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You drive me crazy

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“I’ve got it.” Patrick leaned back from his computer with the same satisfied look he got when the register balanced to the penny.

David smiled. Patrick had been doing research on cars for the last two days. His old car had finally sputtered its last, to the point that even Bob said it could not be revived.

“So what are we getting?” David said.

“We’ll look for a Corolla from the last five years. Preferably a sedan but a hatchback is acceptable.”

“You want to get the same car you had before?” David said. “That’s pathological, Patrick. This is your chance to mix it up a little.” He gave a little shimmy with mix it up.

Patrick said, “David, Consumer Reports lists the Corolla as the car with the best mileage and the highest reliability and durability. That was true when I bought my Corolla, and it’s still true now. Look.” He turned his laptop around to show David the screen. It was a spreadsheet. One of the columns was Consumer Reports rating.

David dutifully looked at the Corolla’s high ratings and then turned the laptop back. “I’m just saying I might need something with a cooler vibe than a used Corolla. The Corolla is the Forrest Gump of cars.”

“And that’s bad?”

“Yes, it’s bad, Patrick!” David was sure his feelings about Forrest Gump were well known. “It is hopelessly mediocre and inexplicably popular.”

Patrick looked put out. “I didn’t know you felt that way about my car.”

“Well, I wasn’t going to criticize the car of the person who was driving me around.”

“When has that ever stopped you?”

“You don’t know how often I restrain myself.”

Patrick looked at him suspiciously, like he was going to demand to know all of the criticisms David had been holding back. To distract him before the words brown braided belt could be spoken between them, David said, “Come on, what’s number two on your little spreadsheet there?”

“It’s—” Patrick fell silent. “Never mind.”

“What?”

“Well,” Patrick said. “Fine. It's the Corolla from the five years before that.”

“Oh my God, are you serious?” David said.

Patrick looked dangerously close to pouting. “You told me you were leaving this up to me. Your exact words were ‘I don’t attach my self-esteem to the kind of car I drive.’”

“That’s true. But I reserved the right to exercise veto power.”

“You didn’t say that.”

David said, “Obviously, it’s implied.”

“Hmm. How do I override your veto, then?”

“You can’t. I have kinglike powers.”

Patrick smiled, but it looked a little sour. David switched tactics. “Let’s just go look around at the used car lots, see what we find,” he said.

Patrick looked at him in horror, like he’d just suggested frotting with the cars instead. “No way. That’s how you get swindled.”

“Swindled how?”

“They drag out the time until you’re willing to pay anything just to get out of there. I have an uncle who is a used car salesman, so I know how they operate.”

“What’s with your disreputable uncles? Don’t you have a dishonest contractor uncle too?”

“It’s the Brewer family shame, David! We don’t like to talk about it.”

“Okay, Patrick.”

Patrick said, “David, I have a system. You do everything over the phone or email. You find two dealers and get them to compete with each other, and then you go in and buy the car and drive away.”

Patrick had the stubborn look on his face that meant he meant business, that he had crossed every t and dotted every i, pivoted every table and double-checked every formula; that he had the endnotes and the footnotes and the bibliography.

David tried a lateral maneuver. “What if we looked around—just looked!—and then came home and did your thing?”

“No, because you’ll probably find some car that fits your aesthetic and want to buy it right away, before someone incorrect can buy it.”

David pursed his lips. That did sound like him. “Well, what if I promised not to do that?”

“David,” Patrick said, but David could see he was weakening. He walked over and stood behind Patrick’s chair and put his hands on his shoulders and stroked back and forth.

David said, “And if I do say that, you can remind me of what I just said.” He leaned down and gave Patrick a soft kiss on the cheek.

Patrick put his hand over his. He sighed. “All right, David. We’ll look. Just look.”

“Look at you, compromising.”

“Hey, I compromise all the time,” Patrick said.

“Of course you do.”

*

As they approached the last car lot of the day, David was very much regretting his suggestion. Why on earth had he thought it would be a good idea to tramp around in dusty car lots all afternoon, endangering the integrity of his wardrobe and wasting a perfectly good Sunday?

Patrick had found a Corolla, about eight years old, at one of the lots they’d seen earlier, but it was hatchback and he was hoping to find a sedan. Meanwhile David had seen nothing even remotely interesting. He was ready to throw in the towel and let Patrick have his way.

David saw a Lincoln that looked very much like the one his parents had bought, that had finally died a year ago. He pointed it out to Patrick.

David said, “Did I ever tell you that when they went out to buy the Lincoln, my parents tried to look poor so they’d get a better price?”

Patrick said, “How did they do that?”

“My mother put on a messy wig and—” He broke off.

“And what?”

“And some of my clothes,” David said grudgingly.

Patrick sucked in his breath. “The deepest cut.”

“Yes. Well. She also put on a Cockney accent.”

Patrick nodded thoughtfully. “Smart move.”

“Yeah,” David snorted.

Patrick said, “Wot d’you say we got this jam jar sorted out then, eh, guvnor?”

“Jam jar? Really?” David said. Patrick could do a decent British accent that worked very well when they did Notting Hill role play, but this was not that.

“It’s Cockney rhyming slang, David.”

“Please don’t do that.”

“Cheerio then.”

David gave him a withering look. Then he stopped and clutched Patrick’s arm. “Oh,” he said.

“What?”

David pointed at a car. The car. It was perfect. It was Italian, probably, or possibly French, in a rich navy blue. It had little round headlights and rounded tail fins that gave it a stately look, while still being sleek and sporty. It looked like something Sophia Loren would drive while wearing big round sunglasses, looking bored and fabulous.

Patrick said, “The Alfa Romeo?”

“Is that what it is?”

“Alfa Romeos have one of the worst repair ratings in the world, David.”

“But it’s pretty,” David said softly.

They approached the car. David trailed his fingers along it, admiring its lines, while Patrick stood back and looked at it like it owed him money.

A salesman approached them, but David let Patrick deal with him. This was a nice car. David had never cared much about cars, even when he had owned several very expensive ones. What he had told Patrick was true. But he loved beautiful things, and this was a beautiful car. It clicked something inside him, the same click he got when the product display was perfect, or when the lighting and the framing was just right, when he was taking photos for their Instagram account.

The salesman was answering Patrick’s questions, which Patrick was firing at him like he was conducting an interrogation. The salesman seemed to be someone after Patrick’s own heart, citing Car and Driver and Consumer Reports and repair stats. Patrick had his phone out and was punching into it and frowning skeptically, at the same time he peppered the guy with questions.

David was lost in a fantasy of driving this car along the French Riviera with Sophia, on his way to Cannes—he thought that geography was correct—but he perked up when Patrick said, “Well, David, do you want take it for a drive?”

David said, “Really?”

“Really. This model has better repair history than other Alfas. It’s decent.”

“Excellent,” The salesman said. He clapped his hands together. “I’ll just get the keys for you.” He turned and jogged away.

David gave Patrick a quick, fervent kiss. “Thank you,” he said.

The salesman came back and David took the keys. He opened the driver’s side door as Patrick got into the passenger’s seat.

“It really is nice,” Patrick said, looking around. “It’s a very David car.”

“See?” David smiled at him smugly. He turned to put the key in the ignition, looked down, and stopped. “Oh. Never mind.”

“What? Why?” Patrick said.

“I changed my mind. Let’s just get the Corolla.”

“Are you kidding? David, this car might tick all the boxes for both of us.”

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”

David huffed out a breath. “I don’t know how to drive a stick shift, okay?”

Patrick said, “Oh, is that all? That’s easy enough. I’ll teach you.”

David shook his head, and then shook it again, harder. “No. Bad idea. Remember what happened when you tried to teach me how to coddle eggs? You were barking orders like we were in the Marines.”

“Egg coddling is very time sensitive! I didn’t have time to sugar-coat it. Besides, I’ve learned a lot since then. I’m much more laid back.”

“Are you, though?”

“Besides, it could be fun. Remember that time we pretended I was your college professor and you had a late assignment and—”

“That was a sex game, Patrick. If you were just pretending to be my driving instructor as a prelude to me sucking your dick, I’d be totally on board.”

“Really?” Patrick looked intrigued. “Because I’d be into that, if you’re suggesting it—”

“No!” David waved his hands. “I mean, yes, of course, we should do that. But that being fun doesn’t translate into this being fun.” He made circular motions between them. “Actual teaching and learning between us? Sounds like a disaster.”

“Oh, it won’t be that bad. It’s one day. One afternoon. You’ll pick it up in no time. I’ve always been impressed by the way you handle a stick.”

David rolled his eyes at that.

Patrick said, “Aw, c’mon, David. Think of driving around town in this baby, turning heads everywhere.”

David couldn’t help smiling at this picture. Driving on the coast on the Riviera. Or the streets of Elm County. Close enough. “Well, maybe.”

*

Patrick had been right about one thing. They were stuck in the car dealership for hours. But Patrick had his phone out with his blue book values, and he had his game face on, upon which David read his absolute determination not to get swindled. Ronnie could have matched him, maybe, but this guy was no Ronnie.

Patrick drove the car home triumphantly, and they had very energetic new car + successful haggling victory sex that night.

The next day Patrick said, “Ready for a lesson?”

“Not today,” David said. “You drive.” And he said the same thing the next day. And the next. And Patrick looked at him suspiciously, but he didn’t push it.

David couldn’t explain his reluctance to learn. Or maybe he could, but he didn’t want to.

Over and over since he came here, David had been faced with realizing he didn’t know things ordinary people knew. Cooking. Laundry. The Post Office. How the garbage gets collected. So many things, and though he had been known to take refuge in a superior, I-don’t-want-to-know-how-to-do-that-anyway attitude, it was mostly a put-on. Certainly competence had its own punishments—namely, when you knew how to do ordinary, boring things, it meant you were forced to, well, do boring things.

But David didn’t like looking incapable. Especially in front of Patrick, who was irritatingly competent at everything. Okay, not irritating. He loved how capable Patrick was, loved that he could do so many practical things—to be honest, it was a bit of a turn on—but still, David liked to avoid situations that put him in direct comparison.

For instance, when your competent husband went out of town, and a light bulb burned out, and you had to call him because the light bulb didn’t fit in the socket—who knew they came in different sizes?—it gave his troll of a husband teasing material for weeks. Patrick, faux-serious face firmly in place, talking about how concerned he was, he’d never known David to have trouble figuring out how to fit things into holes before.

Ha ha.

It’s not that David minded being teased by Patrick—quite the opposite, really—but he tried not to make himself quite so easy a target. And he figured these driving lessons would be rife with opportunities to make him a very easy target.

But he knew he couldn’t put it off forever. The next weekend, when Patrick came up to him while he was watching Property Brothers, car keys in hand, David knew his time was up.

“Which Property Brother would you sleep with?” David said, trying to distract him.

“Jonathan, obviously,” Patrick said, without looking at the screen. He rattled the car keys. “Come on, David, quit stalling.”

“That was my first instinct, too,” David said. “But on the other hand, Drew has such a lovely friendly energy. He’d be so happy just to see you get off. You could bring out a—a spatula kink and he’d just smile and whisper, ‘Let’s make that happen for you.’”

Patrick cocked his head. “I’m intrigued by this, David. Please tell me about your spatula kink.”

David said loftily, “That was an example. I’m trying to make a point, that Drew is a people pleaser, and I think he would be a very considerate lover.”

Patrick smiled and finally looked at the screen, where Jonathan was holding a sledgehammer, his tool belt slung low around his hips, telling the camera it was demo day. Patrick said, “Sorry, David, no. I mean, look at him!” As they watched, Jonathan lifted the sledgehammer, muscles flexing, and smashed through the drywall—also giving the camera a nice view of his denim covered ass.

“Still not as nice as yours, honey,” David said, reaching out and patting him on the butt.

“Flatterer,” Patrick said, tucking a smile into his cheek.

“Okay, so you’ve made some good points,” David said, waving at the screen as Jonathan wielded the sledgehammer again. “But, hear me out here. Property Brothers sandwich. Best of both worlds.”

Patrick rattled the car keys again. “Come on, David.”

*

Patrick drove them out to a deserted road outside of town, next to a fenced field where some cows were grazing. They got out of the car so they could switch seats.

When David got in the driver’s seat, he put his hands on the steering wheel. He looked over at Patrick, who was smiling brightly at him. Too brightly. David didn’t like it.

He said, “Okay, just—please wipe that smug smile on your face.”

Patrick’s smile lessened, but just a fraction. “Do I look smug? I’m sorry. I’m just pleased I can help you with my superior knowledge.”

“Oh my God!”

“I’m joking, I’m joking, David. There’s no one here to see you. This is a safe space.”

“What about those cows? They look very judgy.”

“No, they’re not. They’re very nice cows. Very sympathetic. Encouraging."

“You don’t know that.”

“All right, David,” Patrick said, obviously humoring him. “Okay, so first thing is you push in the clutch with your left foot and the brake with your right foot, and then start the car.”

David sighed. “Fine.”

*

David tried. He really did. But it was hard. And frustrating. And annoying. An hour later, he was still trying to get the car to go ten feet without stalling.

Finally, when the car jerked and stalled for approximately the eighty-seven millionth time, David threw up his hands. “This is impossible!”

“That’s fine, that’s fine,” Patrick said patiently, but David could tell he was getting frazzled too. “All part of the learning process. Try again.”

This is something Patrick had been repeating ad nauseam for the last hour. All part of the learning process. Try again. David was way beyond finding it helpful.

“Why do car makers make us do this when they’re capable of making the car do it by itself?” he said. “It’s so primitive. It’s like if the washing machine companies started installing washboards in their washers, or if you bought a blender and in the box was just a spoon and a note saying ‘sorry, mix this shit by hand.’”

Patrick sighed. “Don’t you hand wash all your clothes? What have you said about that? It gives you total control. That’s what some people say about driving a stick."

David frowned. He opened his mouth to say that hand washing his knits was completely different, not even in the same universe of this completely unnecessary gear-shifting, clutch-pushing business.

But Patrick said, before David could really get going, “Will you just start the car?”

David went to turn the key and Patrick said, “Don’t forget to make sure the car is in first.”

David groaned and reached for the gearshift. “You know, on the old car there was even a little light that told you which gear you were in. That was helpful. Remember?”

“Obviously, I remember what my car was like.”

There was an edge in his tone. Patrick was getting annoyed. David was annoyed too, so it gave him a certain satisfaction. Maybe that didn’t say good things about his character, but it was true.

David turned the ignition and started the car. He eased up on the clutch and pushed the gas at the same time, and the car leapt forward like a jungle cat.

“Careful!” Patrick said, as he was thrown forward and his seat belt locked.

David didn’t apologize. Why should he apologize? This was all part of the learning process, right?

And the car hadn’t stalled. Progress at last. Now, second gear. He pushed in the clutch and pushed the gearshift straight down and then eased up on the clutch again. The car caught and accelerated.

Patrick said, “See, there you go.”

There you go. Was that condescending? That was condescending, right? But David would let it go. He could be the bigger person.

David heard the roaring noise that meant it was time to shift again. He hadn’t gotten to third gear yet. He looked down at the gearshift, trying to decipher the little line drawing. Where was third again? It was up, and then—

“Watch out!” Patrick shouted.

“What? Fuck!” David looked up and saw a dog racing across the road. In a panic he swerved and jammed his foot on the brake at the same time, but he hit the clutch instead and the car kept going off the road, over the shoulder and partway into the grass. Patrick was shouting things at him that David couldn’t take in, as he finally got his foot on the brake and stomped on it.

They were both thrown forward as the car jerked to a stop, and then shuddered as it stalled out.

Patrick said, “What the hell was that?”

“I was trying to figure out where third was!”

“You can’t just take your eyes off the road!”

“I’m learning. You told me I would make mistakes and it was okay!”

“I shouldn’t have to tell you to keep your eyes on the road. That’s something you should already know. That’s like, day one of driver’s ed!”

“Maybe if you hadn’t been confusing me and distracting me all day, I wouldn’t have forgotten!”

“Oh, so it’s my fault?”

“A little bit, yes!”

Patrick sucked in a breath. He said evenly, “I can’t believe this.”

David threw up his hands. “What can’t you believe?”

“All you’ve done today is complain. When you’re the one who wanted the car in the first place.”

David shook his head vehemently. “No, no, I didn’t. I said we should get the Corolla! Remember? In order to avoid exactly this!”

“Yeah, that was really sincere.”

“I was sincere."

“David, you called it the Forrest Gump of cars.”

“Forrest Gump won Best Picture, Patrick.”

Patrick said, “You did not mean it as a compliment. Do the words hopelessly mediocre ring a bell?”

“Well, you should know better than to listen to me. You should have listened to Consumer Reports.”

Patrick shut his mouth tight and exhaled through his nostrils. Then he said levelly, “I’m going to get out of the car and walk around a bit.”

David snapped, “Fine.”

Patrick opened the car door and then made a show of not slamming it, which seemed extra annoying to David right then. Just slam it, he thought. I know you want to.

Once he was gone, David drummed on the steering wheel. He was angry and full of all the self-justifying things he couldn’t say, now that Patrick had gotten out of the car.

Tendrils of guilt were creeping in around the edges, and he wanted to hang onto his self-righteous anger a little longer. Not my fault, he thought. Why does he have to be so—so Patrick about everything?

Patrick was marching in a straight line away from him. David was diverted for a moment, admiring the swell of his husband’s ass as he walked.

Hate to watch you leave but love to watch you walk away popped into his head, making him laugh unwillingly. He rested his head on the steering wheel and groaned.

This was something David had had to get used to—when things got heated, Patrick would take a walk to calm down. David was very much a stay-and-fight-it-out person, so he generally got very annoyed whenever Patrick did it. But he did have to admit that when he came back, they were often able to talk things out more calmly.

The tendrils of guilt were blooming into something that felt more like remorse. So maybe he hadn’t covered himself in glory today. And yeah, if Patrick was occasionally too rigid and bossy, David knew he could be irritable and petulant.

Patrick was getting smaller and smaller as he continued to march away down the road. A little voice whispered, what if he walked away and never came back? which was an old, old reflex. David knew it wasn’t happening, Patrick would come back no matter how annoyed he was.

But what a thought.

David blew out a breath. Time to step up.

He put his hand on the door handle to get out, run and catch up with him.

Wait.

Push in the clutch and the brake. Make sure the car is in first gear. Turn the ignition. Let the clutch up easy, push the gas …

The car did not stall. It inched forward. Yes.

He turned to get back on the shoulder and then the road. He picked up speed, then heard the engine roar. He pushed the clutch and moved to the gear shift straight down into second. He released the clutch, and the car locked into gear and accelerated. He heard the engine roar again, and shifted into third. The car accelerated smoothly.

Well. He did that as well as anybody.

Patrick was up ahead now. David saw him hear the car, stop, turn around. His face was already twisting into a smile as David slowed down. David rolled down the window as he pulled up alongside.

“Hey sailor, looking for a friend?” he said.

“David, you did it!”

“I did,” David said modestly.

Patrick leaned into the window. “I’m really sorry, David. I was being an asshole.”

“I’m sorry, too. Let’s just say, I didn’t approach this in the proper spirit.”

Patrick came around and got back in the passenger’s seat. He leaned over to give David a kiss just as a car passed them, honking angrily.

Patrick gave him a quick kiss anyway, then leaned back. “I guess we should get out of the road. You want to keep driving?”

“Sure.” David pushed in the clutch and put the car back in first. He gently let off the clutch and accelerated. “See that?” he said triumphantly.

“Yep, you’ve got it now,” Patrick said.

David shifted into second, then third, and finally fourth. They drove for awhile in silence. David glanced over at Patrick, and Patrick gave him a small smile.

Then David saw a little pullout up ahead. He pushed in the clutch and braked carefully as he pulled into it. He turned the key to turn off the car and hesitated, his hands hovering over the controls. “Do I need to do anything else?”

“Put the parking brake on,” Patrick said. “Though if you leave it in gear, on a flat surface like this, it’s usually fine.”

David pulled up the parking brake. He took a deep breath. “Okay,” he said.

“I knew you could do it, David. You did great.”

“Well, once again, your high opinion of me has been proven correct.”

Patrick laughed. “As usual,” he said.

David looked down and smoothed his hands down the front of his sweater. Then he looked up and said, “I don’t like feeling incapable.”

Patrick said, “I get that. I don’t either.”

“I know, but—it’s different for me. There are things that people know that I just—don’t. When I first moved here I thought minimum wage was forty dollars an hour.”

Patrick laughed, and David glared. “Sorry,” Patrick said. “I understand, David. But driving a stick shift isn’t like that. A lot of people don’t know how to do that.”

“Yeah, I guess.”

Then Patrick got a serious look on his face, as he fixed David with those brown eyes that weaponized sincerity like nobody else could. He opened his mouth.

“Stop,” David said.

“What?”

“Whatever homily you’re about to say, don’t.”

“Okay,” Patrick said. He closed his lips firmly, so his mouth was an upside down parenthesis.

David said, “You really want to say it, don’t you?”

Without opening his mouth, Patrick nodded.

David shook his head resignedly. He waved his hand. “Fine. Go ahead.”

“Not knowing something isn’t the same thing as being stupid. Only someone who doesn’t want to learn is truly ignorant.”

“Did you get that out of your system?”

“Yes. I’m done now.”

“Can we fuck and make up, then?”

“Yes, please.”

They looked at each other. David had been mostly joking, but on the other hand, if Patrick was into it—

Patrick said, “So do we go home or …” He tipped his head toward the back seat and cocked an eyebrow.

“I think you know the answer to that,” David said.

Patrick’s face lit up and David thought he might die from how much he loved him. He leaned over and grabbed the back of Patrick’s head and kissed him, hard. Then they both reached down to move their seats forward, and then opened their doors to get in the back that way rather than climbing over the seat. Much more efficient. They had this down to a science from their early days of dating, when neither of them had guaranteed privacy at home.

Once they were back in the car, David looked around. “I think this is a little roomier than your Corolla.”

Patrick looked around too. “I’m pretty sure that’s not true.”

“Well, it’s much more stylish. It sets the mood better. Like, how could you get into this car and not want to have sex?”

Patrick said, “Well, I hope it doesn’t have that effect on everyone. But I’d be very happy if it has that effect on you.” He trailed a finger down David’s thigh.

David scooted closer. “It does,” he said, giving Patrick his best bedroom eyes. And his bedroom eyes were a killer.

Patrick groaned and kissed him. “You know,” he said. “If you had led with this in our car negotiations, I wouldn’t have fought you so much.”

“That would have been unethical on my part,” David told him.

“Unethical? Really?”

“Yes, it would be unethical to use your inability to resist this”—David shimmied his shoulders—“to exert undue influence.”

“Hmm.” Patrick got up and swung his leg over so he was straddling David. He was looking down with his bedroom eyes, which were also, admittedly, a killer. He gave David a soft kiss and murmured, “I really appreciate your ethical stance. Is that part of the Geneva conventions?”

“It should be.” David slid his hands up Patrick’s back.

Patrick kissed him, slowly, deliberately. He put his hands on the sides of David’s face and held him in place as he kissed him thoroughly, sliding his tongue into his mouth, biting his bottom lip. David opened his mouth and heard himself whimpering as Patrick devoured him.

“So now ethics are a turn-on for you?” David said when Patrick finally paused for breath. “So kinky, Patrick Brewer.”

“Such a turn on,” Patrick murmured. He dived in again.

He pulled back. “You know, as your driving instructor, I’m not sure you’ve really earned that A.” He was using the calm and authoritative voice he used when they did role-play, and it really, really did things for David.

“Oh?” David said, hearing his voice go high and breathy. “But I really want that A, Mr. Brewer. What do I have to do to earn it?”

Patrick said, “Well, I’ll tell you what. I’m going to give you another chance. Let’s see how well you can handle another stick.” His kept his face serious, even as his eyes crinkled up a little. He picked up David’s hand and pressed it to the front of his jeans, where David could feel he was already getting hard.

David groaned at the pun. “Stick handling? Really?” he said, even as his fingers stroked over the bulge.

Patrick put his hand over David’s and pressed down. He said, “I don’t design the curriculum, David. I just implement it.”

“So what next, Mr. Brewer? What’s the next step in the curriculum?”

“Let’s see how you well you can—um, get my motor running.”

David wanted to groan at another terrible pun, but he had Patrick’s dick under his hand and well, he might as well play along. “I think I’ve already done that, sir,” he said, feeling Patrick getting harder as he stroked.

“You might have a point there,” Patrick said. “But I want to see you really put it into overdrive. Put the pedal to the metal.”

David bit back a smile. “Um, what does that even mean, sexually speaking?” He said. He went for Patrick’s belt and started unbuckling.

Patrick laughed, breaking character. “I’m not sure. I just thought it sounded dirty,” he said, and then gasped as David got Patrick’s jeans open and got his hand around his cock.

David watched as Patrick closed his eyes and tipped his head back a little.

“How about I take you for a ride then, Mr. Brewer?” David said, his hand stroking up and down. “Would that give me my A?”

Patrick’s eyes opened and he thrust up a little. “Hm, that depends. Where would you take me?”

David wrapped his arm around Patrick’s waist and moved him bodily so he was lengthwise on the seat, his back against the door. He glanced up and Patrick’s cheeks were flushed, his lips parted. He knew Patrick sometimes liked to be manhandled a little.

Then David gave him his best cocky grin, which he knew—because Patrick had told him—drove Patrick a little crazy. “For the ride of your life, Mr. Brewer.”

Patrick got pinker, his blush spreading down his neck. “Jesus,” he groaned.

David shouldered under Patrick’s legs so he was kneeling between them. He pulled
Patrick’s jeans and boxer briefs down a little, so he could have better access. He took a moment to admire Patrick’s cock, thick and hard and flushed red. All for him. He licked his lips and lowered his head and wrapped his mouth around it. Patrick made a little whimpering sound.

David started slow, getting Patrick’s cock slick and wet and moving his hand at the base. He swirled his tongue around and underneath in the way he knew Patrick liked best, occasionally swiping the his tongue across the tip, making Patrick gasp.

Patrick brought his hands David’s hair and tangled in it. He started saying David’s name and making the little noises David loved, and David increased the pressure and speed of his mouth and tongue.

Patrick’s hands tightened in David’s hair and he started moving his hips, thrusting up into David’s mouth. David pulled off, and Patrick made a sound of protest. David looked up as he brought his hands to Patrick’s hips and held him down.

“I’m driving,” David said. “Stay still.”

Patrick’s eyes were dark and hot. He nodded.

David gave him the cocky smile again, then he lowered his head. He teased a little first, giving Patrick little kitten licks at the base of his cock and then working his way up, his eyes on Patrick so he could see, see David’s mouth on his cock and the movement of his tongue, so he’d feel those teasing licks that weren’t enough, teasing and torturing, and he wouldn’t be able to move, because he wasn’t in control here. David knew how much Patrick hated that, and that’s why he loved it, here, like this.

Patrick looked desperate, his hands moving restlessly in David’s hair. “David, please,” he said hoarsely.

David pulled away again. He said, “But someone told me that when I’m driving a stick, I have total control. Was that not accurate?”

Patrick laughed even while he groaned in frustration. “God, you’re terrible.”

“So are you,” David said.

“I know,” Patrick said, and then cried out as David’s mouth closed around him. David took Patrick deep and then slid off and then down again, not holding back anymore, building up a rhythm and giving Patrick the swirling pressure and suction he knew he loved.

“David,“ Patrick gasped, and then he was just making inarticulate sounds, his head thrown back, his hands clutched in David’s hair. Then his cock pulsed in David’s mouth and Patrick cried out as he came, and David focused on taking every drop of what Patrick was giving him, because he considered that essential to the blowjob experience he liked to provide.

But—let’s be real, he was also thinking of the upholstery. This was a new car, after all.

Patrick’s hand came around to caress his cheek. “I love you, David.”

“I love you, too. But more importantly, did I get my A?”

Patrick smiled and brought his hand around to touch David’s lower lip with his thumb. “A plus,” he said.

“So now what are you going to do for me, Mr. Brewer?”

“I think you know.”

They switched places, laughing at the awkwardness as they climbed over each other, and Patrick unfastened David’s pants and got his mouth around him, and showed that Patrick knew David’s body just as well, knew all of his pleasure points and what got him off, and could drive him up to a fever pitch and take him apart. And that’s just what he did.

And as David was arching up and coming into his husband’s mouth, he could sense Patrick was also paying attention to saving the upholstery.

Which proved all over again why this man was the love of his life.

*

After they got their clothing refastened and straightened, Patrick said, “I don’t like fighting with you.”

“I don’t like fighting with you. But we always make up.” Even as he said this, David marveled that this was true, and that he knew it was true. He finally had what he’d never had, someone in his life that he could depend on, solid, sturdy and sure.

“I know,” Patrick said. “I just—I get so upset. I don’t like it.”

“Is that why you always have to get away, take a walk?”

Patrick said, “I don’t want to say something I’ll regret.”

“What’s wrong with that? I say things I regret all the time!”

Patrick smiled, then got serious. He said, “Can I ask you? Am I really that bad a teacher?”

David sighed. “No. No, you’re not. It’s—it’s just that I don’t like being—being the incapable one.”

“David, you’re not incapable.”

“Compared to you I am.”

“What? That’s not true at all.”

“You’re always the one doing things for me. Like, all the time.”

“I liked doing things for you. I don’t keep score, David. You know that, right?”

“I know. But, it just bothers me sometimes that if we did, you’d win.”

Patrick said, “David."

David said, “I’m serious. This teaching thing”—he gestured between then—“it’s only ever going to go one way. And that's annoying, sometimes.”

“David,” Patrick said. “Listen to me. You’ve taught me so many things. Things a lot more valuable than driving a stick shift or coddling eggs. You taught me how to be myself. I was lost before I found you.”

Well. That was—David looked up and bit his lips, trying to keep his eyes wide so the tears didn’t spill over.

When he got control of himself, he looked back at Patrick and saw he was smiling at him tenderly. But there was a gleam in his eyes that David could not abide. “You’re the worst,” he said.

“Why? How am I the worst?” One corner of Patrick’s mouth quirked up.

“Because you’re hitting me with this and your stupid eyes when I’m in a fragile emotional state.”

“What? I’m just telling you the truth. Can’t I tell you how I feel?”

“You know what you’re doing,” David said darkly. Then he inched closer and took Patrick’s hand in his. He didn’t object to a little handholding.

And when Patrick used that hand to tug him into his arms, he didn’t object to that either.

*

When they were back on the road, David said, “I want a caramel frappuccino. With whipped cream. And a cinnamon roll. For my suffering. And since I’m driving, you don’t get to say no.”

“Why would I say no?" Patrick said.

“I’m just saying.” David shifted into third. “This is really a beautiful car, Patrick. I know it wasn’t on your spreadsheet, so thank you for that.”

“It was a joint decision, David. And I like to give you what you want.”

David reached out, and Patrick took his hand. David said, “Well, I hope you know that as long as I have you, I have everything I want.”

Patrick made a little sound. “Now who’s not playing fair?”

He squeezed David’s hand. Then David had to let go to shift gears.

David said, “Okay, I do have to register one more complaint. I can already see how this gear shifting is going to interfere with holding hands.”

“That is a very valid complaint,” Patrick said. “But, as long as the gear shift is the only thing that comes between us, I think we’re good.”

David said, “Are you trying to sound dirty again?”

“No, David, I was trying to be heartfelt. It’s a metaphor for our love.”

“Mm, try again.”

“How about—life is about shifting gears, and sometimes the ride is bumpy, but if you have the right person in the passenger’s seat, it’s all worth it.”

David groaned. “Now that’s too heartfelt.” On aesthetic grounds he could not approve of this cheesiness, but it still gave him a little thrill that he had someone willing to say things like this about him, about them.

Patrick clutched his chest. “I’m crushed.”

David waited, but Patrick didn’t say anything else. David cleared his throat. “If you’d like to workshop more metaphors for our love, I don’t mind listening.”

Patrick grinned and reached over to put his hand on David’s thigh. “I’m sorry, David, you’re stuck with the heartfelt version.”

“Fine,” David huffed.

He glanced at Patrick, whose eyes were shining. He smiled reluctantly and put his hand over Patrick’s. Cheesy or not, what Patrick said was true. It was all worth it, and David absolutely had the right person in the passenger’s seat beside him. And they were going to keep driving, together.

Well. After he got his frappuccino.