It’s a slow Tuesday afternoon in January, when the holiday rush has died down and the Valentine’s Day crowds haven’t quite kicked in yet, and Patrick is missing his fiance. He watches the occasional snowflake fall outside the windows, hoping it holds off until David returns from his vendor pickup, although a nice storm curled up by the fire in his place doesn’t sound too bad either. He loses himself to that fantasy, and it takes him a second longer than it should to register the bell over the door ring out in the empty store.
“Welcome to Rose Apothecary,” he says automatically, finally focusing enough to clock the woman standing just inside the doorway. She’s in her late sixties perhaps. Maybe early 70s. Elegant, but in an understated way, not in a Moira Rose way.
Her gaze stays on him instead of the store’s wares, and he tries not to shift under her scrutiny.
“You must be Patrick,” she murmurs, a slight roll to the ‘r’, and he tilts his head, a friendly but confused frown on his face.
“I am.” There’s something familiar about her. Something he can’t place. “I’m so sorry, have we met?”
“Not officially, no,” she says with a warm smile, bordering on emotional. “My name is Adelina.”
“Oh,” he breathes, wanting nothing more than to throw his arms around this woman and thank her for raising the man he fell in love with. Instead, he swallows hard and takes a slow step forward, eyes never leaving hers.
“It’s so very nice to meet you,” he whispers, closing his eyes when she reaches up and cups his cheek, like David has said she’s done to him so many times.
“You as well, meu amor.”
He laughs and it’s definitely wet, but her thumb is moving back and forth under his eye, and he knows that she won’t judge him for any tears that fall.
It’s like meeting David’s family, but not nearly as scary. She exudes warmth and affection, and Patrick can see her love for his fiance more and more with every passing second she spends staring at him. She is family. She tucked David in and made him his favorite meals and cleaned his cuts and wiped his tears and soothed his nightmares.
And Patrick just wants to thank her for it all.
“Can I - May I give you a hug?” he asks before he even realizes the words are out, and he supposes he should be glad he sought permission because he’s thisclose to just throwing himself into her arms regardless.
She’s pulling him to her chest in lieu of an answer, holding him tight and gently swaying with him back and forth as he’s sure she did with David when he was small. His heart wants to crack under the joyous strain of trying to hold all that he’s feeling.
He pulls away, but keeps her close. “How did you - ? When - ? Where have you…?” but the words won’t come, and she laughs at him fondly, holding tight to his arms and squeezing his elbows.
“Alexis sent me an invitation to the wedding.”
He blinks dumbly. “She knows where you live? David spent months trying to track you down!” He wants to feel indignant on his fiance’s behalf because Alexis knew they were trying to find Adelina, but he’s just so happy. Indignation can wait.
“That sweet girl sent me a note saying her friend in the FBI found me? I’m trying not to be too worried about that, but Alexis said to come visit and sent me the link to your store’s website. She enclosed the wedding invitation as well. I think she wanted to surprise you both.”
He’s not sure he’s ever heard Alexis get called a ‘sweet girl’ by anyone, even Ted, but going by the adoring expression on Adelina’s face, she means it. And she somehow got Adelina to Schitt’s Creek, so he thoroughly doubts his indignation at his future sister-in-law will ever actually come to fruition.
“I’m so glad,” he gusts out, taking hold of her hands and squeezing.
Her eyes dart over his shoulder and he knows who she’s looking for. After all, Patrick is not who she really came to see. “Is he here?”
“No, he’s picking up some of our products, but please stay. He shouldn’t be too much longer.”
“Oh I’m not going anywhere until I lay eyes on my boy.”
And that’s it. Yep. Patrick’s heart just cracked wide open. “Please, um, look around, if you like. This is all David.”
She gazes at him knowingly. “From what I hear, that’s not true. Don’t sell yourself short, carinho.”
He’s not entirely sure what the endearment means - he took French, not Portuguese - but his ears redden all the same.
He gets her a chair from the back room while she inspects every shelf, the look of pride on her face growing with every new Rose Apothecary label she reads. When she finally finishes, she turns around and claps her hands, leveling him with a look that would pin eight-year-old Patrick in place, make no mistake.
“So, what did you do to capture my David’s heart?”
Patrick laughs and leans against the counter, crossing his arms as she sits across from him. “Teased him mercilessly.”
“Good,” she says, leaning forward and patting his arm. “He needs that.”
“I do, too.” He wants her approval; needs her to know that this is a relationship of equals, but he has a strong suspicion she already does, if the way she’s looking at him like he lit the stars is any indication. “What was he like?” he can’t help but ask and, though he knows he should probably wait for David to be here for this conversation, he knows the woman before him won’t tell him anything she thinks David wouldn’t want him to know.
“Beautiful,” she says. “Tougher than anyone ever gave him credit for and more sensitive than anyone ever allowed him to be.” She looks away, a far off expression that speaks volumes of unsaid things. When she turns back, it’s gone. “But then,” she murmurs with a secret smile, “you know this already.”
He opens his mouth to reply, because he does know that (so, so well), but the bell over the door rings and they both snap their heads towards it. David’s gaze is on Patrick and Adelina is sitting next to the center table, making her difficult to see from the door, so it takes him a moment, but when it clicks, when he lays eyes on her…
God, Patrick will remember that look for the rest of his life.
“Adelina?” It’s so quiet, so small, so unlike everything about David Rose that Patrick Brewer loves.
“Welcome home, babe,” he whispers, not wanting to break the stillness of the moment. But Schitt’s Creek is truly home now. Now that all of the people David loves are in it.
Tears are already tracking down his cheeks as he stumbles forward, and Patrick manages to maneuver the box from his arms before it goes crashing to the floor. David all but collapses into Adelina’s arms and, for a brief moment, Patrick worries that they’re both about to tumble to the ground, but she’s sturdier than she looks, holding a man who has almost a foot on her upright as he cries into her neck.
Patrick places the box on the counter and quietly moves to the door, flipping the sign to CLOSED, lest anyone interrupt this moment. He stays there, back to the room, giving them time. He can hear them murmuring back and forth, but it’s muffled so they clearly haven’t let go yet.
Through the window, he sees Alexis exit the cafe and head towards the store. When she gets close enough to catch his eye, he holds his palm up to the glass and points down at the sign. She frowns and tilts her head, so he nods back behind him, and she moves slightly closer so she can peer around him and watch the hug that’s continuing to happen in the middle of the store on what started out as a rather unremarkable Tuesday in dreary January.
He lifts his finger to his lips in a ‘shh’ gesture and quirks a smile, and she claps, jumping up and down in the middle of the street. Then he presses his hand over his heart in the only way he can think of to show her how much this meant to David, to Adelina. To him. She mirrors the gesture before blowing him a kiss and all but skipping back down the street towards the motel.
Alexis Rose, he thinks, shaking his head and huffing out a laugh, a league of her own.
“Ugh, sorry,” David groans, and Patrick watches them finally part in the reflection of the window.
He turns around to watch David fanning his face as Adelina dabs at her own. Patrick moves over and grabs a box of tissues from behind the counter, pressing a kiss to David’s neck as he passes.
“Hi,” he says.
“Hi,” David replies, voice wobbling. “Did you know about this?”
Patrick smiles and squeezes his shoulder, shifting his gaze to Adelina. “I did not. But it was a very welcome surprise.”
David makes another distressed noise so Patrick presses another kiss to his neck. Adelina watches it all like it’s the best film she’s ever seen.
“Look, why don’t you get a tea or coffee at the Cafe,” he suggests, knowing he watched Alexis head towards the motel, but David is already shaking his head.
“No, I don’t want - ” to share her is what comes next, but Patrick doesn’t need to hear David say it. David looks at Adelina. “Does anyone else know you’re here?”
She shakes her head as well. “No, I wanted to see - ” you first.
Patrick catches that one, too.
“Take her to my apartment.”
David turns to him, leaning against his side. “Really?”
“Of course. Catch up. Apply your eucalyptus serum.” He squeezes him again to show he’s teasing. “We close in an hour anyway. Then maybe we can all go to dinner later in Elmdale?”
“I would like that,” Adelina says, eyes sparkling as she watches them talk back and forth.
“You’ll have to spend the night at the motel. There will be no avoiding the Roses then,” David laments.
Patrick keeps quiet about his moment with Alexis and how there’s a good chance all of the Roses already know. But then again, with Alexis, who really knows?
“Just don’t tell them we had dinner first,” David instructs and Adelina laughs, a delightful sound that fills the room.
“Our secret, amor,” she says, gently tugging on his ear, and David doesn’t flinch at all, which he normally would if someone other than Patrick reached that close to his hair. It’s clearly a move well-used and one that Patrick loves dearly already.
He flips the sign back, offering them some tissues for the road and accepting a kiss on the cheek from Adelina and a longer than usual hug from David.
He turns to put the chair away, but Adelina calls out once more from just inside the doorway.
He turns, and her face goes soft, a million things she can’t find the words for passing over the lines of her beautiful features.
“I’m really looking forward to the wedding,” she says instead, and Patrick’s lip wobbles, despite his best intentions.
“Me too,” he manages, watching through the window as David holds up his hand and then blows him a kiss, eyes making promises that Patrick knows in the marrow of his bones he’ll keep.
What was he like? Patrick had asked.
He was like that.