were lapping it up.

"And joining me is the Queen of back door pleasure, Peggy Harder!" Ivana was commanding the crowd, she had everyone’s attention

It was Peggy's turn to curtsy and throw kisses to the crowd. "Hello, Darlings! My reputation proceeds me I see…. Everybody thinks I’m promiscuous, BUT I’m NOT," she said, pretending to be insulted, holding her hand up to her chest. “You can ask all the men I’ve slept with, there are hundreds, they’ll stand up for me….”

More laughter and cat calls came from the audience, David was very impressed with Patrick’s friend; she was the ultimate show person. He wondered if they did a version of Ru Paul’s Drag Race in Australia, - she should get onto that.

"And last but not least…. everybody’s favourite service top, Marcy Mounty!"

“At your service,” Marcy said saluting to the crowd, and then started pointing out to the crowd, “And yours, and yours and your service, too!” and she completed a spin with her arms in the air by way of introduction.

"So, it's no secret why we are here tonight….” Ivana took back control of the show with her two friends flanking either side of her, “To celebrate Australia's reigning Queen, we all bow down to the Impossible Princess, Her Royal Highness, Miss Kylie Minogue!" The audience went wild. David was pretty chuffed to be standing right next to her as the flashes all went off, but was pretty sure he was the nobody getting edited out of those snaps before they got to press. Or social media, probably just socials. Kylie blew the drag queens a kiss, and after Patrick had told David about how much Hamish adored her, he was super impressed with how Ivana was keeping it together, actually.

"So, Darling…. We heard you were being photographed by an illustrious world-renowned photographer? All the way from New York….. Sebastien Raine?" Peggy asked Kylie directly, and she smiled and nodded in confirmation, gesturing toward Sebastien.

Sebastien's head snapped up and he looked around anxiously at being singled out by the Queens. Kylie nodded along; she was nothing if not comfortable in front of a crowd. Sebastien however looked nervous. He did not like to be made a fool of.

"Hmmmm, renowned, or infamous, what do you think Marcy?" Peggy said, screwing up her face. “Maybe he could be my next conquest? I’ve heard he’ll sleep with anything and I’m running out of options…”

"I don't know Peggy, from what I heard…" she touched the side of her nose and winked like she was telling the crowd a secret… "he only has all those long lenses to cover up the lack of anything else being long…. If you know what I mean?" Marcy widened her eyes and pursed her lips over her microphone.

Sebastien spat out his drink, and Kylie and David were doubled over laughing instantly. Oh, this was too good!

"Darling, we ALWAYS know what you mean…." said Ivana, taking the lead again. “Sebastien? Sweetie?” Taking a moment to ensure that he was looking right at her, she continued, “I think you might need to make alternative arrangements for your accommodations my darling, your bags will be packed and waiting in the hotel lobby in the morning…. David is done with you. Bye, bye!” She blew him a kiss and a cutesy little wave.

That was David’s cue, and so he turned and tipped his glass of champagne over Sebastien’s head. Everybody was already looking his way after the Queens had drawn their attention to him, and there was a collective gasp. Kylie was laughing her head off.

“Okay, so here we go, Kylie. We apologise for not starting off with something of yours, but we just have a little song that was especially requested for Mr. Raine…. Hate to rain on your parade, Sweetie….”

The very well-known piano refrain started and it was one that any self-respecting member of the LGBTQI+ community would know….

At first, I was afraid, I was petrified

Kept thinking I could never live without you by myself my side….

 

****

Sebastien was spluttering and complaining about being drenched, he looked completely outraged. Travis and Trent had appeared from nowhere and were blotting him with napkins, trying to calm him down.

David had a few choice words of derision prepared but decided to leave him to his thing. He didn't owe him anything. Sebastien had taken and taken from him, and he would not let him take anything more. He did his best to remain steady on his feet as he blew a kiss to the Queen's and nodded to Kylie, who gave him a little wink, before walking with his back as ramrod straight as possible, his head held high as the chorus rang out across the room, "I will survive…. I will survive!"

***

David pushed through the back stage doors to find Patrick waiting for him and fell into his arms. Patrick held onto him so tightly, which was lucky, because it was the only thing keeping him upright.

“David, you were amazing! I can’t believe you had him there right in front of Kylie for maximum embarrassment. You did so well!” Patrick was so enthusiastic.

Why did Patrick care so much? David needed to work it out, but he couldn’t get past  the intense feelings of anxiety weaving through his body, now that the adrenaline of the moment had worn off. Sebastien was an asshole. Now that he'd embarrassed him like that? There was no telling what he'd do. His head started spinning, trying to think clearly about what could realistically come from this... There was no way Sebastien was letting him get away with this.

Sobs started to wrack his body, still leaning up against Patrick, he pulled away. "Fuck, what have I done?" David sobbed, frantically searching through his pockets, and then looking around for something to wipe his eyes so he didn’t have to do it on his Thom Browne suit.

"That was awesome David! What do you mean?" Patrick grabbed a tissue from Ivana's make-up tray. "Now he won't take advantage of your kindness anymore,” Patrick was wide eyed, clearly not understanding the change in this man. He clearly didn't understand anxiety.

"Was it kindness or was it self-preservation? Sebastien is going to ruin my gallery's reputation." David shook his head solemnly, the realization hit him of where Sebastien would definitely attack, the one place David loved more than anything.

“What are you talking about?” Patrick said, confused.

“I know how he works... Patrick, you have been amazing over the past few days, and I have been nothing but a world class dick.” David shook his head and turned away to not face him while he collected his thoughts. “You should hate me.”

“David, while I really don’t want to confirm, nor deny your actions have been… a little… uncivilized… towards me at times, I have had fun with you. I enjoy your company,” Patrick smiled softly and reached out to touch his arm. “And I mean it when I tell you that you have nothing to worry about. I don’t think I could hate you if I tried.”

David’s eyes flick up to the beautiful man in front of him, who looked at him like he was something special, and not the damaged wreck he knew himself to be.

“Thank you.” David forced a smile. “And while I appreciate that. I need you to know that I am damaged goods, and I am going to need some time with this.”

“All right.” Patrick said forcing a smile.

“I have to go. I need to pack up all of Sebastien’s things and get the staff to change the entry card before he gets back there. And then I need to think about how to contain the damage from this."

“Okay.”

David leaned in and kissed Patrick chastely, "Thank you Patrick, you've been amazing," breathing him in, before turning and walking out the door.

***

Patrick barely heard David's last words, and the exit door had barely clicked behind him, before Ivana, Peggy and Marcy came off stage.

"Patsy Cline!"

He spun around and stuck the brightest smile he could muster on his face before saying, "You guys were all AH-MA-ZING! And you performed for Kylie! And… thank you for helping with Sebastien and David."

"No problem, Sweetie!" Peggy said at the same time as Marcy said…

"Our pleasure, Gorgeous!"

"So? Where is he?" Ivana said, will huffing and puffing from the all-singing and all-dancing nature of their show.

Patrick shrugged his shoulders and moved away slightly. He dropped his head before looking up at Ivana and saying, "He just left."

"He just left?" Ivana sounded shocked.

"Yes," Patrick said sadly.

"After everything we just did to get you laid?” Ivana was very confused, throwing up her hands.

Patrick chuckled at that. "Yes."

"Is he coming over later, is it like a booty call situation?" Ivana said wiggling her shoulders. "I mean, because if I were you, I’d be wanting him to keep that outfit on! That boy looked delectable in that skirt."

"Urgh! I don't know, Hame!" Patrick said, rubbing his hands over his face.

"Ivana," Ivana corrected.

"Sorry, Ivana,” Patrick apologized.

"What happened? He strutted out of there like the winner of America's Next Top model," Marcy piped up.

"He said something about Sebastien ruining the reputation of his gallery, he was really upset, like sobbing,” Patrick worried his hands and rubbed his thumb along the callouses on his palms from baseball. “He said he needed some time to work out what to do, and also he needed to get the keys changed for his hotel room before Sebastien tried to get in."

"Oh yeah, Sebastien does seem like the type that could go full bunny boiler.” Marcy said, and then smirked cheekily, “He WAS NOT happy with us!”

All three queens looked at each other and burst out laughing, cackling like witches around a cauldron.

"I don't even have his phone number!" Patrick suddenly realized, starting to pace around, and the queens stopped laughing abruptly.

"Oh, Darling! What are we going to do with you? Love sick for a man you just met, who seems more complicated than I found Year 12 maths," Ivana rubbed his shoulder.

Patrick looked at his friends, shaking his head. “Can we just get out of here?”

“You can go, Patsy. We are going to head out to the party. Try and chat with Kylie! You don’t want to come?”

“No, I think I’m going home, I do still have work tomorrow. You going to be okay with all your things? Can I take anything back to the house for you?”

“Now that you mention it….

***

Patrick trudged into the house with all his friends’ bags, because they were planning on drinking as much free champagne as they could get their hands on, and didn’t want to accidentally forget anything. He didn’t blame them, they had so much make-up they could take Sephora out of business. He dumped them by the front door and followed the chatter to the kitchen to find Tim and Andy drinking tea.

“Oh, you’re back! Where’s Hamish? Was she there?” the two of them babbled excitedly.

Patrick couldn’t help but smile. “Hamish, Killian and Marco stayed to drink free champagne and to try to  chat with her. She was there, front and centre. She saw their whole show.” Patrick was really proud of his friends.

“Oh my god,” Tim said slapping Andy’s arm. “Well, that’s made that Queen’s year!”

“Ow! Hamish is going to be insufferable now,” Andy said, rubbing his arm, but still grinning ear to ear.

“Like he wasn’t before,” Tim said rolling his eyes. “That little queer has such a mouth on him, everyone will have heard the story before we even get to Mardi Gras. She’s not going to be a surprise guest anymore!”

“That is true, that is true…” Andy said, nodding along, but his face dropped as he realized that Patrick wasn’t smiling as brightly as someone who just witnessed his best friend perform for his idol. “You ok, Patrick?”

“Urgh, been better, but I’ve gotta work tomorrow, so I should…” he motioned up towards the stairs.

“Come and have a cup of tea. You’ll sleep better if you get it off your chest,” Tim said, patting the dining room chair next to him, and giving him a look of caring he would expect from his mother.

“How do you guys do it? You are here for all of us, all the time… You must get sick of the drama,” Patrick said shaking his head.

“Patsy, we’re a couple of old queers. Life isn’t that exciting for us. We’ve been together 31 years this month….” Andy said, looking at Tim warmly.

“Thirty-two…” Tim corrected with wide eyes.

“Is it?” Andy tilted his head, and screwed up his face.

“Yes! Seriously, I should get it tattooed on your wrist,” Tim harrumphed jokingly.

‘Okay! Thirty-two years this month. We met at Mardi Gras,” Andy smiled at the memory.

“You didn’t!?” Patrick sat down with a bit more enthusiasm, looking at his friends and waiting.

“Yes, we did.” Tim said, returning Andy’s warm gaze, and squeezing his hand. “Andy was on the float with some friends, gyrating up a storm, and I was a marshal. He was pointing and gyrating at me as he went past and I was instantly smitten, and somehow, he found me later at the party. We were both off our tits on E, so we made out on the dance floor like it was the Olympics of kissing and that was that.”

“This one was like a lesbian, he had moved in by the end of the week,” Andy joked, but their hands remained joined as they looked back to Patrick.

“That’s what I want,” Patrick’s eyes widened as he heard himself say what he hadn’t realized he’d even been thinking.

Tim raised his eyebrow at Patrick and gave him a knowing look.

“I had that before I came out. I was engaged to a woman,” Hamish knew this story after a very drunken night, but he hadn’t really told anyone here much about his past.

“What!?” Tim and Andy chirped in unison.

“Yes, and while I loved the relationship side of things, I almost missed the fact that I am definitely gay,” Patrick shook his head quietly.

“So very gay darling, even for all your straight-laced energy,” Tim said and grabbed Patrick’s hand for a squeeze this time.

Patrick snorted out a little laugh, “But I have enjoyed myself in Sydney, as you well know.”

“Oh, yes, we are very aware. We’ve seen you in action Patsy, it’s very impressive, and it keeps us entertained, especially when it’s like that one from a few days ago. He was a very funny drunk. Until he vomited,” Andy said.

Patrick nodded softly again, “And for all the fun I’ve had, I still want everything else to go with it.”

“You’ll find it Patsy. You are a snack, and you’re possibly the nicest guy on the face of the earth.”

“It’s funny you mentioned the guy from the other night…” Patrick started out hesitantly.

“The drunk one?” Andy said.

“M-hmm. He’s got me more wound up than anyone I’ve ever met. He seemed like such a dick when I met him, but he’s funny and smart and he just makes me happy when I’m around him. But he’s in this bad relationship and tonight, he was there. He was crushed again by his wanker of a not-actually-his-boyfriend,” Patrick couldn’t believe Sebastien. He was literally the worst.

“Oh, that’s awful, poor love,” said Tim genuinely.

“Yeah, he introduced David to Kylie as his gallerist, not his boyfriend and then David overheard the dancers Sebastien fucked last night talking, and they were saying that David was Sebastien’s sugar daddy,” Patrick finished the briefest retelling of the story possible.

“Oh, poor pet. He needs a hug,” Andy said, sounding every bit the mama-bear, he was.

“Yep. He thinks he doesn’t deserve better though. Hamish did a number on the boyfriend tonight during the show, basically embarrassed him in front of all of Kylie’s people, and dumped him for David, but David was sobbing when he left.”

“Hey. If it’s meant to be, it’ll be. When you know, you know. All the platitudes, yes, yes,” Andy was waving his hands around in the air. “But if there is one thing that I know, it’s that it’s the truth – if it’s meant to be, it will be”

“How did Andy find me in the crowds at Mardi Gras? Some sort of fucking homing beacon, I reckon,” Tim said with a soft smile. “It will all work out in the end, Patsy.”

Patrick tapped the table, and gave a look of gratitude to his two friends. “Thanks guys, I’m think I’m going to head up to bed.”

“Good night, Patsy. You know where to find us if you need us, right? Anything you, or even David, need,” Andy offered generously.

“Thank you. I appreciate it. Goodnight, guys,” Patrick said, turning to walk out of the kitchen.

“Oh, and Patrick?” Tim called after him.

Patrick turned around and waited silently, raising his eyebrow in answer.

“Just remember, if it hasn’t worked out yet, it’s not the end.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 3 title

Patrick dove into the pool to start his morning laps. He was on edge. He hadn’t seen or heard from David all day yesterday and he was beginning to get nervous about it. He couldn’t shake the feeling he would just up and leave Sydney. Today he had decided if he didn’t come down to the pool, he was going to go up and see him. Mardi Gras was the next day, and he was off work for two days to enjoy what the locals called Gay Christmas. He couldn’t let David slip through his fingers.

After his chat with Andy and Tim, Patrick had done a lot of soul searching. He had really been enjoying his time in Sydney and sleeping with so many different men he’d lost count. Okay – he  hadn’t really; it was twenty-three men and he wasn’t embarrassed about it either. After a lifetime of very mediocre sex, he had really enjoyed experiencing the desire and pleasure that sex could provided. He had learned a lot about himself, too, but he really wasn’t expecting David.

David pulled at all those strings that were attached to his heart. He was the complete antithesis of Patrick’s life. He was dramatic to Patrick’s calm, loud to his quiet, so confident in his space in the world as queer person, but his lack of self-worth had been completely undermined. Whereas Patrick knew he was a good person and worthy, but was still figuring out what it meant for him to be a queer person. I mean, he knew he was definitely gay; he would claim that label with pride.

His time in Sydney had been very educational. He was really coming to know himself as a person, and the reality was, he was exactly the same person. He could be a version of himself that got to have passion in his life and could love without question, which was a better version of himself, an honest version. These two parts of himself could definitely co-exist. He didn’t just need to be cruising for dick, and while he could definitely admit that had been extremely fun, he was ready to move into the next phase. He could be in a loving and committed relationship, like his friends Andy and Tim, and it was David that had made him understand he was ready for that.

If he didn’t at least try to make that happen, he would never forgive himself. He needed to at least try to get to know David a little better before he left, and he was going to take a risk.

Patrick had run away from the calm lakes and soft snow drifts of Canada and a life that he never felt like he fit, to the drama and excitement and unpredictability of the ocean.

David Rose was the ocean.

He pulled himself out of the pool, more settled than when he dove in and grabbed his towel to dry off. He dried off his curls that had gone almost blonde after a summer in the pool; he actually really liked his salt water curls. As he threw the towel behind him to dry his back, he mindlessly looked up at the hotel to see the same figure that had greeted him a few days ago – long  and lithe, and completely in black. He paused again, just like he had the first time. The figure lifted its arm and gave a simple wave. Patrick dropped his towel to wave back. David hadn’t left. And just like that, Patrick had hope.

***

The minutes of his shift at the stunning ocean pool ticked by in such a way, he could have been sitting in a dark, dank cave. Every time he checked the clock, sure it had been easily an hour, he’d find it was only twenty minutes. He couldn’t leave his post; people’s lives were literally in his hands, so he tried to distract himself and keep himself together.

By the time Anthony arrived to tag team the second half of his shift, he couldn’t have been happier. At least he had a backup if he got distracted.

“Hey Patrick,” Anthony said warmly.

“Hey Anthony,” Patrick replied.

"Everything okay?" Anthony asked, gesturing toward the pool.

"Yeah, nothing much happening here," Patrick nodded in reply.

"You've got two days off after this right?" Anthony was talking to him, but looking out over the pool, getting himself settled in for his shift.

"Yep, I'm on the float in the parade tomorrow night," Patrick smirked to himself, he was a little nervous about it, but he was going to go through with it. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be involved in a milestone Queer event, and the timing couldn’t have been better.

"Maybe we will see you on the TV… " Anthony chuckled a little, "you'll be famous!"

"Wow, I hope not. Not really my thing…" Patrick said, rolling his eyes.

"Well, you know it's broadcast every year, right?" Knowing he wasn’t a Sydneysider, Anthony knew Patrick might not know, exactly how popular the parade was.

"I did not know that," Patrick said shaking his head. He only really knew his housemates and colleagues in Sydney, so it didn't matter.

"Anyway, it should be fun, I guess? You couldn't pay me to be in my Speedo on a float, shaking my ass in front of tens of thousands of people," Anthony said shaking his head.

"I don't know, Anthony? Your wife might like it?" Patrick chuckled.

Anthony flushed, "Oh, she definitely would, but I might just save that for when  we’re alone…" the pair laughed.

"Now that you’re here, I'm going to go grab a drink," Patrick said.

"Yeah, no worries, I got this. Take your ten-minute break if you want?" Anthony replied.

Patrick turned to walk back into the club and was greeted with an image of which he knew he would never tire; David in his short trunks lying on a sunbed, one knee raised, skin glistening in the sun, with massive white sunglasses covering his eyes. What a thirst trap.

He forgot about getting a drink and headed directly to David.

“Hi,” he said standing over him, smiling like a Cheshire cat. He was so happy to see him, all the tension of the last thirty-six hours melting away.

“You’re blocking my sun,” David complained to Patrick, but with a smirk on his face that indicated that this was what he'd been waiting for. Patrick took it as an invitation to sit on his lounge.

“How are you?” Patrick asked, gently placing a hand on David's knee.

“I’m okay. I thought I would top up my tan before I leave. I’m flying back to New York tonight before Sebastien can do too much damage to my reputation…”

“David! What? The parade is tomorrow! You can’t leave now.” Patrick was dumbstruck. “You can’t let that ass-hat be the reason you miss the parade.”

“My sister messaged me. There is a video of the incident on socials. Sebastien is making some pretty big claims about me being out of control. Some of my upcoming artists are talking of pulling out of their shows.” David looked positively forlorn.

“But it’s not true!” Patrick replied without thinking.

“Since when does that matter, Patrick?” David looked resigned. This was clearly the world that David lived in and Patrick had no clue how it worked.

Patrick’s head was scrambling. He didn’t know how to fix this, but he also knew he couldn’t let David leave without at least spending a little more time with him.

“So, you are flying out tonight?” Patrick asked, stalling and trying to form a plan or an idea that would keep David here.

“Yes, the jet leaves at eleven," David said, not smiling anymore and shrugging his shoulders.

If Patrick couldn't think of a way to keep him here, he could at least try and make the most of the time they had left. “Come out with me this afternoon?”

“Why, Patrick?” David leaned forward into Patrick's space, and he genuinely looked like he couldn't understand why anyone would want to be with him.

“Let me show you a bit of Sydney?" Patrick looked at him hopefully. "You’ve been here, what? Four days?”

“M-hmm," David agreed noncommittally.

“And what have you seen?” Patrick asked playfully, trying to return their banter to a happy place.

“This pool. The Colombian. Your house,” David said and waved his hands around as he was speaking, a small smile starting to form at the side of his mouth that was making his dimple pop.

Patrick laughed. “How about I meet you at your hotel when I’m done and I’ll take you to lunch? We can at least walk along the beach.”

David lifted his sunglasses and narrowed his eyes at Patrick like he was considering his motives, and then nodded. “Yes. Okay.”

Patrick smiled, happy for the chance to spend at least a few more hours with David.

“BUT! I’ll meet you in the lobby. What time do you finish?” David asked.

“Do you not trust yourself if I’m at your door, David?” Patrick raised his eyebrows suggestively.

“Something like that," David said, not even trying to hide the smirk that flashed across his face this time, but his eyes darted away.

“Midday," Patrick replied to the earlier question.

“Okay," David bit his lip.

“It’s a date,” Patrick felt his confidence return.

“Is it though?” David dared him.

Yes, David, it’s definitely a date," Patrick squeezed David’s knee and then pushed himself up.

David bit down on his lips like he was trying to contain a smile, which moved to a furrow of his brows and then he pursed his lips and nodded quickly. Patrick could only describe it as a face journey.

“I better get back to it,” Patrick motioned over his shoulder to the pool, grinning like an idiot. “I’ll see you later?”

“You will.”

Patrick cruised back to the side of the pool, his mind drifting back to the time that he and David last connected. If the look, and double eyebrow raise, Anthony gave him as he arrived back to his post said anything, Patrick’s thoughts must have been clearly written all over his face. He was in so much trouble.

***

When David arrived fifteen minutes later than the agreed upon time, Patrick was waiting in the lobby in Adidas slides, cargo shorts, a white t-shirt that had seen better days, and his red lifesaving snap-back cap on backwards over his curls,

“Good to see you went to so much trouble to dress up for our date,” David said, eyeing up the man who still looked delectable regardless of what he was wearing.

Patrick laughed self deprecatingly, looking down at himself before looking up at David through his eyelashes. David felt his whole body relax slightly.

“Well, I didn’t expect to be going on a date when I left the house at 5am this morning,” Patrick said. “However, the great thing about Bondi is that everywhere expects their customers to have just walked off the beach.”

“Are you telling me I’m overdressed?” David gestured to himself with a little shimmy thrown in for good measure.

“No,” Patrick's eyes gazed down his body, slowly taking in every inch, and David swore he could feel their heat on his skin. “I am definitely not saying that,” Patrick said when he was back to looking into David's eyes.

David preened. The look Patrick gave him would have had them in bed in about thirty seconds, which is why he decided to meet him in the lobby.  David was wearing his white Valentino scalloped front shirt and Thom Brown seersucker shorts, but he did however stick with his Gucci slides. Patrick mentioned walking along the beach, and it was incorrect to wear closed-in shoes on a beach. Plus, seriously, it was so hot here. He wasn’t getting over it, he’d given up trying to keep his hair from curling in the humidity. He just had to run with it.

“Shall we?” Patrick motioned to the door and opened it for David, letting him lead the way.

Once they were out the door Patrick slipped his hand in David's, smiling down at the sight of them pressed together.

David just stared at Patrick who finally shrugged and said, "I like you, David."

What? David was astounded. Who even said things like that! Just out of the blue and with no agenda. What the actual fuck? This was so confusing.

Patrick was dragging them down towards the beach, which was massive and also... packed with people. He looked over the yellow sandy expanse to the contrast of the crashing blue surf. It was really beautiful, but just so very busy. "Is it always like this?"

"M-hmm, yep! There can be up to forty thousand people on this beach on really hot days."

The beach itself was a big bay, flanked by two stony headlands, with the Icebergs club at one end, and a public salt water pool at the other. There was a grassy slope that led down to the beach from the street, where people were picnicking and sunbathing. There was also a huge skate-bowl along the edge. Between the grass and the beach there was a wide concrete walkway, about two metres above the beach, and there were sets of stairs periodically leading to the beach.

"Holy crap. I don’t really enjoy crowds."

"I would not have guessed that,” Patrick said sarcastically.

David screwed up his face at the sarcasm. “Thank God, I booked the hotel above the pool.”

“Yes. Thank God," Patrick smiled softly at him. "C'mon," he finished, tilting his head towards the beach and pulling them down a set of stairs and onto the beach. Patrick kicked off his slides when he got to the sand and grabbed them in one hand. David followed him, and regretted it instantly because the yellow sand was like molten lava under his feet. Patrick grabbed his other hand laughing and they ran hand in hand, with the sand squeaking under their feet, towards the water’s edge, dodging people on towels the whole way.

When they got to the cool sand and the lapping water, they both breathed a sigh of relief to feel it against their shins. The relief was short lived as Patrick ran his foot through the water, making it spray up at David and he squawked, running backwards away from him and bumping into an unsuspecting swimmer. Patrick doubled over laughing, however the person he bumped into didn’t seem particularly concerned by their antics.

David took this as a personal challenge and started trying to kick water at Patrick, who was dodging and weaving like he was born to it. Every now and then he would spray another kick David’s way, which would elicit involuntary laughing squawks from him.

“All right, all right! I give up!” David stomped his foot, and Patrick bit down on his lip, definitely trying to contain more laughter. David wanted to be annoyed by his antics, however he was finding it very difficult to be annoyed by this man. His smile was contagious.

“Sorry,” Patrick said, “I just love watching you laugh.” Patrick said, breathing a little more pronounced because of his antics.

“Sebastien always told me I looked too eager when I smiled,” he said grimacing, and Patrick’s face dropped instantly.

“Jesus, I really wish I had taken the chance to deck that guy while I had a chance…. I’m glad he got dumped spectacularly though,” Patrick cocked an eyebrow at David, a small smile playing at the corner of his mouth. He grabbed David’s hand and gave it a little squeeze, before they started strolling together to the north end of the beach.

David’s mind was racing. He looked at Patrick out of the corner of his eye while trying to enjoy this romantic beach-side stroll, but he had to ask, “You would have punched him?”

Patrick harrumphed, “No. Not really. Not my style. I like to imagine doing it though.”

“So, what is your style, Pat-rick?” David asked, emphasizing the consonants of his name. It was a fun name to say.

“Hmmm, I’m starting to work it out, I think…” Patrick said while continuing to look ahead.

David wished he could control his mouth but it didn’t look like today was going to be that day, “And you think that it’s me?”

“Yup.” This time it was Patrick who popped his ‘p’.

“You don’t even know me!” David said in mock indignation, though the sentiment warmed him right to the core.

“Don’t I?” Patrick asked, this time looking at him and cocking one of his barely-there eyebrows.

“No!”

“David.” Patrick was soft in his response.

“This is not me. This is not my life.” David knew this was not real. He knew real life. It was hard, and you had to have rules, and you had to make sure you kept everything under control. Otherwise, he would be too much.

“Okay. Look, I get it. This is not New York, and you are probably used to behaving differently in New York. It’s expected of you, right?”

David really didn’t think he could sum it up more perfectly if he tried. He couldn’t really believe that Patrick could see it so easily. “Yes,” was all he could say.

“I think you have a wall built up around you because people like Sebastien have been telling you how to be for so long that you’ve adapted and adjusted to fit what they want you to be. But it’s not really you,” Patrick said, gently.

“Well…. What about you? What are you doing in Sydney? Fucking your way through every available man?” David said defensively.

“I mean, I was giving it a pretty good go…” he pursed his lips and his eyes twinkled, obviously he was trying to keep the mood light.

David laughed. Damn this sweet man for always pushing him close to the edge but holding him tightly so he didn’t fall. Curiosity got the better of him, he couldn’t hold his tongue around this man. “Did you have bad break up? Did somebody break your heart back in Canada? Some sweet, bespectacled, English major break your heart? Or were you banging the star of the baseball team who wasn’t out and he couldn’t deal?”

“Actually, funny you should ask it that way….” Patrick shook his head and gave him a bit of a side eye before continuing. “I was about to get married. To my high school sweetheart. And then one night I was out, and I got hit on by this gorgeous lumber jack of a man, and I just leaned into it. So, I broke up with my fiancé and left. She didn’t really understand why I left.”

“She!?”

“Yeah. She. Nobody back home knows that I’m gay. But if anything has been solidified over the past five months, it’s that I am one hundred percent gay. I somehow got to the age of twenty-eight and missed that memo, but that guy in the bar didn’t. Thank goodness for him, otherwise I’d be miserable and would be getting married this weekend actually.”

“Mardi Gras would have been your wedding?!” David nearly screeched. Definitely not a screech though, just a loudish, concerned voice.

“Ridiculously, yes.” Patrick’s voice was full of disbelief and laughter.

“Who gets married in March in Canada?” David asked, shaking his head.

“Rachel wanted to wear a fur hooded cape. Fake of course.”

“Of course.” David raised his eyebrows, and he kind of understood. A hooded fur cape sounded lovely for a non-traditional bride. “In white?”

“I mean, I can only assume?” Patrick shrugged his shoulders and laughed a little.

“Now I can understand why you feel like gyrating in a fugly little Speedo could be liberating!”

Patrick barked out a loud joyous laugh this time, and once it settled, he beamed at David and said, “Thank you, David.”

“For what?” David shook his head in confusion.

“For just getting it.”

David smiled at him with his lips pursed and nodded, wondering how it was possible that this man could look like he was smiling even though his mouth was definitely upside-down.

***

Patrick took David to a place he had been meaning to go the whole time he had been here. It was a rickety, dodgy looking place that was an institution in Sydney, and they harvested their produce from their own farm just out of the city. It was called ‘Sean’s Panaroma’ and David was clearly affronted and almost left when Patrick pointed out the pun. While it did have a beautiful view out over the beach, it was pan-aroma (like smells from the kitchen) not panorama. The fragrant aroma’s coming from the kitchen were amazing though, so David stayed. Patrick had a hard time concentrating on his meal during lunch, with the sounds of appreciation coming out of David’s mouth, and therefore didn’t remember what he had eaten, at all.

What he did remember was David laughing, head thrown back, when he told him about his first night in his share house when Hamish hit on him, while completely in drag. Patrick had let him down gently by telling him he was so gay he just couldn’t do it, even though Hamish assured him he had a penis under his frock. And then how they hooked up, later once he took all his make-up off. He remembered the glistening way David’s eyes shone when he talked about his mom and dad, and how he was fascinated by his very simple small-town upbringing. In fact, he realized that he had spent a lot of the afternoon talking, and David had managed to not talk about himself at all.

“David, you don’t really talk about yourself, do you?”

“I’m just really enjoying hearing about you; your upbringing is so foreign to me. It’s fascinating, like an anthropological study of an undiscovered tribe,” David said smirking.

Patrick dipped his head and laughed at the very strange compliment, and then looked back at David through his lowered eyes.

David narrowed his eyes at Patrick, something clicked, “You do that on purpose!”

“What?” Patrick said trying to look confused, but just looking guilty as hell.

“Your little head drop and look through your eyelashes!” David accused. “You’ve pulled that move on me several times since we met!”

Patrick laughed nervously, looking to the side, but smiling. “I guess you caught me. Is it working?”

“Hmmpf” David said, trying to seem annoyed, but the dimple couldn’t help but pop which proved, he really wasn’t annoyed in the slightest. “What other moves have you been using on me?”

“I don’t have any other moves… Other than just asking for what I want," Patrick said confidently.

David bit his lips together and nodded, looking like he was trying to stop himself from saying something, but in the end he asked, “And what do you want, Patrick?”

“I think I’ve been pretty clear about that, David,” Patrick replied looking him straight in the eyes.

David fought him hard on the bill, but Patrick insisted he was paying, as he was the one who had asked him out. David really didn’t seem comfortable at all with it, and left a fifty on the table as a tip. Patrick couldn’t really remember the service at all after David put his hand on his knee under the table, in the middle of the first course.

By the time they walked out of the restaurant it was already four in the afternoon, and Patrick felt like he was watching the sand fall through the hourglass, wondering how he was going to convince David to stay. He had a few hours left, and he wanted to make the most of it.

“Is there anything you want to do that we can achieve in the next few hours? What time is your car coming?” Patrick asked, dreading the answer would be that David needed to pack.

“Well, I did have this one thing I thought we could squeeze in, if you’re up for it?” David said, talking with an air of nonchalance that Patrick was pretty sure was feigned.

“Anything you want, David,” Patrick said earnestly, feeling like he was going to regret it.

He swirled one of his rings around his finger, before looking Patrick in the eye and saying, “I had this image of you sitting on my chest with your delicious thighs straddling me, while you fucked into my mouth. Do you think we can tick that off my list before I leave?”

Patrick could feel his face lighting up, and from the sultry smile on David’s face, Patrick had already announced he was a sure thing. “Yes, yup. Definitely. Let’s go.” Patrick grabbed David’s hand and basically tugged him down the street, to which David squealed and then started laughing.

“Patrick, Patrick! Slow down, there’s time!” David said breathlessly between his laughter. Patrick couldn’t stand it and used David’s hand to pull him in for a passionate kiss in the middle of the sidewalk. People were probably dodging them and giving them stink eye, but Patrick didn’t care. He needed to have his mouth on David’s lips, his tongue touching David’s tongue, and everybody else could be damned if they didn’t like it.

Patrick pulled back and took in David’s face, trying to memorize every detail, every freckle, every line. “David, I don’t want you to go. But if you think you have to, then I want to spend the next few hours memorizing every inch of you.”

David’s eyes darkened and he just nodded before saying, “We should go.”

Chapter Text

David struggled to get the swipe card to open the door to his hotel room. It didn’t help that Patrick was pressed up against him kissing his neck, and he could feel that he was hard against his ass.

Motherfucker,” David whispered, partly from frustration and party from desire. “Patrick, just let me…”

“Mmm….” Patrick moaned, and then, “What? Oh!” realising what part he was playing in the door not being open, and pulled back, panting.

David whined at the loss but he knew if he didn’t get the door open, he’d never get further than heavy making out and he definitely wanted to get further than that right now. He wanted to take the next few hours to appreciate those thighs that he had spotted from his balcony all those days ago (was it only four days? A lot had happened). He wanted to taste Patrick in as many ways as possible before his car came to pick him up at eight. Fuck, that only left about 3 hours. Thank goodness he had mostly packed yesterday and this morning, before he went down to the pool.

When the green light finally flashed on the entry lock, he felt relief all the way down to his toes.

He pushed the door open and barely had time to fling off his slides before Patrick was on him pushing him up against the door, his hands on his hips, holding him while he pressed his exquisite length into him. He could feel it going from semi firm to firm, and God, he was here for it. But he needed to be horizontal, and if they could just get a few metres across the room, there was a freshly made king size bed with crisp white, high thread count cotton sheets they could mess up terribly, because he wasn’t going to be sleeping in it tonight.

He slid his hands up Patrick's delicious arms to his shoulders and forcefully pushed him back. Patrick opened his eyes wide suddenly, and while he looked surprised at the force of David moving him, there was something else there. If anything, David would say that he looked like he liked it. It looked like a little fire had been lit.

“Bed,” David said, watching the reality dawn on Patrick’s face, who smiled, gave him a quick peck and turned around, pulling his t-shirt off with one hand from behind his neck, and in the next three steps it took him to get to the bed, he had unbuttoned his cargo shorts and dropped them in his wake. By the time Patrick got to the bed, (where he stopped and pulled the covers down- oh my god- from both the bending over and that he remembered about the covers), he was only wearing a pair of royal blue, very tight boxer briefs, that David was pretty sure were Tom Ford, and David’s mouth was legitimately watering.

Patrick fell onto the bed and spun around to lay back with his arms crossed behind his head on the pillows, and David could see they were indeed Tom Ford briefs. He wasn’t wrong. He was rarely wrong about labels though, however, it meant he was standing there, staring at this man, mouth hanging slightly ajar.

“You coming, David?”

David’s mind sprang back into action, “Mmmm, I am,” he was so turned on his thoughts were muddled as he started to move toward the bed.

“Good, but get undressed before you get here. I need to see that sexy body of yours and I need it pressed up against me. Skin on skin.”

David flushed under Patrick’s confidence, which was well deserved. His body was solid and sexy in a way that he knew he would always remember it once he went home. He fumbled with the buttons of his Valentino shirt, struggling with the simple task under the look of desire Patrick was giving him. He threw it on the floor, he wasn’t wearing it to the airport anyway, and quickly unfastened his shorts, and let them drop.

David crawled up towards Patrick as seductively as he could manage, and before he made it the whole way, Patrick was pressed up on the elbow closest to him and using the other hand to pull him in for a bruising kiss. David was still on his hands and knees, and used the hand closest to Patrick to run up his legs and cup his balls through his boxer briefs. Fuck he loved the feeling of the Tom Ford fabric, it was so soft and such beautiful quality. And feeling the swell of Patricks balls was so delicious. He could imagine them slapping his chin as Patrick rode his face and he groaned. Patrick pulled away.

“David?”

“Mhmm?” David said, but he was very distracted by the feeling of Patrick underneath him.

“I know you had a very specific scenario in mind…” Patrick started, sounding cautious.

“I do,” David was not leaving without having those thighs on his chest.

“But I was thinking…” Patrick started slowly, but held eye contact, “What if you opened me up slowly, and then you fucked me first. And then, when you are completely fucked out, and I am desperate and begging to come, I could crawl onto your chest and pin you in place with my thighs and fuck your face while you are completely blissed out, sound good?” By the time Patrick had finished speaking, his voice was steady and confident and a cheeky smirk had overtaken his face. He knew what he was doing.

“Holy fuck, Patrick, I want that. I want to taste all of you.”

“Okay – two minutes, I’ll take a quick shower… I wouldn’t mind being rimmed if you are into it?” Patrick said quickly, quirking an eyebrow and jumping up off the bed, while keeping his eyes on David for a response.

“I could…” He paused. Did he have time to do his hair again before the flight? Fuck it, he was the only one on the flight. David cleared his throat, “I could rim you in the shower?”

Patrick growled, like actually growled and grabbed him to pull him into the bathroom.

David turned on the shower and then turned back to Patrick, taking a moment to appreciate the sight of this stunning man who had changed him in some way over the past few days.

He'd never known anyone like Patrick before. Somebody who wasn't focused on what David could give him. He'd looked after him, cared for him, protected him and he just bought him lunch. Nobody bought David Rose lunch.

To top it all off he was breathtakingly hot, standing there in his surprising Tom Ford briefs. He raked his eyes up Patrick’s body to his eyes that were filled with desire.

"Take off your underwear, Patrick."

Patrick quickly shed his briefs and stepped into David's space, holding onto his biceps and moving in to kiss him. They kissed slowly and passionately, and all the while David had one hand under the spray of the water, keeping tabs on its warmth.

David pulled back, dropped his underwear and said, "Water’s ready," before pulling Patrick in under the spray. He grabbed his bergamot and rosemary body wash and clicked open the lid.

"Hands," he said seriously to Patrick. Patrick held out his hands and David squirted a generous amount into them. Patrick smiled at him softly and started rubbing his hands together to create a lather. He poured some into his own hands and they both started washing themselves hurriedly. The damn humidity in this country hadn't let up and David was actually very pleased that he had the opportunity to wash the sticky feeling off himself before he had another chance to get sticky again.

"Okay, David. I'm ready," Patrick said, words dripping with promise.

David's mouth curled up and he felt a warmth creep through his body. "Oh, are you?" he said seductively, moving himself under the spray to rinse all the soap off his body. He stood under the spray, and moved backwards and forwards watching Patrick from under his lowered lids. Once he felt like he couldn't take the way Patrick was looking at him anymore without combusting, he brought his hands up to Patrick's hips and pulled him in for a bruising kiss.

Patrick moved one hand to the back of David’s head, and one to his ass and pulled him in hard. Then he swung them around and pressed David against the wall of the shower, Patrick’s body feeling so good against his own.  It felt solid and safe, and the feeling of Patrick’s huge cock pressing into his hip felt was delicious. David was gagging to get that cock in his mouth.

Remembering how Patrick had reacted when they were against the door gave him confidence. David pushed forward and flipped them so Patrick was against the wall, drawing a shocked gasp from Patrick, so David knew he was onto something.

"You like being manhandled, don't you?" David asked breathlessly.

A small smile twitched at the edges of Patrick's mouth, but the desire was clearly too strong for him to talk, because he just nodded in assent.

"Mmmm, I'm going to remember that," David said, and started kissing down his jaw, and ran his hands down Patrick’s arms until he got to his wrists. Taking both of them he moved them so that he was holding them either side of his shoulders, pinned in place, then he kept kissing down until he had Patrick’s nipple in his mouth. He sucked on it tentatively and gently, assessing his response, and when he got the groan he was looking for, he gave the nipple a sharp bite.

“Oh, fuck!” Patrick cried out. David pulled back and his eyes flashed up to see Patrick with his eyes closed and wincing. Then he watched as he breathed out, looked down at David and said, “Don’t stop,” and it was only that David was watching him so intently that he noticed the quick quirk of his mouth. Excellent, he was so responsive and just so gorgeous with it.

David went back to his mark, blowing on the nipple a little and moving across to the other one and giving it the same treatment. Patrick was squirming under his grip, but not moving so much that David really thought he wanted release, kissed downward over Patrick’s stomach, almost reaching his engorged cock, that was proudly jutting out from his belly. David had the spray of the water directly in his face down here, so he stopped and let go of Patrick’s wrists.

“Patrick, turn around. Hands flat against the wall, ass out.” David commanded, he could hear that his voice had dropped and become gravelly with desire. "Your ass should be painted and hanging in the Met.”

“Yes sir!” Patrick said slowly but with a very enthusiastic grin. David fiddled with the shower head so he wouldn’t be getting sprayed in the face while he ate Patrick’s ass. He couldn’t wait. Patrick had the most incredible ass.

He started kissing at Patrick’s broad shoulders; they had a smattering of freckles that he assumed had been made more prominent by the summer he spent in the sun. He kissed down his back, nipping and licking on the way down, taking his time, teasing him out. Patrick was making the most delicious noises, whimpering, and moaning, it was turning him on so badly. When he finally grabbed Patrick’s magnificent arse cheeks, he couldn’t resist pulling them apart and licking a stripe up between them, and then he got onto his knees. Fuck he tasted so good.

“Oh my god,” Patrick panted out. “Fuck, David…. You are so fucking sexy.”

David smiled and couldn’t help but say in a sultry manner, “You just wait. I haven’t even started yet.”

David may not have very much self-worth, and he may not believe he was destined for love or a fairy-tale ending, but one thing he knew for sure was that he knew what he was doing in bed. Or in the shower, in this case.

David pulled his cheeks further apart, whining at the sight of Patrick's pretty pink hole. He took a deep breath and then dove in, starting with tiny little kitten licks, teasing and taunting. Within a minute Patrick was panting, making little grunts and groans. David was loving it, he loved making people fall apart. He started thrusting his tongue in, then laving his tongue over Patrick's hole.

After another minute, Patrick was falling to pieces, "Daaaavid… oh, oh ffungf.".

David kept up his rhythm, thrusting then pulling back and making Patrick chase his tongue, pushing back and grinding his ass onto David. He he stepped it up a little.

He added a finger to the mix, dipping it in, breaching the first ring of muscle. It was so sloppy from his spit, it went in easily.

"More, David, mooorrre,” Patrick whimpered, so wanting.

David pulled back, "I need lube." Fuck he wanted him. "It's by the bed, should we…?"

Patrick took a second to answer, and David watched him shake his head before he answered. David had made him lose his mind. Perfect.

 "Yep. Yes. Let's do… that… " Patrick said while he spun around and smiled dopily at David, almost slapping him in the face with his rock-hard cock.

"Whoah. Careful with that thing, you'll take an eye out,” David said mischeviously.

Patrick huffed out a laugh and held out a hand to help David up, before turning off the water and dragging each other to the bed, unable to keep their hands to themselves. God, this was fun? Could sex be fun and still be sexy? David wasn’t sure.

"How should I….?" Patrick asked tentatively.

"You okay on your back, holding your knees up for me, baby?" David said and watched as Patrick's eyes blackened with desire with the use of a pet name. He leaned in a pecked him on the check as a reward for the look.

"M-hmm" Patrick said and David watched him get settled in position before he crawled between his legs, grabbing the lube off the bedside table on the way. He lubed up one finger and before Patrick could think too much about it, he slid it all the way up to the knuckle.

***

"Holy fuck!" Patrick yelped. He was so overstimulated and they had barely started. The delicious rimming in the shower had turned him on so much, it was probably a mistake. He should never have started with his favourite thing. He loved the feeling of having someone’s tongue in his ass. It felt so intimate and it made him feel so desired, he felt so sexy and powerful.

And now David had his fingers in there, his long nimble fingers. He was going to die… "So good David, so good. More…"

David cocked an eyebrow questioningly, "Greedy, aren't we," but smirked as he pulled out his finger and added extra lube to his middle finger.

He slid his fingers back in together, and said, "Jesus, you've got such a deliciously tight hole, I can't wait to get my cock in there." Patrick groaned and David moved up his body to kiss him, while thrusting his fingers in and out of his hole. The sound of the lube squelching, the way David thrusted his fingers in until he was knuckle deep, it was just too much. Patrick started fucking his tongue into David’s mouth, he was so fucking turned on. He didn’t think he’d ever been this turned on.

Patrick was writhing, it was amazing. He never wanted it this much, it had never felt this intense.

Patrick panted and pulled away from David’s mouth enough to whisper, "I want you David, fuck me now."

"You're not ready…." David looked into his eyes, searching.

"I want to feel it tomorrow. I want to remember the feeling of your gorgeous cock in my ass tomorrow. I want it," Patrick was a little surprised by how badly he wanted that.

David looked a little surprised as well, but he pulled his fingers out of Patrick and wiped them on the sheets, before reaching over to grab the lube and a condom he'd thrown on the bed earlier.

Patrick watched David lube up his own deliciously long, cut length. David tore open the condom packet with his teeth and using his clean hand, he rolled it on slowly over his beautiful cock, all the while watching Patrick's face.

Patrick was salivating. He needed to not come, he needed to think about something else, baseball stats, cleaning out the drain in the share house, Sebastien…

David hovered over Patrick’s body, one hand near his shoulder, one hand about to guide his dick in, and leaned in and kissed him. It was slow, and calming, it centred Patrick, it brought him back down. Fuck, he was so good. Patrick loved h… this. He loved this. Everything he did made him feel so present in his body. Made him feel like he fit. Made him feel right. Fuuuucckk.

David pulled back from the most life changing kiss he'd ever had, and looked at him like he was precious and said, "Ready, baby?" All Patrick could do was nod and grunt out something that sounded vaguely positive.

David took it slow. As he breached his hole, Patrick watched his face and David’s eyes rolled back in pleasure.

"Oh, so good, Patrick," David groaned.

 "You are so good; I want this so much,” Patrick wanted him so badly.

David pushed past the first ring of muscle, and quickly checked in, with a, “You ok, baby?"

"Yup, more,” Patrick could hear the needy desire in his voice, but he didn’t care, “I want more."

"Ungf. M-hmm," David said as he pushed deeper.

"Oh m’god, s’good" Patrick stammered. It was so fucking good.

"You're so tight, s'good," David was fully seated and it was fucking delicious. It had been so long since he'd bottomed. The feeling of being filled was sending arousal through his entire body and he felt like he was on fire.

Luckily David spoke up before he could think about it too much. “Patrick, I need to move…” David sounded desperate.

"Yep, ohmygodDavidfuckme…" he mumbled, knowing he sounded just as desperate.

David started moving, slowly at first. Patrick wanted to feel it, but he could sense the care David was taking not to hurt him, and it made him emotional. He pushed those feelings aside, this was no the time. He wanted it, he was desperate for it and he wanted to watch David lose control and pound him into the mattress.

“Fuck me David, fuck me harder,” Patrick moaned

“Ungf. You sure…?” David checked in.

Patrick knew he wanted it, he was so sure. The idea of being on that float tomorrow night in front of everyone, feeling where David had been, was thrilling. "C'mon, fuck me like you mean it, baby… "

And so David let go, pounding Patrick like he’d wanted to be pounded by this man since he met him. The actual sight of David above him was better than he could have ever imagined. He was so beautiful, taking his pleasure, giving Patrick what he needed, Patrick was going to transcend.

“Fuck David,” he panted out between breaths. "You're... so beautiful… so… fucking… Ungfm… beautiful… "

David groaned and opened his eyes, staring into Patrick's, and pushed himself up higher with his arms, and…

"Faaaarrrkkk!" Patrick cried out and even though he looked completely gone David still managed to smirk that he had hit his prostate.

He didn't let up. Patrick reached up and grabbed David’s arse and held on, feeling the muscles contract as they took ownership of him and he squeezed David’s arse as he slid inside him. It was exactly what he wanted.

“Oh my god, Patrick, I'm gonna, I'm gonna…” David said, and threw his head back. Patrick felt David come inside him, and while Patrick kissed him and soothed him through the aftershocks, he tried to focus – to will himself back down. David laid on top of him and he traced his hands over his back, soothing him and feeling his muscles moving.

“Oh my god, so good,” David said as he finally managed to pulled himself out of Patrick, taking the condom off and tying the end. Patrick grabbed it off him, so he could enjoy his afterglow, and jumped up to clean himself off. He threw the condom in the waste basket in the bathroom and wiped the excess lube that was running down his thighs. He didn’t want it to be too gross for David when he sat on his chest. It also gave him a chance to calm down, his cock had gone from rock hard to just mostly hard, so that was something. Maybe he’d last more than two minutes in David’s mouth.

Patrick brought a wash cloth back to the bed with him and wiped David off, while David just watched him with those gorgeous dark eyes.

“Thank you, Patrick,” David said softly. “Now get over here and sit on my face.”

Patrick’s knees almost gave way beneath him.

***

David watched Patrick as he walked away from the bed with the condom, letting him enjoy his orgasm. He watched him as he came back with a wet cloth and cleaned him up tenderly. It was ridiculous how something as simple as basic courtesy could make him feel things, but damnit, if this little life guard wasn’t digging in deeper and deeper. He had never had something so hot and so tender at the same time.

But also, he needed to get his mouth on that cock. “Thank you, Patrick,” David said softly. “Now get over here and sit on my face.” He could see Patrick’s face give way and he dropped the cloth and climbed back on the bed. "Get up here," he said.

David was really going to enjoy being used like this. Patrick had been right. He was so relaxed. Patrick crawled up the bed slowly and then placed himself into a sitting position straddling David's body.

"Are you sure you're ready?" Patrick asked, ever the considerate lover.

"Yes please." David said.

"Do you want it… softly? Do you like gagging? How…. Hmmmm… how do you want it?" Patrick’s brow was furrowed.

David smiled softly to himself. Such consideration. "Can we start slowly just to get your rhythm? But I definitely want to choke on it. Make me gag," David’s mouth was watering. “I’ll tap your leg if I need to stop.”

"Fuck David, you are so fucking sexy, the things you do to me," Patrick said as he got himself into position.

David opened his mouth, and Patrick started feeding him his cock. Patrick groaned when he moved his tongue around his cock, and David could feel him getting harder in his mouth.

“This isn’t going to take long,” Patrick said breathlessly.

He could feel Patrick’s gorgeous ass on his chest and those thighs were in his eyeline, he was in heaven. If he was going to die this is how he wanted to go, head surrounded by these magnificent thighs. He moaned in pleasure and Patrick started moving. He thrust softly, feeling his way and David let his jaw fall open, enjoying the feeling of Patrick’s cock sliding in and out of his mouth. The saliva was pooling in his mouth and starting to drip down along his chin.

“Oh, David,’ Patrick moaned and David swallowed. Patrick took that as permission to go a little further and faster. He let his cock hit the back of David’s throat and it felt intense and exhilarating. David loved it.

He gagged a little and Patrick pulled back. He opened his eyes and saw Patrick watching him, so he nodded slightly and Patrick nodded back hesitantly and then he let go. Patrick started fucking into David’s mouth, while a litany of noises fell from his. Mostly, ‘oh my god’s’ and ‘fucks’, with a few groans of ‘please’ and ‘oh yeahs’ to top it all off. David’s cock gave a valiant twitch. If there was any possible way he would be able to get hard again, it would be like this. But there wasn’t and so he didn’t.

Patrick’s words became a babbling stream of incomprehensible noises, and David knew he was almost done. He opened his eyes and watched Patrick; his face was so relaxed so at peace, chasing his own pleasure. He saw the moment Patrick’s whole body tensed up, and he came with David’s name filling the room once again. His release flowed straight down his throat. It was perfect.

Patrick rolled off him and lay next to him, panting. And then in the most intimate move David had ever had, Patrick felt around until he found David’s hand, holding it until his breathing evened out.

***

They moved around each other gently, with small kisses and touches while Patrick took a quick shower to rinse off and got dressed. Then he sat on the couch in the room, waiting for David to have his shower. David couldn’t do this.

“My car is here in an hour and I need to finish packing, so…”

Patrick looked at him expectantly, furrowing his eyes, genuinely confused about what was going on.

David grimaced. He really didn’t want to do this, but it was for the best. Patrick was divine and he’d enjoyed every inch of everything they had done together, but he couldn’t leave while he was here,  looking at him with those heart eyes. “I think maybe it’s best if you go.”

David watched as the realisation hit Patrick, and his entire body looked like it sagged into the chair. He cleared his throat and nodded, more to himself than anything. “Okay.”

“I just, I have to pack and I… need to shower, so…”

“Yep. Got it, I’ll just…” Patrick said softly and looked around, checked he had his cell phone and went looking for his slides.

Just as he was about to leave, Patrick turned. “I wish you’d stay David. I really want you to stay.” Patrick’s face was soft and fond, and David really couldn’t bear it.

David sat under the top sheet, knees up and arms wrapped around them. He scoffed, “You say that now, but…” and shook his head.

“What? David?” Patrick became exasperated when he didn’t answer straight away and raised his voice slightly. “What!?

“I know you think that you want me here, but it’s just because it’s been so intense. I mean, I need to leave to work out what is happening in New York, but this… it would get old very quickly for a grounded person like you. Go to Mardi Gras tomorrow, find yourself some sweet easy-going boy. You need a nice stable life.”

“I had one of those and it was killing me slowly, David. I moved away because I hated it and I needed something more, the ocean drew me here… because it’s wild and intense. It’s like you.”

David sighed out and couldn’t look him in the eye. “If there's one thing I know Patrick, one thing I truly know deep down to my bones, is that everyone gets sick of me eventually. That intensity, it becomes too much.”

“You don't know that, David.” Patrick said softly, shaking his head.

“The sea is wet, the sky is blue, and nobody can handle David Rose for more than a few months…” David said flatly. He wanted him, but he had to let Patrick go.

“That's three things David. You’re smarter than you think.”

David dropped his head and couldn’t watch as Patrick sighed, and eventually he heard, “Goodbye David,” and the door clicked behind him.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

David stood in the foyer of the hotel, waiting for his car to pull up. Surprisingly he was checked out and ready to leave a few minutes prior to the time he expected the car to arrive. He couldn’t stay in the room and look at the tangle of sheets anymore though. He needed to put it behind him.

He took a deep breath as the car pulled up in front of him, and said thank you to the driver as he opened the door. He got into the back seat as gracefully as possible and once the door was shut only then did he let himself cry. 

It was the perfect time to cry because he knew that the driver would only be a few minutes while he loaded David's bags into the trunk. That way it was contained. Limited. He couldn't get carried away; the way he did with his whole life. He kept things contained, limited. Everything had a box it fit neatly into, and they kept everything compartmentalized. 

What he had with Patrick was gorgeous, but it threatened to overwhelm him. It was too much, too big. It didn't fit in his neatly organised box theory. What could he even do anyway? Another forty-eight hours would just make him fall deeper in lo… fall deeper. Just deeper. 

David Rose didn't do love. 

He surreptitiously wiped his eyes as the driver got into the car. 

"International airport, Mr. Rose?” The driver asked, looking into the rear-view mirror.

“Yes please,” David said with a quick nod.

“Emirates, is it?” The driver asked.

“The private hanger, please,” David informed him.

“Sorry, Sir. Okay," the driver nodded once more and put his eyes on the road.

The driver was listening to some ridiculous talk back and everybody sounded about a hundred years old, so David tuned it out and leaned his head back in the seat, until he heard his phone ringing.

Fuck, Alexis. 

"You better be all right, I can reroute the jet, but it might take me a while to get to you… " David blurted out the minute he answered the call.

"Chill, David. I'm fine. I'm in New York," Alexis said, sounding her normal self, which was… good.

"Oh. Good. That's good… then why are you calling me?" David asked, his curiosity peaking.

"Oh my god, David! Can't a sister just want to know how your holiday is going?" Alexis sounded exasperated.

"No! You have literally never once called me without needing something," David rolled his eyes and hoped she could hear it.

"Rude, David,” Alexis huffed.

 "But true…" David said, with an undercurrent of snark.

"Urgh, FINE!" Alexis finally broke.

"What…! You've seen the video, you sent it to me. I'm not having a meltdown, it's fine. Sebastien was fucking some of the dancers and I was over it," he said, looking at the cuticles of his other hand. 

"M-hmm, m-hmm, yes there's that…" She trailed off.

"What else, Alexis?" He knew she had more to say.

"Sebastien got fired from that job. Everybody is talking about it." There it was. She literally never called him without a reason.

"What?!" David shrieked, and the driver's eyes flicked to his in the rear-view mirror. David turned to look out the window.

"So, the night that you got filmed at that party, or whatever?" Alexis started.

"Get to the point, Alexis!" David was impatient to know what had happened.

"Hmmm, okay. Sebastien did so much blow with the dancers, one of them OD'd and they had to call an ambulance," Alexis said softly. "He's ok! He didn't die, or whatever."

"Holy fuck,” David said softly.

"Yeah, and so, Sebastien got charged with possession and supply, and they aren't holding him anymore because Travis is okay, but he's getting deported," Alexis said gently.

"They were holding him?"

"I heard he was locked up for 24 hours before his parents could get him a lawyer."

"Holy fuck," David whispered this time, taking a breath and letting the information settle.

"I know," Alexis said unhelpfully.

"His parents must be livid," David was starting to piece together the ramifications of this. Sure, everybody in his peer group did drugs, but you were careful, and you were discrete and you never, ever, ever got caught. Parents turned a blind eye, unless they needed to hire a lawyer. And if it came to that, then they needed to show, publicly at least, that they were reacting with appropriate levels of disapproval. Hiring a lawyer often led to talk of trust funds being cut off. 

"Oooh, they are!" Alexis said, with the tiniest amount of glee inching into her voice.

David bit his lips together. He knew he shouldn't, but he couldn't really stop himself. The schadenfreude was pushing its way up to the surface.

"David? You okay?" Alexis could always read him.

"Very. Can't say I feel bad for the guy. For Travis? Yes! That's horrible! But for Sebastien… fuck him," David’s voice was flat and even and he surprised himself with how little he cared about Sebastien and what happened to him.

"That's a quick turnaround, David," Alexis said, and he could hear her curiosity coming to the surface.

"What do you mean?" David  tried for nonchalant.

"Normally, you'd be watching Brigitte Jones and eating your weight in mall pretzels," Alexis said, she was trying to bait him. He knew her moves.

"Mmmm," David hummed affirmatively, trying to brush it off.

"You met someone!" Alexis almost screeched.

"No!" David definitely screeched, a little.

"Who is it?" Alexis questioned.

"No one,” David was not going to tell her about Patrick. He was keeping him tucked away safely all for himself.

"David!" Alexis said, and he didn’t even really know why he thought he wasn’t telling her, but she wasn’t letting go until he did.

"Urgh, fine. I had a little fling with this hot lifeguard. It's nothing,” David lied.

"David?"

"You saw the drag queens in the video?" David smiled when he thought of Ivana.

"Ohhhh, a drag queen, love that for you!" Alexis said brightly.

"No. The guy is friends with one of the drag queens and he… he found me after I heard about Sebastien's tryst. So he set up his friends to trash talk Sebastien for me," David smiled at that memory too.

"Oh. That's nice," Alexis sounded soft.

"Yeah. He's nice,” David said warmly.

"Oh."

"Yes," David sighed. "Okay, Alexis, I have to go, I'm at the airport."

"Why?" Alexis said sharply.

"I have to check in!" David was back to almost screeching at Alexis.

"No, why are you at the airport? You're not supposed to be back for a few more days! The parade isn't until tomorrow," Alexis sounded exasperated.

"That's a lot of information for you to know,” David was becoming suspicious.

"I went to the gallery. Keisha told me everything,” Alexis said breezily.

"She gave you the key! Oh my god, are you in my apartment right now?! Alexis, I swear to god…" David’s voice was starting to rise.

Alexis hummed noncommittedly, before saying, "Chill David. I'm staying in the spare room,"

"It better not be a pigsty when I get back Alexis, and no parties," David harrumphed.

"No, I need a break, David. I'm laying low,” she said and David could hear a trace of sadness in her voice.

"Stavros?" he questioned.

"Mmmm,” Alexis mumbled in assent.

"Okay Alexis. You can stay," He wished he was there with her.

"Thank you,” Alexis said with a small sniff. "David?"

"What?" he replied.

"Stay. Go to the parade. Sebastien won't be able to say anything now. Everybody knows he was arrested. His words are meaningless. Everybody thinks he deserved it now, and not that you were off the rails. Have some fun with your little hottie of a life guard. You deserve someone nice, David," she said, the sincerity surprising David.

"Ummm, thank you?" The Rose siblings didn't really do sincerity very well, but he could try. "So do you Alexis, so do you," he said softly.

"Sir?" The driver interrupted the conversation, opening the door of the car.

"Gotta go. Be safe,” David said hastily.

"I will be. You… be good to yourself David,” Alexis said softly.

"Thanks Alexis, Bye.”

"Bye, David"

"Sorry about that," David apologised to the driver and then got out of the car.

"No worries, Sir. Private Jet Departures are just over there, Gate J," the driver said, pointing into the terminal.

"Thank you,” David said politely.

He collected the trolley from the driver, which he had already loaded with his luggage and pushed it into the airport

***

Patrick gave the bouncer a wave as  he lifted the rope and let Patrick straight in, much to the chagrin of the people in the queue. He just couldn't go home after leaving David. It was the night before Mardi Gras, so he figured he would find a distraction. 

As he approached the bar he noticed Todd, the guy he had blown off a few nights ago. It was like on a cooking show when there was one that was prepared earlier. Excellent. Patrick approached him from behind and leaned in close to his ear to say, "Hi, Todd."

Todd spun around in surprise, face softening when he realised it was Patrick. "Patrick! Nice to see you again."

"You too, Todd, you too," Patrick smiled at him warmly. 

"Is your friend performing again tonight?" Todd asked, starting the conversation easily. 

"Yes, she is," Patrick smiled, pleased he'd been remembered. 

"And your other friend? The drunk one, I saw you drag out the other night," Todd questioned, while looking at his hands. He was clearly making sure that Patrick didn't have any other distractions tonight. 

Patrick chuckled at the memory of drunk David. "He went back to New York. Had some boyfriend issues."

"Oh. That's a shame, he's going to miss the parade!" Todd said, smiling brightly like he wasn't at all unhappy about Patrick's missing friend. 

"I know right?" Patrick shook his head. He couldn't believe David would leave so close to the parade. "What about you? Are you going to the parade, Todd?"

"Oh yes, I'm a marshal," Todd replied happily. 

"Oh, maybe you'll see me!" Patrick said excitedly. 

"Where will you be?" Todd furrowed his brow. 

"On the royal surf lifesaving club float!"

Todd exclaimed, "Oh that’s right… You're a lifesaver!"

Patrick smirked and nodded. It was as good as being a fireman in terms of pulling, really. 

"Can I get you a drink, Todd?"

"Yes please," Todd said, pursing his lips.  

Patrick leaned on the bar, and looked around to try and find the bartender and he saw a flash of black hair walk into the club. Patrick’s head swivelled so fast, he almost got whiplash. The man disappeared into the crowd. 

He was tall like David, he was wearing black, and his hair was styled "up". Patrick didn't know what that was called. Oh, this was bad, he was going to be distracted again. Didn’t David leave? Did he decide to stay? He couldn't stand at the bar and not go find out. 

He felt a little bad for Todd, but seriously, he couldn't take the chance of chatting him up if David was still here. I mean what was he even thinking? Trying to chat him up in the first place? His head was elsewhere. 

"Todd, I'm really sorry to do this again, but I have to go…”  Patrick looked from Todd to the room guiltily.

What?! What happened?” Todd looked very surprised.

“I'm just so sorry,” Patrick shrugged his shoulders, grimaced and ran off, before he even bought him a drink.

“Just remember, the third time is NOT a charm, Patrick!” Todd yelled angrily at his retreating figure.

Patrick ran off in the direction that he had seen the hair disappear. He moved through the crowd, and luckily, he heard the MC, Ruby Lonesome take to the stage to start the show. It meant most people stopped what they were doing and paid attention. He scanned the crowd frantically, there were so many people in the club it was insane. People were standing shoulder to shoulder.

Just as the house lights went down and Ruby Lonesome started to introduce Ivana, he spotted the tall, dark-haired man at the other side of the room, and rushed over to see if it was him. Just as he was about to grab him, the man laughed. But the way he threw his head back softly, too gently, not exaggerated enough, Patrick could tell it wasn’t his David.

What was he even thinking? This was the second time he’d come to this bar hoping to get his mind off David. And there was no use. Especially not now. Not after everything they had been through together. The times that David thought that Patrick was saving him, were actually like team building activities. They created honesty, vulnerability and he got to know the David that was underneath all the pretension.

Yes, the sex was mind-blowing. He had never had a connection AND desire like that with his bed mates since he arrived in Sydney. Sure he desired them, but he wasn’t really ever concerned about getting to know them, not the way he was with David. He wanted to know everything about David. 

And then he thought about Rachel… he loved Rachel. He knew everything about Rachel, but he didn’t really desire her. She deserved so much better.

Patrick decided to cut his losses and head home. He called an Uber and couldn’t stop thinking about Rachel and everything they had been through together. In high school  they were solid, but it was because their relationship was all about friendship. They lost their virginities to each other the summer before they went to college and that was when it all changed. Rachel wanted it; it was like he broke the dam. She was a normal young person with a young person's libido and desires to explore her newly discovered sexuality, and he just didn’t care about it at all.

 

He tried really hard for her sake, but the pressure got too much. He broke up with her for the first time then. He happily went a year without any serious sexual encounter, until Kate. Kate was a drunken party hook-up that turned into about four dates and intercourse twice; she gave a mean blow job, which he was very happy about. And there was Jin. Jin was great because she didn’t want to have sex before marriage and she was very sporty. They had a good time together, hiking and they were on the college softball team together, until she realised after a few months, he probably wasn’t going to marry her. But in between there was always Rachel, long suffering Rachel, who just wanted to be with him. Just like he wanted to be with David. She didn’t deserve the not knowing.

By the time he got home, he knew he needed to call her. Tomorrow was meant to be their wedding. It was past eleven here, it would be 7am there. She’d be up and he’d catch her. He closed the door to his room and dialled her number.

She answered quickly, her voice still groggy from sleep. “Patrick?” she asked, disbelief in her tone. 

“Hey Rach," Patrick tried to be chipper. 

“What the fuck? It's barely day break here,” Rachel replied harshly. She never had a filter in the first few minutes when she woke up.

“I just needed to talk to you," Patrick was trying to stay calm and casual. 

“I’m so mad at you. Radio silence for 6 months? What the fuck, Patrick? And then you call the day before we are supposed to get married? You better have a good reason for –”

“I’m gay, Rach," Patrick said, cutting her off. 

The line went dead, but he could hear her breathing, so he knew she was still there. 

“Are you still there?” he asked anyway, nerves taking over. 

“Yes. I'm sorry, but did you just say that you are gay?” She genuinely sounded like perhaps she hadn’t heard him. 

Patrick chuckled, “Yes. I kinda thought I might be… and since I’ve been in Sydney, well, let’s just say I am very, very gay.” Patrick tried to make light of it.

He heard the unmistakable sound of Rachel sobbing, one time only, and she tried to cover it with, “Thank you for telling… me."

“Rach…” he said softly. 

“No. It’s good, I’m happy for you…” she replied but he could hear her sniffle. 

“Rachel,” Patrick said again, but his heart was hurting, making her feel this way. 

Patrick could hear her take a calming breath before saying resolutely, “and it makes sense, Patty.” 

“I’m sorry I…” Patrick started. 

“No! Don’t be sorry," Rachel said forcefully. 

“Well, I’m not sorry I’m gay. But I am sorry that I didn’t know. I feel like I wasted your time.” Patrick said, the reality of this statement is something that he'd been trying to cover up over the past few months, trying to get as much 'experience' as possible. 

“Patrick… if you didn't know, you didn't know. But, how did you work it out?”

“You really want to know?" Patrick questioned. He didn't really want to tell her, but she did deserve to know how it came out of the blue for him. It might make it easier for her to take, that it came as just as much of a surprise to him. "Unfortunately, it was while we were still engaged…”

“What?” Rachel said sharply. 

Patrick barrelled on quickly before she got too in her head. “I honestly didn’t know, and I was so stressed about the wedding, and… you remember I went to Toronto for that overnight work thing?”

“Yes, you came home, broke it off and moved back to your parents, so yeah… I remember," Rachel said snidely.

“Well, I was talking to this guy at the bar. I thought we were just chatting. I’d had four beers. I didn’t think I was flirting, but in hindsight, I think I was… and anyway. He kissed me, blew my mind a little, and I ran away from him too.”

“Wow, that must have been a lot,” Rachel said kindly. 

“Yeah, thanks Rach, it was a bit of a shock. And I just decided I needed to step away and try and make decisions about my life without anybody weighing in, you know?” 

She sighed, knowingly. “Yes. I think I get it. Everybody we know has an opinion about whether or not you are coming home to me, once you’ve sown your ‘wild oats’…” Rachel said wryly. 

“Ugh, they don’t, do they?” Patrick felt bad for her. “People are the worst.” He rubbed his face with his other hand. 

“Oh, they do.” Rachel said, and he could imagine her face, eyes widened and eyebrows raised. He still loved how well he knew her. 

“And what did you think?” he asked her. 

“I have been trying to move forward, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t always hold out hope. I mean, if it wasn’t for the sex thing, we were pretty perfect,” Rachel said wistfully. 

“Yeah, we were Rach.”

“But, ummm, yeah. I’ve gotta get ready for work, but  thanks for calling to tell me. I appreciate it. I need to let it sink in but… it’s good. It makes me feel better knowing that all of our relationship problems were your fault…” She laughed, and he knew they would be ok. 

“Hey!” Patrick said with faux indignation. 

“Seriously?” she questioned. 

“Okay, it is kinda fair. But Rach?” Patrick had one more thing to tell her. 

“Yes?” 

“I have always loved you. Still do. Just…”

“Not like that?”

“Yeah, just not like that.” Patrick sighed, glad she took it well.

“It’s okay. Bye Patrick,” she sounded ready to get off the phone. He had unloaded a lot on her.

“Bye Rach… oh! I haven’t told Mom and Dad yet. I will, very soon,” he promised.

“Okay – got it, I’ll call them now,” she replied cheekily.

“RACH!” Patrick retorted.

“Joking! I would never…” she said softly.

“Thanks Rach. I promise not to make you keep my secret for too long. Bye.”

“Goodbye, Patrick.”

***

Patrick went to the kitchen for some Sleepy time tea. He was exhausted but so wound up. It was an emotional rollercoaster of a day. He knew David was gone but he didn’t want to give up on him. Maybe when he returned home, he could go to New York and look for him? But what would he even say?

He thought that, “I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you?” was a little corny but, if he still felt this way in a few months, then yes. It made sense. That’s what he would do. It wasn’t much of a plan, but it was better than no plan.

“Patsy! You were there! But you left? What happened?” Hamish stormed into the kitchen, make up not completely removed but in well-worn jeans and a t-shirt, obviously still high from the show.

“Oh, hi, Hame. Show good?” he asked.

“You’d know if you stuck around…” Hamish said, and it had a little bite to it.

“I know, I thought I wanted to pick up, but, I just couldn’t. I want David,” he said softly, hoping Hamish would understand.

Hamish looked confused though, “I thought you hadn’t heard from him after the other night?”

Patrick remembered that he hadn’t seen Hamish all day today, so as far as he was concerned, last he saw him was when he left the Mardi Gras pre-party. “Ah yes. Well, yesterday he came to the pool, so I took him for lunch…”

“Where?” Hamish interjected.

“Panaroma,” Patrick answered.

“Nice, continue…” Hamish circled his hands in a magnanimous gesture.

“And then we went back to his room and…” Patrick paused as he always did before he would ‘kiss and tell’.

Fucked,” Hamish just wanted him to get on with the story.

“Yeah. And then he packed up his stuff and left.”

“Oh. Was it not good?” Hamish asked, screwing up his face.

“It was very good,” Patrick said and he could feel himself blush a little.

“Then why did he leave? I mean, the parade is tomorrow! Why would any queer leave Sydney, the day before Mardi Gras?!” Hamish was waving his arms around passionately.

“I obviously agree with you, but he is clearly very upset by everything that happened with Sebastien, and he said he needed to get back to contain the damage he could do to the gallery,” Patrick screwed up his face with the disappointment of it all.

“Speaking of which… I heard a rumour about that,” Hamish said, becoming very interested in his cuticles.

“What?” Patrick said a little more enthusiastically than he wanted to sound.

“Sebastien and the dancers he was fucking did a bunch of lines at the party. One of them had too much and OD’d. Sebastien was taken away in cuffs,” Hamish seemed kind of nonchalant considering what he’d just shared.

“What!? Was the dancer okay?” Patrick asked with a bit of panic in his voice.

“Ummm, yeah, I think so. But as I said, all rumours, we weren’t there when it happened,” Hamish reiterated.

“Oh, wow!” Patrick widened his eyes in shock from the information he had received. He didn’t know what difference it made to anything. And he hoped nobody died. But he wondered if it meant that Sebastien couldn’t cause as much trouble for David.

“Patsy?” Hamish said, impatiently, like it wasn’t the first time he’d said it.

“Sorry, yes, Hame?” Patrick asked distractedly.

“I know you really like this guy, for some ridiculous reason,” Hamish rolled his eyes as he spoke.

That bought Patrick back to the conversation at hand and he replied with a shrug, “I do.”

“But why? I mean, he’s objectively hot, but you’ve been with guys just as hot as him. He seems complicated and hard work. There is clearly a lot of hurt and insecurity going on under that brash exterior,” Hamish reasoned. He was right, of course.

“I just feel a connection,” Patrick said, knowing there was no way he could be reasonable about his feelings for David.

“Patsy, he is so damaged, it’s probably better to just collect the insurance,” Hamish said in his Ivana voice.

Patrick laughed out loud, knowing his friend’s sense of humour and that this would probably end up as a bit in his show.

Hamish smirked, it was clearly the reaction he was hoping for, “But if you really feel a connection, what are you going to do about it?”

Patrick smiled at his friend and took a big sip of his tea, making him wait while he swallowed, so he could put it into words. “I’m going to dance on what should have been my straight wedding day, on a float in a giant queer parade, come back here and get smashed with you and everyone else that I love in Sydney. And at the end of the month once my contract is up, I’ll go home, come out and then go to New York in search of him.”

“Okay, wow! That is a surprisingly well thought out plan,” Hamish raised his eyebrow and nodded at Patrick.

Patrick shrugged and said, “I have to try Hame. And if it isn’t meant to be, he’ll crush me and break my heart, and that will at least make me get over him.”

This time, it was Hamish’s turn to laugh out loud.   

Chapter Text

Mardi Gras

Patrick was woken from his sleep in by Katie jumping on him and screaming "Happy Mardi Gras!" in his face. He couldn't blame her. She was young and so very cool, but she had only recently moved from a regional town, and this was going to be her first as an out and proud Wilyakali woman. It was a big deal. She was marching in the parade for the LGBTQI+ First Nations people.

“Mmmm, morning Katie. What if I had been in here with someone?” he said in a sleep addled voice.

“Hamish told me you went to bed by yourself and were moping over some guy, so… I figured I was safe. Plus… Tim and Andy are making rainbow pancakes!” Katie was jumping up and down on his bed next to him so going back to sleep wasn’t happening.

“Okay, okay! I’m coming!” He laughed at how well the household knew him, looked after him and cared for him.

He stumbled to the bathroom before heading to the kitchen where he found  his entire found family. Tim and Andy were bickering and laughing, working seamlessly around each other at the stove, Hamish was recounting stories about last night, and the quieter members of the house, Josh and Chris, were listening to Hamish in rapt attention,  their office jobs not affording them any of the excitement of Hamish’s night-time Oxford Street adventures.

“Morning,” he said softly as he slid into his seat at the table. “How’s everybody feeling?”

A loud cacophony of cheering and enthusiastic words fell from everybody’s mouths, and Patrick knew whatever else was happening, he would enjoy today for everything it would be.

“Hey… I just wanted to say…” Patrick cleared his throat. He was done with hiding himself in every way. “There is something about today that makes it a little more special for me. I haven’t told many people in Sydney. In fact, only Hamish knows the whole story.” He paused again, grinning at everyone around the table; he knew this was going to probably surprise them all a little. “Today is not just Mardi Gras for me… Today, I was supposed to marry a woman,” Patrick smirked, the rest of the household collectively gasped, their eyes widening.

“No fucking way!” Chris said. “Does she know!?”

“I rang her and came out to her yesterday,” Patrick said nodding. He grabbed a napkin and a plate to serve himself some pancakes from the multicoloured stack in the middle of the table. “She was my childhood sweetheart.”

“Oh my god… That makes so much sense!” Josh said excitedly, waving his hands around in Patrick’s general direction.

“What do you mean?” Patrick asked, laughing at everyone’s love of drama.

“You are going through your newly out slutty phase…” Josh said with a cheeky grin.

Patrick barked out a laugh, “Well, yes, I guess I am! And the reason I am telling you all, is because you’ve all helped in some way or another. Living here has made everything easy. I’ve been able to really be myself and it stopped me from questioning the decisions I’ve been making. So, thank you.”

“A toast!” said Hamish, raising his coffee cup.

Everybody took a moment to get whatever beverage they were drinking in the air.

When everyone was ready, Hamish continued, “To everybody being able to be the best versions of themselves, whatever makes them happy. Happy Mardi Gras, bitches!”

***

Patrick was ready. Standing on the float, which was in the waiting area, ready for their time to join the parade. There were lifesavers from up and down the east coast, all in their Speedo uniforms.

Every exposed piece of his skin was covered with body glitter. Patrick was pumped. He really couldn’t believe that he was going to be on a float in such a tiny outfit, in front of tens of thousands of people. The parade route was jammed with people from all walks of life, and there were camera crews everywhere.

He’d been chatting to his float mates, and they were all getting each other enthused. A few were veterans of the float, one guy named Richard, had been on the float for ten years running.

“Just have fun!” Richard was trying to motivate all the lifesavers who were having first time nerves. “Nobody really cares tonight. It’s just all about acceptance, and enjoying yourselves. We get to show all of Australia that we are represented everywhere. Just shake that ass!”

His mind drifted back to David’s comments about his tree trunk thighs and his ass, and it made him smile. At least he knew that the ass he’d be shaking was David approved.

The float was essentially a decorated flatbed truck, the driver of which approached them all and shouted, “Hey everyone ready? Hold onto the safety rails at all times please, I’ll be going very slowly, but just be as careful as possible. Nobody wants to end up in the emergency room and miss the party!”

There was excited chatter and movement as everybody got a hold of the safety rails that were screwed strategically to the base of the truck bed. This was it; they were about to be part of the official parade. The engine started, and Patrick could feel the vibrations under his feet before the music started pumping from the speakers, and then he could feel the base too. Of course, it was vintage Kylie – Sydney was Kylie mad at the moment.

Say you won't leave me no more

I'll take you back again

No more excuses, no, no

'Cause I heard them all before

A hundred times or more….

 

Here we go, Patrick thought, as the truck started moving. He almost couldn’t believe he was standing on a truck in his Speedo, announcing loudly and proudly that he was gay to tens of thousands of people all over Sydney. He felt good about all the changes he had made to his life over the past six months. Coming to accept this huge realization about himself, and not just that he was gay, but also that he had spent his life making decisions based on what everyone else thought was the right thing to do.

Hamish had helped him find his voice in asking for what he wanted, and even though he had used this skill mostly for picking up, it was definitely a muscle that he had gotten used to flexing. He was more likely to recognize what he wanted, and ask for it in other aspects of life too, which was big for him. He realized taking on board every other person’s needs and wants, and prioritizing them above his own, he’d been doing it his whole life. He was so proud of himself, but the last week had really shifted something in him. He wanted to tell people, he wanted his life not to be ‘before’ and ‘after’ anymore. Telling Rachel had been something he really needed to do, and now he couldn’t wait to tell his mom and dad as well. No more hiding or pretending to be anything other than himself, just because it was what he thought everyone else expected of him.

As the truck rounded the corner onto Oxford Street, the crowds on each side of the road cheered joyfully, and he couldn’t have been more thrilled. He started waving and blowing kisses to the crowd, not worrying about dancing too much, because as Hamish had made very clear, it wasn’t really his strong suit anyway.

What a thrill! He really couldn’t believe that little Patty Brewer from Ontario was on a pride float. He laughed. Every now and again, he wiggled a little and did some spins. He started getting into it.

The song shifted again.

I'm spinning around, move out of my way

I know you're feeling me 'cause you like it like this

I'm breaking it down, I'm not the same

I know you're feeling me 'cause you like it like this

 

Patrick chuckled at the words of the song that he’d become very familiar with, due to the frequency at which Hamish played it – and how often it was played at every gay club in the city, too. The truck kept moving along Oxford Street and as the Colombian came into view, he thought back to all the nights he'd had there, and all the men he'd seduced. It had played centre stage to his sexual awakening. He was so glad that he had done it and gone through that phase. It had shown him such a different side of himself that he had never tapped into, and knowing that he had accepted his extremely sexual side was a really big deal. He loved knowing that particular side of himself had finally been uncovered. It was like he had shirked off the heteronormative and safe ideals of his old world, and found a sex positive world. Again, another misconception he had about himself; he’d always thought he wasn’t a very sexual being. How wrong he was.

However, what he wanted now was a loving relationship. He was ready. He wanted what Tim and Andy had. Hell, he wanted what his mom and dad had. The idea of picking someone up for a night of fun all of a sudden had no appeal, he was done was that phase. And David had been the catalyst.

David with his raven eyes and hair, his long legs and gorgeous smile, his quick wit and teasing humour. The way he moved gracefully through the world.

The song changed again.

La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la

La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la

I just can't get you out of my head

Boy, your lovin' is all I think about

I just can't get you out of my head

Boy, its more than I dare to think about

 

He giggled to himself; the song changes felt like they were tapping into his subconscious. It felt significant and telling. He really couldn’t get David out of his head. He had never felt like this about anyone before, and he was definitely going to find him. He hoped that when David returned to New York, he wouldn’t fall back into Sebastien’s circle. He hoped that Hamish was right, and that Sebastien had been arrested and that kept him out of David’s life.

They were coming up to Taylor Square, which was a giant intersection, and the focal point of the whole parade. It was where the television crews were doing all their interviews, and the camera crews were set up. He started waving out at the crowd and blowing kisses again. Taking in the crowds, he saw people dressed in head-to-toe rainbows, people who he thought had the look of proud moms and dads, people of all races and orientations. This was mind blowing. He was so glad he decided to have this once in a lifetime experience. There were people with placards, cheering people on, some with specific names and….

What, wait… Was that his name? Patrick narrowed his eyes to stare further into the crowds.

There in the neatest black script, on a piece of plain brown cardboard that had clearly been salvaged from a grocery box somewhere, above the heads of a couple of shiny rainbow people, was a placard that just said, GO PATRICK!

He followed the arms of the hands that held it and… it couldn’t be? Could it?

The sign started to jostle, and the people in front of it started to grimace and look behind themselves, moving apart to let through…

“DAVID!?” he shouted loudly, a couple of his float-mates looked over to him, trying to follow his line of sight.

David was gesturing to the people in front of him, and then pointed to Patrick, and the people flanking him looked from David, to Patrick, and back again. Realization hit them, so they let him to the front of the barricades which were stopping people from being able to charge the parade route. Once they realised the intention behind what he was doing, the crowd around David started yelling Patrick’s name, and waving their arms trying to get his attention. Like David didn’t already have it….

David looked up and saw that Patrick was staring straight at him, and he smiled, the brightest toothiest grin, before shrugging and shouting, “I couldn’t leave!” with his free hand to the side of his mouth.

Patrick was grinning like a crazy person. David was here. He didn’t go, he came to the parade! He looked over the edge of the truck. Wasn’t that far. He could do it. The truck was only moving at a snail’s pace. He was going to do it.

He looked up at David, who had clearly worked out what he was planning, and started waving his hands across each other, signalling ‘no don’t jump!’. As if Patrick could stay up on the truck now knowing David was down there. He crouched down at the edge of the truck, held onto the edge and jumped, using his hold on the truck to ease his descent. He kept moving as he landed so he could deal with the velocity of the truck and landing in a crouching position. When he was sure he was steady, he stood up, everybody in his vicinity taking a collective breath when they knew he was okay.

He laughed, and ran towards David. He didn’t really care what anyone else was thinking or seeing. When he was a few metres away from David he screamed over the noise of the crowd, “You stayed!”

“I did,” David replied, smirking and nodding.

And that was all the time Patrick needed to be close enough to put his hand around the back of David’s head and pull him in for a blistering kiss. A loud cheer rose up from the crowd in the immediate vicinity, and Patrick pulled back, laughing, only then realizing there were tears running down his own face.

“Hey,” Patrick said softly, not really believing this was actually happening.

“Hey,” came David’s soft reply.

Patrick laughed a wet and emotional laugh. He blinked a few times and wiped his face before asking David, “Want to come to a party?”

“Yes, please.” David answered, wiping his face with the sleeve of his shirt.

“Stay with me until you go?” Patrick asked hopefully.

Stay with me?” David countered.

Patrick chuckled and shook his head… “We’ll figure it out.” they leaned in to kiss again, both smiling and it there were too many teeth involved for it to be good, but it didn’t matter.

“Your ride is almost leaving…” David jutted out his chin toward the truck that had started to turn the corner into Flinders Street.

“Okay, meet me at our house?” Patrick raised an eyebrow.

“I don’t remember where it is,” David said, shrugging.

“Text me? Do you still have my number?” Patrick asked.

“Of course. I put it in my phone that first day,” David admitted, and Patrick smiled a soft smile, shaking  his head.

“Okay! I better…” and gestured over his shoulder to the truck, pecked David quickly on the lips, and ran back. Patrick waved his arms at the driver to get his attention, who stopped, and he used the passenger side door to get back on to the bed of the truck.

***

Once Patrick said a heartfelt, but very brief farewell to his fellow lifesavers, and new buddies, he pulled on his cargo shorts and sad t-shirt from his backpack and slipped them on over the top of his Speedos and he was off, he just needed to get home, and back to David.

Barging in the door of his share house, which was not locked, there were already quite a few people. The house opened to a hallway and he could hear Katie was already spinning on the decks. The party was set up in the main living area which was an open plan lounge room, leading into the dining room and kitchen. Katie was set up in the front window and had her entourage of four to five uber cool young women around her. Josh and Chris were talking to friends of theirs, Megan and Lynne, that he’d met before. He waved to them all, scanning a few other groups of people congregated, some of whom he recognised, others not so much. However there was only one person he was looking for, and standing in the back, holding a glass of white wine and chatting animatedly with Tim and Andy, was David.

He hadn’t really paid attention to what David was wearing at the parade, but Jesus, he was a vision; absolutely stunning in a graphic t-shirt, shorts that looked like a skirt and some very chunky boots. David was like a runway model and he felt like a slob in comparison. He wondered if he should go upstairs and change before he went over to him.

But then David noticed him and they locked eyes and the way David’s face lit up, he knew it didn’t matter. Before he even was aware of what he was doing he was right there with him, kissing him on the cheek in greeting.

“Pat-trick!” Andy cheered, clearly a glass or two in, “How was your parade?” Giving a little shimmy and raising his eyebrows.

Tim laughed and continued for him, “David said you gave the good people of Taylor Square a bit more than they bargained for, jumping off a moving truck and making out in front of all of Australia’s news teams…”

“Wait, what?!” Patrick shouted in reply

“Oh yeah, you made the broadcast, Patsy!” Andy said with a laugh.

“Oh my god! Seriously?” Patrick was dumbstruck.

“I mean, it’s from behind so basically you can see your ass, and the back of your head kissing David in the crowd, yes, for about ten seconds of the broadcast… But yes!” Andy clearly thought the whole thing was hysterical.

“They didn’t catch your stuntman roll off the truck!” Tim added, also chuckling.

Patrick rubbed his face with his hands, groaning.

“At least it’s a spectacular ass, honey…” David said, rubbing his arm, soothingly. When Patrick dropped his hands, David was biting his lip and his dimple had popped, his eyes sparkling.

“So! I need a drink, and then do you want to come upstairs with me? I might just need to put on something a bit nicer than what I’m wearing, and you can tell me how it is that you are still here?”

“Sure. Pleasure to meet you again, Tim and Andy. I’m sure this time, I’ll remember it.” He winked at them both, and they chuckled softly as Patrick and David headed upstairs.

They held hands as they walked up the stairs, they held hands as they entered the room, they held hands as Patrick pulled him in and said in a whisper, “How are you still here?” before he kissed him soundly, revelling in the feeling of holding him in his arms. 

David sighed and stepped away to perch on the edge of the bed. "Alexis called me while I was in the car on the way to the airport," he said while looking at the ground. "Sebastien got arrested, and then deported." He looked up to gauge Patrick's reaction to the news. 

"So that wasn't just a rumour," Patrick replied and sat down next to him to hold his hand.

"How did you hear?" David asked, furrowing his brow.

Patrick shrugged and said, "Hamish."

"Of course," David was nodding, face relaxing. "Anyway, I got into the airport and started thinking about how shitty Sebastien was, and how shitty my life is, and that you've been the brightest spark in my life in a long time. You have been nothing but kind to me and you are…. Well, I like hanging out with you. And of course, people kept telling me I couldn’t miss the parade." David pursed his lips in a way that Patrick could tell he was using to hold onto his smile.

Patrick smiled warmly at David and leaned over to kiss him gently, then stood up and pulled his t-shirt over his head while waiting for the rest of the story. “I still need to get changed,” he said looking at the face David was pulling. “And did you enjoy the parade?”

“I think you know for a fact I enjoyed the parade. Do you expect me to just sit and talk to you while you are getting undressed?” asked David, raising one eyebrow and grinning into one side of his mouth.

“Yep!” Patrick said while he dropped his pants. “How long do I have you for?”

“Three more days,” David said as his eyes trailed down Patrick’s body.

“You extended?!” Patrick’s enthusiasm was not subtle, he knew he was beaming at the news.

“Yes, but I have to meet with the next artist. His exhibition is bumping in next Thursday. It was the latest I could push it. I’m going to be jet lagged to shit but…” he said watching Patrick as he dropped his Speedos and started to pull on his Tom Ford briefs.

“But what, David?” Patrick was trying to keep a straight face, but David’s face was so expressive, it was very, very hard.

David’s eyes were on his cock and he licked his lips.

“No, we have to go down to the party!” Patrick started to laugh, and wobble on his one leg as he lifted the other to get into his briefs.

“Do we though?” David cocked his eyebrow at Patrick as he was walking forward. “I could just…” and he fell to his knees directly in front of Patrick.

Patrick knew he was powerless to resist.

***

After a speedy but still mind-altering blow job, where David had pulled out his own cock and made himself come before Patrick even had the chance to register what was going on, they were back downstairs at the party, albeit twenty minutes later. Patrick knew they still needed to have a proper conversation, but for now he was happy. He had three more days with David, it was Mardi Gras, he'd been on a FLOAT. His ass had been on TV! It was all enough for today. He could worry about the rest tomorrow. 

Patrick wanted to introduce David to everyone, so they made the rounds of the party. People were drinking, Katie was killing it with her music selection and people were dancing. If it wasn’t Mardi Gras, Patrick was sure the police probably would have been called by now to tell them to keep it down. The party was wild and raucous in the best possible way. Just after midnight, Hamish slunk in with Killian and Marco. They’d been working a corporate event for Mardi Gras, but they had promised at least one song once they got to the party. They were ready to go and they headed straight over to Katie, who started turning the music down, which slowed most people and got them to pay attention.

“Hello my Darlings,” Ivana shouted over the raucous room. She didn’t even need a microphone; she just commanded the room. People started whooping and there were a few wolf whistles. Marcy and Peggy flanked her, and were leaning in as they shouted together in a well-rehearsed routine, “Happy Mardi Gras!”

Everyone clapped and cheered, yelling happy Mardi Gras back to them.

“We have had a pretty dramatic week, even for a bunch of Drama Queens!” She winked at Patrick who was standing off to the side. “We even got to meet her Royal Highness, Miss Minogue!” More whoops and cheers from the crowd. “And as all of you decided that coming to our humble little party was a bigger draw than that giant party, we decided that the least we could do was give you a little bit of Kylie tonight. And PS, she is charming as fuck, so suck it, we met her and you didn’t.” The room burst out laughing and Katie started the Kylie track they had selected.

 

Thought that I was going crazy

Just having one of those days, yeah

Didn't know what to do

Then there was you

And everything went from wrong to right

And the stars came out, filled up the sky

The music you were playing really blew my mind

It was love at first sight

'Cause, baby, when I heard you

For the first time, I knew

We were meant to be as one

 

 

“Patrick,” David said softly.

“Yes, David?” Patrick smiled at him. He was so fucking happy right now.

“Would you like to come back to the hotel with me?” David raised his eyebrows twice suggestively.

“You know I do,” Patrick smirked. “I just want to have a minute with Hamish.”

“You mean Ivana?” David said with a cheeky smirk.

“Don’t you start!” Patrick said and kissed him to shut him up.

Patrick was standing at to the side of the party with David, watching his friends entertain the crowd, and he was sure that Hamish had pulled out this song just for him. David had been on Patrick’s mind since the minute he met him, regardless of whether or not it was love at first sight, there was a pull towards him, even when he hadn’t wanted there to be. Even when he thought he was just a pretentious asshole with gorgeous long legs.

Ivana and her crew wound up their performance and Ivana took back control of the show. She was such a performer. “Thank you, thank you, thank YOU! We have had an amazing time tonight, but we love performing for our nearest and dearest the most. Case in point…. that song was for you, Patsy!” Ivana yelled at him while pointing him out in the crowd.”

AA giant ”Woo hoo” came from everyone at the party, and Patrick could feel himself blushing from the tips of his ears down. He hid behind David and rested his head on his shoulder. “Patsy was supposed to marry a WOMAN today!” Cheering came from the rest of the party, “But luckily for us, he ran away to come and join our Big Gay Circus, and dick half of Sydney. And he still managed to end up with the prettiest girl at the ball! Happy Mardi Gras, you slutty baby gay!”

David was laughing and turned his head to look at him, biting on his lips and Patrick couldn’t help but kiss his shoulder.

“You ready?” Patrick asked David, “I was going to stay and chat to Hamish, I think I need to get out of here before I am roasted further… I remember what happened to the last boyfriend of yours that Ivana roasted… You’ve got a glass of champagne and everything…” Patrick laughed at his own joke.

“Oh, you think I’m your boyfriend now, do you?” David said with a purse of his lips and a slight eyebrow raise.

Oh fuck. “I mean…” Patrick started. Shit, he was going to scare him off before they even started. But then he realised, he may as well lean into it now, he’d said it. He did want him to be his boyfriend. Was it too early? Sure. But did he want it? Definitely.

“I know we have… a lot to discuss… but…” he pulled David around so they were face to face, put one hand on his hip and ran the other hand down his bicep. “If you remember correctly, I believe I said I’d be open, to, well…. pretty much anything with you.”

David’s face just lit up and no matter how hard he seemed to be trying, he couldn’t stop the warm smile that was overtaking his face. “Okay, Patrick,” David said as he nodded. “I think we might need to go back to my hotel and sort out the details, but I am open, to entertaining your offer.”

“Great,” Patrick mumbled as he pulled him in to kiss him again. He just could not get enough of this man. He knew he was so fucked. They only had three more days together for now, and he wanted to make the most of them. “I just need to go pack a bag for the next three days.” They started kissing again. Unfortunately, turning your back on a drag queen was like turning your back on the ocean.

“Hey you two!” Ivana called out to them, “Get a room!” and there were cat calls and laughter throughout the crowd.

David pulled back from Patrick, cleared his throat and turned around to smile at the drag queen. “We have one, Darling… and we are planning on going to use it. See you all in three days!” David said with a giant grin and a flourish, grabbing Patrick’s hand and pulling him up the stairs.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

The date

 

As they walked out the door of the house to more cheering and cat-calls, Patrick slipped his hand into David’s, like it was something they always did. Like he had already formed a habit. David loved it, but after the boyfriend comment at the party, he needed to say something. He wasn’t used to being direct, but Patrick was good at it, so he was willing to try. “Hey?” he started slowly.

“Yes, David?” Patrick replied, swinging their arms between them happily.

“I’ve really enjoyed our time together over the past five days,” David cautiously started the conversation. This was a lot of emotional vulnerability for him, but the feelings were just spinning around inside of him, he needed to get them out.

“It’s six,” Patrick interjected cheekily.

“Six?” David questioned.

“Yeah, technically It’s already Sunday and we met on Tuesday. It’s one thirty in the morning on Sunday,” Patrick was smirking at David, his eyes shining with mirth, “so, it’s six days.”

“You can’t help yourself, can you?” David shook his head, and blinked slowly.

“No, not really,” Patrick said with a hint of a laugh on his face. David adored his trolling; he really did – but this conversation was important. The last week he had been adrift in a rough sea and he needed to throw down an anchor.

“Anyway, as I was saying,” David stopped. He wanted to make sure that Patrick really appreciated what he was saying here and didn’t take it the wrong way, so he pulled on their joined hands and dragged Patrick back until he was looking at him. And then he dropped his head before he started talking, because looking at the ground was as brave as he was able to be while his insides were swirling around like this. “Patrick, I am only here for three days and then I’m going back to New York.’ He looked up and tried to assess how those words had hit Patrick. Patrick had his head cocked patiently and his eyes trained directly on him, just waiting patiently for him to say what he needed to say. “My whole life is there; I’ve been building up my gallery and its reputation for four years now and I’m not going to give it up. I’ve worked hard for it. I’m going to have to work harder now, without Sebastien. He had a lot of connections.”

“Okay,” Patrick said easily, like it meant nothing that they only had three days. Which, if you placed it next to the boyfriend comment, seemed completely out of context.

“That’s it?” David shook his head to indicate how confused he was.

“Yup,” Patrick agreed, with a broad smile.

“But you just called me your boyfriend?” David’s voice was going an octave higher than he’d like it to be, so he cleared his throat before continuing. “Is that… do you want us to be…? Look, I just can’t understand what you want from me?!” he hated that the hope that had been warming his heart was already vanishing, although it was probably for the best that he dealt with that now.

“What do you want, David?” Patrick squeezed his hand a little tighter with the question and smiled softly. Like he was giving him permission to be honest, not like he was running out of patience.

Which didn’t mean that David understood what he was trying to say. “What do you mean?” he asked with confusion.

“You pushed back your flight, David. How did you see this going?” Patrick seemed to think that this was a genuine line of inquiry.

“Honestly?” David asked, scrunching up his face. He was in it now; honesty was all he had.

“Yes, David,” Patrick answered simply, still calm and happy.

“We would have three days of hot sex and some lovely meals, maybe another walk along the beach, and I’d see the Opera House? Then I’d leave and that would be that,” David couldn’t keep looking into Patrick’s eyes for the disappointment that might be there. He was used to giving over everything for people to be with him, but he wasn’t doing that this time. If anything, the last week had taught him that his gallery was really important to him, and he needed to prioritise that over shitty men who did shitty things. Not that Patrick was like that, but just, you know, in general.

“Okay. Well, what if I told you I am amenable to all of that, except for the last bit?” Patrick caught David’s attention with this statement.

David turned his face up to look at Patrick’s and said in a frustrated voice, “What? I just told you I have to leave!”

“David. Sorry,” Patrick breathed in before continuing, “I’m frustrating you. I’ll be clear. I know you have to leave and I would never stand in the way of your career or your aspirations,” Patrick smiled softly, and lifted their entwined hands up to kiss David’s kuckles, “but it’s the bit where you said ‘that would be that’. I don’t want it to be over after that. I’ll come to New York.”

“Wh.. Ho.. why?” David was so utterly shell shocked by this admission he was struggling to form a complete sentence. He shook his head a little and tried again. “Why would you do that?”

“I told you the other day on the beach, David. I like you,” Patrick smiled like it was all really that simple.

David huffed out a laugh on his breath and shook his head softly, the storm inside him starting to subside. “You are right. You are frustrating.” Patrick’s face lit up, like he had just given him the highest of compliments.

“Okay, how about we do this. You leave Tuesday night, yeah?” Patrick was still smiling.

“Yes,” David said, happy to answer a question that felt simple.

“On Tuesday, before you leave you can tell me whether you want me to come. I’ve got to be here until the end of March. I was going to go home via South East Asia, but nothing is set in stone. I don’t have any plans. I’ve got savings. My dad’s American, so I can get a passport. I’ll come and get a job in New York when I get back and we can pick up if you want to. If nothing else has changed for you, and you still want me there, I’ll be there.” Patrick said all this with such ease, David was reminded of his confidence in every move he’d ever made with him. His ease with himself and the world was really addictive. “And let me make this very clear to you, David. I definitely want to come.”

Oh.” David said and nodded, still taking it all in, but Jesus, his confidence hadn’t gotten any less alluring over the past week. His brain was screaming at him to create a diversion. “What do you even do for work when you aren’t strutting around in a pair of swimming trunks?”

Patrick looked a little confused and then actually laughed out loud. “Sorry, I just haven’t had to think about it for a while. Seems like an alternate universe. I hold an MBA, and I was working as a business consultant, small businesses, etcetera. But I can literally do anything to do with business, except maybe taxes. The tax laws are probably pretty different in the U.S.”

“So, you won’t have any trouble finding a job?”

“I usually don’t,” Patrick shrugged and tugged him to keep going to the hotel. “Look, I had pretty much decided before I met you that I wasn’t going to go back and live where I grew up. I need to start somewhere fresh. I hadn’t decided where, so New York is as good a place as any to start fresh. Sound okay?” Patrick asked in a soothing manner. “My plan, that is. Are you on board?”

“M-hmm, I guess,” he was letting it all settle. He couldn’t really fault Patrick’s plan. There was no downside for him. Patrick had told him what he was willing to do for David, and given him an out if he wanted it. He really was a very different being than anyone David had ever met. Kind, generous, and an open book. He told David what he wanted and left him space to add what he needed.

“Tuesday then,” Patrick said, “but for now, can we go back to your hotel and get on with item number one on your check list?”

“Okay,” a smile taking over David’s face, and his walking sped up just a little.

***

When David and Patrick got back to the hotel and they were both exhausted. They moved into the room, and with very little discussion, they both started getting ready for bed. It had been a very long day. What surprised David though, was the domesticity of it. He did his skincare routine while Patrick walked in and out of the bathroom, depositing his toiletries and brushing his teeth, kissing him lightly on the shoulder, or his cheek, depending where he was at with his skin routine. Patrick commented on his extensive skin care, but more out of curiosity, never in a mean or mocking way, and by the time they were ready for bed, they both pulled back the covers together and slid in like they had been doing it for years.

David was not surprised that Patrick reached for him so confidently once they were finally in bed together, but he was surprised by the softness that was contained in those first kisses. They were soft and languid and knowing. Like somehow, they already knew each other completely, they were reincarnated souls who finally found each other.

They were both only in their boxer briefs and t-shirts, kissing so gently but with so much intent. And the intent was not hurried, it was purposeful, but the getting to the end no longer seemed important. David could feel the small amounts of stubble on Patrick’s chin as their faces met, and he catalogued the whining noise he made when his teeth scraped along his bottom lip. David moved his hand underneath Patricks t-shirt to play with his nipples and it was only a matter of minutes before both their t-shirts were removed, and their boxers were pushed down, and their kisses became more heated, but their mouths never left each other’s; it was the oxygen they were breathing.

Once they were undressed, their cocks were rubbing against each other and Patrick stopped them to reach over and get the lube. David groaned at the loss of Patrick's body pressed against him, however once he heard the lid click, he felt Patrick’s warm hand around his hard length and he was back to the feeling of knowing exactly where his place should be in the world. They slotted together perfectly, the movement was unrushed and their engorged lengths enjoyed the friction of each other’s bodies.

The words that passed between them were whispered and soft, encouraging and adoring. They were rubbing up against each other, seeking out their own pleasure, but they both made sure that the other was feeling the same sensation, experiencing the same joy. They traded tender kisses while their hands traced over each other’s bodies, feeling skin, rounding edges, testing boundaries, but softly. David had never… He’d never had sex like this. Patrick was worshipping him, adoring him, but he was right here. They were in this together; they were entwined, they belonged in this moment and nothing else existed. He felt a connection in his body that was thrumming all the way down to his toes. Their faces were still locked together, their eyes kept meeting with such intensity, David wasn’t sure he would ever find that look easy to deal with, no matter how badly he wanted it.

As gently as it started, it eventually began to build to something overwhelming, and neither of them could contain the intensity that began to course through them. Their breaths became panting, as their moaning took the place of words.

They were still face to face as Patrick panted out, “I’m…” and so David opened his eyes to watch, because in the last few days, he had become addicted to the sight of this man in complete and utter bliss. He watched Patrick’s face contort with pleasure and that was enough to carry him over the edge, coming with such force that it surprised him after the softness and simplicity of the sex.

And then the thing that he couldn’t get over, was how even though he’d already come, Patrick couldn’t stop kissing him. It was like he’d never get enough of kissing David. They did a cursory clean up and drifted off to sleep in a tangle of limbs, into the deepest sleep that David could ever remember, that wasn’t facilitated by medication.

***

Patrick woke up before David, which he wasn't surprised about. Last night had been incredible. His heart was full. The parade, the party and just the David of it all, made him feel content and satisfied all the way down to his bones. He had a plan for today and he needed to speak to Andy, but it was probably too early for Andy, too. 

There was just one thing he needed to do to make the way he was feeling complete. He pulled on his boxers and t-shirt and took his phone out to the balcony. 

He dialled the number etched into his memory from late night calls of his teenage years, when he and his buddies found themselves somewhere they decided they didn’t want to be, and they knew that Marcy or Clint would come and pick them up, no questions asked. He really hoped they were both home. 

“Patrick!” 

“Hi, Mom. Switch to FaceTime?" He waited while she fiddled with her phone. "Is Dad home?"

"He is,” his mom nodded with a smile.

"Can you get him?" Patrick smiled softly and nervously at his mom, hoping she wouldn’t notice and knowing that she would.

She called out to her husband and then turned back to Patrick, breathing in before asking, "Is everything okay, sweetheart?"

He chuckled at how well he knew her, just as she knew him. "Yes, Mom. Everything is good. Great even."

"Where are you?" she asked, raising an eyebrow curiously; of course, she would notice he wasn’t in his bedroom too.

"I'm actually on a balcony of a hotel that looks over my work…" he switched the camera around to scan the pool and up to the beach, distracting her from asking why he was there, before turning it back to himself once he could see his dad settling down next to his mom. 

"It really is beautiful there Patrick. I can understand why you've wanted to spend your summer there. But please tell me you aren't staying forever? I mean, of course, whatever makes you happy, I just miss you and it's so far!" his mom said with an easy smile.

Patrick laughed. It was far. "Well, I'm glad you said that. About me being happy. Because I really am, but no, I'm not staying here. My contract is up at the end of the month and I'm just sorting out the details in the next few days, but I'll come home. For a bit anyway."

"What do you mean? Patrick…"

"Marce, just let him talk…" Clint said, putting his hand over his wife’s and giving it a squeeze.

Patrick smiled and took a deep breath. He was so ready to do this. "Mom, Dad… I'm gay," he sat still while he waited for the information to sink in. He resisted the urge to prattle on. He figured it would be at least a bit surprising for them.

Marcy and Clint looked at each other, and a softness overtook their faces as they wordlessly checked in with one another. He loved how his parents had an unspoken language between them. "Oh, my sweet boy! Thank you for telling us. As long as you are happy that's all we care about…"

A surge of relief ran through Patrick and even though he didn't think it would go any other way, the way his body relaxed was immediate, and he huffed out a wet laugh, "I'm really happy."

"So, is there someone special or…."

Patrick chuckled at his mom who dived right in there, while his dad rolled his eyes and joined Patrick in his chuckle. "There might be. I've met someone, BUT he's not from here. He actually lives in New York. He's heading home in a few days and if everything goes to plan, after I come home and see you guys, I plan on making arrangements and moving down there to be with him."

"Oh, that's nice. New York is not that far!" Marcy said excitedly.

Patrick's dad joined the sentiment on this one, "Yes, when I think of you moving to Australia, New York sounds like you are just around the corner."

Patrick smiled, because that was it. He felt complete. He felt like he had finally managed to fit all the fragments of his life back together, the ones he felt like he’d cleaved in two when he had left Rachel and his childhood home behind.

"Is it that nice friend, Hamish, you share your house with?" His mother wasn't one to let this go. “He sounds so lovely when you speak about him.”

"No, Mom,” Patrick said, shaking his head at her tenacity. “I promise I'll tell you more when I know more, but I have a good feeling about this."

Marcy sighed, but she was happy, he could tell, and that was all he wanted. "Okay, so tell me something else? Tell me about the things I've missed…" Marcy asked, seeing as she wasn’t getting any tea about her son’s dating life.

"Well, last night was Sydney's Gay Pride parade, it’s called Mardi Gras here, and I was on a float for the Surf Life Saving Association, in my Speedo…"

“Patrick Brewer! In a parade in your underwear!?” His mother sounded scandalized and his dad laughed heartily.

***

When Patrick got inside David was stirring. He went back to the bed, and kissed him softly.

"Too early," David snuffled into his pillow.

"It's almost midday," Patrick stated between soft kisses.

"Still, too early," David whispered.

"I'm going to call for room service and coffee, do you want breakfast or lunch?" Patrick asked.

"Breakfast," he stated clearly.

"Any requests,” Patrick could guess, but knew that whatever the answer was, it should be a lot of food.

"Bacon. Pancakes. Syrup, ask for syrup or you'll just get honey. Or jam. What kind of people don't send syrup with their pancakes?" he said this whole monologue without opening his eyes, and still in his grumpy morning voice. It was adorable. 

Patrick chuckled. "Do you want toast? I heard you like toast."

David's eyes sprung open, "What?"

"Sorry, you don't remember, do you?" Patrick took in the look in David's eyes to understand that he didn't remember at all. "That first night in the kitchen with Andy and Tim, you told them you liked toast."

"I guess there are worse things I could have said," closing his eyes again and reaching out for Patrick and pulling him in to kiss him. "Who were you talking to?"

"I didn't mean to wake you, sorry," Patrick apologized. 

"You didn’t really, I felt the shift in the room when you opened the door, but It's okay," David stretched, then opened his eyes and sat up in the bed. He was still naked, but the top sheet covered him from the waist down. He was sleepy and rumpled and beautiful.

“I just came out to my mom and dad," Patrick grimaced and raised his eyebrows.

David instantly looked more alert. "Are you okay? Did it go okay?"

He smiled at David, and said, "Better than okay," pulling him in and kissing David again. 

"Good, order breakfast and then you can tell me all about it…" David said, looking around the room, probably trying to locate his clothes.

"What if I wanted to do something else first…" Patrick said cheekily, slipping his hand around David's waist. 

"Mmmm," David hummed into the kiss, and then pulled back. "Breakfast first, you’ve said it now, no take backs."

***

Over breakfast, Patrick recounted his coming out, both to his parents and to Rachel, and he even detailed a few more intimate details of their relationship, and what a disaster posing as the perfect relationship it was. Patrick felt settled, calm and just happy and full of bacon and pancakes.

“So, I was thinking… You mentioned the Opera House last night and so I have made a little itinerary for us, if you are up for it?” Patrick looked at David hopefully.

“Can we just stay here today?” David replied.

“In the hotel?” Patrick quirked an eyebrow at David.

“Yes, the whole day,” David said with a sigh, “it’s just… it’s been a lot this week. And this,” he was motioning between himself and Patrick, “is nice. Can we just enjoy it slowly today?”

Patrick felt every bone in his body turn to jelly. For David to say something that honest? Patrick was here for it. “Okay, David. I have to go back to work tomorrow, though?”

“That works. I can sleep in and then come down and watch you strut around in your uniform. And this time I won’t have to just imagine the things I want to do to you…” David’s face started to morph into his cheeky grin.

Da-vid,” Patrick had to clear his throat at the image of David poolside, thinking erotic thoughts.

“Can we move your itinerary to tomorrow afternoon?” David asked.

“Yes,” Patrick nodded, still slightly flustered by the image of David watching him at work. “What I was thinking was, the Opera House is at Circular Quay, and that’s where the Harbour Bridge is, too. But also, there is the Museum of Contemporary Art, which has a really cool section on modern indigenous art, which… well I thought you might like?”

David nodded, with his smile bitten into the side of his mouth. Patrick returned the smile. He was pretty sure that meant David really liked the idea but didn’t want to say how much.

“Then there is a restaurant, right there, that overlooks the Harbour, and Andy is the manager. It’s called Café Sydney, but it’s not a café, it’s a restaurant. We could get a table on the balcony and just watch the sunset over the Harbour?”

“That sounds…” David looked down and cleared his throat. “That sounds perfect.”

“It’s nice to catch the ferry too, so we could catch a ferry from Rose Bay to The Quay.”

“Patrick…” David said softly and Patrick finally noticed that his eyes were brimming with tears.

“What is it? We can do anything else, whatever you want?” he said, reaching over to softly touch David’s arm.

“No, it’s perfect. It’s really just perfect.” David sniffed and wiped at his eyes with the heel of his hand. “I’m just not used to it.”

“Used to what?” Patrick shook his head and furrowed his brow.

“Somebody thinking about me,” David looked at him, softly shrugging his shoulders.

“David,” Patrick whispered and moved in closer, taking David in his arms and hugging him. “I’m not sure if you’ve realized this, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you since we met.”

***

They spent the rest of the day lounging around, making out and having the lazy sex that comes when you know you have nowhere to be. David happily listened to Patrick talk about the changes in his life over the past six months. Patrick was so open and free with his past and David was a little in awe of it, if he was being honest.

David didn’t tell Patrick much, and Patrick didn’t push. But when he did give Patrick a nugget of himself, Patrick treated it like it was precious and squirreled it away for himself. Except for the times the things he told him were ridiculous and then he didn’t let it go until David was on the floor laughing at his own ridiculousness. David was blown away by how easily Patrick recognised the difference in the two things.

Later in the evening they snuggled down on the couch and David chose, “Crazy Stupid Love,” to watch, because Patrick hadn’t seen it, which was a travesty. It had Ryan Gosling and his rock hard six pack (who they could both appreciate), lifting Emma Stone (who he could appreciate by himself), and Julianne Moore who was a goddess, so...it was the perfect movie to have on while they made out and distracted each other. They ordered in when Patrick told him about the amazing Vietnamese food that he always ate locally. It was a Northern speciality and David had never tried it before, which made him happy too.

David managed to share a little about his life. Mostly about his family and Alexis, not too much about his deplorable romantic entanglements, he found them too embarassing. He told him how glad he was that Alexis had finally broken up with Stavros, and that she was at his apartment and why. Patrick looked appalled at some of the situations she had gotten herself into, but he didn’t seem to be judging her; more… horrified that something may have gone wrong. “You’re a good brother, David. Looking out for her,” Patrick said when he had finished telling him some of her less preposterous tales. And none of the ones that included an NDA, of course.

“You know, she was the one who told me to not leave and stay and spend some time with you,” David bit his lip at the admission.

“Well, hopefully I’ll get to thank her in person one day,” Patrick blinked slowly, a smile coming across his face slowly.

David couldn’t help himself. He was really starting to believe Patrick. He kept showing up, and doing what he said he was going to do, and if that wasn’t something, he didn’t know what was.

***

The next day Patrick had to go to work, but he was blissfully sated and happy. He had to dig out his rashie from the back of his locker though, because he had hickeys all over his chest, and that was not something he wanted to share with everyone at the pool. David really went to town last night marking him up and he really didn’t have the heart, or the willpower to say no. Especially as his hand was expertly stroking Patrick's cock at the same time. The fact that he couldn’t keep the grin off his face was going to alert everyone that knew him to the fact that something was going on anyway.

David came to the pool and behaved himself moderately well. Who was he kidding? David spent every moment he was there, posing on the lounge like a thirst trap, climbing out of the pool seductively, catching his eye and smirking at him. He was so distracting Anthony told him to leave early, as he was not helping.

Which of course meant that they had to go back to the hotel and deal with all that pent up tension, before they could call an Uber to take them to the ferry terminal and catch the ferry to the Quay. It took some convincing to get David to the outside area of the public commuter boat, concerned that the salt water spray was going to mess with his carefully curated look, but he was glad when he did, because as they passed into the Quay, the magnificent arches of the Opera House were in full view.

The MCA was also a hit. Patrick had to give himself a little pat on the back. It wasn’t something that he would have done back home, but since he was in a foreign country, he had made a big effort to try a few things out, other than the obvious one. David loved the Modern Indigenous Artworks. He could tell that they touched him. He spent ages reading all the details about the artists and some of them actually moved him to tears.

But it was dinner that really made the day stand out. Café Sydney was built on the roof of the historic Customs House, which meant it looked completely over the Harbour. It was done in a recycled industrial style and due to his connection with Andy, they had a coveted balcony table where they could watch the sun set as the lights of the Bridge and the Opera House took over the Harbour. The whole thing was breathtaking.

“This is gorgeous,” David said once the host had them seated and had left their table. “I’m paying.”

“Nice try, David," Patrick didn't look up from the menu. 

“No, you haven’t let me pay for anything!” David was indignant. 

“Except your room and all the room service I’ve been eating," Patrick still didn't look up from the menu. 

“Please?” David grabbed his hand and was a little pleading. Patrick guessed he didn't know how to accept anyone's generosity; he was just so used to people taking everything from him. 

“Nope, I sorted it out with Andy. I knew you would try this,” Patrick finally looked up and smirked. 

“You’re very sure of yourself, aren’t you?” David had to shake his head and he huffed out a little laugh. 

Patrick looked amused and rolled his eyes cheekily.

“Fine, I’m going to wash up. Order me a drink? But can I order the food?”

“Of course, David. You haven’t let me order yet. I trust you.”

***

David walked away from the table. Fuck. Patrick trusted him. Why did he trust him? He wasn’t worthy of trust. He was deep in thought as he walked down the few steps to the bar where the bathrooms were, and almost ran into Andy.

“David! I’m glad you could make it!” Andy gripped his arm like they were old friends and not people that had only met once. Twice if you count the time David couldn’t remember. 

“It was Patrick’s idea, but it’s beautiful. Thank you for fitting us in," David said and meant it genuinely. 

“My pleasure. Patrick never asks for anything, I’m always happy to do something for him,” Andy smiled as he talked of his friend. 

“He doesn’t, does he?”

“No. He is genuinely one of the best people I’ve ever met, David.” David could see the intention behind Andy's comment, so he deflected. 

“Why is he trying to date me then?” David said, laughing off the comment. 

“David.” Andy looked serious now, like the old mother hen imparting her wisdom. “I know a million boys in Sydney that would have happily put a ring on that boy’s finger. He hasn’t opened up to anyone but you. He is all in. I can see it on his face. If you want him, he’s yours. Just decide what you want.”

“Oh. Ummm. Okay. Thanks, Andy,” David smiled and tried to walk away toward the bathroom.

“And for what it’s worth, I think he’s right," Andy's words made him turn back to face him. 

“About what?” David narrowed his eyes.

“That you are worth it, darling. Let yourself have 'the nice boy'. I let myself have Tim.” Andy winked and walked off. 

***

Patrick woke up on their last day together and didn't go down for his pre-work swim. He didn't care if David was fast asleep, he would take the extra half an hour of feeling his body pressed against his. 

They had plans to walk up the beach and eat at Panaroma again, and spend the rest of the afternoon in the hotel. Patrick wasn't giving into the feeling of deja vu he was having. It was exactly the same day they had when he thought David was leaving for good. 

He tried to keep his anxiety at bay, but David still hadn't said that he was welcome to come to New York. And while he understood, Patrick was the one who made up the arbitrary deadline. He hoped David could admit how much he wanted what they had together. He needed him to see it. The waiting was driving him a little mad.

He kissed David on the top of his head which caused him to snuffle and then snuggle in a little tighter, and he would take it. He'd take anything David offered at this point. He had known on some level since the last time he’d had to say goodbye to David, that he was all in. He wanted David. But he knew there was no forcing David into anything. David had to get there by himself. 

Patrick gave him one final soft kiss on his shoulder and quietly untangled himself from his arms. 

***

Thankfully David brought it up as they walked along Bondi beach on their way to lunch. They were strolling along hand in hand, not speaking and just taking in the ocean, when he finally piped up with a simple, "I want you to come."

Patrick's head snapped up to take in David's face. He searched it hoping to see confirmation there, but David was still looking out to sea, uncertainty clouding his features. 

"Okay," Patrick could tell there was something else, so he gave him a minute. 

"But I also think you should go to South East Asia, and we should both spend some time. You know, just, doing whatever we want, no promises... and when you get to New York, we can see where we are."

"So… are we in contact? In this time?" Patrick asked tentatively.

"Hmmmm, not sure?" David finally looked at him. 

"Okay," Patrick cleared his throat. "You've said what you want, and now I'm going to tell you what I want, and then we can maybe find a compromise?"

"Okay," David sounded a little hesitant. 

He stopped them and motioned between them. “The last few days, haven't changed how I feel about us. Actually, that's a lie. I want it more than I wanted it before. And I know that you don't know how to really deal with somebody who wants to be there for you. I'm not going to hold that against you. I know that these past few days have been just as important for you as they have been for me and you want this to work out. However, I also know that I have to wait for you to get there on your own, so I will agree to your conditions, but I'm going to keep in touch when and where I can."

Now it was David's turn to clear his throat and look away. 

"I've got a month here, and then I'll do two or three weeks in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. So that gives you about two months, give or take."

"Okay," David looked surprised, but he managed to get out those two syllables.

"And then I'm coming for you David." Patrick said confidently with a little quirk of his eyebrow.

David was really trying to tamp down his smile. Patrick could see him trying to fight it. He bit it down, his eyes flashed away, but in the end, it landed and his dimple popped and he even showed his teeth. It was like a cactus flowering in the desert; special. His hands were on his hips and he moved them to Patrick's shoulders, nodding, his lips pursed again, but the dimple was still there. 

"Okay," he said and leaned in for a kiss, and Patrick finally had the thought that they just might make it after all. 

Chapter Text

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.