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?
Rex wanted to press his face against that furry, muscled chest. Wanted to curl up into a ball as close as he could get, and bask in the warmth that radiated off Declan's body.
Declan gestured to the cross. "Are you ready to try?"
That old feeling welled inside Rex -- that feeling of wanting to do anything at all to please his Dom, of needing to see that approval in Declan's eyes. He nodded and stepped up, facing away from the cross. He wasn't ready to turn his back on anyone again just yet.
"What is your safe word?" Declan asked as he knelt and fastened the restraints around Rex's ankles.
"Peanut butter." The word brought bile to the back of Rex's throat. No, he couldn't use that again. "Wait. No. May I change it?"
A bemused grin turned the right corner of Declan's mouth up. "Of course you can."
"Tombstone." He latched onto the image in his head -- that of him dancing on a very dead Taylor's grave -- and said the first thing that came to his mind.
Declan chuckled. "Well, that's a mood changer if ever I've heard one." He stood and reached for Rex's right wrist.
Fear marched in icy footsteps up his spine, but he allowed Declan to raise his arm and fit the shackle over his wrist. He clenched and unclenched his fist as Declan bound his other arm. Body shaking, he tried to think of anything else but his memories. Rainbows. Kittens. Anything.
Declan leaned in and nuzzled the side of Rex's neck. "Tell me about that night. Tell me about your fears."
"I..." Rex squeezed his eyes shut. He'd never spoken about it. He and Declan had been the best of friends for years; Declan had come to see him in the hospital the next day. But he'd never given up the details. Talking about it made it more real, somehow, even though he knew that was silly.
Another nuzzle, followed by Declan's teeth gently nipping at Rex's ear. "You are beautiful like this," Declan whispered. "I could look at you for hours." He stepped back and rested his hands lightly on Rex's shoulders. "Talk to me. You were at a club, like this one?"
Rex shook his head. "A club yes, but not like this. We went to a private room."
He turned his face away from Declan's penetrating gaze. How did you tell a man that someone he counted as a friend was a first rate asshole? "Taylor."
Declan sucked in a breath. "Taylor Lake?"
The hard ridge of Declan's jaw stood out in stark profile and his nostrils flared. "Go on."
"We went to a room like this. He bound me to a cross, like I asked. At first, things went well. I was enjoying my time. I'd never done anything like that before." But I wanted to be able to prove to you I was worthy of your attention. "He used a flogger at first, and that was great. I felt wonderful. Then he stopped, and he came back with a cane. I told him I didn't think I was ready for that, but he hit me with it anyway. I gave my safe word. Peanut butter. I said it over and over, but he wouldn't listen. He just kept..." Rex swallowed a sob and bit down on his bottom lip. "He just kept hitting me. And then he took things further."
Taylor hadn't been the first man Rex had bottomed for, but that hadn't been in the plan that night. He remembered Taylor's words, panted hot and heavy in his ear, You knew this would happen if you came here. Admit it, you like this. You want me. You asked for this. But he hadn't known, and he hadn't asked for it, and he hadn't wanted it. And he'd had no way to defend himself, no chance to get away. "I screamed for help," Rex whispered.
Declan kneaded Rex's bunched muscles, ran his hands up to capture Rex's face. "Did no one come?"
To be continued..