It's been a long time since Rex indulged his needs. He wants to, he just...can't. Can he trust Declan to help him?
They made their way back through the crowd, and Declan slid his card into the reader. He steered Rex down another hall to their right, and to another door. "It's a private room. I reserved it for us."
Rex waited as Declan opened the door and stepped back. His heart hammered as he crossed the threshold. In front of him, hanging on the wall, loomed a Saint Andrew's Cross, leering down at him like an evil thing. Every fiber of his being screamed at him to run. Nothing good would come of this; he'd only get hurt. Sure, everything would start out all fine and dandy, and he'd be enjoying himself, but then it would all go too far. Where would the scars be this time? His breathing hitched and he took a step back, colliding with Declan's chest.
"Easy." Declan ran his hands up and down Rex's arms, then pulled Rex back against him. "Nothing is going to happen that you don't want. Understand?"
Rex nodded. Nice words, but that's what the last Dom had said. He took a deep breath to try to steady himself. He was being an idiot. He'd known Declan for over seven years. In that time, he'd never heard of Declan hurting anyone. The Shady Business BDSM club, and Grey Shade specifically, came highly recommended by people in the lifestyle. He'd wanted to come here and do this for so long -- at least a year now. He needed to get past his fear and get back into the life he loved living. And having Declan to himself -- finally -- for the night didn't hurt his feelings.
Declan stepped around in front of Rex. He took Rex's face in his hands and leaned in for a gentle kiss. He slid his hands down to capture Rex's wrists, rubbed his thumbs over the scars. "We'll go slow tonight, I promise you. I will not hurt you."
"I trust you." Rex forced the words out through his too-thick-with-emotion throat. He realized his hands were shaking and he balled them into fists.
Declan moved away and went to the far side of the room. "Come."
He spoke the word in a crisp, commanding tone that sent shivers up and down Rex's spine. Rex forced himself to put one foot in front of the other. He tried hard to concentrate on the idea of being bound, of being on display for Declan's amusement and pleasure, instead of his memories. Somehow, he found the gumption to keep moving, to turn, and let Declan guide him to the cross. Declan started unbuttoning his own shirt, and panic rose in Rex like a fever, washing him in a cold sweat. Nakedness meant sex, didn't it? "I want to keep my clothes on," he blurted.
Declan paused in his movements and looked at him for a long moment before speaking. "Would you prefer I kept mine on as well?"
Rex teetered on the edge of control, half way between bolting out the door and throwing himself at Declan's feet. God, how he'd wanted this; dreamt of it, how he'd spent so many years lusting after his friend, wanting nothing more than to be allowed this close. One night, one horribly, horribly wrong night, had changed everything, stolen all his will and replaced it with terror. And the last time... If he shook his head now, if he said no, would he ever get the chance again? "It's up to you," he whispered.
Declan shook his head. "No, it's entirely up to you. You are the sub. You need to tell me what you're comfortable with." He reached out and touched Rex's cheek with the back of his hand. "When I said I'd never hurt you, I meant it."
Rex swallowed and licked his dry lips. Maybe it didn't have to be all or nothing. Declan had said they'd take it slow, right? Maybe he could do this in half steps. "Take off your shirt, then."
Declan nodded and finished the buttons, slid the garment back off his shoulders.