It’s nights like this––when snow piles high on the streets outside and the house is chillingly quiet––that David wishes he wasn’t single.
There’s something about the freezing winter air whistling against windows and the sight of smoke rising from neighboring chimneys that makes him physically ache with longing for human contact.
It used to be a general feeling, made worse by recent failed relationships and heartbreaks. But now it’s very specific, a familiar warmth in his cheeks when he thinks of light brown eyes and curly hair suppressed by a beanie or baseball cap, little moments of memory, like the smiles they share when they happen to leave their houses at the same time, or the exchange of packages delivered to the wrong address, and even the occasional invites for dinner that end with them sitting close and tipsy on one or the other’s couch.
It’s Patrick, and it has been ever since David moved into this house over a year ago.
He challenges David in a way no one has before, calls him on his shit while simultaneously accepting him for all that he is. He’s never met someone so amused by his antics, so fond of his style, so used to his preferences.
He’s never been in love like this.
When he lived in New York the only relationships he knew were all give and no take. He’d come here to get away from that, clear his head for a few months, but then he’d met his charming neighbor and he knew there was no going back.
He’s here, whether or not things work out the way he wants them to.
With a sigh, he rests his chin on his folded arms and focuses back on the snow, taking in the seemingly infinite flurries. They’re coming down faster now, blowing almost completely sideways in the wind, and just as he makes up his mind to get himself some hot chocolate, a large object blurs past his bedroom window, followed by a long string of lights slapping against the other side of the glass.
David clutches his sweater over his heart, taking in a few deep breaths to calm himself down, before realizing holy shit that was a fucking person.
Shoving his feet into sneakers, he runs down the steps and yanks the front door open. There is a human-shaped indent in the snow just a few feet away, and he rushes over, already shaking from the cold.
“Are you okay?” he yells over the wind, cringing as he takes his first step into the 2 foot deep blanket that’s accumulated on his front lawn. He is absolutely nowhere near dressed for this, and there’s a chance this person is a murderer with a really intricate plot to catch him unguarded.
Still, he can’t keep himself from moving forward as he sees the person struggle to get up amid the packed snow around them, and it’s not until he’s standing over them, shivering like crazy, that he realizes it’s Patrick.
“Can I get a hand?” he asks as David’s mouth drops open.
He doesn’t hesitate, gripping Patrick’s hand and pulling him up. He immediately leads him back toward the house, teeth chattering and toes numb.
“What the hell were you doing?” he asks when they get inside, rubbing his hands up and down his arms in a futile attempt to warm up.
Patrick’s nose and cheeks are adorably pink, and he’s all bundled up for the weather. He looks like a big, puffy marshmallow. David wants to kiss him so bad.
“I remembered our conversation a few months ago about you loving Christmas lights and how you never had them before,” Patrick says sheepishly, eyes downcast as he pulls off his gloves, placing them on the radiator by the front door.
David’s heart jumps, overjoyed and pleasantly surprised that this one tiny piece of conversation stuck in his mind. The other more rational part of him, though, is in complete disbelief.
“And you thought now would be a good time to do it?” he asks, raising his arms in the air.
“You have a big roof! It was barely snowing when I started,” Patrick defends, though he doesn’t seem to even be convincing himself.
“Oh my god,” David says breathily, shaking his head despite the fact that his lips are already twisting into a smile. “Stay here. I’ll go get you some dry clothes.”
He ignores the small sound of protest that Patrick makes and moves quickly up the stairs, heart still pounding wildly. It isn’t until he’s staring at the contents of his closet that he realizes he’s going to see Patrick wearing his clothes. Fuck.
Trying desperately not to think about it (and failing miserably) he grabs a pair of sweatpants and a plain white t-shirt, and even throws in the bright blue fuzzy socks that Stevie got him as a joke when it started to get cold outside.
Patrick’s cheeks are still flushed when David descends the stairs, his beanie now discarded on the radiator next to his gloves, showcasing a wild display of static-y curls that David wants to run his fingers through. The corners of his lips tilt up when David holds out the pile of clothes, eyeing the fuzzy socks, but he doesn’t comment. He takes the clothes from David’s hands slowly, fingertips brushing knuckles, and it takes every ounce of barely-existent willpower that David has to not entirely close the space between them.
Instead, he points Patrick toward the bathroom despite the fact that he’s been to David’s house many times and knows exactly where it is, and shakes out his arms as soon as the door is closed behind him. He needs to get his shit together and stop projecting his own feelings onto Patrick.
Just because he decided to climb onto David’s roof in the middle of a snowstorm and put up Christmas lights that he most likely bought because David never had them before, doesn’t mean he’s into him. He’s just a very generous person.
Shaking his head violently, David moves toward the kitchen, determined to make the hot chocolate he had his heart set on before all of this happened. He’ll give Patrick a mug and let him talk so he doesn’t open his stupid mouth and say something like, “This chocolate isn’t the only thing that’s hot.”
“Practicing your pick-up lines?”
“What the ffffu-” David jumps, spilling cocoa powder all over the counter as Patrick appears behind him. They both hurry to clean it up, Patrick being reasonable and wetting some paper towels while David idiotically starts swiping it into his hands. Patrick wipes what’s left off of the counter, then folds the towels in half and turns to David.
“Here,” Patrick says, a tiny grin on his face as he nods at David’s hands.
Slowly but surely he wipes them clean, carefully swiping over David’s rings and making sure he gets every last bit. David expects him to turn away when he’s done, to throw the towels in the trash and begin teasing him, but instead they both pause, eyes meeting over their still-connected hands. Patrick’s gaze holds none of its usual teasing. The usual warmth is there, but beneath it is something comfortingly solid, something serious and hesitant and real.
Not David’s imagination.
When he kisses him, his ringed fingers slide across the slight stubble on his cheek and move into the hair at the back of his neck, sighing at the feel of soft curls against his skin. Patrick’s hands clutch his waist, pulling him closer, and David smiles, pulling back just enough to tilt their foreheads together. It’s uncontrollable, a tug that crinkles his eyes and lifts his lips.
“Nice socks,” he says, nudging his foot against Patrick’s, already decided on never taking them back.
“Thanks,” Patrick says, kind of breathless. “A cute guy gave them to me.”
“Hmmm, how nice of him. Is he single?”
Patrick leans back, eyes filled with hope, and shakes his head.
“Someone just took him off the market, actually.”
They kiss again, and again, until they can’t keep ignoring the tap of lights against the kitchen window and the rich smell of cocoa powder.