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Maybe you're gonna be the one that saves me

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Amazingly, David had not fucked this up. It had been a near thing, though—he freely admitted that. Two weeks ago, he’d been sure that his subpar relationship skills had tanked the best relationship he’d ever had.

But instead, he’d crossed the Rubicon or cut the Gordian knot or damned the torpedoes or something—some kind of dramatic metaphor—and had actually weathered a relationship storm and come out the other side. He wasn’t sure what he’d done right—in fact, he was pretty sure he’d done everything wrong. But Patrick was still here and was still acting like he liked him, and David wasn’t going to look that particular gift horse in the mouth.

He’d actually started to wonder what Patrick might get him for their five month anniversary.

Tonight, they were having a rare night of privacy. Ray was away for the weekend and David was tucked up in Patrick’s bed, absorbed in a book, The Snowy Nook. It all felt so pleasantly domestic that David wanted to curl up like a cat and purr.

Patrick was puttering around the room. He’d been restless all evening, maybe even a little … off. Earlier, when the credits were rolling on their movie (David’s pick), Patrick had expressed skepticism that Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks’s relationship was going to last. “They don’t know each other at all,” he said.

Sleepless in Seattle was not in David’s top 10 romantic movies, probably not even top 25, but it was a solid Meg Ryan vehicle and he felt the need to defend it. “That’s not the point,” David said. “The point is to be open to the idea of magic and romance. It’s about hope.”

“Based on what though? The whole movie was a series of missed connections.”

“Oh, so you wanted her to marry Bill Pullman instead?”

“No, of course not. But they’ve never even talked. That scene where Tom Hanks saw her at the airport? The writers should have made that a date, instead. At least a conversation! Then I might have some reason to believe it might work out.”

“It’s not the writers’ fault that you have a heart of stone,” David told him disdainfully. He expected Patrick to laugh, but instead he looked disgruntled. He actually kind of scowled.

Now David glanced up at Patrick, watched him as he moved restlessly around the room. He picked up his book, some boring economics thing, from where it lay on the dresser. He looked at it for a second and then put it down again. Then he picked up two of Ray’s awful tchotchkes—a grinning cat and a vase in the shape of a fish, hideous—and put them down again, nudging them until they lined up neatly at the back of the dresser.

“Come to bed, Patrick,” David said invitingly. He was looking forward to reading, cuddling, and sex. Or reading, sex, and cuddling. Or reading while cuddling, then sex, and then more cuddling. David was very flexible.

Patrick glanced up and gave a flash of a smile. He said, “Okay, I’ll be right back.”

Assuming he was going to the bathroom, David picked up his book again. Loni and Edgar were out in a snowstorm, and David hoped that they would soon be forced to seek shelter in the snowy nook of the title, preferably with only one bed.

By the time Patrick came back, David was absorbed in the chapter. He was vaguely aware of Patrick sliding under the covers. He felt an arm slip around his waist and patted it absently. Then Patrick nuzzled at his neck. He tugged at David’s chin and kissed him on the lips. His hand dipped lower.

“Mm,” David said. He kissed Patrick back briefly, but then turned away and held up his book so he could still see it behind Patrick’s head. He was almost at the end of the chapter. If he could finish it—

He felt Patrick pull away completely. David finished the chapter. He had been right. Loni and Edgar were trapped in the snowy nook, Edgar was building a fire, and they were about to get out of their wet clothes. Perfect. David sighed with satisfaction, and closed the book.

He held it up. “You should read this, Patrick. You need more romance in your life.”

He expected Patrick to say something affectionate about how much romance he already had in his life, something that would serve as a lovely prelude to the sex portion of the evening. But he didn’t say that, or anything. David looked over, and Patrick was lying on his back, staring at the ceiling.

“You okay?” David said.

“If you don’t want to have sex, you can just say so, you know,” Patrick said, with a definite edge in his voice.

David put the book on the nightstand and turned back to Patrick. “I never said I didn’t want to have sex,” he said carefully. “Something wrong?”

Patrick didn’t answer, just continued staring at the ceiling. David narrowed his eyes speculatively. Was this pouting? This was definitely pouting. Patrick’s lower lip was pooched out a little. It was very cute, but—

David said, “What’s going on? What’s gotten into you?”

“Nothing.”

“It’s clearly not nothing,” David said. “Are you going to make me guess?” He knew he sounded annoyed. He was annoyed.

Patrick still didn’t answer. He looked very put out. As the silence stretched out, David’s annoyance collected in the pit of his stomach until it felt a lot like worry. It wasn’t, of course. David had nothing to worry about. But if he did, he would feel a lot like this.

Then Patrick suddenly dived across the bed into David’s chest, hard enough so his head bonked into his sternum. His fingers clutched in David’s sweater.

“I’m sorry,” Patrick said, his voice muffled.

David didn’t know what to do with that. Tentatively, he brought his hands up to Patrick’s head and trailed his fingers through his short hair.

“What’s wrong?” he said.

Patrick didn’t answer, just burrowed his face deeper into David’s sweater, his fingers twisting in the fabric. David heroically refrained from saying anything. It was a second-tier Givenchy that he slept in, but still.

“I’m sorry. I’m feeling weird,” Patrick said.

“I gathered that. What’s up?” David stroked down his neck and shoulders.

“I don’t want to upset you.”

David’s hands stilled. The feeling in his stomach gathered into a clenched fist of dread. He said, “Um. I think I’m going to need you to tell me whatever this is. Like now.”

Patrick tilted his head up. He snaked his arms around David as David tried to pull away. “No, stop. It’s not—it’s nothing bad. God, I’m so bad at this.”

David’s hands fluttered around before coming back to rest again on Patrick’s shoulders. He said, “Um, if we’re talking about who is the worst at this, I think I’ve already claimed that title. So why don’t you just come out and tell me what’s going on.”

Patrick took a breath. “Today was the day—one of the days—that Rachel and I talked about for our wedding,” he said.

“Oh,” David said.

“It was the date that was the farthest in the future,” Patrick said. “So of course it was the one I was pushing for. Which should have been a clue for me, but somehow—” he broke off.

David’s hands stroked down Patrick’s upper arms and then up again, his fingers inching up the sleeves of his t-shirt, seeking the warm skin. This wasn’t too terrible. This was fine, actually. Patrick just wanted to talk. He was going through something. This is where David was supposed to listen. Maybe provide helpful guidance and commentary.

Shit.

Patrick went on, “I’m just thinking about what my life would be like if today was my wedding day, with her. And it felt—it was scary to think that it was almost real.”

Patrick paused. David patted him on the shoulder. “Mm,” he said.

Very insightful, David. Good job. Boyfriend of the year.

Patrick said, “I just got caught up thinking about it today, going around in circles, how stupid I was not to see it. Like how much of an idiot do you have to be to not know you’re gay until you’re thirty years old?”

David cleared his throat. “There’s no—”

“I know what you’re going to say, so don’t,” Patrick snapped. “Looking back, it was so fucking obvious.”

Patrick hardly ever swore except during sex, so it was always kind of distractingly hot when he did it in conversation. Not the time, David. David bit down on his lips, unable to think of a thing to say. Wow, he was really bad at this.

Patrick took a breath. “And so I guess I just wanted—sex with you is—”

David perked up. This was more familiar territory. “Sex with me is what?”

Patrick narrowed his eyes at him. “This is going to feed your ego.”

“Um, what’s wrong with that?” David said.

Patrick pursed his lips and said, “Maybe I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”

Okay, so David really wanted to be helpful and a good boyfriend, but Patrick could not leave that thought unfinished. David said, “Patrick. Sex with me is what?”

Patrick tipped his head back into David’s chest. He said into his sweater, “Wanting you—and having you want me—having sex with you—it’s like nothing I’ve ever felt. Exciting and mind-blowing and—well, you know how I feel about it.”

“Do I, though? Maybe you need to tell me more about that.”

Patrick poked him in the side. He said, “But also, it’s so—it makes me feel—

“What?”

Patrick made a motion with his hands. “I don’t know. Real. It makes me feel like I’m here. And I wanted to feel that, tonight. Like my life here is real.”

David wanted to take those words and wrap them around himself like a blanket, burrow in them, roll around in them, inject them in his veins. He held Patrick tightly and kissed the top of his head, then kissed him again.

He could—he had something, maybe. A plan was forming loosely in his mind.

“Okay,” David said. He tipped Patrick’s head back and took his face between his hands. “So. Your life here is real. I’m real. And sex with me is very much real. And,” he said. “I would love to have sex with you right now.”

Patrick tried to squirm away. “Stop,” he said. “I don’t want you to—I don’t want you to humor me.”

“I never humor anybody,” David said. He pushed Patrick onto his back and crawled on top of him. Patrick’s hands went to David’s waist. David playfully rolled his hips against Patrick’s and kissed him, gently, lingeringly.

“You don’t have to,” Patrick said, even as his hands slid under David’s sweater.

“I know I don’t have to,” David said. “But see, the thing is, I want to.”

He sat up so he could tug at the hem of Patrick’s t-shirt and pull it over his head. Then he tucked his fingers under the waistband of Patrick’s sleep pants and underwear and pulled them both down and off his feet. Just like that, Patrick was naked.

Patrick’s hands came up to pull at David’s clothes, and David batted them away. “Not yet,” he said.

He scooted forward so he was straddling Patrick, resting his ass against Patrick’s cock and giving a little wiggle, feeling it already half-hard underneath him. Then he leaned over and kissed Patrick slowly and thoroughly, sliding his tongue into his mouth. Patrick kissed him back eagerly, but David used his position on top to stay in control of the kiss.

He was thinking rapidly. He knew Patrick. He knew his boyfriend. Patrick in bed was a warm and generous and eager lover; he also naturally seemed to like to take the lead. Even at first, he’d been inexperienced, of course, but very determined to learn everything, be good at everything. In sex, just like in everything he did, Patrick seemed to take pride in being competent and in control. And David loved it too—David was very happy to give Patrick what he wanted, and to be the beneficiary of all that competence, all that determination. It was intoxicating, if he was honest; he’d so rarely been with anyone who cared that much, or really at all, about making him feel good.

But right here, right now, Patrick needed something different, maybe. Everyone needed to be taken care of once in a while. Maybe David could give that to Patrick, tonight.

He made a decision. He took Patrick’s hands in his and brought them up to the headboard.

“Hold on to the bars,” he said.

Patrick’s eyes got very wide. But he didn’t look dismayed, only startled. He smiled a little and said, “Are you telling me what to do, David?”

“No, I’m asking you very nicely. But you’re going to do it, because you trust me,” David said, putting a little extra firmness in his voice.

“Oh,” Patrick breathed. And he wrapped his hands around the bars of the headboard.

David felt a rush of pleasure, followed quickly by a rush of nervousness. Patrick was putting his faith in him.

Don’t fuck this up.

He leaned down and put his lips to Patrick’s ear. He murmured, “Here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to lay here, and let me do all the work. I’m going to take my time, and I’m going to make you feel really good. The only rule is you have to let me do it. How does that sound?”

Patrick made a little noise, and bucked his hips up a little. David felt Patrick's cock press against him.

“Use your words, Patrick,” David said, still in his ear.

“Yes, yes, I want that, David,” Patrick said, and those simple words, and the breathless tone he said them in, went straight to David’s cock, and he gave a little involuntary wiggle, rubbing his cock against Patrick’s lower belly.

David said,“Okay, I’m not going to do anything we haven’t done before, but remember you can tell me if you don’t like something or you want to stop. Okay?”

“Yes, yes, I get it,” Patrick said.

“You get what?”

“I can tell you if I want to stop,” Patrick repeated obediently.

“Good.” David sat up again. He still had on his sweater and sleep pants, and Patrick was naked. He knew Patrick must feel a little vulnerable. David looked at Patrick, just looked at him, holding his gaze for a long moment, until Patrick dropped his eyes. His cheeks and neck and the top of his chest were flushed red. David ran a hand over his cheek and jaw, down his neck, over all that flushed skin.

Patrick kept his eyes down, and David leaned over and kissed his eyelids with their pretty eyelashes, long and pale against Patrick’s cheeks. His eyes traveled up to look at Patrick’s hands, wrapped around on the bar, at his thick, muscular arms, framing his face.

“Have I told you how much I love your arms?” David said, and ran his hands over them. The undersides of Patrick’s arms were so pale, the blue veins visible under his skin. He traced the veins with his fingers, scraping lightly with his fingernails. Then he leaned down and touched his lips to the sensitive skin there. Patrick shivered a little.

When David sat up again, Patrick pushed up his hips so his cock pressed up against David’s ass. And oh, that felt good, but David swung his leg off so there wouldn’t be anything for Patrick to press up against. “Shh, so impatient,” he said. He knelt with one knee between Patrick’s legs, straddling one thigh.

He took a moment to run his eyes up and down his boyfriend’s body, the curves of his chest and shoulders, his pale skin, his strong, thick thighs, his cock, already hard against his stomach. David ran his fingers up and down Patrick’s body, just admiring.

“You’re so beautiful.”

Patrick squirmed a little. “If you say so,” he said.

“Does it bother you, me saying that?” David teased. “Should I say you’re handsome?”

Patrick said, “No, it’s different, but—I like it. I’m glad you think I’m beautiful.”

“Good, because you are. All laid out for me to admire. For me to touch.” He let his fingers come to rest on Patrick’s right nipple. He rolled it between his fingers, then put his mouth on it and licked and nibbled, taking his time, as if he was going to do nothing but lavish attention on this nipple all night. He’d noticed before that Patrick’s nipples didn’t seem particularly sensitive, so he was taking that as a personal challenge.

David bit down a little harder, and Patrick gasped and moved around restlessly. Ah ha. The nipple was now a hard button under David’s tongue. He took his mouth off and blew on it, then licked again, then bit again, harder, and Patrick cried out and arched up a little.

David moved over to the other nipple and did the same thing, until Patrick was pressing up into David’s mouth and making little hungry noises. David silently congratulated himself. God, this was fun.

After a while David moved down a little more. He thought he’d noticed before Patrick was sensitive on his waist and stomach, and he wanted to put it to the test. He scratched his fingers through the hair under his navel, while kissing him on his waist, just over his hip.

“What are you doing?” Patrick whispered.

“Don’t you like it?”

“I do—don’t know—I just—”

David looked up. “What is it?”

“It feels good—I’m just—it’s hard to wait.”

David smiled and went back to his task, patiently sucking at the hard edge of Patrick’s hipbone, while rubbing slow circles over his other hip.

Patrick said suddenly, a little desperately, “David, I want to—I need to touch you. Can I touch you? Please,” he added.

“Um.” David lifted his head. That was really not fair. Patrick asking to touch him, saying please like that. “No,” he said belatedly.

But Patrick was already bringing his hands down, stroking them through David’s hair and tugging a little. And that was really not fair, because Patrick knew how much David loved that. Patrick’s hands tugged at David’s head, bringing it closer to his cock.

David was losing control of this situation, clearly.

“Nuh-uh,” he said, reaching up and putting his hands over Patrick’s. He guided them back to the headboard. “Keep them here,” he said firmly.

And Patrick whimpered, he actually whimpered. David kept his hands over Patrick’s. “Okay?” he said.

“I don’t know, yes, it’s okay, I’m okay,” he said. He took hold of the bar. He licked his lips. “Can you take off your sweater? I want to see you at least. Can I see you?”

David thought about that. “Okay,” he said, and pulled the sweater over his head and tossed it aside. “Happy?” he said.

“Yes,” Patrick said. His hands took a firmer grip on the bar, his eyes hot on David’s chest. He licked his lips again.

“Stop it,” David said.

“Stop looking at you?”

“Yes,” David said. “You’re distracting me.”

Patrick actually looked a little smug, and David was determined to wipe that look off his face. He leaned back over and continued his slow journey down Patrick’s body. He went back to his hips, worked down to his deliciously thick thighs, then spread Patrick’s legs to suck a mark at the very top of his inner thigh, nudging against his balls with his nose, but still carefully avoiding Patrick’s cock, which was achingly hard and right there. Patrick moved restlessly and made a pleading noise.

David looked up. He rubbed a soothing hand over Patrick’s thigh and murmured, “You’re doing great. You can’t touch me, but I can touch you. I’m touching you.”

“But you’re not.” There was a new note in Patrick’s voice, a desperate note, as he pressed his hips up, twisting from side to side, straining against nothing, searching for any contact against his cock. “Fuck. Touch me. Please, David.”

David took Patrick’s hips in both of his hands and pressed him back on the bed. “So impatient,” he scolded. “Relax, now.”

Patrick let out his breath in a frustrated sound. He tightened his grip on the bars. “Okay,” he said. “Okay.”

David stretched up to kiss him, pouring into the kiss all of his own desire to give in to what Patrick was asking for, at his confident, capable boyfriend begging him. Jesus. Patrick kissed him back hungrily, messily, his mouth open with wanting.

David pulled away. He said, “How do you feel? How are your arms? Need a break?”

“Fine, I’m fine,” Patrick said. “Keep going,” But his eyes were screwed shut and his knuckles were white.

David said, “Let your hands down, spread your arms out."

Patrick opened his eyes. His eyes were black, all pupil. He looked dazed. But he let go of the bars and spread his arms out obediently.

David said, “You okay? Is it too much?”

“No, no,” Patrick whispered. “I’m good. It’s good.” He smiled shakily.

David heart squeezed. Patrick was pushing himself for him, for David. David reached over to the nightstand to get the bottle of lube there, realizing as he did how hard he was. He shuffled down the bed, moving awkwardly, with the bottle of lube in hand. Jesus. He gave his cock a brief, desperate squeeze as he shouldered his way between Patrick’s legs. He hooked one of Patrick’s calves over his shoulder, turning his head to kiss his inner thigh.

“I’m going to make you feel so good,” David promised, and Patrick groaned and twisted his hands in the sheets.

David uncapped the lube and spread some on his fingers. His hands were shaking. Get it together, David. He brought his hand down to Patrick’s ass and gently rubbed against his rim, and Patrick almost came off the bed.

“Fuck, oh, fuck,” he panted.

“Shhhh,” David said. “I’ve got you.” He slipped one finger in, stroking Patrick’s thigh soothingly. Patrick relaxed a little, and David twisted his finger, moving it in and out.

“That’s good, that’s it, open for me,” David said. Then he slid in a second finger, twisting and turning them, working him open a little. He crooked them and deliberately brushed against Patrick’s prostate, and Patrick cried out and his whole body jerked in reaction. David brushed it again, giving him a little more pressure, and Patrick writhed on David’s fingers, making greedy little noises. God, it was beautiful, watching Patrick lose it like this.

Beautiful, and also loud. Very loud. David sent up a quick prayer of thanksgiving that Ray wasn’t home.

David turned his head and suckled on Patrick’s inner thigh, hard enough to leave a mark. He slowly worked his way up his thigh, biting and licking, as he continued fucking Patrick with his fingers, and Patrick started begging and cursing in a long string, “Fuck, David, oh God, please, oh, fuck, please, please …”

God, he was so responsive, so hot and electric. David was going to die.

David finally reached Patrick’s cock. It was flushed a deep red, hard and dripping with pre-come. David ached just to look at it. He hovered his mouth over it and blew out a hot breath, pressing harder on Patrick’s prostate with his fingers. Patrick’s body jerked again.

David whispered, “I’m going to make you come now, okay?”

“Yes,” Patrick choked out. “Oh God, please.”

David bent his head and took Patrick’s cock in his mouth, feeling it hot and hard on his tongue. He sucked gently, fluttering his tongue around the head, swiping across the tip of it, over the slit, at the same time moving his fingers inside, twisting and pressing. David could sense Patrick was close, so close, his whole body arched up, rigid, hovering on that knife edge, trembling—

And then he tipped over; he shuddered, crying out, his cock pulsing hot in David’s mouth; then he was coming and coming, as David just tried to hold on and take it all in, take in everything Patrick was giving him.

When Patrick finally fell back, David gently let his cock slip out of his mouth. He pulled his fingers out and let Patrick’s leg down gently. Then he sat up, pulled down his joggers with one hand, reaching in with the other to find his cock, his fingers wrapping around himself.

Patrick looked absolutely wrecked, but his eyes came open a little bit. “Let me,” he croaked, but David shook his head, stroking himself desperately. He was so close; this wasn’t going to take long.

Patrick watched him through slitted eyes. He murmured,“Yes, yes, David, do it, come on me,” and that was it; David leaned over, gave himself two or three more stuttering strokes, then he was coming hard in hot ribbons on Patrick stomach and his hips and his cock.

He groaned and collapsed by Patrick’s side, panting. Patrick brought a hand over and groped over David’s body until he found his hand and squeezed it. “David,” he said.

David made an inarticulate sound.

“Are you okay,” Patrick whispered. “Was that okay?”

“My God, Patrick,” David said. “You’re so hot, my God, watching you lose it like that, seeing you, it was incredible.”

Patrick said, “I didn’t know—”

“What?” David said.

Patrick sighed. “I don’t know,” he said. He lifted his other hand and let it fall again. “You broke my brain.”

David laughed. He squeezed Patrick’s hand. He said, “Stay here,” and got up. He pulled his joggers back up and went into the bathroom to grab a towel.

He came back to the bed, where Patrick hadn’t moved. He gently wiped Patrick’s stomach and cock. “Turn over,” he said.

“Mmph,” Patrick said, but he rolled over. David gently wiped the lube from his ass and upper thighs. He threw the towel on the floor. He tugged the blankets up over Patrick and slid under them too and lay down next to him.

Patrick’s hand found his.

“David,” Patrick said. “Thank you.”

“Believe me, it was my pleasure,” David said, squeezing his hand.

“I’ve never—I’ve never felt that before. I’ve never been able to just let go like that.”

“I know,” David said. “I’m glad—I’m glad you trusted me enough. You were beautiful.”

Patrick rolled over to him, and David lifted his arm so Patrick could lay his head on his chest. This was nice. David trailed a hand over Patrick’s upper arm and shoulder. He kissed the top of his head, thinking.

“Hey,” he said, “You know another reason I like that movie tonight?”

Patrick said, “Yeah, I’m sorry I criticized it. I just wasn’t in the right mood.”

David said, “Well, it’s possible that you might have a tiny point about how they don’t know each other.”

“Ooh,” Patrick said. “You’re admitting I was right about a romantic comedy? Can I get this in writing?“

“Okay,” David said, holding up a finger. “What I was going to say, is I like the movie because it’s about knowing when something isn’t working for you, and being brave enough to act on that, and take the leap into the unknown. It’s about being brave.”

Patrick was silent for a long time. Then he said, “Do you really think so?”

“Yes.” David took a deep breath. “I think you were brave to leave Rachel. Throwing everything away like that—it’s brave. It’s brave for anyone, but especially you.”

“Why especially me?”

“Because you’re very, um, goal-oriented. Very determined to do the things you set out to do, even if you’re completely wrong.”

Patrick laughed, but then it turned into kind of a sob. “God, I must be so annoying.”

“No, I like it. I like that about you. That you’re determined and confident. It makes me feel good. Like I can count on you.”

Patrick lifted his head. His eyes were shining in the dark. David had never seen him look quite so pleased.

“You like that?” David said, smiling.

Patrick smoothed his hand over David’s chest. “David, it’s everything. Knowing you feel that way, I want to do everything, just everything for you.” He clenched his hand into a fist and tapped it on David’s chest. “I want—I want to—“

“What?” David said, covering Patrick’s fist with his hand.

Patrick laid his head down again. “Slay dragons for you,” he said sheepishly.

David’s heart expanded. He tightened his hand over Patrick’s. He said, “I think—I knew that. I love that. But remember—it goes both ways. It’s okay to be the damsel in distress sometimes, too.”

“Like tonight? Was that what this was? You saving the damsel in distress?”

“Um,” Now that David had said it, maybe that was ridiculous. And maybe Patrick didn’t like the idea, anyway. He’d given Patrick some good sex, that was all. Which was a good thing, but not the same as—“Never mind,” he said.

He yawned. He felt too good to worry about it. He was tired, with a blissful fucked-out feeling, relaxed and boneless.

He was just drifting off when he heard Patrick’s voice, low: “You did save me, tonight. And not just tonight. You do it all the time.”

“Hm? I do what all the time?” David murmured sleepily.

“You save me, all the time.”

“I do?” David tried to wrap his head around that, and failed.

“Yeah. Every day I’m with you, David.”

David wanted to wake up a little more, explain why that couldn’t possibly be true, why a hot mess like him couldn’t save anyone. But he couldn’t work up the energy; he felt too drowsy, deliciously drowsy and content. And maybe he really had done a good thing, tonight; maybe he could feel a little bit proud of it, and enjoy it a little, and let Patrick believe this crazy thing.

You could hope for crazy things to come true, after all. That was allowed. Because sometimes they did. Right now, there was the indisputably crazy fact that David had this man, his boyfriend, wrapped up in his arms: and they were here, together, safe.

If that could happen, anything could happen.