Peter Styles Quotes
“< I’d take a cold beer, a hot shower, and a good night’s sleep.> He smirked.
< No beer, and I’ve slept all day—thanks to you. But I have a shower. And I know from experience that it fits one patient and one nurse with minimal cramping.>
< Mmm. Sounds great. A hot shower with a hot guy.>
I laughed, a harsh wheeze that grated my ears. I ignored it. I’d done enough wallowing, and after the day he’d had, I only wanted to be strong and happy for Luke.< That’s bold, Nurse. Where’s that innocent angel who so expertly sucked my cock yesterday?>
He laughed, too. I loved it. I wished I could get him to break down and actually talk to me, but I was getting pretty good at making him share his laughter. It warmed me from inside.
< Sorry, muffin. Exhausted. My filter must be broken.>
Muffin? I decided I loved it. From him, at least. I reached out, taking his hand. He squeezed, his thumb pressing into the meat of my palm, reminding me of our first real conversation. It did nothing to bank the flames that had distracted me all day. I wondered if there was, in fact, something I could do to help Luke feel good at the end of a shitty shift.
< I wasn’t 100% kidding about the shower.>
< But you’re cute when you’re being tempted.>
He rolled his eyes. < And you’re tempting when you’re being cute.>”
“< People make fun of my voice.
I know I don’t sound like a hearing person.>
< You sound perfect when you talk. Your voice is beautiful.>
I blushed, feeling my eyes tickle as I looked down and wrote quickly.
< It’s not you, like I said. Promise.
It’s just the only thing I get hung up about.
It’s hard to break down a lifetime of neurosis with a guy I’ve only known 2 weeks.
No matter how much I like him. And I do like you, Harrison.
He grinned, somehow looking both predatory and shy, and if he hadn’t been so far away, I would have grabbed him and kissed him.
< Just give me time, OK?>
< OK.> he replied, and pressed the palm of my hand to his mouth. Then: < I won’t ask again. But if you’re ever ready to talk, I would love to listen.>
He nodded, slowly. In the dim light of his bedside lamp, his eyes shone like tiny moons.
< So...are most of your friends also deaf?>
He colored as soon as he flashed me the note, snatching it back almost before I’d read it.
< Sorry. That was an asshole way to put it. Do you mostly sign around your friends?>
I guess there were, in fact, two sensitive nerves.
< I don’t have a ton of friends.
Jesus. That makes me sound like a loser”
“He’d come bearing good news, or at least hopeful news, and I’d thrown a tantrum, albeit a mute one. Sure, Luke was the only good thing about being in this hospital, but instead of doing everything I could to get out of this hospital, I was clinging to the idea of Luke.
But it wasn’t really the idea of Luke, was it? I’d had the reality.
Not just the sex, although lying in bed, next door to naked, for twenty-three hours a day made me think about that part a lot. But his strength and his warmth and his humor. His love.
Did I love him?
It was hard to know what I felt. The L-word had tumbled into my thoughts more than once during my recovery, and more frequently since our relationship—if I could call it that—had become physical. But he was so young, and I was so helpless, and we’d known each other such a short time.
I wanted to talk this through with someone, but I realized, the only someone I wanted to talk to was short and broad-chested and brown-eyed and had the world’s sweetest, sexiest smile.
And that was another reason to be pissed off at myself. How long had we spent talking last night? Or the night before? And I’d never thought to ask for his number or give him mine. How hard would it have been to type ten digits into my phone, cementing our connection? But he’d seemed eternal, a constant, not always there when I wanted him but never too far away.”
“Maybe I’d learned to take him for granted. I know that my heart had sunk pretty low when I found out he had a couple of days off, and lower still when he explained why he wouldn’t visit.
And I was mad at that, too. Mad that I’d let him become so important to me, so fucking necessary, that forty-eight Luke-less hours could fuss me up like this.
And maybe a little mad that he wasn’t willing to risk a little trouble in order to see me.
And mad that that made me mad”
“I would have thought that the bed was too small for two men, but the way it forced our hot, sweat-damp bodies into communion was perfect.
His eyes were closed, but I could tell by the rhythm of his breath that he was recuperating, not sleeping.
“I think I’m in love with you,” I whispered. It was just air, hot air pushed through the ruins of my throat. Even if Luke could have heard me, the sense of the unshaped words would have been lost. It was just as well that he couldn’t hear and I couldn’t speak. The need to tell him pressed down on me, but it wasn’t fair to let him hear it until I was sure.
He couldn’t have known I’d spoken, but he opened his eyes, granting me a gentle smile, then nuzzled into my neck”
“< I love you.>
Wait, what? Everything froze except my heart, which thundered.
< I thought so last night. Going ALL DAY not hearing from you, thinking you were pissed, wondering if I’d see you... I know it now. I love you.>
Fuck. This was happening at warp speed. My hand trembled, making my pen shake. I had no idea what to say.
< I need to say it. You don’t have to say it back. I love you.
I want to take care of you like you took care of me.
Like you still do.
You love nursing, but I hate what it does to you. You can be anything. Go back to school. Start a busi>
My pen had torn the page. I continued:
< You’re what?
Going to give me money? Pay my rent? Buy my groceries?>
< I can help out. You could move in.>
< With you? After 2 wks?>
< You could have your own room.>
< You hear how you sound, right?>
< I want to be near you NOW. I think you want to be near me. And nursing>
I grew a beard waiting for him to finish that sentence, then asked:.
< Nursing what?>
< Wears you out. Exhausts you.>
< The night of the car accident? The first night we had sex? You looked half dead.>
< You know what I mean.>
< Did you like singing?>
< You loved it. You were good at it. It was your purpose. You had to give it up. You want that for me?>
The burning in his eyes changed, tighter and hotter, a bar of incandescent iron, not a warm campfire.
< That’s cruel.>
< You >
He stared at the paper, then glanced at me, then looked into the dusky horizon.
< I’m not stripping away your purpose. I’m asking you to choose me.>
< You’re trying to buy me. Like a horse.>
He wrote something fast, tore out the sheet, then scribbled on a clean page.
< I’m tired.>”
“I lied to the man I loved, to a man who had only nurtured me and made me smile, who had given me the most satisfying sex of my life, even in settings that were decidedly unromantic. I lied to the man I was nearly certain I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
Guilt hit me as soon as I sent the message. There was no excuse. At least, there would have been no excuse from a man who was thinking rationally.
But I told myself that I was doing it for him. To get him to stop worrying about what everyone else thought. No one could deny Luke’s strength, but I remembered too well the night he’d told me about being rejected by his birth parents and bullied in school. He’d come so far since then, but sometimes he still acted like the scared kid he’d been, not the amazing man he’d become.”
“Thank you for saying you love me. Not just for saying it, but for being brave enough to tell me how you feel.
I’m not as brave as you. And maybe I’m a little more damaged than you...carrying more baggage. I’m not ready to tell you I love you, but you do need to know that you’ve been the best part of my life since we met, and I can’t imagine moving on without you.
I want to see where this goes. And once you’re out of here, I want to date. Really date.
Until then, we need to cool off. You’re really good at making me take chances. That sounds like I’m blaming you—I’m not. It’s a good thing. You make me brave and wild. You excite me, and make me exciting. I don’t regret the risks we’ve taken, but I can’t take any more for a while.
And we have to talk about what happened under the poplar tree the other night. You said some things that make me want to take a big step back from this.
You asked me to do something I’d never ask of you. I didn’t mean to sound cruel, bringing up your injury like I did, but it doesn’t make sense that you say you love me, but want me to risk the chance to do a job I’ve been called to do. We need to figure that out, ok?
Thanks for reading all this. It’s what’s been on my mind all week, and I needed to get it off my chest.”
“For someone who claimed to not be brave, Luke was fearless at pinning his heart to his sleeve and making me take notice. But then, despite what he thought, he’d always been the bolder of the two of us. Fighting to be seen as more than his disability, nurturing his own ability to love after his parents abandoned him, coming out as a teen--that first kiss and all of the physical things that followed. I loved his bravery. I was in awe of it. This man, so young and in so many ways naive, had done so much in so little time to teach me how to be strong”
“Harrison, you’re an idiot. An idiot who tries hard, but still.”
I’d widened my eyes, questioning.
“You’ve back-burnered your love life for so long that you have no idea what it actually means to date. Most of the guys you’ve been with...at least the ones you’ve let me meet? Shit, they would have loved to have used your home like a luxury hotel. But this Luke guy sounds like he came from nothing, and everything he has, he’s fought for.”
I nodded. He had.
“You meant well. I know that. But he needs to work. To feel useful. When he lost that, instead of listening to him while he figured things out, you tried to give him a handout he couldn’t pay back in a million years. How was that gonna make him feel, honey?”
< But he gave me so much when I needed it.>
She brushed some hair off my forehead in that maternal way she sometimes had. “He was doing his job, Paine. I’m sure he enjoyed it, and it sounds like the connection between you got real, but he probably didn’t see it as a transaction. Taking care of you was his duty. You don’t owe a man for doing what he’s called to do.”
< He’s being stubborn. He helps me, I help him.>
She shrugged and laughed. “Men need to be stubborn sometimes. You pushed too hard, babe. He just needed an ear and a shoulder. Maybe if you’d given him that, it would have taught him to trust you, made him comfortable enough to be the right kind of vulnerable.” She took my hand, squeezing it between hers. “You’ve always been a good friend, Paine, but you’re stubborn, too. Sometimes getting you to listen”
“< It’s a lot to think about.>
He nodded, eyes warming the tiniest bit.
< A lot could go wrong.>
“A lot could go wrong. Some pain. And, I suppose, a giving up of hope. But your voice won’t get any worse than it is right now. It may well be worth the risk.”
I nodded, my eyes in my lap.
“I feel as though I’m pressuring you. You’re probably smart to get past this first surgery before we make plans. I do want you to know—” He stopped, long enough that I eventually looked up to see what was wrong. He was staring at me, staring into me, in a way that made me feel a little exposed. It wasn’t an unkind stare, but it was sure as hell thorough. He cleared his throat. “Doctor-patient relationships aren’t always easy, Mr. Paine. Harrison. And ours has been more fraught than most, due to...well. Due to things that had nothing to do with your actual care. I want to clear the air. I am your doctor. I care about your wellbeing. For what it’s worth, I empathize with the sense of loss you’re going through, and how hard that can shift the ground under you. You’ve been a fighter, Harrison, and I admire that. I will take care of you as long as you need me to, okay?”
Well, fuck. Now I was crying in front of this guy. I’d turned into a real weeper since getting my throat knocked out of me.
Ren was chill enough not to say anything. He just stood, then rested his hand on my shoulder, letting it sit there for a moment, and squeezed the muscles once, firmly”
“Hey, Mom. Hey, Dad. Oh, I’m good, you know. Mostly. I guess I’m in a bit of a spot. You see, I fucked a patient while I was on the clock. I mean, it’s fine, because I thought I liked him, and we didn’t get caught. But then I had sex with him again...totally off the clock this time...and we did get caught and then I got fired. Haha. I’m totally broke. Can I move back home?
That wasn’t exactly how the conversation had gone. I’d have died. But I had told my parents that St. Andrew’s hadn’t worked out, and my Dad at least had an inkling as to why. Despite my being a colossal fuck-up and throwing away everything I’d ever wanted over a guy, they were letting me move into my old room.
Not ideal. Surely. But I’d just cleaned out my checking account to make my student loan payment, and rent was due in a week, and no one was exactly jumping out of their skin to hire a deaf waiter or a deaf receptionist while I looked for something permanent. It was moving home or living in my car, I guess”
“< Dear Luke,
I’m sorry for coming by unannounced. You haven’t been returning my texts, and a stronger man would have gotten the hint—>
Movement caught my eye. I looked at him. He was signing. Slowly. Imperfectly. Little inflections were wrong, and he got some of the ideas out of order, but he was, as best he could, reciting the letter to me.
—gotten the hint, but I’m not strong. I’m not proud. I’m in love with you, and I’m sorry for hurting you. Please let me say my piece, and then I’ll leave if you want. But I’d never be able to look in a mirror if the last time we spoke was that night on the phone.
You are nothing but love and warmth and strength, and the world was a better place when you were a nurse in it. I don’t know how serious things are, but if you can get back into nursing, that’s what I want for you. If there’s a way I can help—any way at all, big or small—please tell me. You deserve your dreams, and I was a complete ass for the things I said during our fight.
I’ll never do that again. Never. If you let me in your life, I promise to listen. To always listen. To listen carefully and compassionately. I’ll give you advice when you want it or help if you need it, but I will always listen.
And if you want me, a reclaimed ass who promises to do better, in your life, it would make me happy. I don’t know what we’d look like in the real world, but I can’t think of another person I’d rather figure things out with.
We’ve moved quickly, maybe too quickly, and you’ve paid a price for that.
I’m sorry for that, too.
Whatever you want from me, that’s what you’ll get. Let’s go slow. Let’s be friends. Let’s date, if you want to. I only want to be in your life. You get to decide how much and how fast.
Whatever you want, I love you”
“We talked a little, I on a small spiral notepad, and Luke using a combination of his voice and some simple signs, which he taught me as they came up. My fingers felt clumsy around him; I was used to being good at things, and learning a new skill, especially when I wanted so badly to impress the teacher, made me nervous. He only grinned at my rookie mistakes, and took my hands in his, bending my fingers and adjusting my angles with a patient strength that made my stomach flutter. A lot of the date, though, was spent in silence. I was learning a whole volume of his smiles—how he grinned when he was nervous, and how he beamed when he was pleased. The small, secret, naughty smile that traced along his lips more than a few times, which meant that was thinking something he wasn’t going to share. For a man who had loved words his whole life, who’d made a living writing them and singing them, I found a strange pleasure in listening to the silence and finding meaning in the canting of a head or the wink of a long-lashed, big, brown eye.”
“We found a bench and sat. Luke’s hand found my thigh and squeezed gently. I turned, and we kissed, the taste of bourbon and fruit on his tongue. A single kiss, perfect in itself. The kiss of a couple who was going slow.
“This is like ‘Walk Tonight,’” I heard beside me. I turned, an eyebrow quirked.
“At the beginning,” Luke continued. “The happy part, when they’re together.”
I nodded and pulled him close. His head fell to my shoulder and rested there. Without trying to jostle him too much I pulled the notebook and pen from my breast pocket.
< I only want the beginning with you. 100 years of beginning.>
I felt him nod against my shoulder, his brown cowlicks tickling my cheek. “It’s not easy to find that.”
< You’re worth fighting for. Nothing stopping us but us.>
He nodded again. “It’s like we’ve already had a relationship together. A lifetime of feeling things and doing things. Slowing down and starting over is nice.”
< I’m sorry for >
He reached down, his big hand covering mine, staying my pen. “No apologies. You have nothing to apologize for. Tonight is perfect.”
I scratched out the beginning of the last sentence I wrote, to show I could listen, and then scribbled: < For me, too. You’re perfect.>
He shook his head and laughed softly. “I’m not. I’m a mess. But so are you.”
< 2 messy guys, doing their best.>”
“We kissed again. He still tasted good.
“I love you, Harrison.”
My heart, heretofore placid, calm in the night, comfortable in my chest, started to thunder. I blinked, and noticed the moon again. It did, in fact, look exactly how I’d imagined it when I’d written “Walk Tonight.” I breathed deeply, willing the beating to slow enough to let me think. I tapped Luke on the leg. He sat up, turning his head toward me, and I shifted on the bench, my knee pressed gently against his thigh.
I touched the center of my chest with my index finger, then balled my hands into fists, raising them beside me and letting them flow, dancing across my body, crossing in front of my torso before collapsing against me, as though I were giving myself a hug. I relaxed, then presented my hand to him, palm up, gently.
I’d said it before, on paper, but I wanted to show him.
I love you.
He smiled, and blinked, and nodded slowly, taking it in.
“Did you practice that?”
Another fist, raised to my shoulder. I bobbed it twice.
Thank you, he signed, and then said, “It was perfect.”
< Not messy?>
“Not messy at all.”
“After turning off the ignition, I took just a moment to take him in. He surprised me with a kiss, sudden on my lips, then melting into something slow and deep and stirring. I reached up, touching his cheek, and let him take the lead.
Happy anniversary, he said after we parted.
“Happy anniversary. I love you.”
Always was a funny word. Harrison used it a lot, I’d noticed, when he talked about us, about our future. It hadn’t ever been a word that meant much to me. My biologicals expelling me from their lives when I was so young, and the series of state facilities and foster homes that followed before Mom and Dad chose me—it had made me distrust permanence. But sitting here, still belted into my seat, looking at the beautiful man beside me, hair nearly silver in the moonlight? Yeah. I could do an eternity of this.
“The song continued through the second verse, telling the story of a young couple who couldn’t be together in the bright light of day, but who had walked hand-in-hand under the stars every night. Lovers who weren’t tough enough or brave enough to make it work, who let the world tear them apart. Lovers who were already dying inside from regret.
Not the most original idea, but love songs seldom are. The pain we feel when something breaks inside of us cuts everyone just as deep, no matter how many millions of people have felt it before. This story was my story, but the hush of the audience told me that the crowd was attaching their own thoughts and memories to my words. There’s no moment of connection purer”
“I nodded to myself, shoved my phone back in my pocket, and beelined for the elevator, dropping my clipboard of patient files off with Tatiana, who tended the nurses’ station. She smiled at me. She always smiled at me. I’d done my student nursing here, and had been working on her floor as a graduate nurse while I waited for my exam scores to come back, and we’d never had a single conversation. But she smiled a lot. It was meant to be friendly, I know, but I’d seen that look before. The look of someone who thinks I’m simple, or weak, or that I need to be taken care of just because I can’t hear. I’m a deaf man, not a puppy”
“He was a beautiful man with a beautiful soul. Something about the way he talked, the way he wrote, made me believe that he never quite felt like he’d belonged. Sure, he was rich and famous—he lived on a 60-acre horse ranch just outside of Lexington, for Christ’s sake—but just knowing he existed, knowing that even someone as talented as him understood what it felt like to have a hungry heart, made me feel less lonely sometimes. And here he lay. Vulnerable. Bruised. Likely in more pain, even unconscious, than I could imagine. There are so many assholes in the world, I thought, not for the first time. Why do terrible things have to happen to people who try to shine a little light in the darkness?”
“I watched him go. He walked with a limp, had a prosthetic leg, in fact. Something bad had happened during his time in Afghanistan. I didn’t know more than that, and I didn’t feel comfortable asking
for details. But even with an injury that had literally torn his body apart, he carried himself tall. He limped, sure, but he limped with confidence. With purpose. He limped like a man who couldn’t stop now, thank you, he still had a world to save.
It made me feel like we had something in common. Or rather, that we could have something in common, if I were more of a bad-ass, more of a hero. If I worked a little harder, cared a little more.
And it made me realize that Harrison Paine, if he was half the man who had written those songs, given those interviews, would fight like hell to recover. To save his career. To save his voice.
But first, he needed me to fight like hell to save him. I looked down. Poor bastard, I thought, recalling Dr. Ren’s words. I reached down, brushing a lock of sweat-damp hair from his forehead, tucking it behind his ear. You’re not alone, I told him, pushing my thoughts into his brain. And then I gripped the cold, hard railing of the gurney and pushed Harrison Paine to the elevator.”
“It’s a hell of a thing, taking away a man’s voice.
Dr. Ren had said this to me on the night Harrison Paine woke up. That was all he’d said about the man, then or since, that hadn’t been purely clinical, but I knew it weighed on him. I’d worked with him long enough to learn that he felt personal failure any time he couldn’t save the world.
Maybe that was part of the reason I found myself gravitating to Harrison Paine’s room. I couldn’t give the singer his voice back, but maybe if I worked hard enough, I could relieve some of the pressure Dr. Ren felt. Maybe if I worked hard enough, I could make Harrison give me one of his rare, beautiful smiles”
“Being stuck in here sucks, and I’m scared. But I appreciate you. Nurses are in and out of here all day, but no one takes the time you do to make me feel comfortable. I notice you tidying my messes and watering my stupid flowers, and it means a lot. So...thank you.
I read it again. And again. My throat closed. Other patients had made me feel this way, my little dude Jason being the most recent, but knowing that I’d successfully made Harrison feel comfortable, feel special... knowing a man who wrote beautiful words for a living had taken the time to write to me, just for doing my job...
I ran my thumb over the three letters that made up his initials.
I looked up at him. His right hand rested on his face, palm flat, fingers touching the curve of skin between his lips and jaw. With the smallest smile imaginable, he moved his arm down and out toward me.
“My stomach knotted up in the best possible way. I felt my face split into a stupid grin as I returned the sentiment, making the sign back to him, thanking him for noticing, for saying something. Thanking him for coming out of his shell, just for me.
He pulled out his notepad and scribbled:
I blinked, feeling my eyes prickle a bit. Ugh. I was being so extra. But I raised my right hand in a fist, thumb against my pointer finger, and bobbed it up and down at an angle twice. Just to make sure he got it, I nodded at the same time. Yes. Yes.
His grin widened and he opened his mouth to speak. Almost immediately, he froze and the light in his eyes dimmed”
“< I just wanted to say thank you, you know? >
Again, I nodded. I tried to smile. Tried to encourage him. Tried to let him talk to me, to give me the anger and fear he hid from his friends.
< But I can’t. I’ve been talking since I was a fucking baby. And now I can’t. I have to plan everything I want to say. My hand is cramping. I’m in pain all the time all over but all I notice is my stupid fucking hand cramping. >
I reached out, wanting to take the pad and pencil, wanting to respond. He pulled it away, then dashed off:.
< It’s fine. It’s not fair to unload on you. I won’t tell my friends, why should I bother you with it? >
I shook my head fiercely. Talk to me, I wanted to say. Unload on me. Give me your pain.
But he was writing again:
< I’m nothing without my voice >”
- Description: Hello everyone! My name is Peter Styles. I am a young new gay writer who is in love with reading and writing gay romance. I hope my stories keep you as entertained as much as I like writing them.
If you would like to join my insider's club, and get free books, click the link below.