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David

It’s an unusual Tuesday night for David Rose. He’s at a bar. (That’s not the weird part.) No, what makes this night different from any other night is that David is watching the news, which he never does, as a rule. He’s anxious enough without hearing about fires and shootings and dictators on the verge of nuclear war, or whatever they talk about on every normal night. But tonight the United States is picking its next president, so they’re making an exception. And so is he.

David cares about politics, sure. He knows that his rights and the rights of every other queer person and every marginalized group in this country are on the line. But he doesn’t, like, follow every news update or watch the speeches or go to rallies or phonebank. His anxiety and general Millennial-ness prevent him from doing such things as calling strangers. He donates money, that’s easy enough. He votes, of course. And tonight, he’ll watch. He’s even dressed for the occasion in a vaguely patriotic Givenchy star and stripes sweatshirt.

“8:00 pm,” Stevie remarks from her seat on his left. “Should get some results soon.”

On cue, the TV chimes with the news network’s theme music and a man and woman, suited up and seated behind a large desk, appear on screen.

“Good evening everyone, my name is Ronnie Lee.”

“And I’m Ray Butani! And you’re watching Decision Night in America.”

“It’s early, but we’ve got a few results coming in. For more, we’ll send you over to Patrick Brewer at the Big Board.”

David expects to see another boring old suit, but Patrick Brewer, it turns out, is young, with short brown hair and wide, inviting eyes. “Hi,” he says, smiling. “I’m Patrick Brewer. Let’s take a look at the first numbers coming out of Indiana…”

“Ooh,” David says. “Board guy is cute.”

He’s wearing khakis and a deeply unfortunate braided belt, but his top half is much more appealing, clad in a navy blue tie and a light blue button down, the sleeves rolled up to reveal a nicely toned set of forearms. David watches them flex as Patrick points and taps and zooms in on various counties in Indiana. He has a pencil tucked behind one ear, which David finds confusing but oddly endearing. How twee, he thinks. What is it possibly for? Just in case of emergency math?

“I guess,” Stevie replies. “A little too wholesome for my taste."

The network calls Indiana for the Republicans, and the screen switches back to Ronnie and Ray, who discuss their predictions for the rest of the night. David taps his foot nervously against the scuffed wood of the bar, fingers drumming on the scuffed countertop. It’s just one state, but he can’t help the picture that forms in his mind of all fifty shaded red.

“I know it’s after hours, but do you mind if we discuss work?” Stevie interrupts his spiral. “I need your approval on a few things for the launch party of the next exhibition…”

David doesn’t know if he believes in God, but some higher power must have sent Stevie Budd into his gallery for a job interview eight months ago. He had only posted the operations manager position to lessen his workload; he was sick of dealing with scheduling and caterers and moving companies. But Stevie’s ruthless efficiency and take-no-shit attitude actually inspired him to work harder. And when, six weeks after her arrival, David found out that his parents had been secretly bankrolling his entire operation, Stevie’s belief in his ability to succeed on his own was the only thing that stopped him from burning the whole place to the ground. On top of all that, they’d become friends. Real friends, not the kind that only like you for your AmEx Black Card. Best friends, although he has not and certainly will never tell her that.

Patrick reappears on screen with new numbers from Florida, and David doesn’t totally get it, but apparently things aren’t looking great for the Democrats. He taps in and out of the counties around Miami, pout growing deeper. David wants to kiss it. “We’ll continue to monitor this situation as it develops, but for now, back to you, Ronnie.”

Fuck. Florida’s a big one, and this night isn’t off to a good start. Jaw clenched, David turns to Stevie. “Another round?”

She gulps down the remainder of her beer and sets the glass upside down on the bar. “Yes, yes please.”

So they drink, and they keep drinking as more and more states are called. As swing states trend badly. As the mood in the bar shifts from excitement to dread. Patrick, picture of endurance, is on and off screen all night. He’s calm and discerning and frustratingly cute and he sticks out his tongue in concentration and uses that stupid pencil for actual emergency math. Still, no amount of eye candy can change the fact that it’s nearing midnight and there’s no end in sight, at least not any outcome David cares to stick around to see.

“Let’s get out of here,” Stevie says, reading his mind. They signal for the tab and wave goodbye and pour into their Ubers. At home, David can barely finish his skin care before he falls into bed and passes out and dreams of nothing.


David trudges into Rose Gallery at 11:19 AM the next morning with a caramel macchiato in one hand and a black coffee, four sugars in the other. Stevie’s too engrossed in her Solitaire game to notice his arrival, only looking up from the computer when he drops her coffee down on the desk next to her.

“Good morning,” she drawls, taking a long sip. “Barely.”

“‘Kay, I don’t pay you to harass me."

“And if I hadn’t convinced you to start doing those Instagram ads for Sugar Bear Hair for Men, you wouldn’t have the money to pay me at all. So, in a way, I pay me, don’t you think?"

David stares her down as he drinks his coffee, but he has no reply. It’s true enough. After David found out about his parent’s involvement in his gallery, he refused any more of their financial assistance. But making your own money is easier said than done, especially when your business sells avant-garde art most of the world can neither understand nor afford. Stevie convinced him to consign some out-of-season clothing and yes, leverage his 900,000 Instagram followers into some lucrative-if-morally-dubious brand partnerships. He’s not exactly rolling in money anymore, but he’s comfortable enough.

“So, what do you think about it?” she asks.

He narrows his eyes. “About what? Being the face of Sugar Bear Hair?”

“About Patrick Brewer blowing up."

David tilts his head at her. “Hmm?”

“Haven’t you checked Twitter this morning? Your new crush is the whole Internet’s new crush."

“Alright,” David says, jealousy flaring irrationally. “I do not have a crush on Patrick Brewer. Sure, he’s hot, and smart, but not in a way that makes me feel dumb? And I find his demeanor very calming and reassuring. But like, that’s all.

Stevie smirks knowingly. “You know people who know people. You should get in touch, try to tap that.”

“Are you kidding?” David scoffs. “He’s a numbers guy who wears pleat-front khakis. He would not be into me.”

“You never know,” she says. “And according to the Internet, he’s going on hour 17 straight on TV. Should we put it on?”

David ducks around the front desk and into the barely-used back office. He grabs a chair from in front of his desk and drags it up next to Stevie’s while she loads the livestream. Someone less attractive is talking at the moment, so David opens Twitter. He doesn’t even have to search for him – he’s trending. His feed is full of pictures and videos and memes of Patrick Brewer.

Jesus, Stevie was right about the Internet’s new boyfriend. And David has never been good at sharing.

jess
@je55555555

the world is falling apart around us but at least patrick brewer looks hot while he’s talking about it

10:14 PM · Nov 3


10.3K Retweets    722 Quote Tweets    23.5K Likes


 


alex
@aa11eexx

DONT GIVE UP HOPE EVERYONE @PATRICKBREWER SAYS IT LOOKS LIKE WE COULD STILL WIN PENNSYLVANIA

11:23 PM · Nov 3


15.5K Retweets    766 Quote Tweets    30.8K Likes


 


patrick brewer stan
@iconopop

do you think patrick brewer gets manicures to prepare for his nights at the big board? The man has nice, big, strong hands... and I need to get laid

12:04 AM · Nov 4


11.5K Retweets    950 Quote Tweets    42.6K Likes


 


GO VOTE
@george23423

@PatrickBrewer should record stories for calm where he tells me that everything is gonna be ok, I would pay real american dollars for that app

12:42 AM · Nov 4


34.6K Retweets    640 Quote Tweets    64.9K Likes


 


pbrewer dm me please
@hotgirlshit

idk how this man Patrick Brewer is still awake and on tv. Stamina 💯 He just keeps on going and going like the energizer bunny 😉

2:38 AM · Nov 4


58.4K Retweets    3.1K Quote Tweets    109.3K Likes


 


map daddy’s girl
@burner2341

the news should probably hire someone less hot than patrick brewer to read these results if they actually wanted me to listen to what he was saying

3:52 AM · Nov 4


91.4K Retweets    18.3K Quote Tweets    219.7K Likes


 


news anchor conspiracy theorist
@aretha223

@RonnieLee isn't a very smiley person but she looks extra grumpy everytime she has to throw to @PatrickBrewer. Is there drama there? I NEED THE TEA

4:31 AM · Nov 4


75.2K Retweets    176.3K Quote Tweets    195.7K Likes


 



she’s calling dekalb
@alrightalright

maybe the problem with the united states education system is that the teachers aren’t hot enough. I barely graduated high school but patrick brewer has me memorizing all the counties in georgia and doing math in my head 😂

5:34 AM · Nov 4


283.5K Retweets    126.2K Quote Tweets    565.3K Likes


 




No one comes in to buy any art that day, but watching Patrick Brewer and watching the Internet watch Patrick Brewer keep David plenty busy. Someone Tweets “when will my husband Patrick Brewer return from war?” and David spends an hour Googling the guy, trying to figure out if he’s for real. Instead he finds an article Patrick wrote a few years prior, a beautiful essay about realizing he was gay later in life and coming out to the world. It moves David to tears. Stevie mocks him mercilessly.

When David goes to follow @PatrickBrewer he sees two unexpected words: FOLLOWS YOU.

Interesting.

He pictures Patrick scrolling his feed, glancing through his carefully composed sponcon and lingering on his semi-tasteful thirst traps. Why else would a political journalist follow a socialite slash art gallerist, if not for the eye candy?

Could this actually happen, if they ran into each other somewhere and got to talking?

Maybe. But David doubts their paths would cross organically. Patrick doesn’t seem like the clubbing type, not that David really is, either, these days. And how else do you meet people? Spend your life swiping through Grindr and hope he pops up eventually?

Of course, he could take Stevie’s advice and just… reach out. But the potential for rejection is so high and David’s ego is so fragile. It’s best – or at least easiest – to keep this all a fantasy. Besides, who’s to say David would even like real-world Patrick, without the screens between them?

“Thanks, Ray,” Patrick says on screen. David snaps to attention instinctively. “Hello again, everyone. The big news of the hour is a vote dump from Nevada. 22,418 new votes. Let’s break them down…"

Patrick stares down the barrel of the camera and straight into David’s soul. God, how would that feel in real life? To be the recipient of Patrick Brewer’s firm gaze and full, undivided attention? David might melt. And then he pictures those strong arms wrapped around his waist and well, it’s probably better that this is all just imaginary. The real thing would kill him dead.

David watches Patrick on the computer at work, on his phone in the car home, and on the flat screen in his penthouse, studying his movements, observing his speech patterns, learning his smiles. He orders Thai takeout and eats it in front of the TV, wondering what Patrick’s favorite foods are. Other anchors are presenting by now – Patrick is only human, after all – but David finds he’s become invested enough in the outcome to keep watching anyway.

He must doze off at some point, because a clatter from the ice maker in the kitchen wakes him in the middle of an elaborate dream about Patrick drawing a map of all the counties in Pennsylvania on David’s torso in chocolate sauce. He shakes his head, slaps lightly at his cheeks. Snap out of it, David. Time for bed, clearly.

He brushes his teeth and cleanses and tones and moisturizes his face. He takes three melatonin instead of his usual one, determined to sleep off his delusions. David gets in bed and clenches his eyes shut tightly, as if he could force sleep to take him, until, eventually, it does.


Patrick

Patrick takes a deep breath and rubs a hand over his head as he takes a final bite of his tuna sandwich. It strikes him that this might well be the last meal he eats before America chooses a new president. An era-defining sandwich. Barely edible, which fits.

He crumples up the paper wrapping and tosses it in his trash, revealing the maps he’d spent months covering in projections, trends, and polling. Normally Patrick’s work is organized within an inch of its life, neatly typed in crisp tables and displayed in pleasing graphs. But this election… every day new information, new predictions, new scandals. Any attempts at organization flew out the window sometime in August. Instead he scrawled layer after layer of notes on printed maps, overlapping and bleeding into the margins of the pages. He’d pulled them out this afternoon to help prepare for the evening’s broadcast. He can’t read his own handwriting.

He’ll improvise, then. It’s not like he’s unprepared, it’s all in his brain, but there’s no script, and that makes him itch. He checks the time on his phone. He’s expected at a production meeting with the team at 5pm, which is in… twelve minutes. Patrick stands and looks around, thinking about this era, this presidency, all of the thousands of hours of work he’s put in on this election and the final marathon he’s about to run. What will the world look like when he comes back to this office? Feeling compelled to mark the occasion, he snaps a picture of his messy desk and posts it on his mostly-neglected Twitter.

Patrick Brewer
@PatrickBrewer

Heading up to the studio and not leaving until we’ve got a result. Our live coverage starts at 6 — hope you’ll come along for the ride!

4:50 PM · Nov 3


1.2K Retweets    202 Quote Tweets    4.3K Likes


 


It’s go time.

At 8:00pm sharp, Patrick hits his mark next to the Big Board. He pats it fondly as the theme music plays, pumping him up more than his high school baseball walk-up song ever could. He fiddles with his earpiece while Ronnie and Ray introduce themselves.

Patrick breathes deeply and makes eye contact with the cameraman, who counts him down from three. After one, he begins.

“Hi,” he says, smiling. “I’m Patrick Brewer. Let’s take a look at the first numbers coming out of Indiana…”


When a PA ushers him to a makeshift breakroom, where a banana, a protein bar, and a cup of tea sit waiting for him on a table, Patrick realizes, Oh. It’s morning.

He drops down heavily in the chair, suddenly noticing the deep ache in his legs. He’s been on his feet for nine hours, according to his phone clock. It didn’t feel like nine hours. It didn’t feel like much of anything, really, he might have blacked out.

There’s a small cot in the corner of the room. Is he tired? Not a bit. It might just be the adrenaline talking, but Patrick honestly feels like he could do another 12 hours. And he may have to, based on the way things are going. All night he’d stood by the board, alternating stints on camera and frantic calls and texts with sources and conversations with producers as more and more numbers came in. Never enough numbers, of course, they still couldn’t call a winner, but constant updates nonetheless. Sometimes they even came in while he was on camera, and he reported them out to the public in real time, scrawling algebra on the smart board with his index finger.

Patrick pulls up Twitter to check on the news and instead his jaw drops at his truly absurd number of notifications. He’s been in broadcast journalism for almost a decade. Sure, he always gets a little extra attention around elections, but he’s never seen this number next to the word ‘notifications,’ not ten percent of it. He opens the app warily and begins to scroll, blushing bright red. Most of the messages were sent late at night, and many have, uh, late night connotations. And where did they find all of these old photos of him??

ben
@bennyboy

@PatrickBrewer do me challenge

11:57 PM · Nov 3


35.1K Retweets    10K Quote Tweets    92.4K Likes


 


cay
@caytotheay

What if… @PatrickBrewer kissed me under the big board… haha… unless

12:22 AM · Nov 4


99.3K Retweets    21.2K Quote Tweets    198.2K Likes


 


drifter
@nothankyou

Thank you @PatrickBrewer for giving me a good excuse to be horny on main, because it’s also about current events

1:19 AM · Nov 4


176.4K Retweets    88.3K Quote Tweets    349.3K Likes


 


now kiss
@beto2028

the sexual tension between @PatrickBrewer and maps

2:46 AM · Nov 4


94.7K Retweets    42.1K Quote Tweets    106.3K Likes


 


we rank peaches
@peachwatch

at 3:34 am, @PatrickBrewer finally turned all the way around and I have to say… that’s a good butt. 10/10

3:37 AM · Nov 4


445.7K Retweets    123.1K Quote Tweets    593.2K Likes


 


Some of the messages are more G-Rated.

patrick brewer 😍 🌈
@jules123

I did a google image search for @PatrickBrewer (for… reasons) and this man owns one (1) outfit. He’s not trying to be famous, he just likes politics and data and doing his job. He is too pure for this world 🥺

1:29 AM · Nov 4


99.2K Retweets    32.8K Quote Tweets    134.7K Likes


 


sir maps-a-lot
@lemonop

@PatrickBrewer has big dad coming into the room at 2 am during a sleepover and saying “alright ladies, it’s time for bed” energy

3:52 AM · Nov 4


78.4K Retweets    93.4K Quote Tweets    155.1K Likes


 


if you’re reading this go to bed
@mytwitterhandle

@PatrickBrewer please I am begging you to go to sleep, math is like 5000 years old it will still be there when you wake up

4:13 AM · Nov 4


76.2K Retweets    33.1K Quote Tweets    112.3K Likes


 


The last one makes him chuckle. He scarfs down his breakfast and, when he’s done, types out a reply.

Patrick Brewer
@PatrickBrewer

Forget grabbing sleep, there’s still votes coming in in PA. I’m heading back to the studio. If you’re still awake like me, I hope you’ll join us.

5:15 AM · Nov 4


210.2K Retweets    138.9K Quote Tweets    656.9K Likes


 


No one has come to fetch him; he’s probably supposed to be napping on the cot by now. But Patrick can’t bear to be separated from his beloved board for one minute longer. He takes one last swig of his drink, and heads back to work.

The day passes in much the same way as the night before: a constant whirlwind of data. Frankly, Patrick doesn’t have time to worry about his new admirers, or wonder if that recognition has spread beyond Twitter. He suspects it must have, from the way the network is focused on him. Ray, in particular, keeps calling him “the Internet’s boyfriend” every time he throws to him. They even put a camera on him during commercials, when he does such thrilling things as check his phone and take more notes.

Despite his initial determination to stay on duty until a winner was called, it soon becomes clear that strategy might kill him. The producers manage to coax him into a few one-hour breaks, during which he sleeps and checks his social media, completely astounded by how fast his star is on the rise. Those closest to him can’t believe it either.

Mom


Mom
Sweet boy, so many people are talking about you online! I hope they don’t really want to eat you, or you’ll be in big trouble 😉
The studio has good security, right?
Patrick
Thanks, mom. Plenty of security, I promise.
Mom
Take care of yourself!! Drink water and take a nap!


Rachel


Rachel
Currently putting together a folder of pictures of you in high school to sell to the tabloids.
Patrick
Hah, good luck with that.
Rachel
You really don’t understand how famous you are right now, do you?
Speaking of famous, how would you feel about dating a fan?
Patrick
that is a ridiculous question in so many ways.
Besides, a bunch of the tweets are about how many people want to punch me?
My mom is kinda worried about it actually
Rachel
omg no that’s a good thing
ok but seriously if you’re interested, some of these guys are really cute! Lmk if you want me to scope out some prospects
Patrick
I appreciate it Rach but at this rate the election won’t be over until next year, I can’t really think about dating right now
Rachel
fair enough
btw i put a picture of us at the prom on Instagram and I’ve gotten like 800 new followers in the past hour
Patrick
good lord


Rachel and Mom


Rachel
Hi Marcy! I just wanted to let you know that when teenagers say “punch me in the face” they mean they really like the person!
Patrick said you were worried.
Mom
Hi, Rachel! Thanks for letting me know. Kids these days!
I’ve been baking up a storm with all this stress. Can I swing by and bring you some cookies?
Rachel
um, yes please!
Thank you ❤️
Mom
Anytime, sweetheart.
Patrick
Hey, I want some!
Mom
move home then


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“We’re going to take a quick break and then we’ll be right back with more on the push for a recount in Wisconsin.”

Patrick rolls his neck as the show goes off to commercial. Wisconsin is almost certainly headed for a recount, the margin thin, but Patrick hopes he’ll be able to reassure the viewers that the chances of overturning the results are slim to none.

His phone buzzes with a new text from Rachel, likely to tell him how many more Instagram followers his newfound fame has earned her today.

Rachel
OKAY I promise I won’t send you all of these but LOOK
Link: twitter.com
Do you think he knows you used to work at Rose Video????

He taps the link, confused. Does who know that he used to work at Rose Video? And why is that relevant?

Then Patrick’s brain goes dark.

david rose
@davidroseofficial

Marry me.

MSNBC @MSNBC · Nov 4

Game face on. @PatrickBrewer is live NOW.

11:23 PM · Nov 4


22K Retweets    98.1K Quote Tweets    36.2K Likes


 


He barely even notices the truly odd photoshop situation from the network. Because Patrick’s had a little bit of a crush on David Rose since he saw him in a Rose Video training tape in high school. And since realizing that he’s gay, he’s been able to admit that he has a lot of a crush on him.

Patrick can’t count the number of times he’s scrolled through his Instagram, fantasizing about how he would fit into David’s glamorous life, wondering if he would let Patrick in behind the facade he clearly maintains for social media. Patrick has noticed that no one ever shows up on David’s Rose’s Instagram more than three times before disappearing forever. Patrick has wondered, on more than one sleepless night, if David Rose might let him stay a while.

Rachel doesn’t know anything about this, of course. It’s always just been a silly little celebrity crush he entertained in moments of loneliness (and every time David popped up on his feed). And that’s all it will ever be. Unless… was David serious? Of course it wasn’t a real marriage proposal, this isn’t reality television, but did he really see a picture of Patrick and say yes, him, I want him?

“...Patrick?”

He notices suddenly his producer talking in his ear and Ray calling for his attention. The camera is on him once more. He tries to gather himself.

“Hello again, everyone. Let’s look at some results from…” He flails indiscriminately at the board. “... Wyoming. With 98% of the vote reporting, it looks like the Republicans will win, with 70% of the vote. Well, that’s a lot. Don’t think that will swing with the last two percent of the vote left to count… Back to you, Ray!”

There’s a long moment of silence, and then, “Well, thank you Patrick for that fascinating look at Wyoming, although that is not Wisconsin, like you said you were going to talk about?” Ray says with a chuckle from across the studio. “I think the lack of sleep must be finally getting to Patrick, dear viewers! I don’t think he’s used to it. Patrick used to be my roommate after he broke up with his ex-fiance, and while I tend to stay up very, very late, Patrick always went to his room by precisely 10 o’clock! Sometimes even earlier!”

Patrick startles as a hand falls on his shoulder. It belongs to his executive producer.

“You are going home and going to sleep,” she tells him. “Truly, thank you for your work this week, but I will be informing security that they are not to let you back into the building until noon tomorrow at the earliest. I mean it.”

Patrick just nods, and heads off to do as he’s told. A full night’s sleep is exactly what the doctor ordered. Maybe he’ll know what to do about David Rose by the time he wakes up.


David

It’s been months since David has gotten acupuncture. It’s an expensive habit, it turns out. And David doesn’t “need” it, per se. So the sharp, repetitive poking he feels in his arms and legs is a welcome surprise.

“Mmm,” he purrs happily.

“Ew, asshole, you’re disgusting.”

Hmm. David’s acupuncturist wasn’t exactly sweet (she poked people with needles for a living), but she had never been quite so vulgar. He blinks his eyes open slowly, reluctantly. Stevie stares back at him.

“Oh good, he lives,” she says. “What did you drop last night?”

“Stevie?... What time is it?”

“1:30 in the afternoon,” she answers. “Seriously, are you alright? I know you and mornings don’t exactly get along, but you’ve never been this late without even answering my texts. And then my calls went straight to voicemail. I wasn’t sure if you were dead or were hiding in shame.”

David groans. “Oh god. What did the melatonin make me do this time? Did you get an order confirmation for something I definitely can’t afford to buy anymore?”

Stevie shuffles through the piles of crap on his nightstand, searching, before bending down and picking his phone up off the floor. She shoves it at him and she shoves him over to sit beside him in bed. “Check your Twitter.”

“Get your dirty shoes off my bed,” David says as his heart rate spikes in fear. He unlocks his phone with his thumb and opens Twitter, eyes widening in horror as he notes a truly shocking number of quote retweets and replies. He’s used to attention on Instagram, but his Twitter is usually quiet. What did he do? David hasn’t seen this much interest in his tweets since he expressed some apparently controversial opinions about Louis Vuitton’s Autumn/Winter 2011 collection. Kate Moss still has him blocked.

Oh no. It’s even worse than he could have imagined.

david rose
@davidroseofficial

Marry me.

MSNBC @MSNBC · Nov 4

Game face on. @PatrickBrewer is live NOW.

11:23 PM · Nov 4


22K Retweets 98.1K Quote Tweets 36.2K Likes


 


definitely not a russian bot
Replying to @davidroseofficial

be careful @patrickbrewer nothing good can come of this

512 2.3K 8K


I like maps now?
Replying to @davidroseofficial

Ugh, the roses will do anything to become relevant again

129 925 1.2K


patrick protection squad
Replying to @davidroseofficial

maybe patrick would go on a date with you for some charity auction. Daddy would pay, right?

2.7K 14.7K 31.3K


prince of shade
Replying to @davidroseofficial

david rose and patrick brewer make as much sense together as vhs tapes and the 21st century

4.8K 22.1K 46.6K


“Hey.” Stevie tugs the phone from his tight grasp. “Don’t feed the trolls.”

“I wish someone would feed me,” David grumbles along with his stomach, cheeks flushing hot.

Stevie elbows him gently. “There’s bagels and coffee in the kitchen.”

David scrambles inelegantly out of bed, tangling in his sheets and falling in a heap on the floor. Stevie doubles over in laughter. “I cannot believe you’re taunting me in my moment of need. And what did I say about your shoes?”

She swings her legs off the side of the bed, one at a time, exaggeratedly. “I also brought you breakfast in your moment of need.”

He sighs. “Forgiven. Now help me up.”


Once David is sufficiently caffeinated and carbohydrated, the decision to keep the gallery closed for the day is an easy one. They don’t make enough money on any given day to make it worth the humiliation of gawkers and paparazzi coming to laugh at David’s desperation.

“Another C-List celebrity will post something stupid any minute now. Everyone will have forgotten how much you want to screw the map guy by the time we open tomorrow.”

“I resent that,” David says around a mouthful of bagel. “I am B-List. B.”

David is also happy to surrender his phone to Stevie for safekeeping after she tells him there were two paparazzi outside his building when she came in.

“Ugh,” he sighs. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but for once I hope they’re here for Barbara Bush.”

Even though David literally just ate breakfast, it is now lunchtime. David is a man of routine; he eats three meals a day and assorted snacks and at least one dessert. They order falafel pitas with cucumbers and tomatoes and hummus from Taïm, because he might have a child’s palate but he recognizes the necessity of consuming an occasional vegetable and/or legume.

After they eat, and with nothing on the schedule, they settle onto the couch.

“Patrick?” Stevie asks, remote in hand.

David shudders. “Yeah, no. Too soon.”

“Other news?”

He ponders this, but eventually shakes his head no. At this rate, they won’t miss anything from taking an afternoon off. Besides, they have Twitter. He knows what he wants. “Put on You’ve Got Mail.”

Stevie scoffs. “Again? And haven’t you experienced enough trauma about digital communication in the last 24 hours?”

“You have to let me do whatever I want without questioning me, it’s what friends do for each other when they’re having a hard day.”

“David, if we did that every time you posted something embarrassing on the Internet, we would never leave this couch.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?!!”

“I guess it depends on your perspective,” Stevie replies. “I happen to think every one of your posts is embarrassing.”

“I pay your salary, you are not allowed to come for me like this,” David retorts. “And just for that, we are definitely watching Meg and Tom.”

“On one condition,” Stevie agrees reluctantly. “You paint my nails while we watch?”

“Accepted,” David says as he jumps up to retrieve his manicure supplies. He finds the state of Stevie’s nail beds personally offensive, so really this deal works out well for him on all accounts.


After Tom Hanks says don’t cry, shopgirl, and Meg Ryan says I wanted it to be you so badly, David and Stevie spend about three minutes drying their eyes (yes, Stevie too, so there), and then forty-five minutes on StreetEasy looking at Upper West Side real estate.

“Ew, I think one of Alexis’ exes lived in this building,” David shudders. “Fuck. Alexis. Can you check my phone and see if she called? I haven’t heard from her in a while.”

Stevie sighs. “Fine, fine.” She uncrosses her legs and stands up with a grunt, shaking out her limbs as she walks to her bag and digs out David’s phone. He watches, burrowing further into his blanket and inhaling handfuls of popcorn from the bowl in his lap as she unlocks it and taps the screen a few times.

David grabs his foot to stop it from jiggling. “Okay, how long does it take to open up the message app and check for the name Alexis?”

She ignores him, and taps a few more times. Suddenly, her eyes go wide.

“What?” David sits up straight, mind already whirring. The go-bag is in the hall closet, the spare passports are in his desk drawer. “Where does she need me?”

“No, no,” Stevie shakes her head rapidly, smirking. What? “It’s not Alexis.”

“Ugh, you bitch, just because I gave you my passcode doesn’t mean you get to read all my messages –”

“Patrick Brewer DM’d you,” she interrupts, coming to perch on the edge of the coffee table.

“Oh, fuck off.”

“No, I’m serious.”

“Oh my god. It’s probably his lawyer telling me to cease and desist. Or his boyfriend telling me to lay off his man. Or –”

“Are you done?” Stevie asks. “He wants to go on a date with you.”

David barks out a laugh. “You’re the worst.”

“Hi, David,” she reads off his phone. “I’m not sure I’m ready for marriage…”

“Let me see that,” David says, leaning over to snatch his phone away from Stevie.

“Be my guest.”


Patrick


Patrick
Hi David, I'm not sure I'm ready for marriage.
Patrick
Maybe we could start with dinner?

11/5, 1:36 PM

Patrick
Unless you were kidding? that’s fine, I’m sorry

Patrick
But if you weren’t kidding I’d very much like to take you to dinner sometime.

11/5, 2:45 PM

A deadly cocktail of emotions dominated by hope and suspicion well up in David’s gut. He taps on the profile picture, and, miraculously, it takes him to Patrick Brewer’s verified Twitter account. He goes back and forth between the profile and the message a few more times, just to make sure. It’s real.

“Well, fuck,” David says, slumping backward into the cushions. “What do I do?”

Stevie blinks. “You say yes, duh.”

“But what if he’s joking?”

“He asked you to dinner and then preemptively apologized for any potential misunderstanding.”

“Yes, but he could be… I don’t know, punking me or something.”

“David. Does the Patrick Brewer we’ve been watching on TV the past few days seem like the kind of guy who would ask you out in some elaborate plot to humiliate you more than you’ve already managed to humiliate yourself?”

He purses his lips, reluctant to give the answer. “No."

“So…” Stevie mimes texting. “Answer him, you idiot.”

David wants to, he does, but the thing is, he’s terrified. Because if Patrick is playing at something, if he’s harboring some sort of ulterior motive, that would wreck him. It would be easy to ignore the message, delete it and move on. But he thinks about how lonely and miserable he’s been, since cutting off his parents and his old parasitic “friends,” and long before that, if he’s being honest. It’s probably – no, definitely – time for a change.

He believes that love like in the movies is real, it’s out there. But where he thinks the movies get love wrong is that no one ever just stumbles into it. David has spent years waiting to turn a corner and run headfirst into the love of his life, but that’s never going to happen. He chose to let Stevie into his life, to seek his own fortune, to stop clubbing four nights a week. David knows now that if he wants something he has to take it, deliberately and with care. And who knows why Patrick Brewer’s big brown eyes make him want to be brave, but goddamnit, they do.

“Okay,” he bursts out suddenly. “Well, what do I say? I don’t want to sound like a complete moron.”

“Oh, it’s far too late for that.”

“Okay,” David snaps again. “This is passive harassment.”

“Yes, well, that’s why you pay me the medium bucks.”

“I will buy you dinner if you help me write this response.”

“I’m not sure why you think I’m more qualified than you in this area, but sure, I’ll take it. Now scooch over, I want some blanket.”


Patrick

Patrick wakes up in his own bed and can’t quite remember how he got there. He blinks slowly, trying and failing to shake off the grogginess in his limbs; his mind is awake but his body hasn’t gotten the memo, still sunk like lead into the mattress. The sun is shining bright and uninhibited through the windows because he most definitely did not draw the blinds last night. Patrick turns his head to stretch his neck and sees his clothes dropped along the floor like breadcrumbs tracing his path from door to bed.

It’s his apartment, but it’s jarringly unfamiliar. Patrick was at the studio for… 48 hours straight? 72? And even in the days and weeks leading up to the election he was rarely home, working 18, 20 hour days to prepare. His apartment became a glorified nap pod. A scratch in the back of his throat makes him wonder how long it’s been since he’s vacuumed the place.

Finally mustering the strength to roll over, Patrick grabs for his phone and checks the time: 12:33pm. Texts have come in from all the usual suspects over the past twelve hours – Ray, Rachel, his mom – along with push notifications from his news sources, but none of them woke him. Patrick thinks the building could’ve caught fire and he might’ve slept through the fire alarm.

Patrick sees his boss’ name among the notifications and quickly swipes to open it. He was told not to come in until after lunch, but now he’s almost slept through that.

Jen


Today, 11:15 AM

Jen
Hi Patrick. Since you haven’t texted me to ask when you’re allowed back on the property, I’m going to assume you’re still asleep (good). I’m scheduling you to be on the air at 5pm.
Please do text me when you wake up

Today, 12:36 PM

Patrick
Hey, I just woke up. Thanks for sending me home last night, I clearly needed the rest. I’ll see you around 4:30.
Jen
Oh thank god, you’re alive
See you then.

After he brushes his teeth and puts in a Seamless order for a bagel sandwich (because God knows there’s no food in his kitchen), Patrick skims through the rest of his messages while waiting for his order to arrive. His mother had sent him several texts throughout the night, each increasing in panic. He calls her, hoping she hasn’t started calling local hospitals looking for him just yet.

She picks up on the first ring. “Oh, Patrick, it’s so wonderful to hear from you.”

“Good morning, mom.”

“Are you okay, sweetie? I was watching last night and it’s just not like you to make those kinds of mistakes on the air!”

“I’m fine, I promise,” he assures her. “Just needed a good night’s sleep. I slept like, twelve hours. I just woke up.”

“That’s good,” she says, relief evident in her voice. “They work you too hard!”

Patrick laughs, leaning up against the island. “This week isn’t exactly normal.”

“No, but you work too hard every week,” she reminds him. “It was good to hear from Rachel. I’m glad you two are staying close.”

“Yeah,” Patrick agrees. “We’ve been talking more and more recently. It’s really nice. But I am jealous that she gets cookies and I don’t.”

“Okay, okay, you’ve worn me down,” his mom chuckles. “I’ll send you some, sweet boy.”

“Thanks, Mom. Hey, could you send them to my office?”

“Patrick!”

“I know, I know, it’s not healthy. It’s just this week,” he promises. “I’m not going to be home! And if you send them to the office, I can share them with everyone. Show off your legendary skills.”

She sighs, defeated. “Alright, alright. I’ll overnight some cookies. To your office, fine. But after this election is over I want you to take a vacation! Come visit us, we miss you.”

“I will, Mom, I swear. I’d love that.” Patrick’s phone buzzes – Ray. “I have to go, Mom, it’s work.”

“Of course it is,” she teases. “Alright, Patrick. I love you. Bye bye.”

“Bye, Mom.”

Ray’s text turns out to be the farthest thing from a work emergency – it’s a photo of him in front of the Big Board, two thumbs up and a wide grin on his face.

Ray
Careful Patrick, or you might not have a job to come back to!! Lol
Patrick, I think I might have pressed a wrong button. Does this thing reboot somehow? Let me know!!!

Patrick tries for a few minutes to think of a response, and eventually just decides to leave it be. If Ray really messed something up on the board, the production team will have fixed it by the time he gets back to the studio.

Finally, he checks his messages from Rachel.

Rachel
When you clicked on Wyoming instead of Wisconsin? I haven’t seen that look on your face since your mother asked us how soon we wanted to start having kids
Seriously tho, I hope you’re getting some sleep. Call me xoxo

His heart stops when he sees the link to David’s tweet above her most recent messages, which he’d somehow managed to forget about entirely instead of solving in his sleep like he’d hoped to. Rachel probably didn’t think she was offering him dating advice when she asked him to call, but he presses the dial button without another thought.

“Well, well, well,” she drawls. “Look who’s trying to stay connected to his roots now that he’s hit the big time.”

“Hi, Rachel.”

“So, did they finally kick you out of the studio after your little stunt last night?”

Patrick sighs. “Yeah. Jen threatened to revoke my security clearance.”

“Good. I was starting to worry you might actually die on the Pat Cam.”

He scoffs. “The Pat Cam is ridiculous. I am not interesting, ever, really, but especially during commercials.”

“Hey, you’re a big deal now, Patty,” Rachel teases.

“I’m just –” The doorbell rings. Patrick hops up and tucks the phone under his ear. “Hang on, that’s my lunch.”

He pulls open the door and accepts a brown paper bag from a bored-looking delivery person.

“Hey!” they say, perking up suddenly. “You’re Patrick Brewer! You’re awesome, man, I’ve been watching you all week!”

“Thanks,” Patrick answers hesitantly.

“Have a nice day, man.”

“You too,” Patrick says, and he shuts the door as they walk away.

“Woooow,” Rachel says from the other end of the phone. “Did I just hear what I think I heard?”

Patrick drops his food on the coffee table and plops down on the couch. “I have apparently reached the ‘recognized by delivery people’ level of fame.”

“I’m so proud.”

“Should I be concerned that they know where I live?”

Rachel laughs. “No, I think there’s a delivery people confidentiality policy, or something.”

They sit in comfortable silence for a moment as Patrick dives into his lunch, suddenly realizing how hungry he is.

“Honestly, though,” Rachel says. “I’m really proud of you, Patty.”

The corners of his lips pull down into a smile. “Thanks, Rach.”

“Now I’m serious, when this election is over and you have ten minutes to breathe, we are finding you a man.”

Patrick snorts. “About that.”

“What?” she gasps. “You’re already seeing someone? And you didn’t tell me?”

“No, no, no,” he assures her. “But last night you sent me that post from David Rose, and, well, I’ve had a crush on him forever.”

“Really?”

“Oh, yeah,” he laughs. “Since way before I knew what to call it. I actually wanted to talk to you about that – theoretically, hypothetically, how would one slide into someone’s DMs?”

“Yessss,” she cheers. “Just go for it. Say hi. You know he’s interested, you have a leg up here!”

“But what if he was kidding?”

Rachel sighs. “I guess that’s possible? I mean, you definitely go into it with that attitude, that anything is possible, any response. Or no response, that happens all the time. Just be yourself. You’ve charmed the whole world this week, you can charm one guy into a date.”

“Thank you, Rachel,” he says sincerely. There’s a reason they made it work for so long – they always have known how to talk to each other, encourage each other, build each other up.

“Always, Patrick,” she answers. “Now, I need to get back to work. And you have a boy to woo. Go get ‘em, tiger. And keep me updated!”

“Of course, Rachel. Bye.”

He hangs up, and opens Twitter. He navigates to David Rose’s page, clicks the message icon, and starts typing.


And an hour later, when he freaks out and second-guesses everything he’s ever done, he sends another message to try and cover his butt.


Patrick is sitting in his office with a producer, pouring over notes about all that has transpired in the last 18 hours, when his phone buzzes. He doesn’t pay it much mind; it’s been buzzing constantly for days now. It isn’t until he’s riding in the elevator up to the studio that he taps the screen to wake it, thumbing through a list of people he hasn’t spoken to since high school but are now suddenly dying to catch up. His eye catches on one notification in particular and his heart drops into his shoes. A new message from David Rose. He opens it immediately, breath quickening.


David


David
What a coincidence.
David
I love dinner and am also not ready for marriage, despite recent reports to the contrary. Text me 917-555-4435

11/5, 4:43 PM


“Boom, baby!” Patrick whoops, grateful to be alone in the elevator. He copies David’s number and opens a new text. With only a few minutes until he has to be on the air, he doesn’t have time to think of any clever opening lines, but he wants to make sure David knows how interested he is.

917-555-4435


Patrick
Hi Patrick, it’s David.

Fuck.

Patrick
I mean, obviously, hi David, it’s Patrick.
Sorry I’m rushing, I’m on in five, but wanted to say hi first 😊
David
Lol
Hi David 😂
You’re back on now? I’ll be watching.

No pressure.


Patrick is relieved to find that he gets back on his feet quickly, shaking off the rust and helping his audience understand the news. His audience that he now knows includes David Rose. So if he flexes his biceps a little as he points and taps, well. He has a cute boy to impress. A cute boy who is, according to his Instagram, used to the company of models and actors and other beautiful, muscular people. Crap. Patrick needs to start going to the gym more.

The show goes off to commercial and Patrick checks his phone, a thrill running through him when he sees a text from David.

David
Please let me know how you ever lived with Ray

Before he can answer, the phone buzzes again in his hand.

David
omg I just saw you smile at my text on the pat cam this is fun for me
Patrick
How do you know it was your text?
David
Oh, have you been texting with any other boys who proposed to you recently?
actually… don’t answer that.

Wrong answer, Brewer.

Patrick
David.
I may have received multiple proposals in the last week, but I only responded to one.

Knowing that David is watching, he stares into the camera with intent. Then he smiles and mouths “Hi Mom,” because he’s an asshole like that, and David needs to know that from the start.

Patrick
And to answer your question, I only lasted four months. He’s the smartest guy, a genius political analyst, but somehow doesn’t understand the meaning of a closed door?
The second time he walked into the bathroom while I was showering, I knew I had to move out. I got my own place.
David
Well.
I for one am glad that you moved somewhere you can have some privacy 😉

Patrick’s chest puffs with pride, still in disbelief that someone as gorgeous and worldly as David Rose could want him. But the moment is short-lived as the cameraman starts to count him in. God, he loves his job, but he needs this damn election to end. He has a date to plan.


David

David and Stevie cycle through about seven drafts in response to Patrick’s message before settling on some good old-fashioned self-deprecation. Followed by his phone number, because the fewer times he has to open Twitter and see the dumpster fire still burning in his mentions, the better.

When Patrick endearingly forgets his own name as he’s about to go on the air, David dives across Stevie’s lap to retrieve the remote and very nearly upends the bowl of popcorn.

“Hey!”

“Sorry not sorry, Patrick’s back on.”

Stevie smacks his arm with surprising strength. “And how do you know that?”

“He told me, thank you very much,” David sniffs haughtily, wiggling his phone at her and only putting up a nominal fight as she yanks it from his grasp.

“I thought he was supposed to be smart,” she says, reading Patrick’s disastrous introduction.

“He is!” David protests. “It’s just that I’m so devastatingly beautiful and distracting.”

Stevie looks him up and down. “No, I don’t think that’s it.”

He elbows her, and she retaliates. They scuffle with each other, and David is reaching for a pillow to really get things going when the familiar theme song of Patrick’s show makes him turn and settle immediately, like a switch flipped in his brain.

“Sit, stay,” Stevie teases, because of course she noticed. David chooses to ignore her, focusing instead on the TV.

Onscreen, Ronnie and Ray appear. “Welcome back everyone, and welcome back to our dear friend Patrick Brewer! Aren’t we just delighted that Patrick is back with us, Ronnie?” Ray sings.

“Mmhmm.”

“Wonderful! Now, I have a little story to tell you all. Earlier today, I texted Patrick that I was playing with the board, and I broke it. But I was kidding, isn’t that funny? I didn’t break it! Everything is fine! Do we have some photos of me with the board?”

A life size photo of Ray in front of the board appears on the screens behind the desk where he sits.

David immediately pulls out his phone to text Patrick his dismay at Ray’s antics.

“Aha! So here you see me, smiling in front of the magic board. So fun,” Ray says. “Don’t you think so, Ronnie?”

“Yep.”

“Amazing! Well, we’ve teased you long enough, viewers. Here he is, the man of the hour, back and well rested! And he smells much better now! Patrick Brewer, what have you got for us tonight?”

David lets out a breath he didn’t know he was holding onto when Patrick appears onscreen, calm and determined, steady and strong, dressed as always in his blue shirt, blue tie, and khakis. Patrick cracks a wide grin.

“Good evening, everyone. It’s good to see you again. A lot has happened since last night, so let’s get right into it…”

David watches Patrick in his element, as he effortlessly navigates the map and breaks down complicated results and predictions into accessible, interesting bites. “He is smart. Is he too smart for me? I think he’s too smart for me.”

“David,” Stevie says. “He is not too smart for you. He’s smart, but you’re smart too. Just about different stuff.”

He looks at her sideways. “Gross.”

“I know,” she shudders. “The sincerity felt so wrong. It won’t happen again.”

“Thank you, much obliged.”

They watch in silence for a few minutes as Patrick finishes his segment and the regular camera transitions to the Pat Cam, showing him in split screen alongside the commercials. David gasps as he sees Patrick pick up his phone and smile widely at it.

“Oh my god,” David says as he types, “I love this. Everyone I ever text should have a camera on them at all times to capture their reactions.”

“Hmm, are you sure?” Stevie asks. “Just based on personal experience, most of my reactions to your texts are like, groans and face palms.”

This time, David does pick up a pillow and whack her with it. She deserves it.


Patrick is smart, hot, and has a great job. Patrick is quick-witted and flirty. Patrick is respected and well-liked, well-known and scandal-free. Patrick is single. David cannot believe, when they first start texting, that Patrick is single.

At first.

patrick


Patrick
I really want to see you soon
David
Are you free Saturday night?
Patrick
ahhh
I want to be but I really don’t know
it depends how much longer until the election gets called, and then I’ll have wrap-up and post-analysis to do
I’m sorry 😞
David
It’s ok! I should’ve realized you can’t get away right now
Are you this busy all year round?
Patrick
Not this busy, but busy
I do baseball analytics in the spring and summer, and then in the even years election season starts right away
David
Wow
Patrick
I want to make time for you, David.
I will make time for you
David
Yeah
Let me know when you’re free

So. Patrick is cute, earnest, and in possession of a very enticing pair of shoulders. He is single, but entirely unavailable.

As busy as he is, even as the election stretches into its fourth and fifth days without a resolution, Patrick still makes an effort to reach out, to let David know he’s thinking of him.

Patrick
So do those hair gummies really work?
David
No idea.
Tbh I’ve only ever taken one, and that was just to make sure I wasn’t agreeing to sell poison
Patrick
Smart.
Either they’re safe and you take the deal, or they’re poisonous and you die.
David
Hmm.
Patrick
Anyway, you don’t need them. Your gene pool has blessed you with an amazing head of hair.
David
maybe you should start taking them.
See if you grow any eyebrows or maybe a beard

Finally, on Saturday morning, enough votes trickle in that the margins are too big to overturn and the election is finally called for the good guys. There are celebrations in the streets, music and dancing and mimosas. One of David’s recent money making efforts was consistent Saturday opening hours (made possible by less consistent Friday nights at the club), so he’s at the gallery when the news breaks, watching Patrick on an online stream while he journals about local products they could stock to help bring people in the door.

“So if we zoom in here on Erie County,” Patrick says, and then he stops in his tracks. His eyes narrow in concentration and focus on some spot on the floor, patterns which David has come to learn mean that a producer is talking to him through his earpiece.

“Ok,” he resumes. “Well, we have some breaking news. Something we’ve all been waiting for. I’m being told that we are now able to call Pennsylvania for the Democrats, and you all know what that means. That puts them up over 270 electoral votes, and that’s the ball game.”

On screen, Patrick takes a deep breath, shaking his head. “It’s been a long week, folks. Thanks for sticking with us. We’re going to take a quick break, but we’ll be right back with more analysis on how we got here, and where we’re going. Thank you.”

Saturday, 1:12 PM

David
Is it weird for me to say that I’m really proud of you???
Patrick
Not weird at all. Thank you.
David
Now go take a nap.
Patrick
I’d rather take you out.
David
That sounds vaguely threatening?
Patrick
But we’d have so much fun.
David
So you’re literally threatening me with a good time?
Patrick
I don’t know what that means

Sunday, 10:32 AM

Patrick
dinner tonight?
David
I’d like that.
Patrick
Great, I’ll send you the details in a bit

Sunday, 11:08 AM

Patrick
Shit David I’m so sorry the network booked me on a talk show, I have to go there after I finish here and I don’t know how late I’ll be. They just told me.
Could I text you when I’m done for a late dinner? Or drinks?
David
I have to open the gallery in the morning
Patrick
right of course
We’ll make this work soon I promise

David can’t help the alarms that blare in his head when Patrick blows him off, convinced that he’s using him the same as everyone else, keeping him dangling for when it’s convenient but uninterested in anything beyond a quick fling and a few well-timed photo opportunities. Interest in politics and the news will die down back to normal in due time, now that the election is over, but tabloids are forever. And all press is good press, right?

Plenty of people have blown David off with the “I’m busy” excuse, and the other way around, so it’s an easy conclusion to jump to; still, he can admit that Patrick is the first and only with such a concrete alibi. When Patrick says “I’m busy,” David can turn on the TV and check for himself. Which he does. And not only because he doesn’t totally trust Patrick, not yet, anyway, but also because he’s just so nice to watch.

So Patrick really is busy. Confirmed with David’s own two eyes. But that doesn’t mean anything about his feelings for David. Doesn’t mean he won’t keep up the excuses for weeks, months, until he’s gotten what he wants and no longer has any need for David’s company.

While David can’t stop his spiraling suspicions, he’s a little bit mollified by the apology flowers that Patrick sends to Rose Gallery on Monday morning – not something any of his exes have bothered to do. And he just can’t bring himself to resent the media blitz that’s keeping Patrick so unavailable, no matter how hard he tries. Patrick is so charming, and so interesting, and David loves learning new things about him. Which he recognizes is gross. So sue him.


Patrick Brewer: 25 Things You Didn't Know About Me


  1. My favorite color is blue.
  2. I own seven different blue button-down shirts. They just look the same on camera.
  3. I played varsity baseball throughout high school and college.
  4. In the political off-season, I do baseball analytics and predictions!
  5. I collect historical campaign paraphernalia like buttons and posters.
  6. I have 14 first cousins, but I’m an only child!
  7. I interviewed for my job four separate times. Never give up!
  8. My favorite musician is Bob Dylan.
  9. I can do a mean Australian accent.
  10. I don’t have any pets right now, but I want a dog.
  11. I cry every time I watch the movie Miracle.
  12. My first celebrity crush was Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise.
  13. I play the guitar and piano.
  14. Some of you may know this, but I used to be roommates with my co-anchor Ray Butani!
  15. My office is a mess, but my apartment is clean.
  16. My best friend Rachel is actually my ex-fiancée. I’m so lucky we were able to work through all our differences, because I can’t imagine my life without her.
  17. In college, I played Prospero in a production of the Tempest.
  18. I love hiking. My favorite trail near New York City is Breakneck Ridge!
  19. I once got to meet Barack Obama and I’ve seen been so starstruck in my life.
  20. I bleached my hair blonde in college. It was a mistake.
  21. One of my favorite weekend activities is taking the subway to Brooklyn for a beer at Other Half.
  22. My first job in high school was at a Rose Video.
  23. If I had to have another job, I would want to run my own business.
  24. I can’t live without Earl Grey tea. During the election, I was probably 50% Earl Grey.
  25. My favorite food in the whole world is my mom’s homemade brown butter chocolate chip cookies. She sent several dozen to my office this week!

There are so many things in that article that David needs more information on, but one is most pressing.

Monday, 2:24 PM

David
YOU USED TO WORK AT ROSE VIDEO??
Patrick
Store 785 😎
David
Wow
Also, you act, play instruments, and sports? I am talking to Troy Bolton?
Patrick
If you are, can you get me his number?
David
he’s a fictional character Patrick
Patrick
damn.

And finally, finally:

Tuesday, 9:45 AM

Patrick
Dinner tomorrow? I have a reservation at Cote in Flatiron at 7.

Damn. David knows that’s not an easy reservation to get; Patrick must have pulled some strings. Bile rises in his throat, his worst fears seemingly confirmed. It’s a place to see and be seen, with dim lights and beautiful, Instagram-worthy food.

Once you finish cooking it for yourself.

David thinks he should probably eat a snack beforehand, just in case he royally fucks up with the Korean barbeque and ends up with a bruised ego and an inedible pile of meat.

Because of course he’s still going to go. There’s something about Patrick that seems different than other people he’s dated, maybe? He can’t quite put his finger on what. But he has to find out. He has to try.

David
And you will be there? Definitely?
Patrick
Yes. I will.
David
Then I will, too.
Patrick
I’m really excited to finally meet you in person.
David
Me too.
Patrick
I’ll wear a blue button down so you recognize me
David
unfortunately I know you’re not kidding

David hopes he’s wrong about Patrick. He’s never wanted to be wrong about something more, actually. And if this all blows up in his face, if Patrick is just seeking a little notoriety by being seen out with him, well, it’s nothing David hasn’t dealt with before. He’ll figure it out. He’ll get through it.


Patrick

The network makes Patrick go home for another full night’s sleep, which he can admit is a good thing. He’s still exhausted, plus now he has the added distraction of David Rose. Thinking about David, texting David, planning his wedding to David. And even though there’s nothing he can do to speed up the count, somehow he feels like the harder he works the faster this will all be over.

Patrick likes to work hard. He likes being tired at the end of the day and knowing it’s because he gave his all to something that he cares about. He likes impressing people with his competence and accomplishments. And God, does he want to impress David – and Patrick thinks David Rose might not be easily impressed.

David dresses so well, always, and Patrick owns three of the same pair of jeans. David understands modern art, which is ridiculously impressive, because Patrick thinks it all just looks like a bunch of stripes and splatters. David drinks cocktails on rooftops and Patrick drinks Coors Light in dive bars. So Patrick is already working at a disadvantage, here, as far as impressiveness goes.

David is quick-witted, snarky, and takes no shit. He’s smart and snappy and fascinating, and Patrick can’t get enough. So he’s willing to put in the work.

David


David
So do you just love the baseball? Or do you also play the baseball?
Patrick
I play the baseball!
I played competitively since childhood through college
Now I play in a work league.
David
you play against other people at work?
Patrick
yep!
Fun fact, that’s actually why Ronnie hates me.
We’re captains of rival teams, and I beat her in the championship last year.
David
omg I KNEW there was a story there
That’s hilarious
Patrick
once she said I looked like a thumb 😞
David
you know what. I see it
Patrick
😞😞😞
David
a very cute thumb tho, not the scary thumb robots in spy kids
Patrick
thanks?
David
you’re welcome

When his producer tells him, through his earpiece on Saturday morning, that the election is over, Patrick goes oddly numb. It’s at once a total shock and a confirmation of what all the prognosticators have been expecting since about 4am on Wednesday. Patrick passes the news onto the viewers, and thanks them for sticking with him during a long, tense week of waiting. His plans for the hour now obsolete, he throws to an unplanned commercial to regroup.

Patrick trudges into his office three hours later, bone-deep exhaustion tangling with the crash of five days’ worth of adrenaline and making him feel like he might fall asleep on his feet. He drops heavily into his chair. Already brimming with emotions, his eyes fill with tears as he catches sight of the present waiting on his desk.

Patrick
Thank you
David
of course 🤗

On Sunday morning, when Patrick gets his schedule for the day and sees that he’s off at 5, he texts David without a second thought. It’s only when David accepts his dinner initiation that he remembers to panic. He asks Google for last minute date night suggestions but Google doesn’t turn up anything worthy of David Rose. He’s thinking candlelight, expensive wine, way too many forks, and a dinner jacket policy.

Fuck, he has nothing to wear.

And which fork goes with which course??

His producer pokes her head into his office and interrupts his spiral just before he can Google fancy dinner etiquette.

“Got a minute?” she asks, hovering in the doorway.

“Sure, of course,” Patrick answers, gesturing to the seat across from him.

“So I’m sure you saw the schedule,” Jen says as she sits. “You’re off early, because we have a special surprise for you after!”

“Oh?”

“We’ve booked you on Jimmy Fallon! You’ll head up there after you finish here, and then do the interview, play a game or two.”

“Oh, wow.”

“I know, isn’t that exciting??”

“Yes!” Patrick says, nodding emphatically, trying to feign enthusiasm while dreading cancelling on David. Besides, he’s been doing press nearly nonstop for the past 24 hours – it’s hard to feel excited about another interview, even if it is a big one.

“Great,” she says. “What about you. How are you doing? Everything okay? I doubt on Tuesday you thought you’d end up on Fallon by the end of the week.”

“Yeah, it’s pretty crazy,” he agrees.

“And all of a sudden you’re New York’s most eligible bachelor!”

“That’s definitely new,” Patrick chuckles. “I’m not sure I’m the right guy for that title. Even if I could get a date, I wouldn’t know where to take him.”

Jen laughs. “Just call up Cote, drop your name and ask for a reservation, that’d impress anyone.”

Good to know.

She stands and makes her exit. Patrick groans, head in his hand, and texts David the bad news.


On Tuesday, Patrick is finally able to get confirmation that he’ll be free the following evening, so he does just as Jen suggested. He can hear the restaurant host choke back a laugh when he asks if they have any available reservations for tomorrow, but then he gives his name. He’s only on hold for two minutes before the host picks the line back up to confirm his table for 7pm.

The more time that passes since the election ended, the more Patrick comes to realize that he really might be famous, now. He can’t walk from his office to the bathroom without getting stopped by six people to chat. Yesterday three twenty-somethings were waiting outside 30 Rock to get his autograph when he left the building. His inbox is so full of media requests that he’s considering hiring a publicist.

Patrick is a broadcast journalist, sure, but it’s been years since he interviewed someone. He’s even less familiar with being interviewed, giving clever yet elusive responses, maintaining a professional yet friendly tone. Luckily, all his interviews so far have been softballs, more curious about the brand of his khakis than getting him to admit any controversial political opinions. He was nervous about Fallon, but the guy is an overgrown teenager. He showed Patrick a bunch of thirsty tweets about him to make him blush, and then gave him a green shirt (green!). Not exactly a stressful experience.

He’s talked to countless reporters in the past few days, and none of them had more than two questions about his job. They all wanted to know about him. Ordinary, boring Patrick. Us Weekly even featured him in their “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me” column. It took Patrick an embarrassingly long time to think of 25 facts about himself. He thinks maybe four of them were interesting.

Along with all the publicity, or because of it, perhaps, Patrick has been presented with more professional opportunities in the past week than the rest of his career, combined. His boss has heavily implied a raise is in his near future, and the network’s sports team wants to make him a regular, on-air correspondent in the next baseball season. Six literary agents have emailed him to ask if he’s ever thought about writing a book (he has). NYU wants him to teach a class next semester.

Patrick’s head hasn’t stopped spinning in a week, so when he walks into his office that afternoon and sees David Rose hovering nervously by his desk, he’s not surprised that he’s finally progressed to hallucinations. That would also explain how David is even more beautiful in person, clad in a black fuzzy sweater with patterns at the hips that make Patrick want to grab them and tight black jeans with ripped knees that make Patrick feel weak in his knees.

“David?” he blinks.

“Hey,” he says, wiggling awkwardly. “It’s me.”

“In the flesh.” Patrick crosses the room to squeeze his arm and peck his cheek, that fuzzy sweater and his pretty face too much to resist. “Wait, how did you even get up here?”

David waves a hand in dismissal. “I know someone.”

“Ah.” Makes sense. “So, what’s up? Just couldn’t wait until tomorrow to see me?” Patrick teases.

“What do you want from me?” David asks suddenly.

“Um,” he says, confused. “Dinner, tomorrow?”

“Right. Besides that.”

“I’m not sure I understand what you mean.”

“Okay, yes, so in this interview that was just published –”

“You’re going to have to be more specific,” Patrick interrupts with a wince.

David sighs. “Right.” He pulls out his phone and taps a few times, pulling up the interview, Patrick supposes, because then he starts to read. “They asked, ‘you’ve been doing this a long time. Does it feel different now that the world is watching?’”

He pauses, looking up at him. Patrick nods – he remembers the question.

“And you answered, ‘it feels really good, to be honest. To work hard for so long, and finally get real recognition for it. No one does this job to be famous, of course, it’s not like I would’ve quit if this never happened. I love my job. But now, this week – a lot of people have been reaching out to me with opportunities. Things I may want to pursue. Now, who knows. If we just go back to normal and everyone stops watching, everyone forgets about me, maybe those opportunities go away. We’ll see. No matter what, I’ll keep working hard and doing what I love.’”

“Okay,” Patrick says. “Well I’m not the most eloquent guy ever, especially on so little sleep.”

David shakes his head. “That’s not it, Patrick.”

Patrick squints at him in confusion.

“Are you using me, Patrick? To stay famous? Or get more famous? Going to take me to fancy restaurants, clubs, tip off the paparazzi, keep yourself trending?”

“What – no, David, no!” he protests. “Why would you think that?”

“Because of this quote!” he answers. “You said, right here, that if people stopped watching you, all these opportunities you’re getting would go away. And the restaurant for tomorrow! And you know me, or know of me, at least, you know I’m easy, and I’ll get you seen.”

“That’s not why –”

“But I have to tell you,” David continues. “That’s not really me, anymore. Earlier this year I found out my parents were secretly responsible for my whole life, my success, and – it’s a long story, but basically I blew up my life and I don’t do that stuff anymore. So, if you just want to date someone for the optics, or whatever, that’s up to you, but I’m going to need you to pick someone else.”

Patrick feels the corners of his mouth turn down in a grin.

“Why are you smiling?”

“David,” he says, shaking his head. “I want you.”

David eyes him warily.

“I’ve had half a crush on you since I saw a picture of you on the wall at my high school job, way before tabloids or Instagram or any of that. I messaged you because I want you. The restaurant – I was just trying to impress you, because I thought you would want something fancy like that. If I was wrong about that, I’m sorry, we can go to a diner or get pizza, I’ll eat anything. And that quote – look. If everything, all of this went away tomorrow, I would be okay. Because I like my life, I love my job, just the way it is now.”

Just the way it is now?” David crosses his arm defensively.

“Well, not exactly. I’m lonely,” Patrick admits. “David. I want to date you. I don’t want to be famous. Sure, I have ambitions, I want to do big things and I’ve been thinking about writing a book and – but I’m really not comfortable with the whole concept of fame, actually? The other day the Seamless guy recognized me and it really freaked me out.”

David chuckles, softening visibly. “Yeah, it’s really fucking weird.”

Patrick reaches out tentatively to touch David’s arm, thumbing at the soft fabric. “Do you want to date me, for me? And not just for the optics, or whatever?”

He sucks in a breath and nods. “Yes.”

“Well then,” Patrick says. “It sounds like we’re on the same page.”

“It does,” David agrees, lips pulled to the side in a smile. “And while I’m here…” he dances his fingers up Patrick’s arms to rest on his shoulders. “I read somewhere, recently, that your mother sent you, and I quote, ‘several dozen chocolate chip cookies’? And I was wondering if you might still have any of those?”

Patrick is glowing, he thinks. Incandescently. He inches closer to David, wrapping his arms around his waist. “I do have cookies.” David shimmies happily in his arms. “And hey, does this mean I can cancel the reservation for tomorrow? You know, since you’re all done with the life of glitz and glam,” he teases.

“Well I don’t think I said that,” David hedges, face scrunching.

Patrick kisses him then, soft and chaste but sweet and full of promise. He might be floating, he thinks, hovering two inches off the ground.

They separate, and a flash of motion over David’s left shoulder catches his eye. “Unfortunately,” he sighs, remembering where they are, “I really should get back to work.”

“Same,” David agrees reluctantly, untangling himself. “I may have read that interview and then immediately abandoned Stevie and ran up here to talk to you. And then waited alone in your office like a deranged stalker for a bit. I’ve been gone for a while, is what I’m saying.”

Patrick opens his bottom desk drawer, revealing four tupperwares full of Marcy Brewer’s famous cookies. He hands one to David, who immediately opens the tub and shoves half a cookie in his mouth, eyes shutting in bliss.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, David,” he says, already so fond of this new side of David he’s seeing, who is soft and adorable and yet tough as nails.

“Tomorrow,” David agrees, swallowing his cookie and going in for another bite as he turns and leaves.

Patrick watches him go, content. He knows hasn’t seen the last of David Rose.


david rose
@davidroseofficial

Happy New Year, everyone! Here’s to manifesting more good things in the next year ✌🏼

10:14 PM · Dec 31


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