Twenty-somethings wearing all black and headsets buzzed around as they shot off directions and half of them contradicting each other. David was in way over his head and filming hadn’t even begun.
“This is weird.” A cute nondescript guy who looked like he’d stepped out of a corporate stock image stopped next to him. “Have you done anything like this before?”
David shook his head. “Can’t say I’ve made a fool of myself on national television.” He grimaced, thinking of all the times he’d been on tabloid news in his old life. “Actually, I’ve never made a fool of myself on national television intentionally and while baking.”
The man’s eyes danced as he grinned. “Sounds like there’s a story there.”
David huffed out a laugh. “Several.”
“I’m Patrick.” He held out a sturdy hand. “Amateur baker from the small hamlet of Elmdale.”
“You’re shitting me.” He looked Patrick up and down as though he’d be able to read on his blue button-up and dark denim why they’d never run into each other.
“No?” Patrick frowned.
“I live in Schitt’s Creek.” He bit back a grin as Patrick gave him a lingering once-over.
“I’m surprised I haven’t seen you around before.”
“How do you know you haven’t?” Actually, nondescript sold him too short. His enormous brown eyes alone were unlike any he’d seen before.
David bit his lips between his teeth. “Um, how bad are you at baking?”
Patrick rubbed the back of his neck. “I used salt instead of sugar once when making cookies for my mom.”
“Yikes. So, you’re, like, really bad.”
Patrick shrugged. “I was fifteen at the time, but I’ve learned a trick or two since then.” He let the words linger.
David arched an eyebrow. “Well, game on.”
* * *
“Watching your salt over there, Patrick?”
Patrick couldn’t stop his delighted chuckle. The ease with which he and David had fallen into teasing and flirting had his head spinning. “Watching it closer than you did your buttercream.” He risked a glance over at David and found him staring back, wide-mouthed.
“Too soon, Patrick!”
Patrick shook his head and refocused on frosting his cupcakes.
* * *
David needed to pay less attention to Patrick and more to making his cupcakes look like turkeys. With his luck, the episode would be edited to show his non-stop pining for the probably straight guy stationed to his left. But it wasn’t his fault. No one had the right to look that sexy in cheap denim.
He glanced at Patrick again and saw him absently check out Wes as he bent over to set up a prop. Maybe not straight then. Patrick looked over and caught David watching him. Again.
* * *
“Don’t say it.” Patrick covered his face with his hands.
“Patrick. There’s a vein in it.”
He groaned. “It’s the neck!”
“Nicole is going to eat you alive.” David sounded adorably gleeful.
“I’m going to get turned into a meme, aren’t I?”
David’s expression softened but his eyes teased as he placed a hand on Patrick’s shoulder. “Your cock and balls turkey cupcakes are going to become promo footage for next season.” He squeezed Patrick’s shoulder. “I’m going to share every single meme about it on my social media and not feel an ounce of guilt about it.”
Patrick laughed until he could barely breathe.
* * *
As David washed his hands, he tried to come up with an excuse to talk to Patrick while the crew shot footage of the completed bakes. Now that they had a half an hour with nothing to do, his nerves returned. He turned around and found Patrick at his station.
“Want to make a bet?” Patrick leaned a hip against David’s counter.
David bent at the waist and propped his elbows on the counter opposite Patrick, resting his chin in his palm. “Are you always this confident?”
Patrick’s mouth slowly curved into a delicious grin. “When I know what I want.”
Being the focus of Patrick’s attention was more addicting than caffeine. As casually as he could manage, David waved his free hand. “Let’s hear it.”
“I win, you’re taking me to dinner. You win, I’m taking you to dinner.”
David melted like his buttercream. He cleared his throat. “If Marie wins?”
Patrick bent over and mirrored David’s position. “If Marie wins, we’ll split the bill,” he said in a low voice that did things to David.
* * *
David lifted a flaccid mozzarella stick from the plate. “I can’t believe you wanted our bet dinner to be moderately edible food at Café Tropical instead of a real restaurant in Toronto.”
Patrick raised his own mozzarella stick in cheers. “Since I had to drive home that night, I didn’t want to rush us.”
David looked like he was biting back a grin.
“And now I’ve lowered your food quality expectations so when I cook you dinner in the pans those turkey cock cupcakes won me, you won’t be disappointed. My cooking skills are only slightly better than my baking skills.”
“You think I’m coming around to yours for dinner, huh?” David leaned forward in the booth and rested his cheek in his hand.
Patrick mirrored the movement. “Nicole said I’d make someone very happy with my phallic baking skills. You’d better lock this down.”
David’s tongue ran across the base of his upper molars, which deepened the hell out of his left dimple. “You’re quite sure of yourself.” He gave his head a little shake. “I still can’t believe you won the first round with that monstrosity.”
“Your turkeys looked like they’d been run through a blender.”
“They were abstract!” Though voice high and loud, he looked as charmed as Patrick felt.
Collecting the confidence he’d eked out through flirting with David on set last week and the hundreds of texts they’d swapped since, he placed his hand palm-up on the table.
With barely a moment’s hesitation, David placed his on top and smiled. “So, when are you cooking me dinner?”
“You free tomorrow?”
“It’s a date.”