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Be good to me ('cause I give everything)

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Patrick is fascinated by all the things David is capable of doing and equally baffled by the things he doesn’t know how to do. After they move in together, Patrick has a lot of time to observe him up close and in depth. David is surprisingly tidy and clean, despite the fact that he was accustomed to having a housekeeper and he has more stuff than Patrick could acquire in a lifetime. David never leaves clothes strewn about; he hangs things carefully and fold things precisely. He uses creams and serums multiple times a day, but he always screws the lids on tightly and arranges them into perfect stacks in their cabinets. Patrick has never had to scramble to clean their house when someone drops by unexpectedly. David literally leaves it smelling like a rose.

But David looks at Patrick like he’s a monster when Patrick asks him to work on Quickbooks with him at month-end. And forget asking David to participate in paying quarterly taxes, or filing their yearly returns. Patrick has all but accepted the clear lines of division in their partnership. Patrick is the numbers guy, and David is in charge of aesthetics. Even their garage is styled. Patrick would bet that if he took out a ruler, their grass would never be longer than the recommended number of centimeters.

There are things they both aren’t good at--like cooking and arguing. They try to avoid conflict as much as any couple can. And when they do fight, it gets ugly. David can be vicious, and Patrick has a black belt in passive aggression. David packed up his knits twice in the first three months they lived together. He assumed that Patrick would call the whole thing off every time they fought. Patrick hasn’t resorted to buying David presents to win back his affection, because he learned his lesson the first time.

They eat out more than they should, and considering that Schitt’s Creek only has one restaurant, they really should attempt learning some of the basics. Patrick’s specialty is anything out of a box. David makes a mean toaster strudel, and he even manages not to burn them most of the time.

***

“I’m thinking of signing up for one of those meal kit delivery services,” Patrick says one afternoon while the shop is empty.

David looks up at Patrick with his thick eyebrows raised. “What?”

“You know, Blue Apron or Hello Fresh.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” David looks at him with a blank expression.

“You’ve heard those advertisements on my podcasts.” Patrick is always playing podcasts in the car.

“I try to tune out most of what I hear.” David smirks.

He’s never been a fan of Patrick’s political podcasts, and Patrick fell asleep once when he downloaded an art history podcast especially for David.

“Okay, well it’s a subscription service where they send you meals and you cook and assemble them. How does that sound?”

David has a skeptical expression on his face. “I don’t know. Do you think it’ll taste good?”

“What, you think I’d suggest something that would be bad?” Patrick tries to keep it light.

“We both know who’s the arbiter of taste in this relationship.” David’s lip twitches with mirth.

“Anything’s gotta be better than eating at Cafe Tropical a dozen times a week. Aren’t you tired of the mystery meat and Twyla’s ‘surprises’?”

“I stick with the safe things. Egg white omelets, side salads with grilled chicken breast. You’re the one putting your life at risk every time we eat out.”

Patrick keeps his response to himself. David does indeed order the same handful of things on rotation, but he also eats half of whatever Patrick orders. Half his fries, half his burgers, half his apple pie a la mode, half of his meatloaf surprise, half of his daily combo.

David shakes his head and inhales sharply. “Fine. If you want to cook with one of those Sun Basket thingies, then fine. I suppose I could try it.”

“So you have been listening to my podcasts, after all.” Patrick smiles as he heads back into the office and fires up the desktop.

“That’s what you got from my response?” David calls after him.

Patrick looks at all the meal kit delivery services and narrows it down to a couple and then calls David back to take a look. David chooses the one with the most aesthetically pleasing menus, of course.

When the box arrives, David opens it almost reverently. He inspects everything, touches the labels tenderly, and reads the recipe cards front to back. Patrick almost doesn’t want to cook; he just wants to watch David in his glasses. His favorite David look is astute and thoughtful. He wonders how mad David would be if they just scrapped dinner for the night and went to bed early. But he never gets the chance to find out. David starts laying out the steak with chimichurri, harissa roasted sweet potatoes, and rainbow chard meal and referring back to the instructions.

Every time Patrick tries to help, David swats him away with a spatula and tells him to sit down. David pours him a glass of wine and tells him to go put on some music. Patrick puts on one of his favorite playlists and then just sits at the breakfast bar watching David work.

“You’re making me nervous,” David says as he chops cilantro.

“I can help you.”

David quirks one of his bushy eyebrows at him. “Your knife skills are worse than mine.”

Patrick holds his hands up. “You got me there.”

“I want to see if I can do this.” David sounds determined, like the day he walked into Patrick’s life asking for a business license. He turned Patrick’s life upside down that day, made him want things he didn’t know were possible, and gave him more than he could have ever imagined.

Patrick sits patiently and lets the music and the scene wash over him. David doesn’t talk much; he’s concentrating on doing everything just right, but Patrick doesn’t mind. He loves the little furrow in David’s brow and the way he bites his lip when he’s not sure about the char on his roasted sweet potatoes. Within forty-five minutes, he’s plating their dinner.

“Done,” David says, more to himself than aloud. He turns around and puts their plates on the breakfast bar. Patrick almost regrets not setting their table properly, but they always eat at the breakfast bar, and he didn’t want to put any undue pressure on David just in case the food didn’t turn out.

“It looks stunning,” Patrick says, impressed.

The plates are a gorgeous white ceramic speckled with black, sourced from a potter that lives in the middle of nowhere, about a day’s drive from Schitt’s Creek. David found him at a regional craft show and immediately brought him on as one of their collaborators for Rose Apothecary’s first catalog. They’ve never used these plates for anything except boxed mac and cheese and minute rice.

David has plated the food in a more artistic way than the photo on the recipe card. He made a well in the chimichurri and made a ribbon across the plate. The steak is sliced thinner, and has a better color. David’s sweet potatoes and rainbow chard have more finesse, too.

“Should we…” Patrick lifts his fork.

“Please, tell me how it is. I’m too afraid.”

Patrick cuts the steak and dips it in the sauce. A perfect bite hovers on the matte gold flatware from a metalworker in Toronto that David’s been courting for the store.

He puts the bite in his mouth and lets out a moan. “Oh my God, it’s so good.”

David takes a bite and then grips Patrick’s forearm. They look at each other like they are on another planet.

“I forgot food could taste this good,” David says.

“I forgot what seasoning tastes like.” Patrick takes another bite and savors the flavors. Without thinking, mid-chew he says, “It’s like an orgasm in my mouth.”

David snorts and laughs. He puts his flax linen napkin to his mouth so he doesn’t spew bits of sweet potato.

Patrick feels his face go red from the slope of his nose to the tips of his ears. “I didn’t mean it like that.”

When David has collected himself he puts his hands up and smirks. “Hey, either way it’s a compliment to me.”

Patrick gets back at him by fluttering his eyelashes at David and raising his wine glass. “To the chef.”

They clink glasses and drink.

“We need to work on our wine pairing next time.” David wrinkles his nose at the offending liquid.

“Wine pairing?” Patrick considers their weekday bargain bottle they picked up from the big box store in Elmdale. “I’d hardly call two-buck chuck a wine pairing.”

“Exactly,” David says while loading up his fork. If it were up to David, they'd drink the good wine they sell in their shop every night, but Patrick convinced him it wasn't in their budget to splurge more than a couple nights a week.

They eat and chat for a bit and when they’re done, Patrick offers to do the dishes. He’s halfway to the sink when David comes up behind him and puts his arms around Patrick’s middle.

“Thank you for offering, but I don’t mind doing the dishes.” David kisses Patrick on the neck and then snakes an arm out to snag the rubber gloves on the edge of the sink.

Patrick turns around in David’s arms and does his best to keep his tone light. “You really don’t like the way I do dishes, do you?”

David screws his face up adorably. “I just have a process.”

Patrick laughs. “I can learn your process. Teach me.”

David looks worried. “Um, my process is using gloves to protect myself from dishpan hands. Using scalding hot water to get the grease off. Keeping the porcelain sink pristine by not actually setting pots directly inside it.” David waves the rubber gloves around for dramatic emphasis. “Wiping up all the water that splashes onto the counters, and disinfecting the counters and stove top. Then I dust mop the kitchen floor to pick up any errant crumbs. And lastly, I lightly spritz the kitchen with my custom blend of home fragrance.”

Patrick is speechless for a moment. “I usually just toss everything as quick as I can into the dishwasher and wipe up with a paper towel.”

“I know. And then after you’re done, I go back through the kitchen and do it the right way.” David twists his hands as he talks, clearly anxious about admitting the truth. “So it really will save us both a bunch of time if you just let me do the dishes.”

“I’m used to the whole ‘I cook, you clean,’ thing in a relationship.” Patrick regrets saying it out loud the moment it’s out of his mouth, because there are a lot of things he learned in his past relationship with Rachel that don’t work between him and David, and if he’s being honest, never really worked before either.

“That’s got to be some sort of heteronormative bullshit. Why would I ask you to do something if I’m objectively better at it? You don’t see me offering to make spreadsheets, do you?” David tries valiantly to keep the tone of sass down.

“That’s what you think I’m good at?” Patrick says in his best, flirty voice.

David catches his meaning. “Among other things.” He reaches forward again to wrap his arms around Patrick’s middle.

“Oh yeah, like what other things?” Patrick folds his arms and leans back but does not leave David’s embrace.

“You want me to list them?” David asks, flustered.

“Humor me. I’m nursing a bruised ego after just finding out you don’t like my cooking or cleaning.”

“Um, you’re very good at playing the guitar, and singing. You’re a very competent businessman.” David’s lip twitches again.

Patrick smiles. “And?”

“You’re incredibly humble.”

Patrick cracks up. “Okay, okay.”

“I’m the more domestic one. Please don’t be offended by that.”

Patrick thinks about it and finds he’s not. It’s actually a relief to know that David doesn’t expect him to meet his high expectations, and that it’s okay if they each excel in different areas.

“You’re not just domestic, you’re nurturing. You care deeply and always make sure everyone’s needs are met. It’s quite possibly, the very best thing about you,” Patrick says easily.

David isn’t always comfortable with praise, and Patrick can tell he wants to turn it into a joke or make a self-deprecating comment. He silences David with a kiss. It’s slow and tender and Patrick tries to imbue it with all the meaning he can. David drops the rubber gloves and cups his warm hand at the base of Patrick’s skull. David massages the fine hairs on Patrick’s neck in a way that makes Patrick sigh into the kiss and his knees go weak.

The dishes can wait.