Danny liked art, truly he did. Lots of it was deep and meaningful and beautiful. He'd just never understood the appeal of anything that looked less accomplished than Gracie's drawings.
"Shouldn't there be food?" Rodney lamented.
"Food? Why should there be food?"
"It's an opening. What is the point of coming to an opening at an art museum unless there's food?"
"It's ten o'clock in the morning. They don't serve hors d'œuvre before lunch."
Rodney snapped his fingers. "Those pastry things. They could be serving those pastry things."
"Malasadas," Danny supplied, agreeing wholeheartedly. Malasadas would definitely improve the art, or at least provide a welcome distraction.
"Those are heart attacks in the making," Steve said, coming up behind him, resting one hand on Danny's back.
"Hey, I got a lot of exercise last night," Danny defended. "I burned a lot of calories." He dropped his voice. "And I'm pretty sure you promised me more exercise tonight."
Rodney snapped his fingers again, this time his fist rising as he did, pointing to Danny's face. "Cafeteria? Doesn't the museum have a cafeteria?"
"We're not leaving Gracie," Danny said flatly. He wasn't making a lot of effort to wander around the exhibit, because crowds gave him the heebee jeebees even more than bad art, but he was diligently watching her and John as they slowly strolled around the room, seemingly having intense conversations about each piece.
"Maybe Gracie wants a pastry break," Rodney said hopefully. "Children love donuts. I always did. Even my niece enjoys those atrocious whole wheat donuts that my sister makes." He took off, treading between the hordes of old people with canes, bumping into them regularly, making effusive apologies as he did.
"Hey!" Danny called after him, in irritation, because he'd promised Rachel that he'd take Gracie to this appalling show, and Rachel was bound to ask her about it, and very unlikely to be satisfied with a description of the cafeteria. "Why did you want to invite these guys?" he asked Steve, as they both followed Rodney's path of near-destruction.
"Hawaiian hospitality," Steve said blandly, with a sideways grin. "I figured we owed them."
"Danno, Danno." Gracie caught Danny's hand. "John knows a lot about art. He's been explaining all about color and perspective. He knows more than Stan."
"You know about art? Modern art?"
Rodney's obvious surprise made Danny frown suspiciously, but John was already answering, looking uncomfortable, "Yes, Rodney. I know art. My mom used to take me to exhibits when I was a kid."
"I'm really hungry, Danno. Can we go to the cafeteria? I bet they have malasadas."
"What an intelligent child," Rodney inserted, beaming, as Steve added, sotto voce, "And very definitely yours."
"You think you've seen enough of the exhibit, monkey?"
"I have." She nodded her head enthusiastically. "And I can tell Mom all about what John told me."
"Okay, let's go see what they have in the cafeteria." He took her hand, leading her out of the exhibit room, conscious of Steve's hand still resting on his back. His partner had been constantly nearby since last night, like he needed to affirm the wonderful change that their relationship had undergone. "We can go to the beach afterwards, if you guys want," he called back, expecting to hear Rodney whimper about the horrors of sand. Instead, the two were standing close together, their heads almost touching. He could hear John saying something about his mom, and see the rapt expression on Rodney's face, like he was being told the most precious secret ever.
"They'll catch up with us," Steve said, encouraging him to keep walking. "And the beach sounds fantastic."
Danny elbowed Steve lightly in the ribs as they left, not admitting that he was looking forward to the afternoon. He still hated sand, but wet, mostly naked Steve made the experience enjoyable.
And he'd bet that wet, mostly naked John and Rodney were going to be fun to watch too.
~ the end ~