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Fucking Stevie, David thinks as he finally turns into the driveway of the little bungalow. Because of course she was right. He never should have made this trip. When he’d met Rory last summer at the provincial arts show, he’d fallen in love with their stoneware table settings. At the time, his furthest vendor was less than 200 kilometers away, and David hadn’t been ready to take on a vendor twice as far away. But Rory had kept in touch as the Apothecary grew, and three weeks ago they’d convinced him to give them a shot at a vendor contract.

It had been an unseasonably warm January day when he’d made arrangements for Stevie and Jocelyn to watch the store for two days and booked the only Airbnb within 40 kilometers of Rory’s studio. Of course, every day in Schitt’s Creek is unseasonably warm. Which is why, thank you very much, he couldn’t be expected to take Stevie seriously when she’d warned him that morning about the winter storm that was supposed to come through.

Five and a half hours later, here he is, white-knuckled in Stevie’s old car (which he’d bought off her last year when the Rosebud Group really took off and she was able to afford a new one), reluctant to turn off the car heater and a little afraid his hands may be permanently stuck at 10 and 2. His head aches, his ears are ringing, and he’s certain he’s never been this tired or this tense in his life.

The storm really hadn’t hit until he was just past the halfway point, when he’d had to pull over to the side of the road and wait for the snow to let up. Three stops later, he’d called Rory to reschedule their meeting. That was nearly three hours ago. It’s been a long, slow, grueling drive and David is ready for a hot shower and a warm bed.

He pries his fingers off the steering wheel, grabs his Bottega Veneta bag from the back seat, and assesses the situation. A Toyota in the driveway gives him a moment’s pause, but he decides it must belong to the owner, even though David is pretty sure they don’t live here. The front porch light is on and he can see the lockbox from here, so this is definitely the right place.

Finally, turning the engine (and unfortunately also the heater) off, David takes a deep breath and opens the car door to the wind and snow. He speed walks to the porch where he pulls the lockbox code out of his pocket, enters it, and opens the box to find… nothing. There’s no key.

“Ffffffffffuck!” David yells and pulls his phone out to call the owner. Before his stiff, frozen fingers can find the number, though, the bungalow door swings open to reveal a very attractive man in joggers and a hideous blue sweatshirt with a bird and a maple leaf on the front.

“Uh,” the man starts, seemingly flustered, “can I help you, man?”

“What the fuck?!” David retorts, because he’s tired and cold and all he can think about is how very much he doesn’t want to get back in his car, which is what is going to happen because Airbnb has obviously fucked up his rental. “You aren’t supposed to be here!”

“I’m sorry?” the man says. “Are you the owner?” He turns to dig through the pockets of his coat, hanging on a rack by the door. “I booked the house through VRBO. My confirmation is right here,” he says, pulling out a folded printout.

“No, I’m not the owner! This is my Airbnb for tonight,” David tries to say, but he’s not sure if the man could possibly have understood him through his chattering teeth.

“Hey, come in, come in,” the man says, taking pity on him and stepping aside as he opens the door wider. “Please, come on in and get warm. We’ll figure this out.”

David steps inside, and the man closes the door on the snow and icy wind. Being inside is such a relief, David nearly collapses to the floor.

“Here, sit down,” the man says, ushering David to a soft gray sofa. “I was about to make some tea. Would you like some?”

David just nods, taking in the surroundings and this situation he’s found himself in. The bungalow doesn’t quite qualify as a tiny house, but it’s not far off. It is a single space, divided up into two distinct areas, three if you count the open kitchen separately. To the left of the door is a small sitting area—a loveseat, two chairs and a television arranged on a beautiful taupe area rug—and a dining table. In the middle of the room, straight ahead of the door, is the kitchen, complete with a two-burner stove, an oven, and a mini-fridge. A queen-sized bed takes up the entire right half of the room. There is a wardrobe against the back wall alongside a door that must lead to a bathroom. Despite the house’s size, the interior is fitted to the nines. It is by far the most luxurious place he’s been since moving to Schitt’s Creek. And he’s not even going to get to enjoy it.

After all, this stranger arrived first, has already unpacked and made himself at home, and is probably going to kick David back out into the cold as soon as he’s met the minimum requisites for hospitality.

The man clears his throat, interrupting David’s spiral. “I’m Patrick, by the way,” he says as he carries two cups of tea to the coffee table and sits next to David. “And you are?”

“David,” David answers, voice coming out strangled, and damn it, he is not going to cry in front of this stranger. In front of Patrick.

Patrick seems not to notice the emotion in his voice, or he chooses to ignore it. “So, David, you say you booked the house through Airnb?”

“Yes,” David says a little more forcefully because if there is anything that will keep the hopelessness of the situation at bay, it is anger that the situation exists at all. “I booked it last week. My confirmation is right here!” He pulls out his wallet and unfolds the computer printout, showing his rental dates and receipt and hands it over to Patrick.

Patrick takes it, but sets his mug down and crosses the room to the kitchen counter where he’d left his own confirmation when he’d made their tea. He lays them side-by-side on the coffee table and picks his mug back up.

For a moment, the two of them just sit there, looking at the proof that they’re both right. David’s one night rental does, in fact, coincide with the first night of Patrick’s week-long stay.

“Fuck,” David says for the third time since his arrival, and turns to look out the window at the snow that seems to be coming down even harder than it was half an hour ago.

“Hey, man,” Patrick says, voice gentle, “we’ll figure something out. I’m not going to send you back out in that.”


“Of course not. And I hope you won’t send me out in it either?” he sounds hesitant for the first time and David realizes two things. One, that he has as much right as Patrick has to claim the bungalow for his own. And two, that he’d rather sleep on a cold floor than kick this guy out into the storm. Which… is new for him. He’s not sure, but he thinks the David of a few years ago, before his family lost all their money and wound up in Schitt’s Creek (hell, even for a long time after that), would probably have kicked this guy out.

He shakes that thought away and answers quietly, “No. No, I won’t do that.”

They sit in silence for a few minutes, sipping their tea. David is finally feeling not just warm, but too hot, so he puts his tea down and stands up to remove his coat and carry it over to the coat rack. Turning back toward the sofa he says, “So, um, what now?”

_ _ _

Patrick hesitates.

When he’d heard someone fumbling with the lockbox, followed by a curse, he’d assumed that the owner had simply forgotten he’d rented the place out this weekend. He was definitely not expecting to open the door to the most beautiful man he’d ever seen in his life. It was like a fantasy come true, except it was a fantasy Patrick had tucked away, never allowing himself to look at too closely. So, while he’s pretty sure all of his responses have been normal and correct under the circumstances, most of his brain is occupied by the rom-com compilation film reel playing inside his head.

So, when David asks him, “What now?” Patrick has to turn away from the fantasy of dragging him to that queen-sized bed taking up half the room and focus on reality.

“Well,” he manages, clearing his throat before he can continue, “we should probably call the owner and find out what happened. But given the weather, I’d say that can wait until tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m sure there must be spare sheets and a blanket around here somewhere. I can sleep on the couch and you can have the bed.”

David’s eyebrow goes up.


“You’re going to sleep on the couch?” David asks, disbelief tingeing the question.

“Yeah, sure,” Patrick says again, unsure of what David is trying to say.

This couch,” one arm gesturing broadly to take in the admittedly very small loveseat.

“Right,” Patrick swallows. We could share the bed, he thinks. But what actually comes out of his mouth is, “It’ll be fine. I’m sure there’s extra bedding around here somewhere, and it’s only for one night.”

“Mmhm.” David sounds like he wants to say more, but he shakes his head slightly as if to dismiss whatever he is thinking.

Instead he says, “Um, I don’t suppose there’s any food in the house?”

Patrick smiles. “As a matter of fact, I swung by the grocery store on my way into town this afternoon. I’m—we’re—fully stocked for a week. I was just going to make some spaghetti for tonight. Would you like to join me?”

“OK, well, just to be clear, I’ll be out of your hair tomorrow morning,” David says, lips pulling to the side of his face, “but yes, spaghetti would be lovely. Thank you.”

“Of course.”

Patrick sets about making dinner. It’s just sauce out of a jar, nothing fancy, but he picked up some garlic bread from the store’s bakery, and brought several bottles of wine with him for the week. It’ll have to do.

While Patrick cooks, he keeps one eye on David, who has settled in on the couch with his phone. Judging from the series of expressions that flit across his face, he must be texting someone. A boyfriend? Girlfriend? (Patrick doesn’t want to assume.) He hopes not. He really, really hopes not.

Because David is hot. Objectively hot. Patrick would have to be blind not to notice. He’s definitely not blind. What he is, is recently out of his last ever relationship with a woman and very ready to explore his newly acknowledged sexuality. The question is, does he have the guts to go for it? He looks over his shoulder at David, who is now smiling at his phone and—oh—he has dimples. Patrick is going to go for it.

David looks up. “I assume that door over there is the bathroom?”

“What, over there?” Patrick waves the spaghetti scoop toward the bathroom door. “That’s the closet. Didn’t you read the listing? This place has an outhouse.”

Patrick relishes the full body shimmy of disgust that gets out of David. He laughs. “Yeah, that’s the bathroom. Make yourself at home.”

Five seconds later he hears David exclaim, “Oh my god!” and knows he’s discovered the secret of their accommodations. The house is nice, but the bathroom is on a whole other level. It belongs in a five-star hotel. Both the jacuzzi tub and the shower, with its multiple showerheads, are big enough for two. And now Patrick is thinking about David naked in the shower.

By the time David has emerged, the spaghetti is done and Patrick’s thoughts are back to a PG rating. He plates up the food and takes out two wine glasses. “Wine?”

“God yes!” David says with feeling.

“I’d ask if you want red or white, but I really only drink red, so that’s what I brought.”

David smirks a little and ducks his head - a private joke? When he looks up, his eyes meet Patrick’s head on as he answers decisively, “Red is perfect.”

Wine poured and spaghetti served, they sit across from each other at the table. Patrick lifts his glass. “To strangers in the night.”

David’s mouth quirks off to the side again. Patrick wants desperately to kiss it back into place.

His answering toast is quiet. “To kind strangers in the night.”

Patrick smiles at him, and they clink glasses. “Dig in!”

After dinner, David offers to clean up, insisting, “it’s the least I can do,” so Patrick leaves him to it, and hunts down some spare bedding. He finds a set of sheets and an extra blanket in the wardrobe and carries them over to the seating area.

When David has finished the dishes, he brings the open wine bottle over and refills their glasses before sitting next to Patrick on the sofa. It’s not lost on Patrick that David could have chosen to sit in one of the two chairs. The thought makes him feel bold, so he turns his body in toward David just a little, which causes their knees to touch. And fuck if the little thrill that shoots through him from that tiny point of contact isn’t better than any kiss he’s experienced in his life.

“Netflix?” David asks as he picks up the remote.

“I don’t know, David, the Jays are playing tonight. I was planning to watch.” Patrick isn’t sure what this overwhelming desire to needle David is all about. Is this flirting? Is this how he flirts? God, he’s wasted so many years. This is fun.

But David’s reaction isn’t what Patrick was hoping for. For just a moment, he looks like he’s going to put Patrick in his place, but then instead he seems to shrink in on himself. “Oh. Well. If that is what you were planning to do, of course you should do that,” he says haltingly. Then with a fake smile he adds, “Lucky for me, I remembered to bring a book. Do you mind if I use that bathtub?”

And Patrick doesn’t mind if he uses the bathtub, but he’d much rather they use it together. It feels too soon to make that move, though, and in the meantime he really, really doesn’t want David to think he’s unwelcome or unwanted.

So when David starts to stand up, Patrick instinctively reaches out to grab his wrist. Only his aim is a little off, so he ends up with David’s hand in his as he says, “David, wait.” And if he thought their knees touching was thrilling, god, right at this moment Patrick feels like he could fly, or melt, or both. “I was kidding.”

“Are- are you sure?”

“David, yes, I’m sure. Please stay,” he manages. David’s eyes dart between Patrick’s face and their hands before he visibly relaxes. When he sits back down, their hands settle on his knee and Patrick has to take a deep, steadying breath before he can bring himself to let go of David’s hand and pick up the remote.

They settle on Tiny House Nation. It seems apropos given their accommodations. Patrick knows it was a good choice when David starts ranting about the décor decisions and trash talking the hosts. As they watch, they drift closer to each other. Patrick is aware of every point of contact—a shoulder, a knee, a forearm—every time it happens. They are a few episodes in when David yawns.

“It’s been a long and exhausting day, and I don’t know about you, but my nighttime routine takes a while, so why don’t you go ahead and take a turn first while I clean up out here,” he says, nodding at the wine glasses and the empty bottle of red.

Patrick would be lying if he said he wasn’t disappointed. Still, it’s getting late, and the night has to end, no matter how amazing it’s been. “Yeah, uh, yes, of course. I’ll just go get ready for bed.”

_ _ _

As soon as he hears the lock click on the bathroom door, David stands and shakes his whole body, arms flailing. He can’t do this. He CANNOT do this. Patrick is nice. And hot in an unexpected way. Like, he’s all shoulders and forearms and big brown eyes, but it doesn’t quite all come together (okay who is he kidding, it totally does) until he smiles and then it’s like, whoa. A fucking bulldozer of sunshine and light and soft teasing.

And this hot fucking bulldozer of a man seems to be flirting with him, but that can’t be right. Can it? No, no it can’t. He’s probably like this with everyone. Kind and relaxed and acerbic. It’s not like he’s walked into some kind of magical fairy land where Airbnbs come with hot, willing gay men like some kind of rental amenity. That would certainly be too good to be true.

Speaking of, Patrick steps out amidst a billow of steam, hair still wet from the shower, his t-shirt clinging to his chest unfairly and says, “All yours, David.”

David has to close his eyes as he mumbles a quick thanks, grabs his bag, and locks himself into the relative safety of the bathroom. He eyes the tub. If this night had gone according to plan and he was alone, he’d be taking full advantage of that. No, scratch that. Damn it, it’s been a long fucking day, and he paid for this night and Patrick or no Patrick, he’s going to get his money’s worth out of it.

David fills the tub and turns on the jets. There are some bath bombs in a jar on the ledge of the tub, so he selects a lavender one. The hot, bubbling water combined with the soothing aroma of lavender do their job, releasing some of the tension in his shoulders from the drive and subsequent derailing of his plans. He could do with a massage, too. Patrick looks like he’d give a good massage. All yours, David. Fuck. He wants to hear Patrick say that again in different circumstances. David’s hands drift down his body. He can be quiet enough not to be heard over the jets. Immediately after, he gets out of the tub (bodily fluids in bathwater is incorrect, but occasionally unavoidable), dries off, and puts on his sleep clothes. Hopefully he’s taken long enough that Patrick will be asleep and he won’t have to deal with the temptation.

Patrick is not asleep. Patrick is sitting on the sofa holding a sheet in one hand and looking very put out.

“What, uh, what’s wrong?” David asks him. Patrick spreads the sheet out and holds it up. David can still see Patrick’s face through a gianthole in the fabric.

We could share the bed, David thinks. But he hesitates. He’s not sure he trusts himself to not take advantage. Luckily, Patrick speaks before he blurts it out.

“It’s fine. There’s still a blanket, and I can take the spare pillow from the bed.”

David just nods. “Good night, Patrick.”

“Good night, David.”

_ _ _

Patrick’s back hurts, his legs are cramped, and he doesn’t think he’s ever been so uncomfortable in his life. So instead of sleeping, he’s wide awake and thinking. Unfortunately, the pain and discomfort, bad as they are, aren’t quite enough to distract him from his intense awareness of David in the bed on the other side of the room. He feels like such a coward. David had a long day, he reminds himself. The last thing he needs is some guy who doesn’t know what he’s doing hitting on him.

But damn, when David came out of the bathroom after his bath, with his damp hair and his bare arms, Patrick nearly combusted on the spot. He’s not sleeping anytime soon, so he gives himself over to the fantasy. David coming out of the bathroom and seeing the torn sheet. David walking across the room to Patrick, saying, ‘you can’t sleep on that old sofa with no linens, Patrick,’ then pulling him up off the sofa and into his arms. David whispering, ‘we can share the bed, Patrick’ as he leads him across to the bed and pushes him down on the mattress. David straddling his lap as Patrick puts his hands in his hair and pulls him in for a hot, rough kiss.

This was a bad idea. He shifts on the sofa, willing his dick to go down, and tumbles right onto the cold, hard floor.

Patrick’s expletive gets lost in the thump of his ass hitting the floor and David’s cryptic exclamation of “where’s the bear?!”

“Sorry. Sorry, David. I just, uh, slipped,” Patrick explains, rubbing a spot on his lower back.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” David says, sitting up in the bed, hands flying along with his words. “This is ridiculous. We are two grown, adult men. It’s a big bed. There’s no need for you to throw your back out on that stupid, tiny couch.” He punctuates the last sentence by throwing the covers back on one side of the bed.

Patrick’s brain goes offline for a second. His fantasy is coming true. He’s going to share a bed with this man. In a bit of a daze, Patrick stands up and carries his pillow and blanket over to the empty side of the bed. He must be acting weird, because that’s the only explanation for what David says next.

“Look, if it’ll make you feel better, like, safer or whatever, we can put the extra blanket between us. Like a, like a wall or something.” Before Patrick can react, can say no, that’s the opposite of what I want, David has taken the blanket out of his hands and rolled it up lengthwise like a pool noodle to separate them.

“Now, if you don’t mind, it’s been a very long day, and I’d like to get some sleep before I have to get back on the road tomorrow,” David says reasonably.

Patrick nods, getting into bed and pulling the covers up around him. There are a million things he wants to say, but the words are stuck in his throat and before he can get them unstuck, David is snoring softly beside him. He rolls onto his side and watches David for a few minutes until the stresses of the day catch up to him and his eyes drift shut.

_ _ _

David’s body pillow is snoring. It didn’t use to do that. Everything is different in Schitt’s Creek. Come to think of it, his body pillow was not among the personal effects he rescued from his old life. Clothes? Yes. Sex toys? Definitely. But not his body pillow.

He opens his eyes to find that he has wrapped himself around someone. It only takes a moment for all of yesterday to come flooding back. David stiffens, then slowly peels himself off of Patrick before the other man notices.

“Don’t go,” Patrick murmurs, pulling David back in. “S’nice.”

Shit. He must think David is someone else. So much for stealth. David pulls away and sits up. “I’m so sorry. I promised you I’d keep my hands to myself and then you woke up to… to… that. Oh god.” He moves to get out of bed but, in a repeat of last night, Patrick’s hand is suddenly in his, tugging him back down, and Patrick is saying, “David, wait.”

David sits. He can’t take his eyes off their entwined hands. Patrick shifts on the bed, and when David looks up, he’s moved closer. He’s only inches away and David doesn’t have the willpower at whatever-the-fuck time in the morning it is to resist. So he doesn’t. He leans in.

Their lips meet, hesitant at first. A short, chaste kiss. But that brief contact seems to wake something up in Patrick, because suddenly his hand is in David’s hair and his tongue is seeking entrance to David’s mouth, and David moans and opens up to it, pushing Patrick back into the mattress.

Patrick rolls his hips up, seeking friction. Not finding it, he puts his hand on David’s ass and hauls him over on top of him.

“Fuck,” David exclaims, moving his mouth down Patrick’s neck to his collarbone and pressing his hips down into Patrick’s. The sound this draws from Patrick is worth whatever hell David is going to for corrupting this nice straight boy.

Mere minutes later, the fun part is over. Now they’re just sticky and in need of showers and toothbrushes. David needs this part to be over, too.

“I should, um, go clean up so I can get out of your hair.”

He stands, grabs his bag, and practically runs into the bathroom, closing and locking the door. He doesn’t look at Patrick’s face. He’s been an experiment enough times to know what he’d find there, and he doesn’t think he could bear that again.

_ _ _

Patrick watches David disappear behind the bathroom door; hears the lock click into place. He scrubs his hands over his face and into his hair. What just happened? Ugh. This is why he’s never liked the idea of one-night stands. It’s too complicated. Or, that’s not quite right, it’s uncomplicated in a way he’s not comfortable with. He’d thought he and David were hitting it off yesterday. And this morning felt so natural, so right. Like nothing Patrick has ever experienced before. He’d already known he was gay, but it’s still nice to have physical confirmation of that.

Oh well. If David is uncomfortable about it, then maybe it’s best that it’s just a one-night stand. One-morning stand? Whatever. David is uncomfortable. David is leaving. That just makes things easier. Even if Patrick wishes the morning had gone differently.

By the time he hears the bathroom door unlock, Patrick needs to pee so desperately that he doesn’t even attempt to start a conversation. He manages to get a rushed, “just.. don’t go yet, okay?” out in David’s general direction as he dashes into the bathroom to relieve his bladder, and brush his teeth for good measure. He’s just put the toothbrush in his mouth when he hears a familiar “Fuck!” from the other room. He brushes as fast as he can, then rushes out to find David standing in the open front doorway.

“What’s wr-?” Patrick starts, but doesn’t need to finish. Even from halfway across the room, he can see the problem. Snow covers everything… The front porch, the car, the road, is all hidden under a thick blanket of white.

“Okay,” Patrick says. This is not his first snowstorm. He knows what to do. He turns to tell David his plan and stops short. David looks pale and clammy. He’s breathing too fast and too shallow, and he’s clutching at his chest. Patrick’s plan to weather the storm doesn’t account for an attractive man who gave him the best orgasm of his life less than an hour ago, tried to bolt, and is now having a panic attack. “Okay,” he says again.

“David?” Patrick crosses the room, places one hand on David’s shoulder to lead him back into the room and with the other, closes the door between them and the snow. He guides David to sit on the sofa. Patrick  has some experience with panic attacks, so he’s pretty sure he knows what to do here. Kneeling on the floor in front of David, he says, “David? You’re okay. You’re safe. Can you focus on my voice?”

David gives a small nod, so Patrick keeps talking. He doesn’t say anything in particular, just talks, using the most soothing tone he can muster, until David seems calmer. When he thinks it’s safe to do so, he says, “I’m going to make some phone calls, find out how long before we can expect a snowplow, and make sure we have everything we need, okay?”

This time, David leans back on the sofa, nodding, and says, “Yeah. Yeah, I’m okay. Thank you.”

Grabbing his phone off the nightstand, Patrick explains the situation to the owner, who apologizes for the double-booking and promises to call back as soon as he has an ETA on the plow. While he waits for the call, Patrick digs through the closets, pantry, and wardrobe and locates a heavy duty flashlight, some batteries, a few candles, and a kerosene stove that he really hopes they won’t need. He shopped for a week, so even with two mouths to feed he's pretty sure they’ll be plowed out long before they run out of food.

The owner calls back just as he’s putting fresh batteries in the flashlight. The news isn’t what he was hoping for, but it could be worse.

_ _ _

David watches from the sofa as Patrick bustles competently around the room doing competent things. He was probably a boy scout. He probably went camping with his dad every summer and knows how to do things like ice fish and tie fancy knots and… David doesn’t know. Other camp-y things. For some reason, David finds this soothing. He supposes it’s because if he’s going to be snowed in with someone, he’d rather it be with someone who knows their way around a survival situation than with someone like, well, like himself.


Patrick sounds like he’s been trying to get his attention, maybe for a while.

“Sorry. Yes?”

“Um, so that was the owner. He apologized, by the way, about the double-booking,” Patrick pauses, so David nods to show he’s listening. “Right, so, the good news is the snowplow is coming.”

David winces. “And the bad news?”

“The bad news is it could be two or three days before they can get out here.”

David just nods. And nods. And nods some more. He’s forgotten how words work. All he can think is that he now has to spend two to three days with the straight guy he inappropriately jumped this morning. This may be the most awkward situation he’s ever been in and he once accidentally sank a jet-ski he was riding on with Devon Sawa and had to get a ride with some deep sea fishermen back to shore and he may or may not have stepped in some sort of fish gut situation and busted his ass.

“Look, David,” Patrick says, “I’m going to make us breakfast and then maybe we can talk?”

David nods again.

“Scrambled eggs and toast okay?”

“Yeah. Sure. That’s fine,” David answers, finally finding his voice, then adds, “and coffee, please?”

“Of course.” Patrick settles in to making breakfast and David pulls out his phone to call Rory. Once that’s done, he opens his text chain with Stevie.



Towel Girl

Today 9:23 AM


omg what

Did the hottie kick you out into the cold?



I was good last night Stevie I really was


We had sex this morning and now we’re snowed in and it’s going to be at least 2 DAYS before a plow can get here



I fail to see the problem 🍆🍑🍆🍑🍆🍑🍆🍑

He’s straight

No he’s not

He is

No he’s not. He’s not straight. He slept wtih you. Has he mentioned a girlfriend?







you’re not helping

stop bothering me and go get laid

“Breakfast is served.”

David looks up from the phone to find Patrick setting the plates on the table. “How do you take your coffee?”

There’s no way this tiny hell house has caramel or cocoa powder, but he’s in a foul mood, so he makes eye contact and rattles off his standard order with the full New York attitude he once prided himself on. “Caramel macchiato, skim, two sweeteners, and a sprinkle of cocoa powder.”

“Mmm,” Patrick muses. His mouth turns down in the corners, but David’s pretty sure it’s a smile. “I’m not sure I can help you with that one, David, but there’s sugar on the counter and creamer in the fridge. Knock yourself out.” With that, he sits and takes a sip of his own beverage, English Breakfast according to the tag on the teabag.

And that’s, well, that’s a much kinder response than David’s full New York attitude has ever gotten before. He must be losing his touch.

After breakfast, David cleans up again while Patrick finds an HGTV marathon for them to watch. When he’s finished, David clears his throat. “Um, in light of the fact that we’re stuck here together for the foreseeable future,” he starts, and if he’s not careful he’s going to start sounding like his mother, “perhaps we could just… forget… about this morning? Pretend it never happened?”

Patrick’s face shutters. David hadn’t realized until just this moment how open that face had been. “Sure, David. That’s fine,” he says, turning back to his phone.

David’s not sure what he said to cause this reaction, but he doesn’t like it. Is Patrick hoping to sow some wild oats here? If he’s honest, David isn’t sure why he’s so hung up over this whole thing, anyway. He’s slept with straight guys before. Hell, he’s had weeks-long flings with straight guys before. Why is this any different?

Because I’m not that person anymore, his brain helpfully supplies. And it’s true. If someone had told him two years ago that the little town with the terrible name that he’d landed in on the worst day of his life would turn him into a better man, he would have laughed in their face. If that same person had told him he’d voluntarily tell his family he loved them, he would have insulted them to boot. But he is a better person now than he was then. And he’s never been closer with his family than he is now. The David of two years ago would have fucked this guy, then sent him home to his girlfriend or wife or whatever without a second thought. The David of now doesn’t want to be that way.

He’s not straight. Stevie’s words come back to him. He’s just reaching now. But what if she’s right? What evidence does he have, really? If he’s honest, last night is a blur. He was exhausted and wrung out from the drive, and all he really remembers is a general impression of Patrick being hot and charming and teasing and smelling fantastic. And this morning, it was Patrick who grabbed his hand. Patrick who pulled him back onto the bed.

Damn it, Stevie might be right. David, of all people, should know better than to assume.

“How about we open a bottle of wine with lunch?”

_ _ _

Patrick looks up from his text chain with Rachel to see David practically leap out of his chair and head toward the kitchen. Wine sounds like a fantastic idea. Maybe it’ll break the tension that’s been growing all morning. Maybe it’ll give him the nerve to ask why David’s being such a dick. On second thought, starting a fight with someone you’re stuck with for the next 48 hours is probably a bad idea. “Wine sounds great. How about I make us some sandwiches?”

“Perfect. I’ll open a bottle.”

Patrick gets out the bread and cold cuts, watching out of the corner of his eye as David works the corkscrew out of the bottle and pours two glasses. The wine reminds him of something.

“What’s the joke about the wine?”

“What?” David looks at him, genuinely puzzled.

“The wine. When I asked last night if red was okay, you kind of laughed? Seemed like maybe there was a private joke there.”

“Oh!” David draws the word out. He does a sort of full-body shimmy and smiles and for a moment Patrick forgets how to breathe. “It is a private joke. With my friend Stevie. Or, not a joke, really. More of a metaphor? Or an analogy? Something like that.”

“Yeah?” Despite everything that has happened this morning, Patrick is enchanted. The way David speaks… it’s like music.

David sits down at the kitchen table with his wine and swirls the glass, studying the liquid carefully. Before he continues, he looks at Patrick with a smirk that Patrick feels in his gut.

“I really like red wine.”

“Okay,” Patrick prompts.

“I also really like white wine. I like them both equally. Rosé is good, too. And I once enjoyed a merlot that started out as a chardonnay,” David punctuates his speech with arched brows, crooked smiles, and a few clarifying hand gestures. Patrick loves it. And he thinks he gets what David is saying.

“I see,” he says. He puts the finished sandwiches on plates and carries them to the table, then sits. He picks up his own glass of wine and looks at it. He’s going to do this, but he’s not sure he can get through it if he has to make eye contact. “Before this morning, I’d only ever drunk white wine.”

He hesitates. The analogy makes sense, but he’s never used it and he doesn’t want to mess this up. “Uh, yeah, but I uh, recently realized that I’ve never really liked white wine that much?” His voice cracks a little, but he soldiers on. “That I was drinking it because it was the only thing around? It was what everyone expected me to drink. But red wine is much more, uh,” god, what word does he want? Appetizing? Potable? Ugh, no. “Red wine is exciting in a way that white wine never was. And even though I’d never actually had any red wine, once I figured that out, I knew I’d never drink white wine again. And now that I’ve had a taste? I’m even more certain.”

That was excruciating, but Patrick thinks he made it make sense. He chances a look at David, and for just a moment he sees that striking face morphed into something soft, almost sweet. Patrick grins and David smiles back, and it feels glorious.

“Mmmhmm,” David hums, nodding. “I see. So, I did not, in fact, take advantage of a confused straight guy this morning. Or, let a confused straight guy take advantage of me.” His face contorts as he says this, adding hesitant stops between the last few words like he’s not sure if he’s got it right.

David!” God, no wonder David was acting like a dick this morning. “Is that what you thought that was?”

“Mmm, well, historically I, uh, don’t have the best track record. But, uh, I’m trying to do better,” David explains, then adds, “be better.”

There’s a story there, Patrick thinks. But it’s none of his business. Right now, he wants to reassure David, to make sure they’re on the same page.

“David, let me be very clear,” Patrick begins, looking David in the eye with far more bravado than he feels. “I’m gay. And I am very, very attracted to you.”

“Mmmhmm,” David nods, mouth quirked to the side, “okay, well, that is very, very good to know. I’m glad we’re clear on that now.”

“Yeah, me too,” Patrick says as he stands from the table. Abandoning his lunch, he takes a step around the small table and puts out a hand for David to take. When he does, Patrick hauls him to his feet and, with an arm around David's waist, pulls him in tight.

He’s not sure which of them moves first, but they're kissing and god Patrick feels like he’s melting. He turns them without breaking contact, guiding David backward toward the bed. David catches and pulls back from Patrick's kiss just enough to pull his sweatshirt over his head and grab at Patrick’s t-shirt. By the time they make it to the bed, their underwear is the only barrier between them.

Patrick pushes David back onto the bed and watches him scoot to a more comfortable position in the middle of the bed so his feet aren’t dangling off. It’s not at all graceful and Patrick has to bite back a giggle. He loves that David is less than perfect. It makes him feel more at ease.

Once David is situated, Patrick climbs up on the bed, straddles his thighs, and lets himself look. But he doesn't just look, he admires, steadying his breath as he takes in the sight of the gorgeous man in front of him, inch by exquisite inch. He trails his hands over David’s torso, through the dark thatch of his chest hair, over his broad shoulders.

“What are you thinking?” David asks, voice small, timid.

“God, David,” Patrick says, and his voice sounds different, lower, rougher. He’s never heard his voice sound like this before. His hands continue down slowly, fingertips gliding lightly over the ridges of David's ribcage, feeling his chest heave under Patrick's delicate touch, until he pauses at his waist. “You’re so fucking hot. So beautiful.”

He leans down to take David’s lips in a kiss. David’s chest hair tickles his nipples and he gasps into David’s mouth. Patrick grinds his hips down. It feels amazing, so he does it again and then David’s hand is on his ass, rolling them over and pinning Patrick beneath him and oh, Patrick really loves being manhandled like that. He tangles a hand in David’s hair and pulls him in for a kiss, licking into his mouth, but David pulls back, sitting up to straddle his hips.

“We’ve done this part already,” David says, rolling his hips gently. “And it’s fine if we do it again. I’d be perfectly happy if this was all we ever do. But I thought we should check in.”

“Check in?” Patrick’s sex-drunk brain is still a few steps behind.

David ghosts his fingertips across Patrick’s stomach, just above the waistband of his underwear. “This is all new for you. I don’t want to take things further than you’re ready for. So yeah, I think we should check in. Talk about what you want, what you’re comfortable with.”

Oh. Patrick has never talked about sex before. To anyone. Not really. Sure, guys talked sex in the locker room, but Patrick always managed to get by with minimal sharing and halfhearted encouragement of his teammates’ stories. He doesn’t even know how to begin.

It must show on his face because David rolls off of him, stretching out beside him, head propped on his hand and one hand resting lightly on Patrick’s chest.

“Patrick?” he prompts gently.

Patrick takes a deep breath, then rolls over to face David and reaches out to take his hand. He’s uncomfortable with the topic, yes, but David is being so kind, so easy about the whole thing that he finds he wants to try.

“I’ve never-,” he starts, then tries again. “Talking about sex has always been something I avoided.”

“Mmm,” David smiles softly, “because you couldn’t talk about what you really wanted.”

It’s not a question, but it’s not quite right either, so Patrick says, “I never knew what I really wanted. You can’t talk about something you don’t know.”

“But you know now?”

“I… think so?” Patrick pauses for a moment, trying to come up with the words he needs. He can’t, so he goes with, “I know what I want, I just… avoided these conversations for so long that I’m not sure I have the words. I’m,” he pauses again. Embarrassed by the confession he’s about to make, he swallows the lump in his throat and whispers, “I know what I want, David, but I’m afraid to say it.”

_ _ _

David takes a moment to marvel at the man in front of him. Patrick is blushing, eyes studiously avoiding David’s gaze, but David knows how much bravery there is in exposing your fears. He wants to be worthy of that kind of bravery, and he thinks he knows where to start. He also knows, however, that he’s not strong enough to do this naked and horizontal with the object of his desire.

Leaning in to press a gentle kiss to Patrick’s lips, David sits up, tugging at Patrick’s hand. “Come on, follow me.”

David leads them to the sofa, where he sits, and pulls Patrick down next to him. They turn to face each other, David’s hand resting on Patrick’s shoulder, Patrick’s knee overlapping David’s thigh.

Thus situated, David immediately starts shivering. Damn it . Oh well, they should probably be more clothed for this conversation, anyway. He squeezes Patrick’s shoulder. “Much as I’m enjoying this view,” he rakes his eyes over Patrick’s mostly naked frame, “this house is very drafty, and sitting here in our underwear on a snowy day is probably a bad idea. So let’s press pause on this and get dressed.”

“You still haven’t really explained what we’re pressing pause on,” Patrick quips, “but if we’re getting dressed for it, it’s not what I had in mind for the afternoon.”

“Oh, don’t worry,” David says with a shoulder shimmy he hopes looks sexy, “this is just a prelude.”

Fifteen minutes later, they are back on the sofa, this time with the blanket from the bed and steaming cups of hot tea.

“So,” Patrick starts, “what are we doing here?”

“Mmm, we’re drinking tea,” David puts his arm around Patrick’s shoulder and pulls him into his side, “and cuddling on the couch in a snowstorm.”

Patrick laughs and nudges David with his shoulder, but David can tell he’s not satisfied with the answer.

“OK… OK, look,” David says, taking care not to look directly at Patrick so as not to spook him, “you said before that you’re afraid to say the things you want. And I am a firm believer in not doing it if you can’t say it. Which puts us at an impasse.”

He feels Patrick tense beside him, so he squeezes his shoulder in reassurance and rushes on. “Lucky for you, I am very good at talking about sex. So, I had an idea, if you’re on board.”

At this, he turns his head to look at Patrick and finds the other man looking up at him with a mix of curiosity and what looks like fondness. David gives him a small smile and Patrick nods. “I’m on board, David.”

David takes a deep breath. “OK. We’re going to play a game. Two truths and a lie, but at least one of the three has to be sexual.”

Patrick is looking at him wide-eyed, a delicious blush spreading across his cheeks and down his neck. David continues. “I’ll go first. I live in a motel room with my sister. I’ve always been really close with my family. I love having my hair pulled.” He almost qualifies that last one because he only likes having his hair pulled in the context of sex, but he figures the rules of the game make it clear enough.

“Oh, come on, that’s too easy,” Patrick complains, “there’s no way you live in a motel room with your sister.”

“Oh, but that one is true. And my family is closer now than we ever have been, but that was... that was not always the case.”

“Mmm,” Patrick smirks at him and, setting his mug on the coffee table, reaches up to tangle his fingers in David’s hair. Their eyes meet and Patrick pulls, hard enough to tilt David’s head back, then kisses and licks his way up his exposed neck from David’s clavicle to his jaw where he gives a little nip before pulling away. Fuck. Patrick has just upped the ante. He was not expecting that.

Patrick pulls away completely and picks his mug back up. “OK. I’m an only child. I’ve always known I was gay.” David knows that’s the lie. He holds his breath in anticipation as a blush spreads down Patrick’s neck. “And I, uh, really want to touch a cock that’s not my own.”

_ _ _

Patrick’s breath hitches. He’s staring at his mug, amazed at the words that just came out of his mouth. He can’t believe David has made this so easy. Not that it is easy. Not really. But it’s not impossible, and that’s, well, that’s remarkable. He continues watching his mug as David takes it from him and sets it down, then watches as David takes his hand, pulling it toward him, toward his-

“Oh god,” Patrick says, his voice broken and desperate to his own ears.

“Is this okay?” David asks, halting the movement of their hands. Patrick nods, managing a small “yes” as he watches David place Patrick’s hand on his cock. It’s, oh god, it’s half hard, and when Patrick presses forward with his palm he feels it grow and harden beneath his hand. David rocks his hips forward, just a little, and Patrick responds by closing his fist around his length as much as possible through two layers of fabric. David is hard and surprisingly hot in his hand, and he longs to remove the barrier of clothing and really get his hand on him. But almost as soon as he has that thought, David takes his wrist and gently guides his hand back over to his own lap.

“My turn.” David’s voice is rough and low and when Patrick looks at his face, what he sees there makes him shiver. David already looks wrecked, eyes dark and cheeks flushed pink. Because of him. It’s euphoric.

David clears his throat, breaking their eye contact. He’s clearly trying to sound nonchalant as he rattles off his three things. “I don’t like moths. I love being blindfolded. My mother is famous.”

Patrick once again assumes this is an easy one, assumes David is being straightforward about the sex thing. “Your mom being famous is the lie.”

“Nope. She’s a soap opera star. Or she was, for a long time.”

Patrick nods. “So you don’t like…”

“One too many unpleasant experiences. It’s safer if I can see.”

Patrick feels his heart crack a little at that. “David-,” he starts, but David cuts him off, waving his hand in front of his face as if to shoo away a moth.

“It’s fine. It’s your turn now.”

“Hmmm,” Patrick hums, taking a minute to think. “OK. I play baseball. I broke my arm playing pee-wee hockey as a kid. I am totally ready for you to fuck me tonight.” If he stumbles a little over those last words, he’s still proud of himself for getting them out.

He looks over to see David nodding, lips quirked to the side of his face. “So, I’m guessing that last one was the lie.”

Patrick gives a small nod of confirmation. “Sorry.”

“No! Don’t be sorry. You should never have to be sorry for being honest about the things you want and don’t want.”

There’s something in David’s tone that makes Patrick wonder again about the experiences he must have had in his past. It breaks Patrick’s heart to think of this kind, generous man being hurt like that. And isn’t that something, after less than 24 hours of knowing him and half of that time spent asleep or avoiding each other because of a misunderstanding?

David interrupts this train of thought. “My turn. I used to be rich. My favorite designer is Ralph Lauren. I want you to be completely comfortable with anything we do together.”

Patrick laughs. “Based on the face you made when you said ‘Ralph Lauren,’ that has to be the lie.”

“God, can you imagine?” David says, giving a full body shudder. “I could barely even make myself say it.”

“I got that, though I can’t say I know anything about fashion.”

Patrick ignores David’s murmur of “shocking,” in favor of getting to the more interesting part of David’s three things. “Let me get this straight, you used to be rich, your mom was a famous soap star, and now you live in a motel with your sister.”

“No, I live in a motel with my whole family. I share a room with my sister,” David corrects.

Patrick just stares at him, waiting for further explanation. He knows David’s full name must have been on the Airbnb receipt he saw last night, but he doesn’t remember what it was, and he’s never paid much attention to celebrities, anyway.

“Ugh, fine. My father is Johnny Rose. He founded-,”

Patrick cuts him off. “Rose Video. I worked at one in high school.”

David rolls his eyes. “Of course you did. Well, in case you didn’t see the news three years ago, my dad’s business manager stopped paying taxes and embezzled money from us, then ran off to the Cayman Islands and left us with nothing.”

David rattles this off like it’s nothing, like he’s telling Patrick about a mild annoyance at work instead of about his entire life being ripped out from under him. He reaches out and takes David’s hand in both of his.

“David, I’m so sorry that happened to you.”

“Yeah, well, it is what it is. And it hasn’t been all bad. Like I said before, my family is closer now than we’ve ever been. So that’s nice. And I have my store.”

“Your store?”

David’s eyes light up as he tells Patrick about Rose Apothecary. And not just his eyes. His whole body comes alive. Patrick hasn’t seen him this animated. He really likes it. And by the time David has told him all about his business model and his vendors and his store’s aesthetic, Patrick knows that, more than anything, he wants to see David in this store that he loves so much. Which means he wants to see David again.

But instead of saying that, Patrick asks a question about his business, because that’s his comfort zone. “What does your gross annual revenue look like?”

“Uh, well, I came out in the black for the first time last quarter. So, I guess that’s good.”

That’s an answer to a different question, but he responds, “Yeah, David, that’s good. Most businesses take a few quarters to start seeing a profit. Do you bring enough in to pay yourself a salary?”

“Um, well, I still live in a motel room with my sister, so no,” David jokes. But then he looks down at his hands and says, “I, uh, don’t really know how that works. I mean, I know, eventually, I need to be able to make a living on the store, but… I don’t know what that looks like? Exactly?”

Patrick has never been a big believer in fate, but suddenly this feels inevitable. Like he’s been on a crash course toward David Rose his entire life.

“My turn. I didn’t move back in with my parents three months ago after realizing I was gay and leaving my high-school-girlfriend-turned-fiancée. I make my living as a small business consultant. I’d really like to suck your cock right now, and then keep talking because I’m really enjoying getting to know you, David.” Through this entire speech, Patrick watches as David’s face moves from shock to disbelief, to lust, and back to disbelief. It takes Patrick’s breath away, this depth of feeling displayed so freely. He leans in.

_ _ _

David is flabbergasted by the beautiful man in front of him. He knows he needs to follow up, to ask for clarification. There was a lot of information in those two truths and a lie, but the only part of it he can process right now is that Patrick said he wants to suck his dick and is now leaning towards him, looking at him like he’s the last drop of water in a desert.

David surges forward, wrapping one hand around the back of Patrick’s head, the other around his shoulders to pull him in close as he takes his mouth in a kiss. Patrick matches his enthusiasm, opening his mouth when David licks at the seam of his lips and meeting David’s tongue with his own. Patrick groans into the kiss and David feels it in his already hard cock. He moves to lay Patrick back onto the cushions, but Patrick deftly slides off the sofa, settling on the floor between David’s spread knees.

David leans back and watches Patrick as he runs his hands up and down David’s thighs, letting his thumbs trace the inseams of his joggers until they’re mere millimeters from where he wants them. He wants to move, to roll his hips, thrust up, anything to feel Patrick’s hands on his cock, but he doesn’t. He meant what he said before. He wants Patrick to be comfortable.

Thankfully, Patrick seems to be a lot more comfortable now than earlier, when they were in bed, because soon he’s reaching up to David’s waistband and asking, “Can I?”

David nods and shifts his hips up to help, thinking he will tuck the waistband of his underwear behind his balls, but Patrick surprises him by pulling both his joggers and underwear all the way off so that he’s sitting in just his shirt and his socks, which… is absolutely incorrect. He’s left with no choice but to remove the rest of his clothing.

Comfortably naked and far too turned on to notice the cold, David settles back on the sofa and looks again at Patrick kneeling in front of him. The look on his face is reverent and David can’t help reaching out to stroke his cheek. Patrick leans into his hand and, with a ragged breath, places his hands back onto David’s thighs. This time, when his hands reach the top, they don’t stop.

_ _ _

This is it, Patrick thinks as he wraps his hand around David’s cock. This is what I was missing. He moves his hand along the length of the shaft a couple of times, getting used to the feel of it. It’s so different from his own. Smaller, circumcised, with a slight upward curve. A drop of precum clings to the tip, and Patrick has never in his entire life wanted anything as much as he wants to taste that drop of liquid. So he does.

He pushes David’s legs a little further apart and leans in to lick from the base to the tip, circling his tongue around the head. He’d be embarrassed at the noise he makes if he was aware of anything other than David’s scent and taste surrounding him. He licks the length of David’s cock again, this time wrapping his lips around the head and sucking lightly, which elicits a moan from David. Emboldened, he opens his mouth wider and takes more, moving down until his mouth meets his hand. He figures he’s been on the receiving end of enough blowjobs, and watched enough porn, to not mess this up too badly. He hopes.

Covering David’s entire cock with his hand and mouth, Patrick looks up and makes eye contact as he slowly pulls off. “Patrick, fuck,” David growls, reaching down to place one large hand on the back of Patrick’s head, the other lightly stroking his cheek. David doesn’t push, doesn’t use any pressure at all, really. But the implications of that hand on the back of his head make Patrick have to press a hand to his own cock to calm down. He takes David in his mouth again, giving everything he’s got. His jaw aches and his breathing is heavy, but he’s in heaven. And when David taps his shoulder and breathes out a half-warning of “I’m, I’m…” Patrick does his best to hold on right to the end, though it proves to be a little much for his first time.

David doesn’t seem to mind, though, because he hauls him up to straddle his lap, holding one hand out for Patrick to lick, before reaching into his joggers to wrap it around his cock. It only takes half a dozen strokes before Patrick is coming with David’s name on his lips.

By the time they clean up, David’s stomach is growling, so Patrick throws a frozen pizza in the oven and they settle in front of the tv with pepperoni slices and wine.

“So,” David starts, but doesn’t go on. His fingers are playing with one of the rings on his right hand, a gesture Patrick has noticed means he’s nervous or uncomfortable about something.

Patrick reaches out and takes his hand, rubbing his thumb over David’s knuckles. “So?”

“So… did you really say that you’re a small business consultant earlier? Or did I dream that?”

Patrick laughs. “No, David, you didn’t dream that. That really is my job.” He sobers then, adding quietly, “Or, it was. Before I broke my fiancée’s heart and moved back in with my parents.”

It’s not something he’s proud of, leaving his life behind the way he had. His parents had been really great about everything and remarkably understanding when he’d come out to them. But he hates that he hurt Rachel and feels like he ran away from his problems instead of facing them.

_ _ _

David watches the laughter drain from Patrick’s face, sees it replaced with shame and self-loathing, two feelings he himself is intimately familiar with. They look out of place on Patrick. David reaches out to him and rubs circles on his back. He’d been hoping to learn more about Patrick’s job, maybe pick his brain for some ideas for the store, but that can wait. Making Patrick happy again feels far more important to him than his own worries, and really David is only half surprised by this.

“Do you want to talk about it?” he prompts gently.

“There’s uh, not much to talk about really,” Patrick responds, but the tears in his eyes belie his words. “Rachel and I, we’d been together on and off since high school. When we were together, we fought a lot. But when we broke up, we always stayed friends. And when we were friends, things were so much better between us. We’d take it as a sign that we should give it another try, but it never worked.”

“But you proposed?”

Patrick takes a shaky breath. “Sort of, yeah. I didn’t get her a ring or anything. We were just up late one night watching a movie. It had been a good day. We didn’t have many of those when we were dating, so it kinda felt special, like a glimpse of how good things could be if I’d just get my shit together. So, I paused the movie and asked her if she wanted to get married. She said yes, kissed me, and turned the movie back on. The next thing I knew we were checking out wedding venues and picking out flowers.”

“Wow. That’s…” David trails off because he can’t really find the right word for what that is.

Patrick huffs out a little laugh and says, “yeah, it’s something.”

“And when did you figure it out?” David asks.

“I guess some part of me has always known?” Patrick answers, understanding David’s question. “I just didn’t let myself think about it.”

“What changed?”

“I went to a conference. A three-day weekend in Toronto. And the first night, I went out to a bar with a couple of guys I’d met between sessions. I didn’t realize until we ended up at a gay bar that they were together. It was, uh, the first time I’d really been around anyone who was….”

David doesn’t say anything, just nods and continues rubbing Patrick’s back. “After that trip, I started to let myself think about it. After about a month, I started seeing a therapist. And another month after that I broke things off with Rachel, quit my job, and moved home. That was three months ago. This week was supposed to be… Well, I guess I just needed a little time alone to figure out where to go from here, you know?”

David can see Patrick’s chin wobble in the fading light of the evening, can see the tears trying to escape his eyes, so he wraps both arms around him and pulls him in close. Patrick burrows his head into David’s sternum just as the first sobs wrack his body.

“Oh honey,” David says, “it sounds like you did exactly the right thing.”

“Maybe. My parents were really great about everything. And Rachel and I are friends now, but I hurt her. A lot. And I never wanted to do that.”

“You would have hurt her more by staying.”

Patrick doesn’t respond, so David just keeps holding him until his breathing evens out. David thinks maybe he’s fallen asleep and is thinking about how to wake him up and move them both to the bed when he hears Patrick whisper, “I wasted so much time.”

David kisses the top of his head and whispers back, “But you got here in the end. That’s what matters.”

_ _ _

The next morning is uneventful. It's also better than any morning Patrick can remember. He wakes up, later than usual, to find David pressed up against his back, asleep. I could get used to this, he thinks. I want to get used to this. He allows himself to revel in this new and welcome sensation until he can no longer ignore the need to get up. By the time David wakes up, Patrick has showered, eaten breakfast, and read several chapters of the mystery novel he brought for the trip.

The two of them spend the morning lazing around, watching tv, and talking about everything and nothing. As they talk, Patrick finds himself distracted by little things about David – the little bit of chest hair peeking out at the top of his striped pajama shirt, the graceful way he moves his hands when he talks, the tilt of his head when he says something funny, the dimples in his cheeks when he lets his smile run free. And the more distracted he gets by these things, the more he wants to get David naked again.

More than that, he realizes that he has yet to be naked with David. He really, really wants to make that happen. So, that afternoon, he decides to be bold. David has just finished telling him a truly horrific story about rescuing his sister from a hostage situation when Patrick chances a change of subject.

“How’s that bathtub?”

“Hmm?” David hums, brows briefly coming together in confusion before he replies, “Oh! The bathtub. It’s very nice. Highly recommend.”

“Yeah?” Patrick stands up and pulls his shirt over his head, tossing it at David’s head with a wink. “I think I’ll give it a try.”

He’s halfway across the room before David catches on.

Stripped down to his underwear, Patrick turns on the taps to fill the tub. David, similarly dressed, comes up behind him and adds a bath bomb to the water. Patrick turns then, crowding David up against the wall. It’ll be a few minutes before the tub is ready, and he figures they might as well make use of the time. He presses forward with his hips, pinning David in place. The move causes their cocks to line up perfectly and Patrick gasps, and gasps again when David grabs his shoulders and turns them so that Patrick is the one against the wall.

David drops to his knees, hands resting at the tops of Patrick’s hips, and looks up at him. His fingers trace the waistband of Patrick’s boxer briefs. “Can I?”

This is exactly what Patrick wanted, to be naked in front of David. All he has to do is say the word. He wants to remember this moment, the way David is looking at him, the feel of his breath on his abdomen. Patrick takes a deep breath and nods, the “yes” getting caught in his throat.

He watches as David carefully peels his underwear down his thighs and off, encouraging him to raise first his left foot, then his right, removing them completely, to be cast unceremoniously to the opposite corner of the bathroom. Just like last night, David wraps a large hand around his cock. Rachel had small hands. In fact, Patrick had only ever dated petite women. None of their hands had ever come close to fully encompassing him like this. Overcome, he thrusts wantonly into David’s fist.

But David is not on his knees for a handjob. He looks up into Patrick’s eyes as he licks up the length of his cock, then takes nearly all of it in his mouth in one go. Patrick’s knees buckle, but he manages to stay upright. Nothing has ever felt like this before. He keens, overwhelmed at the wet, hot suction of David’s mouth and the visual of this gorgeous man on his knees for him.

Patrick doesn’t last long. Which is probably for the best, because if he’d held out much longer the tub would have overflowed. As it is, they have to run a little water out before they can both climb in. David turns on the jets and gets in first, leaving Patrick to settle into the V of his legs.

David wraps his arms and legs around Patrick, holding him close and preventing him from floating to the surface of the water. With David’s larger frame surrounding him, he has a sense of security he had no idea he was longing for. He feels a warmth down to his core and it’s not just from the heat of the bathwater that surrounds him. Whether it’s the weight of David’s broad chest pressed against him or the long legs and arms encircling him, Patrick feels like he can finally breathe.

He leans back against David’s chest, luxuriating in the warm caress of the bubbling water, the soft scent of lavender, the feel of David’s muscular arms around him, and the light touches of David’s hands on his chest. He is also acutely aware of the hard length of David’s cock pressed against his lower back. Experimentally, he rolls his hips back. It causes the water to slosh a bit, which feels like a bad idea, but it also causes David’s breath to hitch and his arms to tighten around Patrick’s chest, which seems well worth a little sloshed water.

They keep it up, finding a good rhythm until an extra enthusiastic grind of the hips causes David’s cock to slip so that the head no longer rests against his lower back, instead pressing against the back of Patrick’s balls, the length rubbing up against his perineum and along the crack of his ass. Both men gasp and still.

“Sorry, let me just….” David’s arms loosen around Patrick, giving him the space to move away, but Patrick pulls David’s arms back around him and rasps, “Don’t you dare stop.”

“Are you sure?”

Patrick loves that David checks in like this, that he’s made him feel so safe over the last 48 hours, which is exactly why he's so sure he wants this. He leans back so that his head rests on David’s shoulder and whispers, “Please, David.”

And then David’s mouth is on his neck, hand once again wrapped around his cock, which is miraculously already hard again given that he just came in David’s mouth not half an hour earlier. But the best part, the part that nearly has Patrick in tears, is David’s cock rubbing against that part of him no one has ever touched before. When David comes, Patrick can feel it pulsing behind his balls. It’s the hottest fucking thing he’s ever felt, and it pushes him right over the edge.

It takes approximately 20 seconds of languid kissing before they both realize that they are now bathing in cum-filled water. Laughing, they get out of the tub, Patrick on decidedly shaky legs, and dry off.

_ _ _

That evening after dinner, Patrick gets a call from the owner. David listens intently to Patrick’s side of the conversation.

“Yes, sir, we’re hanging in here okay.”

“No, no. It was an honest mistake. And actually, we're getting along remarkably well. So, it all turned out to be no trouble, really.”

“Tomorrow morning? Oh, that’s great news!” To David’s ears, his enthusiasm sounds put on. Honestly, it doesn’t really sound like great news to David either. He’s not sure he’s ready for this strange interlude in his life to be over.

“Yep, will do. Thanks for letting us know. Bye!”

Patrick hangs up and drops, heavy, into a chair. He looks like someone kicked his dog. Maybe he’s not ready for this to be over either?

“I guess you heard all that?” Patrick says.

“Tomorrow morning, huh?”


“Well, it’s probably for the best. I’ve been away from the store far longer than I should as it is.”

“Right. Right, of course.”

“And anyway, you probably want me out of your hair. I know it doesn’t take much for me to overstay my welcome,” David says, reverting to his usual self-deprecation. It’s been noticeably absent this weekend and he hasn’t missed it.

“David, I can’t imagine you ever overstaying your welcome.”

“Well, that is a really lovely thing to say.”

“I mean it.” Patrick stands and comes to sit next to David on the couch. “David, I don’t think you know what this weekend has meant to me.”

I do though, David thinks. But maybe he doesn’t, really. Before he can stop himself, David asks, “Because now you have your first gay experience out of the way?”

Patrick flinches, and David hates himself a little for it. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. I don’t really think… I’m just af-… it’s just….” Ugh, this whole conversation is tanking fast. He has no idea how to explain himself.

Thankfully, Patrick rescues him. “David, I know you have to leave tomorrow and get back to your life. But I’m not ready to say goodbye yet. I really like you, and I really want to see you again.”

Okay, maybe his fear and pessimism are misplaced. Maybe his stupid instinct for self-sabotage hasn’t ruined this after all. Just to be sure, he really needs to say something right this time. “I would like that. A lot. I, uh, really like you, too, Patrick.”

The fond smile on Patrick’s face tells him he got it right this time. He can’t resist kissing that smile, so he wraps a hand around the back of Patrick’s head and pulls him close. Their kiss is soft this time, less heated, but no less intense for that.

When Patrick pulls back, David may or may not whimper. Then, Patrick takes his right hand and starts playing with his rings, the same way David himself does when he’s nervous. “I was thinking,” he says. “Like I said before, I know you have to leave tomorrow and get back to your life and your store.”

“Mmm, yeah,” David agrees, though he wishes he could stay here in this little bungalow forever, or at least for the week.

“I was thinking,” Patrick repeats, “I don’t have anywhere to be for the rest of the week.” He laughs then. “Fuck, I don’t really have anywhere to be after this week either, and, well, I’d really love to see your store, David.”

David tries and fails to rein in his smile. “I would love for you to see the store, Patrick,” David starts, and then only hesitates a moment before adding, “and if you wanted to, I don't know, look over the books? Maybe give me your professional opinion? I would be open to that.”

“Oh, you would be open to that, would you?” Patrick answers, then leans in and kisses him.

The next morning the sound of the snowplow wakes them. They untangle their limbs and share the shower, which David wishes they’d done sooner. He dreads going back to the permanently grimy monstrosity he’s had to get used to.

Over breakfast, they make plans. Patrick suggests David call Rory and reschedule his visit, so he does and miraculously Rory is available at noon. Which is great, but it means goodbye is coming that much sooner.

Patrick kisses his neck in reassurance and says, “I’ll see you tonight. I promise.”

David has just picked up a sweater to fold when Patrick says, “David? You never told me where, exactly, you live.”

David freezes, the sweater half folded in his arms. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. “You’re not going to believe me.”

“Try me.”

“Schitt’s Creek.”

Patrick laughs. “I’m sorry, what?”

David sighs and tilts his head back before going back to folding. “I told you you wouldn’t believe me, but that really is what it’s called. Schitt’s Creek. I actually own the town, but that is a story for another day.”

Another day. They’re going to have more days. The thought makes him pause again, a little giddy. Maybe Patrick feels the same way, because he crosses the room and takes David in his arms, kissing him thoroughly.

When they finally separate, David goes back to packing. He’s running out of time if he’s going to make it to Rory’s studio on time.

But Patrick once again interrupts, this time asking, “So, David, can you recommend a good motel in Schitt’s Creek?”

David can only roll his eyes. “Ha ha. You think you’re very clever. But no, I can only recommend a mediocre motel, seeing as how it’s the only one in town.”

“Ah, so you have an in with the proprietor, then?”

“I may have, yes,” David says, setting his bag by the front door and picking up his phone.

He unlocks it and pulls up his text thread with Stevie.



Towel Girl

Today 10:47 AM

I need a room

You have a room

Your family have 3 rooms in fact

That you don’t pay for

Well, now I need a fourth room

Oh really?

And who is this room for?

A business associate

A business associate

Fine, it’s for Patrick okay?

So hottie’s name is Patrick

Yes do you have a room or not?

For the whole week

I may have a room for Patrick

What’s in it for me?

What’s always in it for you, you wino

In that case


Fucking Stevie.