GENRE: Gay Romance
LENGTH: 32,300 words
Quinn is in love with a very much taken Skylar. But after finding Skylar bleeding and unresponsive at the hands of his boyfriend, Quinn is sure the world is playing a cruel joke. Recovery is long and hard, but Quinn is determined to be supportive and caring for Skylar. He just wants the chance to show Skylar there is still hope for him, that someone cares and loves him. And Quinn will be there for Skylar, whatever he needs, even if it's just a hand to hold.
Skylar isn’t prepared for his whole life to crash down around his ears. The lies he told, the dark secrets he kept, the shithole his life had become. Now everything is out in the open and Skylar isn’t coping well. Quinn is the only reason he hasn’t completely shattered, guiding, helping, and caring for him in ways he had never expected or thought possible.
But with more and more secrets being revealed, can they navigate the shattered remains of Skylar’s life and, together, build something new?
"I thought I loved him," Skylar says as he dries a saucepan during one of their nightly dishwashing routines. Quinn has come to love nights with Skylar and the glimpse of a life he could have with him. He knows it will never happen, but he can't help and fall in love just a little more with these moments, with Skylar. Even with the more dark turn in the conversation.
"I really did," Skylar continues. "Even with all the ... with everything he said and did. When he ..." A look of shame falls over Skylar's face, and he focuses all his attention on drying the dish in his hands. "When he hit me the first time, I thought it was a fluke, just a bad day at work. But then it happened again and again and -- and I -- I don't know. I told myself I still loved him, that he still loved me but really I was too scared to do anything."
Quinn doesn't know what to say to this. He usually knows what to say when Skylar starts opening up or when to keep quiet but now, know he's at a loss for words. He can't relate, he can sympathize but he knows Skylar doesn't want pity or concern. Quinn's not entirely sure what it is that Skylar wants. He stays silent, running the scrubber around the pan and dipping it into the soapy water.
"He was the first boyfriend I ever had. The first real one at least. No one had ever paid attention to me like that before, shown me love. I didn't -- I didn't know any better."
The words leave Quinn's mouth before he can stop himself, "But you must have known it shouldn't be like that?"
Skylar looks up shocked at Quinn's bold question and Quinn immediately feels guilty for prying. He's about to apologize when Skylar softly answers, "I did, but I didn't think I would find anything better, that I deserved anything better."
Quinn's heart shatters at his words. "Skylar --"
"Please don't," Skylar says with a shake of his head. He tries to give Quinn a smile but it comes out looking sadder and doesn't reach his eyes. "I know -- I know it's not true." Quinn can see written clearly on Skylar's face that he doesn't believe that. He's just saying what he thinks Quinn wants to hear. What he knows he should say.
Quinn can't take it anymore.
Skylar's smile vanishes. "I --"
"Because it isn't true, Skylar," Quinn says, cutting off whatever false words Skylar thinks he wants to hear. He faces Skylar, the last dish forgotten, sinking to the bottom of the soapy water. "You don't deserve any of that. You deserve to be with someone who will love you and care for you without making you feel small and weak. Someone who will build you up without tearing you down, who will shower you with love and hope and dreams and give every ounce of his strength to make them all come true. Someone who will love you at your best as well as at your worst and makes you a better person. You deserve so much Skylar and I know that you may not believe a word I'm saying but know that I believe it, that all your friends believe it and that ... that your mother believed it too." Even though he never met the woman, he knows she would have agreed with him. "And you are worth something, god you're worth everything and I wish you could see that. I really do."
Skylar stands there frozen, staring at Quinn, his face awash with so many warring emotions, Quinn can hardly put it to words. Though apparently he has no problem putting his own emotions into words. He can tell himself all he wants to he was speaking in general, of some nameless person that Skylar may one day meet and fall in love with but he knows that's not what he meant. Everything he had said, he said because he already feels all those things for Skylar. He is that someone, he wants to be that someone to Skylar. But Skylar can't see it, may never be able to see it in him and even though it is and will hurt, he's okay with that.