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Now Twice As Shy

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Texas had known early on his life that he was an extrovert. He loved being around people, thrived on it, and the more people there were, the better. That was why he made it a habit to go out at least once a week with friends in Berlin, to either a bar or a club, someplace he could get nice and drunk and enjoy himself free of any real-world obligations.

When Harry called him out of the blue as Texas was sitting at the bar waiting to order another drink, that put a bit of a dent in his plans.

“Work thing?” Esther asked curiously as Texas pulled out his phone to look at the caller ID with a grimace.

“Yeah,” he replied, not bothering to elaborate any further on the matter. “It’s fine. I’ll call them back later.” It wasn’t like he’d be able to get away anytime soon if Harry was looking for another unplanned Skype session anyway, so ignoring it for now was the better option.

At least, that’s what Texas told himself. It didn’t mean that he felt any better about shoving his phone back into his pocket without even sending so much as quick text to let Harry know that it wasn’t a good time. Texas was trying to be better about maintaining certain boundaries with his clients. One client in particular.

“Can’t believe you’re still doing that shit,” Esther remarked around the rim of her glass.

Texas lifted an eyebrow. It wasn’t the first time she’d uttered similar sentiments, but it had been a while since she’d voiced any disapproval of his career choices. “It pays good money,” he pointed out, regurgitating the same points of an argument they’d had numerous times before, “and I like doing it. So why would I stop?”

Esther just shook her head and downed the rest of her drink in one go. “I’ll see you on the dance floor,” she said with a wink as she hopped down off her stool, patting Texas on the shoulder as she moved past him to exit the bar area.

The rest of their friends had already dispersed into the writhing mass of people dancing to a brutal electronic beat, but Texas needed to be a lot drunker before he joined them. For whatever reason, though, the bartender on duty had been neglecting him more so than her other patrons—at least, that’s how Texas saw it—and he wasn’t about to go all pushy American on her just to get himself a drink.

The bartender finally wandered back over to him just as Texas’s phone began to buzz in his pocket again. “Vodka Club Mate?” he requested, ignoring the device just long enough to get his order out before extricating his phone from his jeans again.

It was Harry, of course. Texas sighed and placed his phone against his ear, watching with a resigned expression as the bartender mixed his drink.

“Hello?”

Harry sounded a bit breathless when he responded. “I need you to come to London.”

“What?” Texas turned away slightly and put a finger to his other ear, not sure if he’d heard Harry correctly. “This isn’t really a good time to talk right now. I’m not at home; I can barely hear you. Let me call you back?”

“I need you to come to London,” Harry repeated. “Tomorrow.”

It was clear from the cadence of his voice as well as the fact that he’d completely disregarded every part of Texas’s response that something was off. Texas slid off the stool with another sigh and placed a note under his untouched drink. So much for that.

“Did you take something?” Texas questioned as he made his way along the back wall of the club and into the bathrooms, where it was marginally quieter, at least. He ignored the prying stare of the man at the urinal and slipped into one of the stalls to give himself the illusion of privacy.

“No,” Harry replied. “I mean—no, I didn’t take anything. I’m just. Very, very drunk.” He sounded it.

Texas was somewhat relieved to hear that. Harry didn’t strike him as the type to indulge in harder substances, but he was an internationally-recognized musician-cum-actor with tens of millions of dollars to his name, so who knew what he really got up to in his free time.

“Are you at home?” Texas asked next.

“Yeah.”

Good. “Can you get yourself a glass of water?” Texas continued. “I want you to drink it and then get into bed, okay?” He didn’t think Harry would refuse; he knew from experience that his dom voice could tame even the unruliest of drunks. “I’ll call you tomorrow, all right? We can work things out when you’re sobered up.”

Harry murmured something unintelligible in his ear before hanging up. Texas decided to take that as an agreement and pocketed his phone once more, reassured this time that he wouldn’t be interrupted again.

Texas was still a bit stressed about the phone call when he finally found Esther again on the dance floor as she’d promised.

“What took you so long?” she asked as she looped her arms around his neck and pulled him in close.

Texas shrugged and swayed along to the beat of the song that had started playing just as he’d walked over. “Kevin forgot to pay the internet bill,” he lied. “It’s sorted out now.”

Despite his best efforts to forget about Harry and enjoy his night out, Texas couldn’t help but dwell on the fact that Harry apparently wanted him to come to London—presumably to work—and that realization had him feeling a bit off-kilter for the rest of the evening.

There was still something bothering Texas about the whole thing, though, and it was that niggling feeling that soured the anticipation he would have otherwise basked in. Why had Harry been so plastered when he called?

When Texas finally got home a few hours later, he contemplated using the emergency contact number Harry had given him for his security team and having someone go check on Harry in person. But that felt like crossing a line, and it certainly wasn’t any of his business what Harry got up to on the weekends. He was probably fine, and Texas was more than likely worrying over nothing at all.

His worries only lasted as long as it took to jam the key into the busted lock on their front door and jimmy it open. Once inside, Texas headed straight for his bedroom, flopped down face-first into bed, and passed out almost instantly.

Texas was woken up a few hours later by a loud pounding on his bedroom door that echoed painfully within his sore skull.

“What?” he called out, assuming his roommate must have actually forgotten to pay one of their shared bills like he’d told Esther last night. It wasn’t an uncommon phenomenon, unfortunately.

“There’s someone outside waiting for you,” Kevin said through the door after finally letting up on the knocking.

Texas rolled over and sat up against the wall. “Who?” he demanded. He didn’t have any plans for the day. One glance at his alarm clock informed him that it was far too early for plans.

“I don’t know, man, but he said you’re supposed to be at the airport in an hour.”

Texas’s brain shorted out for a few seconds. It took him longer than it would have had he been fully awake to make the connection between the man outside waiting to take him to the airport and Harry’s phone call from last night, demanding that he come to London.

For a moment, Texas allowed himself to bask in the temporary shock of realization. Then he saw red.

Texas went to the door and wrenched it open to find Kevin still standing there on the other side. “Tell him I’ll be out in fifteen,” he said before just as quickly shutting it again and turning around to figure out what he needed to take with him on a last-minute trip out of the country.

But that wasn’t all Texas was focused on. He had his phone pressed against his shoulder even as he started packing and couldn’t help grinding his teeth as he threw clothes into a suitcase and waited for the call to connect.

“Are you at the airport yet?” Harry asked immediately upon picking up.

Texas froze for a second. “Seriously?”

“I suppose that’s a no.”

Texas wished he had the fortitude to say no—really say no, as in telling the guy outside to fuck off and then telling Harry to fuck off, too, because this was violating every rule that Texas had set for himself when he first started working as a professional dom.

“Why did you book a plane ticket without telling me?” Texas demanded. He was doing his best to keep a measured tone but wasn’t so sure he was succeeding.

Harry didn’t seem the least bit fazed by his reaction. “I did tell you,” he replied. “Last night on the phone. You have plenty of time to get to the airport, so it’s fine.”

“It’s not fine—” Texas started to say, but Harry cut him off before he could finish.

“Just bring enough clothes for a week,” Harry advised him. “I should have anything else you need. There should be some cash in the back of the car as well, so you don’t need to worry about exchanges.”

Texas stopped what he was doing after hearing that and took a deep breath. “What if I had other clients booked?” he pointed out. “You can’t just ship me off to meet you whenever you want. That’s not how this works. I thought you understood that.” He’d thought (mistakenly, it seemed) that Harry was nothing like the bratty, self-centered celebrities who got a taste of fame in their youth and were inevitably corrupted by it, but now Texas was wondering if he’d been wrong about Harry all along.

Harry still sounded oddly calm about the whole thing when he finally replied. “Do you have other clients?” he asked quietly.

Despite how angry he was, Texas couldn’t bring himself to lie to Harry. “No,” he reluctantly admitted.

“Great,” Harry said. “I’ll double your pay from last time we met in person. Call me when you land.” And then he hung up.

The car service Harry had sent to pick him up was absurdly luxurious, but that didn’t stop Texas from sulking in the back of the vehicle all the way to the airport, refusing to engage with the driver’s attempts at making pleasant conversation as they drove.

Over the course of the nearly two-hour flight, Texas’s smoldering anger slowly began to burn away and was swiftly replaced by a persistent simmering anxiety instead, and no matter how he tried to distract himself, he couldn’t seem to shake it.

His qualms about the entire situation aside, Texas dutifully called Harry as soon as they were cleared to do so upon landing.

“I wasn’t sure when you were going to arrive exactly,” Harry explained into his ear as Texas pulled his carry-on out of the compartment overhead before deplaning with the rest of the passengers. “I can send someone to come pick you up if you don’t mind waiting.”

“I’ll take a cab,” Texas replied flatly. “What’s the address?”

“Oh.” If Texas wasn’t mistaken, there was something akin to chagrin in Harry’s voice for the first time since before he’d drunk-dialed Texas the night before. “I’ll give you the address when you’re ready to give it to the cabbie, then.”

Texas was equal parts bewildered and annoyed as he made his way through the bustling airport. He’d never been to Heathrow before, but he’d done a fair amount of traveling, so he was operating mostly on autopilot as he grabbed his luggage from baggage reclaim before heading straight for the blue customs exit.

“What,” he demanded loudly, causing the woman ahead of him in line to jump at the sound, “are you worried I’m going to make a run for it or something?”

“No,” Harry protested, but he stubbornly didn’t offer up an address as a follow-up.

Texas sighed. “Which one of us is supposed to be in charge again?” he asked carefully.

Harry laughed but still refused to back down.

Texas kept Harry on the line all the way through customs and out of the airport, where he had only a bit of trouble hailing a cab. Once in the back of the car, Texas ignored the cabbie’s look of confusion and handed the man his phone. “He’ll give you the address,” he explained. And then, “Happy?” directed at Harry once the phone had been returned to him.

There were a few beats of silence, and then suddenly, the purpose of Harry keeping him on the line for seemingly no reason at all became all-too clear.

“I’d be happier if you were inside me already,” Harry replied with an exaggerated moan.

Texas lifted his other hand to shield the receiver, paranoid that the cabbie might hear. He’d never engaged in phone sex in public before, and it was normally something he’d talk about with a client before doing, but Harry had thrown the whole rule book out the window this time around, and Texas had to choose whether to swim or drown.

There was a third option, of course: getting out of the water entirely. But Texas didn’t contemplate that one for much more than a millisecond before just as quickly discarding it.

“Yeah?” Texas replied calmly. He glanced into the rear-view mirror, checking to make sure that the cabbie was still intent on the road instead of what Texas was up to in the backseat. “Guess you’ll have to make do until I get there.”

“Could open myself up for you,” Harry panted into the receiver. “Could use just my fingers. Could use a toy and pretend it’s you instead.”

“The second option sounds good,” Texas said in a perfectly placid voice. It was getting harder and harder (no pun intended) to ignore the building pressure in the front of his jeans, but he was going to have to manage. He certainly wasn’t about to pull out his dick in the back of a cab in broad daylight.

There were a series of muffled noises on the other end of the call, and then Harry’s breathing again, directly into the speaker, loud enough that Texas pulled his phone away from his ear instinctively. Unfortunately, it was at that exact moment that Harry chose to let out another exaggerated moan, and Texas was mortified when he realized he could still hear it with the phone a few inches away from his head.

Texas quickly adjusted the call volume and glued the phone back to his ear. “Did you get it?” he asked.

“Uh huh.” Harry drew in a shuddering breath and then whimpered into Texas’s ear. “Didn’t even open myself up first,” he said. “Wanted to feel full.”

“I bet.” There was only so much that Texas could say without making it clear to the cabbie what he was up to, so he stayed silent for most of the next few minutes, just listening with his eyes closed to Harry fuck himself on a dildo and trying very, very hard not to pop the zipper on his jeans. “I think I’m getting close,” Texas finally said when Harry’s high-pitched whining started to reach its zenith. “What about you?”

Harry was surprisingly coherent when he replied. “So close, please, please, can I come?”

Texas gave it approximately one-point-two seconds of thought. “I don’t know,” he responded flippantly. “You’ve been a bit of a brat lately, haven’t you?”

The last part slipped out without thinking, and by the time the words registered in Texas’s brain, it was already too late to take them back. He lifted his eyes and met the cabbie’s confused gaze in the rear-view mirror, and under normal circumstances, Texas might have had enough self-respect to feel embarrassed about the verbal hiccup. As it stood now, he was simply too fucking hard to care.

“I’m almost there,” Texas reminded Harry. He was pretty sure, anyway. “I think you can wait.”

Harry whined plaintively in the back of his throat, almost sounding more like a wounded animal than a person. “Please,” he cried out, but Texas knew he wasn’t asking for permission to come again. “Please, need you, please.”

“I know. But only if you’re good.”

That attracted another suspicious look from the cabbie, who Texas was sure had caught on long ago and was just too polite to say anything. At least he’d get a good story out of it.

Meanwhile, Harry was still babbling in his ear as he edged himself over and over again. “Promise I’ll be good,” he mumbled over the slick sound of the dildo that Texas could now make out in the background. “Please, I’ll be good.”

The half-hour Texas spent in the back of that cab on the way to Harry’s house was by far the longest thirty minutes of his entire life. Harry’s too, if the near-sobbing emanating from the phone by the time the cabbie pulled up to the gate was any indication.

“Come on, come on, come on.” Texas found himself muttering under his breath as the car finally slowed to a stop. He flung a portion of the cash he’d suddenly found himself in possession of thanks to Harry at the man before fleeing the vehicle in a breathless rush. He didn’t look back as he made his way over to the imposing brick wall, unsure of how to proceed next. “I’m here,” he told Harry, not even sure if he was capable of processing that information—and that was a lapse in responsibility that Texas knew he’d beat himself up for later. But for now….

“The gate’s unlocked,” Harry told him in between gasping breaths.

“Is that safe?” Texas wondered as he tried the handle and found that it was indeed open.

“I don’t care,” Harry replied. “There’s a bedroom on the second story. First door on the left. Hurry.” And with that, the line went dead.

Texas shoved his phone into his backpack for safekeeping and jogged across the yard to the front door. Once inside, he dropped his luggage right there and spared only a few seconds to toe off his shoes before racing upstairs.

It took him a moment to remember that the second story meant something different to Harry than it did to Texas (who really should have known better after years of living in Europe, but that was beside the point), and he found himself climbing a second set of stairs after opening the first door on the left only to find a vacant room full of gym equipment inside.

Once Texas ascended to the top floor, he found Harry exactly where he’d said he’d be: lying naked on a bed with a dildo in his ass looking every bit as debauched as he’d sounded over the phone.

“Put your hands over your head,” Texas ordered in a measured tone, catching Harry’s attention and jolting him out of the fevered reverie of fucking himself with no end in sight. “Knees against your chest.”

Harry rolled over onto his back and assumed the requested position. By the time Texas had managed to tear off his clothes and jump onto the bed, Harry’s limbs were shaking from the effort of holding himself in place, but he didn’t utter a single sound of protest as Texas pressed his knees down even harder, until he was literally folded in half.

“Condom?” Texas asked, hovering over Harry without making any move to pull the dildo out.

Harry stared up at him with wide eyes. “Do we need one?” he asked breathlessly.

Texas didn’t answer him. He went for the lube instead, already sitting on the bedside table thanks to Harry getting started without him. Texas didn’t bother to draw out the process of slicking up his cock, and as soon as he pulled the dildo out of Harry, he replaced it with his dick, punching out a soft gasp in the process.

Texas didn’t ask if Harry was okay as he fucked into him with testing thrusts, grinding in deep as he stared directly into Harry’s eyes. His rhythm quickly turned frantic, with his only goal in getting himself off. Texas didn’t so much as touch Harry’s dick once, but Harry came anyway less than five minutes later, before Texas had even gotten close.

Harry was little more than a ragdoll underneath him after that, his eyes glossy and red-rimmed from his earlier tears. Texas didn’t break eye contact as he continued to rut away inside Harry’s ass, finally emptying himself after a few more minutes of frantic thrusting that left him breathless and aching from the effort of it all once he’d recovered enough from his orgasm to register the discomfort.

Texas had collapsed on top of Harry after he came, utterly exhausted, and even after he’d regained his senses he didn’t bother to move, instead just breathing in the scent of Harry’s sweat and the bleachy tang of both their come.

“You good?” Texas finally asked as he shifted down a bit so that he wasn’t smothering Harry.

Harry hummed a soft sound of acknowledgment against his neck. “Yeah,” he sighed. “Wanna stay here for a minute.”

“Okay.”

They laid there until Texas couldn’t take the stickiness of their combined bodily fluids slowly gluing them together any longer. He carefully peeled himself off of Harry and then helped him out of bed, and it was Harry who led them both out of the room, down the hall, and into an even larger bedroom with an attached en-suite bathroom.

The shower was massive, and Texas couldn’t help but marvel at the rainfall showerhead that easily covered both his and Harry’s bodies as they stood under the spray. No fighting over who got to stand in the hot water, then.

Texas didn’t have an agenda for showering other than getting clean, but Harry was almost overly affectionate as Texas attempted to scrub the sweat and come off of him. Texas endured the eager canoodling at first, but then Harry’s hand slipped down from his waist to between his thighs and immediately started working at getting Texas hard again.

Texas grabbed Harry by the wrist reflexively and shoved him hard against the wall. “Why did you want me to come to London so fucking bad?” he demanded, keeping Harry pinned there as the water continued to cascade over them.

Harry grimaced. “You’re not going to be happy about it,” he replied as he futilely blinked away the water from his eyes.

“Do I seem happy now?” Texas snapped back with a venomous glare.

Harry sucked in a deep breath before answering, but he didn’t look any less pained as he did so. “I might have told someone about you,” he explained slowly.

“What do you mean?”

Harry wiggled a little bit under Texas’s hands and gave a half-hearted shrug. “Like, I told them we were—you know, together?”

Texas scrunched up his eyebrows in confusion. “Why the hell would you do that?”

Harry tilted his head down to softly bite at where Texas’s wrist was exposed just underneath his jaw. Like a kitten. “It’s complicated,” he said, so quietly that Texas could barely hear him over the sound of the shower.

“So explain it,” Texas replied.

“I will, but just—” Harry writhed around in Texas’s hold until he managed to get a hand around Texas’s cock again, the slick line of his body feeling even hotter than the water pouring down over their shoulders somehow. “After this,” he said, and Texas had no choice but to let Harry go so he could get on his knees and take Texas into his mouth.

The shower wasn’t exactly the best place for a blowjob, but Texas certainly wasn’t going anywhere once his dick was down the back of Harry’s throat. He braced himself shakily against the tiles and hoped to god that neither of them would end up slipping in the process.

The orgasm was an effective distraction; Texas didn’t feel the need to confront Harry again until after they’d gotten out of the shower, dressed, and then made their way downstairs for some post-coital snacks.

“Tea?” Harry offered as he busied himself in the kitchen.

“Not really into it,” Texas declined. He ignored the look of hurt on Harry’s face after hearing that. There were more important things to focus on at present. “So?” he challenged. “Still waiting on that explanation.”

Harry pursed his lips and quickly finished pouring himself a cup of tea before sitting down at the kitchen table across from Texas. He clutched onto the mug between his palms like it was a lifeline, his expression stormy as he opened his mouth to finally answer.

“Remember when we first met,” he began, “and I told you that I was sleeping with other people?”

Texas nodded. “Yeah, I remember.”

“Well, that hasn’t really changed,” Harry continued, “but one of the people I was with at the time—actually, the one I’ve been with the longest, like since I was nineteen—he….” Harry’s frown went pinched. He wrinkled his nose and started again. “He started seeing someone recently, so we slowed down a bit—which was fine at first because of work and stuff—but now it’s getting kind of serious, I suppose.”

“Okay.” So far, Texas was still following along.

“He wants me to meet his boyfriend,” Harry said all in one breath. “So I asked him if I could bring my new boyfriend, too.”

Texas just blinked back at Harry. He didn’t have a clue how to respond to that.

Harry barreled forward without waiting for Texas to come up with a suitable reply. “You were the only person I could think of who wouldn’t immediately tip Nick off that something was up if I asked them to come?” he said apologetically. “And I thought it wouldn’t be hard to pretend like we’re dating since we do pretty much everything that I do with my other partners anyway.”

Texas didn’t allow himself to dwell on the last part of Harry’s statement. “Why didn’t you just ask me?” he demanded with a heavy sigh.

Harry finally lifted his mug to his lips and then quickly lowered it again with a quiet hiss of pain. “Ouch,” he muttered to himself before answering Texas. “I thought it would be easier to explain things once you were already here,” he replied. “And it was all kind of last minute anyway.”

Texas narrowed his eyes. “How last minute?”

That was how Texas ended up in the passenger seat of Harry’s fucking Jaguar a few hours later, the two of them on their way to meet Nick and his new boyfriend on what essentially amounted to a fake date. That Texas was being paid for. It reminded him a little unpleasantly of his sugaring days, which had technically never been something he hated doing even though the power differential had always left him with a somewhat unpleasant taste in his mouth afterwards.

It didn’t help that Harry had taken him out shopping first at some high-end department store so that Texas would have something nicer to wear than the handful of casual outfits he’d stuffed into his suitcase before getting on the plane. He’d enjoyed the excursion more than he’d expected to, but that could probably be chalked up to the fact that Harry had ended up going down on him again in the dressing room about halfway through.

Texas was mildly grateful that he was still too annoyed by Harry’s presumptuousness to actually be at all nervous about the prospect of meeting one of his former partners. This had all felt a lot less real when he was still back in his shitty apartment in Berlin, absently making plans to move his whole life out to Los Angeles without actually having to face the consequences of being a part of Harry’s everyday life.

The two of them had established a system before at Harry’s behest when they’d gone shopping, and they implemented it again on the way into the restaurant. Harry got out of the car first, walked a good twenty paces to make sure he wasn’t going to be set upon by paparazzi or fans, and then Texas was allowed to get out and follow him inside.

Texas’s feelings weren’t hurt by the charade. He understood the necessity, and in any case, Harry was every bit as affectionate as he normally was once they’d taken their seats in a secluded corner of the dining room.

“Do you do all that with everyone?” Texas wondered. He was careful to keep his tone from sounding accusatory. He was curious more than anything. “Aren’t you basically out now or whatever?”

Harry shrugged. “It’s easier for the people I’m with,” he replied nonchalantly. “And I’d rather not give the people at my label a heart attack, honestly.”

Texas nodded. It seemed like there was more to it than that, but he didn’t want to pry. Harry was just a client, after all.

Texas finally picked up the menu and started to look over the options available. He preferred to be prepared well in advance to have his order taken. He had no qualms about ordering something pricey, so he decided on a dressed lobster before turning to evaluate Harry’s progress.

“Know what you want?” Texas asked.

Harry made a face as he examined his own menu. “I don’t know whether to go for something light, or….”

Texas’s eyes widened in realization. “Just get whatever you want,” he encouraged. “We don’t have to—right after. Or we can do something else first, and then….”

Harry nodded sullenly. “Fucking hate having to plan meals around getting fucked,” he muttered to himself.

Texas frowned sympathetically. He’d never been that eager to bottom, but he could imagine that for someone like Harry, who seemed up for having something in his ass at any and all times, going out to eat as a precursor to sex was probably a lot less exciting when all you could order was a salad or some very unadventurous pasta.

“Go ahead and get something big,” Texas insisted. “You already know I’m not squeamish.”

Harry sighed and set the menu down. “All right,” he agreed. “But if we have an ‘accident’ later, it’s your fault.”

Texas couldn’t help but laugh at that, though it was, to be fair, a valid concern.

They ended up waiting an ungodly amount of time for Nick and his (as Harry described him: stupidly fit) new boyfriend to show, and in the meantime, Harry didn’t become any less handsy with Texas under the table.

Texas gave Harry a warning glance just the once, figuring he would stop after that, but he didn’t. Texas didn’t have the opportunity to reprimand him for the continued brattiness, though, because just as he opened his mouth, Harry’s grip on his thigh suddenly tensed, leading Texas to follow Harry’s gaze until he spotted the two men quickly weaving through the mess of tables to their booth in the corner.

“That’s them?” Texas asked.

Harry nodded, his eyebrows creasing into a worried frown that Texas didn’t have time to smooth away.

Texas stood up to greet Nick and his boyfriend as they approached. They were both wearing warm smiles, and Texas wasn’t exactly shy, so he had no qualms about extending his hand toward the man he knew was Nick from Harry’s brief description earlier, who accepted the handshake heartily before moving out of the way so that his boyfriend, Mesh, could do the same.

Harry made no such gesture, and for whatever reason, stayed silent throughout their introductions, leaving Texas to more or less fend for himself.

“Harry,” Nick said imperiously as he took a cursory glance at the menu laid out in front of him, “you met Mesh before, right? When we first got together?”

“Once,” Harry said tightly. His hand had returned to Texas’s thigh now that they were both seated again—or rather, now that Texas had sat back down, as Harry hadn’t even bothered to get up in the first place.

“Yeah,” Mesh added with a little laugh. “I was a bit starstruck back then, to be honest. I think I’m only finally getting used to that sort of thing now, actually, thanks to Nick trying to introduce me to every famous face in London.”

“Hazards of the job, darling,” Nick purred.

Harry didn’t say anything. When Texas glanced over, he found Harry pretending to study his menu intently, his hand still gripping Texas’s thigh for dear life. Texas decided not to try and coax him into participating before he was ready.

“Meeting celebrities doesn’t seem that hazardous,” Texas replied.

Nick crooked an eyebrow. “Then you must not have met very many,” he shot back. “Our dear Harold here is somewhat of an outlier. The rest are all a bunch of selfish, entitled tossers. But you didn’t hear that from me, of course.”

“No,” Texas agreed easily. “Of course not.”

They found themselves interrupted a few seconds later by a waitress coming by to take their drink orders, and then Nick somehow ended up telling both Texas and Harry Mesh’s entire life story while he sat there smiling bashfully under the heaps of praise his boyfriend was piling upon him.

Meanwhile, Harry’s grip on Texas’s thigh grew ever tighter, to the point where Texas had to suppress the urge to wince as the pressure turned from mildly uncomfortable to legitimately painful.

Thankfully, it was that exact moment that Nick decided to stop gushing about his long-term boyfriend and changed the subject to ask about Texas himself instead.

“I didn’t expect you to be American,” Nick commented off-handedly as he delicately sipped his cocktail.

Harry’s hand released its vice-like hold on Texas’s thigh, but he didn’t move it except to slide his fingers up a few centimeters higher, his palm almost brushing against Texas’s crotch under the table. Texas chose to ignore it for the time being.

“Why not?” he asked Nick, curious why his nationality was of such apparent interest.

Nick shrugged, sloshing his drink a little in the process and nearly spilling it onto Mesh, who seemed completely oblivious to the almost-disaster. “I’d just assumed that Harry had already filled his quota for circumcised dicks,” he replied in a shockingly casual tone.

Texas was taken aback by the vulgarity of the comment even knowing Nick and Harry’s background, but Harry seemed less put off by it than he’d been by all the Mesh talk from earlier.

“Ha-ha,” Harry said flatly, jumping into the conversation for the first time since Nick and Mesh had sat down. “Maybe I like the novelty.”

Nick scoffed. “You’d think it’d stop being novel after the tenth one, but what do I know?”

“Maybe you should try it sometime,” Harry replied coolly as he picked up his menu and began examining it again with renewed focus.

Instead of coming back with a snappy retort, Nick just glanced over at Texas and made a face that he wasn’t sure how to interpret before picking up his menu as well. Mesh chose that exact moment to set his down, his expression bright-eyed and earnest as though the previous conversation hadn’t happened at all.

“How did you two meet?” Mesh asked, glancing curiously at Texas and Harry in turn as he waited for an answer.

Texas looked over at Harry as well, and the two of them exchanged a loaded glance.

“We hooked up when I was in Berlin for a work thing,” Harry managed to get out just before the waitress dashed over a second time to refill their drinks and take their meal orders.

Texas opted for the dressed lobster, like he’d discussed with Harry before Nick arrived, and Nick dithered for another minute after him before finally deciding on the seafood stew. Mesh was next, and he immediately requested the house salad, which left only Harry to offer up his choice.

Texas watched as Harry screwed up his face in concentration before looking up at the waitress again and asking for a single sampler platter of sushi. Texas wondered if Harry had made that decision based on the fact that Mesh had ordered light fare as well and was trying to subliminally communicate to Nick that they were both expecting sex afterward.

Maybe Texas was overthinking things, but after everything that had happened so far, it was hard to be sure of Harry’s intentions.

Texas was relieved when the conversation turned again and finally drifted toward safer waters: mundane topics like what Nick was up to on the radio and Mesh’s new career prospects. Texas noticed that Harry didn’t volunteer much information about his own current projects, and Texas was careful to steer clear of talking about his own job, but luckily for both of them, Nick and Mesh seemed to have no trouble carrying the bulk of the conversation on their own.

Texas was engrossed in listening to a story about the unbelievable shit Mesh saw behind the runway while doing shows when he felt Harry’s hand skim across the seam of his jeans up to the top of his zipper. He didn’t move at first, thinking that maybe it was an accidental touch, but then Harry’s fingers latched onto the zip and pulled hard, and Texas couldn’t ignore what he was doing any longer.

The only problem was that he couldn’t knock Harry’s hand away without drawing attention to what was happening right under Nick and Mesh’s noses. Instead, he very carefully slid his hand beneath the table while Harry continued to undo his pants, and once Texas was confident that neither Nick nor Mesh could see, he wrapped his hand around Harry’s fingers and squeezed. Hard.

“Ow!” Harry let out a loud yelp and snatched his hand out of Texas’s grip, looking emotionally wounded as well as physically.

Nick and Mesh both stopped talking and looked at Harry in concern. “Are you all right?” Mesh asked.

Harry stared at Texas with a hurt expression for a second longer before sliding along their side of the booth and weakly shoving at him. “I need to use the loo,” he said stiffly without explaining why.

Texas moved out of the way to let him by and then stared after him without sitting back down. He hadn’t decided whether it would be better to let him lick his wounds in private or….

“What was that about?” Nick wondered, his voice cutting through Texas’s musing.

Texas glanced over at Nick and Mesh for a second before turning his attention to Harry’s retreating back again, following him with his eyes until Harry finally disappeared into the bathroom, the bright red door swinging shut behind him.

“I should probably go check on him,” Texas decided. “He might be sick or something.”

When Texas reached the men’s bathroom, he found Harry bent over at one of the sinks, red-faced and splashing water onto his cheeks. Texas paused just inside the doorway, allowing Harry enough time to realize that he was there before marching straight up to him and pulling him into the handicapped stall.

Texas pushed Harry up against the wall, his hand cupped firmly around Harry’s throat. “We shouldn’t have to have a discussion about what constitutes appropriate boundaries,” Texas reminded him. “If you wanted to have sex in public, then fine, but it’s something we should have agreed on first.”

And not just as a way to get back at your ex, Texas thought to himself.

Texas hadn’t come into the bathroom anticipating anything but a short lecture before returning to their meal, but now that he had Harry pinned and could feel the way his heartbeat was thudding in his throat, his breath recognizably shallow—he was having other thoughts.

“You want more?” Texas asked him, guessing (correctly) that Harry was into being held like this, into not being able to catch a full breath past the pressure of Texas’s hand on his windpipe.

Harry nodded. Texas pressed down harder.

Texas had a hand inside the front of Harry’s pants within seconds, the flared trousers making it easy to wrap his fingers around Harry’s cock as he applied careful pressure to Harry’s jugular. He could hear Harry gasping into his ear as he jerked him off roughly, with none of the finesse he might have used if they’d been alone in Harry’s bedroom with all the time in the world to drag things out until Harry couldn’t take anymore.

With a hand on his throat and one in his pants, it didn’t take long for Harry to come in his underwear. Texas pulled back his waistband far enough to get his hand out without leaving any unsightly stains on the front of Harry’s clothes, but as soon as he was free and clear, he let the fabric snap back into place and used his other hand to give Harry a humiliating pat right on the crotch, where he could feel the warmth from Harry’s come already seeping slowly through the layers of cotton and corduroy.

“Leave it,” Texas said in a forbidding tone when Harry started to lean over to gather up a bit of toilet paper.

Harry withdrew obediently, but Texas still grabbed him by the collar as he opened the stall door and shoved him out first. The two of them nearly collided into an elderly man who just gaped at them both before fleeing into the next stall over. Texas could hardly hide his smirk as they washed their hands at the sink before undertaking the long march across the dining room back to their table; he watched Harry waddling uncomfortably in his pants from behind the whole way there and felt nothing but smug satisfaction.

“Everything all right?” Nick inquired as they sat back down again.

“Peachy,” Harry replied in a short tone. He immediately picked up the conversation he’d interrupted with his outburst earlier as though nothing had happened, impressing even Texas, who had already lost the thread of whatever Mesh had been telling them by the time he decided to follow Harry to the bathroom.

After their hybrid lunch-dinner meal, Harry’s mood went from bad to worse. He wouldn’t shut up in the car on the drive back, venting continuously about how Mesh and Nick acted and interjecting comments about why things were better before Nick decided to grow up and have an adult relationship.

“Before this nonsense with Mesh,” Harry told him, “Nick would have at least been up for a threesome.”

Texas frowned throughout it all, but he didn’t attempt to interrupt Harry’s ranting. When he was confident Harry had gotten the majority of it out of his system, he finally spoke up.

“Were you in love with him?” he asked in a soft voice. “Is that why you’re taking this so hard?”

Harry glanced over at Texas with a mildly annoyed expression, like he couldn’t believe Texas had even deigned to ask him something like that. “I’m not in love with Nick,” he snapped. “I just liked it better when Nick was in love with me.”

Texas couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow at that. He chose not to respond, though, sensing that Harry’s sour mood would take some time to finally fizzle out. Still, he found himself wondering as they continued the long drive back to Harry’s house just what happened to the sweet little sub who liked it so much when Texas called him baby. Because the Harry Texas was riding in the car with now was almost unrecognizable.

The sun was already starting to set when Harry pulled into his driveway, parked, and got out of the car without saying a word. Texas followed him inside and was still in the process of taking off his shoes in the front room when he decided to break the silence.

“You feeling up for a scene tonight?” he asked. Texas would understand if Harry said no, and he would know if Harry lied and said he was up for it if he wasn’t, but there was a chance that letting himself go completely for an hour or two would help put an end to whatever funk Harry was currently in the throes of. And if Texas was planning to spend an extended amount of time with him, it was better that they put a stop to that now, rather than waiting for it to dissipate on its own.

Harry looked genuinely intrigued when Texas glanced up to measure his reaction. “We just ate,” he pointed out, but it wasn’t a no.

Privately, Texas wasn’t planning on letting Harry get fucked at all tonight, but he didn’t mind spacing things out a bit. “We can wait a little while,” Texas replied easily.

Harry nodded. “Okay,” he said. “Then yeah. I’d like that.” He extended a hand for Texas to take and then led him upstairs into his bedroom—his actual bedroom, not the playroom that he’d been using earlier when Texas had fucked him into the mattress upon arrival.

“What are our plans?” Texas wondered as Harry climbed onto the bed. “Card games and jigsaw puzzles until your bowels decide to favor us?”

Harry snorted and tugged one of the blankets up over his body. He patted the empty spot in the bed next to him and waited for Texas to get in before leaning over and picking up a remote from the nightstand. “Netflix and chill?” he joked.

Texas rolled his eyes. “What are we watching?” he asked. He shifted a bit, trying to find the most comfortable position to lay in without disturbing Harry too much. It was always difficult to get used to a new bed, even more so when there was someone else already in it.

“Great British Bake Off?” Harry replied hopefully.

Texas shrugged in what he hoped was an accommodating manner. “Never watched it before, but I’m down.”

Harry looked relieved by Texas’s acquiescence and quickly turned on the show, which was a lot more entertaining than Texas would have expected from the title.

They watched only a single episode while waiting out Harry’s digestive processes; once it was over, Harry proclaimed that he felt ready for a shower, which was a code word Texas was very familiar with by now.

“Can I have a look at the stuff in the other room?” Texas asked as Harry climbed out of bed, referring to the stock of play items he’d only just gotten a glimpse of when he was in the other room earlier.

Harry paused with his hand braced against the doorway. “Feel free to use anything you like,” he said pointedly before disappearing into the bathroom.

Texas wasn’t sure if Harry’s blanket permission extended only to what he kept inside the playroom or if it meant he was welcome to use other things inside the house as well, but he decided this time to play it safe.

Thankfully, Harry seemed to keep a healthy stock of items on hand that Texas could imagine putting to good use. He was surprised by the variety, actually, even though Harry’s list of kinks that intrigued him had been extensive enough in his own right. It was hard to say just how much mileage Harry got out of any of the items, though, and Texas wanted to introduce him to something new.

It didn’t take long for Texas to discover the wax play kit, still in its original packaging. Pain was good. Pain was perfect, actually, especially after Harry’s behavior back at the restaurant. A little bit of physical punishment was what he needed.

Harry took a little longer in the shower than Texas required to get everything in place, but it was fine. When he finally came into the playroom, his hair still damp and curling loosely around his ears, Texas had all the necessary implements set up and ready to go.

There was a pad on the bed for easy clean-up, and Texas had made no attempt to disguise the candles or long-reach lighter he’d set down on the bedside table. It didn’t take long for Harry’s eyes to alight on the wax play supplies, but it was another second or two before his eyes widened as he noticed the knife sitting out next to the lighter.

Texas moved forward and took Harry’s hand. He pulled him closer to the bed and then reached down to undo the towel wrapped around his hips. “Have you ever done wax play before?” he asked. It was obvious that Harry had never used these particular items, but that didn’t mean he hadn’t been introduced to it elsewhere.

Texas was pleased when Harry slowly shook his head. “No,” he replied, “but I’ve always wanted to try it.”

“Guess it’s your lucky day, then.”

Texas gently pushed Harry down onto the bed so that he was seated with Texas standing between his legs. He maneuvered Harry’s arm until it was extended out toward him and tapped the underside, signaling for him to keep it there.

“First me,” Texas said, “then you.” He lit one of the candles and waited as the wax started to pool around the wick. When he’d determined there was enough, he held out his own arm and poured a few drops onto his wrist, only flinching a little at the pain. “It’ll hurt more here than on your back,” he explained, “so if you can stand it on your wrist, you should be able to handle anything I give you.”

Harry shivered a little but looked no less eager as he waited for the wax to dribble out onto his own wrist. When it hit his skin, he hissed a little, his arm jerking away instinctively as the wax instantly hardened.

“Okay?” Texas checked as he set the candle back down, still lit for use later.

Harry nodded.

Texas believed him, but he gently turned Harry’s arm back over to look at the splash of purple on his wrist. Satisfied that he hadn’t been burned or otherwise injured, Texas slowly reached for the knife on the bedside table, keeping his eyes connected with Harry’s and his other hand still securely holding Harry’s wrist.

“If it’s too much, we can use something dull instead, like a butter knife,” Texas offered. There had been a low level of apprehension in Harry’s eyes since the second he spotted the knife upon entering the room, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Texas was intimately familiar with Harry’s need to push himself to his limits, and he had a feeling this would do the trick nicely. “I just prefer to use something sharper because I’ve found it enhances the sensory experience of removing the wax.”

The knife Texas had chosen was a curved paring knife, small enough to be wielded with the delicacy required for the task, and with a curved edge to keep Harry from being accidentally pricked by the tip. Texas had tested the sharpness on a tomato he’d found in Harry’s kitchen; it had cut through the flesh with ease. It was, in any context, a highly dangerous implement to use on human skin, but Texas had been around the block more than a few times and he was confident in his abilities to make sure that Harry was safe.

But if Harry wasn’t comfortable with it, Texas wouldn’t push him.

Harry stared contemplatively at the wax on his wrist for several more seconds before looking up at Texas again, his expression no less wary than it had before. “Can you show me on you first?” he asked in a small voice.

Texas nodded and let go of Harry so he could carefully scrape away the dried wax on his own arm with the knife blade. It was more awkward that it would have been if he’d been doing it to Harry instead, but it was easy enough to remove it without any mishaps. “Good?” Texas asked once he was through.

Harry’s face had finally relaxed a bit, but he still seemed unsure as he offered his arm out to Texas again. “Go slow?” he asked meekly.

“Of course,” Texas replied with a smile. There was an unavoidable head rush that overwhelmed him after getting Harry’s confirmation that he trusted Texas enough to do this to him, and Texas had to pause for a moment to collect himself before bringing the edge of the knife to Harry’s skin. “Don’t move,” Texas warned as he slowly dragged it flat across Harry’s wrist, peeling the dried wax in one careful stroke.

Harry’s breathing quickened, but he remained stock-still as the blade moved over his wrist.

“Still green?” Texas checked.

“Yeah,” Harry replied quickly. “Yes.”

Texas could tell he was already starting to feel it, already starting to space out a little bit just from this much. “Ready for more?”

Harry nodded. He was perfectly pliant as Texas helped him get into position on his stomach before securing his wrists and ankles using the cuffs that had already been attached to the bedrails before Texas had arrived.

There was a bit of prep-work involved in making sure that Harry was ready for what was to come next. Texas made sure that he was relaxed and comfortable after pulling the cuffs taut, mainly to make sure that he would squirm too much and risk splashing wax onto somewhere it wasn’t supposed to go. As an extra precaution, Texas carefully covered Harry’s dick and balls with a cloth just to make doubly sure there weren’t any unexpected accidents.

“Still with me?” Texas asked once Harry was splayed out flat with his head tilted to one side, staring directly at where the candles were laid out so that he could see what Texas was doing. If it hadn’t been his first time, Texas would have wanted to blindfold him, but he figured it was better to take things one step at a time for now.

Harry was breathing heavily through his nose as he nodded, but he still looked more blissed out than nervous.

The purple candle Texas had lit to test on Harry and himself was still burning, but all of the candles were a lot less girthier than he would have liked, so Texas lit the pink one as well before setting it down next to the first to collect a reservoir of hot wax to use later.

Texas had contemplated giving Harry a play-by-play of everything he was planning to do, but at this point, he didn’t think Harry needed the handholding, especially not when he could see what Texas was using and when.

Texas left both candles burning on the bedside table at the start, in plain view where Harry could see. But Harry still flinched at the first point of contact as Texas scratched a blunt fingernail along the ridge of Harry’s spine, like the touch itself was just as hot as the melted wax Texas had poured onto his wrist before.

Texas continued without pausing, drawing elaborate patterns of Harry’s back, thighs, and ass, leaving shallow welts in his wake and essentially forecasting to Harry without words just where he planned to use the wax.

After he’d finished, he gave Harry a few seconds to adjust before moving on. Texas watched as Harry’s back heaved with each inhalation, the scratches he’d left almost looking like evidence of pagan worship against Harry’s skin. The contrast would only be more apparent when Texas spilled the brightly colored wax onto Harry’s skin over the lines and whorls he’d left with his fingers, and he was eager to see it.

Texas decided to start with the purple candle. He dripped the pool of wax along the scratches he’d left over Harry’s spine, his ribs, around the divots in his lower back, in the creases at the tops of his thighs, and down along the backs of each femur to the hollows of his knees. By the time he ran out of wax, there was a sloppy approximation of Harry’s own anatomy painted over his skin in sharp contrast to the paleness of his skin, but Texas wasn’t done.

He picked up the pink candle next, and this time the designs were more fluid, tracing over the spirals and loops that Texas had left on Harry’s body, nonsensical designs that crossed over and around the lines of violet that had already dried.

There was one place that Texas hadn’t explored with his fingernails first, but it was a target he found too tempting to pass over now that it had caught his eye. He moved slowly and carefully, giving Harry time to word out or pause the scene if he needed it, but not a single peep escaped Harry’s lips as Texas spread him open and dripped wax methodically down the cleft of his ass and directly over his hole.

Harry had been relatively still throughout the entire process, too spaced out from the pain to do much more than mumble lowly under his breath and give the occasional weak twitch whenever Texas strayed close to his armpits or ribs. But when the wax began to spill onto the exposed rim of his asshole, Harry’s body jerked violently against his restraints, and a strangled gurgle poured out of his throat, causing Texas to immediately tip the candle upright again.

“Green?” Texas asked. He used his free hand to smooth some of the hair away from Harry’s eyes, and his fingers came away damp.

Harry gave a short nod. “Green,” he confirmed in a voice that sounded almost nothing like his own.

Texas decided to shift gears after that. He set the pink candle back down amongst the rest and picked up the knife instead. This was going to be the most difficult part of their scene, and if Harry moved now, it would be very, very bad for both of them.

Texas crouched down low, his hand heavy against the center of Harry’s back. “I need you to stay relaxed for me, okay? I’m going to be very careful, and I promise not to hurt you, but you need to tell me the second you feel like you want to stop. It’s going to feel like it did on your wrist, but you might be more sensitive, so I’m going to hold you down while I do it, okay?”

Harry nodded dreamily. His eyes were a bit unfocused, and Texas wasn’t sure he’d fully processed everything he’d heard.

“Harry? Can you repeat what I just said?”

“I need to be still,” Harry replied in a throaty voice, “and relaxed. And you’re going to hold me down just in case.”

Well, that was the gist of it at any rate. Texas smiled and stroked over his hair before standing up and moving to the other side of the bed so he could start.

Texas had done a wax play workshop early into his career as a dom and had been surprised at how much he actually enjoyed the process of removal—both as a top and a bottom. When done with someone who knew their way around a knife, the feeling of the blade scraping over skin was actually rather pleasant, and despite the fact that this scene was ultimately meant to punish Harry, at least in part, Texas had been hired to make Harry feel good through extraordinary means.

Texas knew from experience that it would be almost impossible for Harry to keep perfectly still when he went over certain parts of his body, so he kept a firm hand pressed against his lower back as he drew the knife over his ribs, shearing off the wax that had long since hardened and leaving raw, reddened skin in its wake.

When he moved down between Harry’s thigh and the crack of his ass, Texas changed tactics, flipping the knife around so that he was pressing the dull edge against the wax as he moved the knife. It was less effective in terms of actually removing the wax, but no less effective in making Harry moan, muffled as it was into the pillow he was practically chewing on by the time Texas got to his hole.

No matter how careful Texas was, there was no way he was pressing a knife up against that furl of uneven skin. Instead, he set the knife aside and used his fingernails to chip away the dried wax. He let go of Harry for that part, letting him rut down against the bed as much as he could manage given the fact that Texas had pulled his dick down between his legs before they’d started.

Harry was softly sobbing when Texas finally finished. The shallow welts Texas had left with his fingernails had been almost entirely obliterated by large swathes of inflammation, but there weren’t any burns, and it was nothing that wouldn’t resolve itself in the next day or two after a cold shower and some aloe vera. Harry would feel it though for as long as it lasted, and right now, Texas wasn’t ready to put an end to things just yet.

Texas walked over to the bedside table again to set down the knife and then quickly moved out of Harry’s view, heading over to a mini fridge that he assumed Harry had procured to keep a stock of water, juice, and snacks for aftercare purposes. Texas had a very different idea for how to put it to use, however.

Harry had no idea what was coming, and when Texas placed the first ice cube against his skin just above the crack of his ass, he seized up like he’d actually been burned before finally realizing what it was and relaxing as Texas continued to melt the ice cube over his abused skin. The pattern repeated itself with each fresh ice cube from the tray: Harry would jerk violently against his restraints the second the ice touched his skin before abruptly melting into a puddle himself against the mattress.

Texas spent quite a bit of time tracing the tip of one of the ice cubes up and down the cleft of Harry’s ass, teasing over his hole but never applying enough pressure to actually penetrate him.

When that ice cube finally melted into nothing, Texas pulled back a bit and started to undo his belt. It was loud enough that Harry made an attempt to glance over his shoulder to see what he was doing, but Texas didn’t give him any hints as he stripped out of his jeans and underwear before climbing up onto the bed and lowering himself down onto Harry.

It took a few thrusts to work himself up to full hardness thanks to the frigid temperature of Harry’s skin, but there was something oddly pleasant about the sensation once Texas got going, despite the increased friction, despite the temperature itself making his balls want to draw back up into his body as he fucked hard between Harry’s ass cheeks without actually fucking him at all.

And Texas didn’t plan to.

Harry was mumbling something into the pillow, sobbing, but Texas couldn’t make out anything but the word ‘please’, over and over and over again, begging for something he wasn’t going to get.

It only took Texas a few minutes to come, and he spilled freely onto Harry’s lower back, watching the come pooling like the hot wax had before in the dimples on either side of his spine.

After taking a second to catch his breath, Texas sat up and leaned across Harry to unfasten his restraints, starting with the wrists before moving to undo his ankles as well. Harry was as pliant as a ragdoll when Texas rolled him over onto his back, the only sign of life the tiny hiss of pain he released when his skin rubbed up against the pad underneath him.

Texas took a moment to survey Harry’s slack-jawed expression before ducking down to press his lips to Harry’s mouth. “Still with me, baby?”

Like a switch being flipped, the pet name seemed to send a flicker of consciousness coursing through Harry’s body. “Uh huh,” he said weakly.

Texas smiled and reached behind himself for another ice cube. He rolled it around in his palm for a good thirty seconds as he used his non-dominant hand to fondle Harry’s balls before loosely wrapping his fingers around the shaft of his cock. When he couldn’t take the cold anymore, he let go of the ice and brought his hand out from behind his back. He connected his eyes with Harry’s, and then a split second later, wrapped his ice-cold hand around Harry’s cock.

The noise that fell out of Harry’s mouth was unintelligible, but the way he jerked away from the touch was plenty communicative.

Texas reached up to twine the fingers of his free hand with one of Harry’s, keeping him pinned to the bed as he jerked him off with agonizing slowness. “Stay with me, baby,” he coaxed. “I’ve got you.”

It didn’t take long for the discomfort to turn to pleasure, and soon enough, Harry was fucking into Texas’s fist, searching for more. “Please,” he started to beg again, and there were tears sprouting from his eyes before he even managed to get the whole word out. “Please.”

“You don’t get to come,” Texas said nonchalantly as he continued to work Harry’s cock with slow, measured strokes. “You misbehaved earlier, at the restaurant, and now you’re being punished.”

Harry was so spaced out by the time Texas finally let go of his cock that he didn’t even complain, just continued to drip tears and a little bit of runny snot as he laid there on the soiled pad, every now and then involuntarily bucking his hips weakly in search of stimulation that was no longer there.

Texas laid down along Harry’s side and slowly stroked his face, his hair, waiting for him to come back to himself. It took a few more minutes, but eventually the crying ceased, and Harry’s body stilled.

Texas thumbed over Harry’s cheek, wiping away the remnants of the tears that had lingered. “How do you feel?”

Harry’s eyelids drifted slowly closed, and he rolled over into Texas, trying to get as close as possible despite the fact that they were already touching. He mumbled something, practically into Texas’s mouth, but it was impossible to make out.

Texas sighed and carefully peeled himself away from Harry. As much as cuddling was a perfectly valid and perhaps underappreciated form of aftercare, Texas knew that Harry would be better off for having a nice cold shower and getting tucked into an actual bed.

“Come on, baby,” Texas coaxed as he helped Harry up onto noodley legs before leading him out of the room and into the bathroom located inside the master suite. “You can do it. Just a few more steps.”

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a bench inside the cubicle for Harry’s shower, which meant that Texas had to attempt to wash them both while half-holding Harry upright. He didn’t do a very good job, but after a few minutes under the chill spray, Harry finally started to regain some lucidity.

He glanced up as Texas scrubbed him down, his eyebrows drawing together in an adorably confused pout. “When can I come?” he asked, shivering slightly as the water sprayed against his back.

“Not tonight,” Texas answered plainly. He was a little surprised when Harry didn’t protest, but maybe that meant Harry had learned his lesson about brats not always getting what they wanted.

After they finished showering, Texas bundled Harry up in one of his big fluffy towels and dried him off right there in the middle of the bathroom before leading him over to his bed. Texas found himself tucking Harry in under the covers like he was a child, and somehow, Harry managed to fall asleep within literal seconds, before Texas could even wish him goodnight.

Texas stood over Harry’s sleeping form for a long moment, staring at the wide expanse of empty space on the other side of the bed. Harry hadn’t invited him into his bed this time, though, and sleeping together wasn’t a required part of their professional arrangement like it had been back on the island, so….

Boundaries, Texas found himself thinking. The two of them desperately needed to reestablish proper boundaries.

It didn’t take Texas long to find a spare room on the floor below Harry’s. He gathered up all his things from the first floor that he’d just left lying there all day after getting in and finally relocated them to the empty bedroom he’d discovered. He spent a few more minutes settling in, and then went downstairs to pour himself a glass of water before bed. He ended up stumbling onto Harry’s well-stocked wine rack instead.

Finally, Texas drifted upstairs, wine-tipsy and feeling truly relaxed for the first time since Harry had called. He fell into bed with a heavy sigh, curled up under the covers, and drifted gradually into a deep sleep.

Texas was aware of vague impressions in his dreams, Harry’s visage swimming through his mind like trying to make out a blurry reflection in a cloud of fog. It was even harder to latch onto those fleeting images when he opened his eyes to find the real Harry perched on the edge of his bed, a breakfast tray perched on his lap and piled high with food.

Texas sat up and rubbed at his eyes as he let out an unobstructed yawn. “What time is it?”

“Almost half-ten,” Harry said gleefully.

Texas blinked a few times, surprised he’d slept so long even after the wine. But then again, sometimes domming could be every bit as tiring as subbing, and the more intense the scene, the harder the come-down for them both. “You made all this?” he asked as he reached over to take the tray from Harry.

“Well, I didn’t grow the fruit myself, but yeah, the rest of it was all me.”

It was a distinctly Americanized breakfast, which Texas appreciated. Usually, the only time he really got to eat stuff that actually reminded him of home—even though it wasn’t really home anymore—was if he went to the trouble to make it himself.

But Harry had gone all in on a full breakfast composed of fluffy pieces of French toast covered in powdered sugar, surrounded by various fruit and a small container of maple syrup on one side. On a separate plate, he’d made a bit of scrambled eggs and crispy bacon. Texas’s mouth was already watering just looking at it.

Texas had only just started eating when he noticed Harry watching him very intently as he popped each grape into his mouth one by one. He paused, lowering the plate down to the tray again. “Did you eat anything yet?” he asked.

Harry shook his head.

Texas found himself suddenly reminded of the weekend they’d spent on the island, and he lifted his fork without a word after spearing a bit of pineapple on it, extending it out toward Harry.

Harry scooted a bit closer to Texas, leaning in to close the remaining distance as he pulled the chunk of fruit off the tines of the fork with his teeth. He chewed for a few seconds and then opened his mouth again immediately after swallowing. “Can I have the cherry?” he asked.

Texas smiled placatingly. “It’s your food,” he reminded Harry, even though he suspected pretending it wasn’t was all part of the game. He had no problems with indulging Harry’s desire to be babied, however, so he plucked the black cherry from out of the fruit bouquet on his plate and offered it up for Harry to take.

Harry bit into it slowly, messily, nipping around the pit without ever once taking the entire bite-sized fruit into his mouth. Texas was transfixed by the dark red stain of cherry juice on Harry’s lips as he finally drew the pit into his mouth to eat what little of the meat remained after he was done.

It took Texas a minute or so to work up the ability to speak again. “You should go and get some actual food,” he said in a hoarse voice.

Harry feigned a pout. “You don’t want to keep sharing?” he teased.

Texas wetted his bottom lip with his tongue and swallowed hard before looking back down at his breakfast again. “I think it would be a little too distracting,” he said carefully. “And I also think that we need to have a serious talk.”

There was a short pause just before Texas felt the mattress lift as Harry stood up and walked out of the room. There was no door-slamming, no outward signs that anything was wrong, but Texas was on-edge as he slowly ate the rest of his food, waiting all the while for Harry to return.

Texas could have gone downstairs with Harry as well, but he still needed a moment to himself to collect his thoughts without the potential for Harry’s presence to muddle things even further.

When Harry slipped into the bedroom again, it was with a small bowl of mixed yogurt, fruit, and granola clutched in his hands. It paled in comparison to the feast that Harry had made for Texas, but Texas was starting to clue into the fact that Harry didn’t have a very big appetite. At least, not when he was anticipating getting laid at any given moment.

Harry sat himself down on the bed and carefully crossed his legs under himself, holding the bowl up in the air so that he wouldn’t accidentally spill as he maneuvered into position. He wasn’t saying anything, but it was obvious that he was nervous about the talk Texas wanted to have.

“So,” Texas started once Harry finally looked settled.

Harry didn’t give him an opportunity to finish. “I was already planning on asking you to come up for a few days before Nick sprung all this shit on me,” he rambled quickly, not even pausing to take a breath in the middle of his explanation. “But that situation sort of accelerated the timeline a little bit, and I swear I didn’t fly you here only to use you as a cover with Nick, really.”

Texas just stared at Harry blankly, still trying to process what Harry had just told him for several seconds afterward.

Harry’s face creased into a patented pout. “Please just stay the rest of the week,” he begged. “I promise I’ll buy you a return plane ticket later today.”

Texas huffed out a quiet sigh and considered Harry’s (seemingly heartfelt) petition. Without any obligations in Berlin compelling him to return posthaste, there wasn’t any reason to decline Harry’s offer, no matter how long it was that Harry wanted him to stay. And a week? A week was easily doable.

“Okay,” Texas finally agreed. He wasn’t expecting the ecstatic energy of Harry launching himself forward to kiss him full on the mouth, but he opened to it instinctively, deepening the kiss instinctively even while simultaneously trying to shield what remained of his breakfast from Harry’s careless movements. Finally, Texas pulled back and pushed Harry away. “Finish your breakfast,” he commanded in a no-nonsense tone.

Texas was fully-cognizant of the fact that Harry still hadn’t come—unless he’d taken care of it on his own while Texas had still been asleep, but Texas was confident that Harry wouldn’t do anything like that without permission even though he hadn’t been specifically instructed not to. Ideally, though, it was something that they’d resolve together later in the day. If Harry was good, that is.

They only spent a few more minutes eating in Texas’s bed; when they were finished, Harry collected all the dishes himself and took them down to the kitchen while Texas got dressed. After, Harry came back up, reached for Texas’s hand without saying a word, and led him up to the top floor again for a more extensive tour of the playroom.

“The one in LA gets more action,” Harry said, nonchalantly sitting with his legs crossed on the edge of the bed as Texas admired everything adorning the walls in a new light, “but I like to keep them all pretty well-stocked just in case.”

Texas lifted an eyebrow and turned to face Harry again. “All?”

Harry just shrugged, as if the idea of having multiple bondage studios around the globe wasn’t completely absurd from a normal person’s perspective. “Technically I have one in New York, too,” he said.

“Technically.”

“It’s complicated,” Harry replied with a wince.

Texas was still curious but decided to leave it at that for now. “Is there anything else you have on hand that you want to try while I’m here?” he asked instead. “I know you said your other partners aren’t really into hurting you.” Despite that, there were whips and floggers and paddles all adorning one wall, looking as though they’d barely been touched, if at all.

“Yeah,” Harry agreed absent-mindedly, without directly answering the question. “Well,” he then added, “not physically at least,” which piqued Texas’s curiosity even further.

Harry didn’t offer an explanation for the distinction, though, instead peering up at a series of hooks that had been bored into the ceiling a few feet from the end of the bed.

“I had Nick find someone to do up the whole room for me a while back,” he continued. “It was the first one I had set up, so I wanted to make sure it was the best of the best, and the person who designed it was keen on making the space suspension-friendly.” Harry glanced over at Texas meaningfully. “Never slept with anyone who knew enough to try it, though.”

Texas moved over to get a closer look at the suspension hooks himself before nodding approvingly. “We could do something with those tonight if you want,” he suggested.

Harry had a smug smile painted on his face when Texas looked over at him again. “Do I even have to say yes?” he replied.

“Verbal consent is always encouraged.”

“Then yes.”

Texas allowed a smile of his own to creep onto his face as he turned away to continue surveying the room. There was still a lot to take in, and a lot of potential he’d already identified. “Is there anything else you want me to use during the scene?” he asked Harry, his mind already racing through a plethora of possibilities for how to proceed. It was good that they were leaving it for the evening. The best ideas needed a bit of time to simmer.

“Nipple clamps?” Harry said hopefully.

Texas spun around to look him up and down, already trying to envision how things would play out. Harry’s vintage band tee was threadbare enough that Texas could already make out the peaks of his naturally puffy nipples through the flimsy fabric. Now he couldn’t help but wonder what they’d look like after an hour or so of sustained abuse.

“Anything else?” Texas asked.

Harry shook his head. “I’m content to leave it in your capable hands,” he said, still smiling.

Texas nodded. “I’ll think about how I want to structure it a bit later,” he decided. “Do you want to do anything in the meantime? My time is yours for as long as I’m here.”

“Are you asking if I want to have sex?” Harry replied imperiously. He crossed his arms over his chest. “You know, I still haven’t come since yesterday, back at the restaurant.”

“I figured as much,” Texas said with a shrug. “But we could do something else if you’d rather wait.” It wasn’t like Harry’s orgasm denial kink was much of a mystery to him at this point. If Harry wanted to draw the anticipation out even longer, they could do that, too.

Judging from the look of excitement that suddenly bloomed on Harry’s face, his thoughts had taken a very different route. “We could make a game out of it,” he proposed as he let his arms drop to his sides again before bouncing backwards onto the bed. “If you win, you can use me however you like to get off as much as you want, but I’m not allowed to come at all until tonight.”

“And what if you win?” Texas shot back. “Or is the whole point for that not to happen?”

Harry’s expression rapidly shifted to one of pure indignance. “Of course not,” he protested. “It should be a fair competition. If I win, then it’s the opposite. I get to come however I want, but you have to hold out until the end of the scene.”

Texas gave it a few seconds of thought before agreeing. “What game are we playing?” he wondered.

A sinister smile slowly crept into existence on Harry’s face. “Scrabble.”

Texas wasn’t the least bit surprised when, approximately three hours and two rounds of Scrabble later, Harry had utterly obliterated him. They’d set it up on the floor downstairs in the living room, where Harry had a couple suede-upholstered bean bags lying around, and Texas remained prone with his elbows resting on his while Harry danced around the room, gleefully gloating in the face of Texas’s much more gracious loss.

Texas waited until Harry had rounded the entire perimeter of the room before tugging at his ankle as he went by again, causing Harry to glance down at him with a befuddled expression. “Don’t you want your reward now?” Texas asked.

Harry went a bit cross-eyed as he nodded eagerly, his gaze following Texas’s every movement as he finally climbed to his feet and took Harry’s hand in his, pulling him in even closer.

“You haven’t told me how you want to come,” Texas reminded him.

That seemed to jolt Harry out of his reverie, and he flushed instantly, his cheeks turning a bright red as he tugged at Texas’s hand. “I’ll show you,” he said before leading Texas back up the stairs to the playroom.

Texas couldn’t help but note that they’d not once had sex in Harry’s actual bedroom, or even discussed the prospect. He wondered privately if that was just because Harry was practical and didn’t want to deal with the clean-up after, or if there was some other reason that Texas could only guess at.

Texas didn’t have much of an opportunity to dwell on it; Harry let go of his hand as soon as they walked into the room and made a beeline for the bed itself, leaving Texas far too distracted by the sight of him on all fours with his joggers drawn tight over his ass to worry about anything else.

Harry remained on his knees as he slid a narrow luggage case out from underneath the bed, sort of like a rectangular guitar case, but a lot bigger. Texas wasn’t sure what to expect to find when Harry opened it, but the assortment of buttplugs, dildos, and vibrators should have probably been less of a surprise to him than it was.

What was more surprising, however, was the small gelatinous piece of silicone that Harry plucked from the middle of his bounty of sex toys before closing the case and standing up again.

Texas arched an eyebrow as Harry turned to face him with the pale pink cylindrical cock sleeve in hand. “No whips and chains?” he teased.

Harry shook his head with a serious expression. “I just really want to come,” he admitted. “Thought I could blow you while you use it.”

Texas’s eyes widened even further. “I thought the whole point of the game was me not being allowed to come if I lost,” he replied.

“You aren’t,” Harry said with a smarmy expression. “So I suppose you’ll have to work fast.”

“And what happens if I lose this one, too?” Texas wondered.

Harry shrugged. “Nothing. But if you manage to get me off first, I’ll make you some homemade brownies.”

“You know we can’t get high before doing a suspension scene,” Texas pointed out.

Harry’s expression quickly turned defensive. “I’m offended you would assume that my brownies aren’t worth foregoing an orgasm unless they’re laced with pot.”

“Sorry,” Texas replied through a laugh. He finally stepped forward and took the cock-sleeve from Harry’s hand. “I’d be honored to eat your brownies,” he told Harry, who brightened up immediately and shimmied out of his clothes in the next five seconds with no further instruction.

Texas just watched as Harry clambered onto the bed in a flurry of too-long limbs before stepping forward again, right to the foot of the bed without actually making any attempt to join Harry on top of the covers. “Not worried about jizz stains on the duvet?” he asked as Harry leaned over to grab a fresh bottle from the bedside table.

Harry gave Texas an unimpressed glance as he sat up again. “Could do with a wash anyhow,” he replied. “Are you planning on getting naked anytime soon?”

Texas lifted his eyebrows and started to strip off his clothes as Harry watched from his casual reclining position. Once he was fully undressed, Harry finally handed him the lube, and Texas looked down at the bottle in his hand appraisingly as he climbed onto the bed.

“Should I finger you, too?” Texas asked.

Harry looked almost offended by the query. “That would give you an unfair advantage,” he insisted.

Texas shrugged and got into position alongside Harry, his feet up near the headboard as they lay diagonally on the bed next to each other. Sixty-nining was always a bit awkward, but it could be sexy under the right circumstances.

Texas decided to get a head start and grabbed Harry by the dick while he was still trying to get comfortable, working him with a dry hand at first just to get him hard.

Harry responded almost immediately by licking up the side of Texas’s shaft, which—while it felt good, was still easy enough to ignore.

It was a lot harder when Harry decided to suck Texas into his mouth just as he was squeezing a bit of lube inside the cock-sleeve, causing some of it to shoot out onto the duvet. “Shit,” he muttered to himself as he hastily capped the bottle again and tossed it to the side before slowly sliding the sleeve down onto Harry’s hard cock.

Texas jerked him off through the silicone sleeve with his eyes closed at first before quickly realizing that it was making it even more difficult to ignore the feeling of Harry’s mouth around his dick. It got a bit easier to remain neutral when Texas finally forced himself to think of this as just another facet of his job.

Sometimes he jerked off old, rich guys he would have never looked twice at if they hadn’t paid him first. This wasn’t any different, he told himself, trying desperately to forget the fact that it was Harry attached to the tongue currently swirling around the head of his cock, slowly driving him insane.

Texas worked his hand faster as the heat and the suction from Harry’s mouth only became more intense with each passing second. As time stretched on, he started to worry that he might actually lose this game, too—but unlike Scrabble, coming before Harry would be a loss Texas couldn’t bear. Not only would it be embarrassing, but it also felt a bit unprofessional, as well.

Harry had stipulated that fingering was cheating, but that didn’t mean there weren’t ways to get him closer to the edge while still sticking to the letter of the law. Texas moved his free hand from Harry’s thigh and pressed down with thumb over Harry’s perineum, massaging his taint in slow, firm circles.

The effect was almost instantaneous. Harry choked on Texas’s dick, which almost had the unintended side effect of making Texas come, too, but somehow he managed to keep his cool and squeezed Harry’s cock harder through the sleeve, milking the come out of him and onto Texas’s wrist and forearm.

Harry pulled off of Texas’s dick as he rode out the aftershocks of his orgasm and panted wetly as Texas continued to stroke him through it. He was still lying there, unmoving, even after Texas had pulled off the cock-sleeve and cleaned up as best he could, though there were still a few drops of semen staining the duvet.

Texas dropped back down onto the bed and pretended that his cock wasn’t still throbbing with the need for orgasm as he smiled down at Harry. “I won,” he said smugly.

Harry glared at him. “You cheated,” he replied in a breathy voice.

“You said I couldn’t finger you,” Texas pointed out. He hadn’t—he’d just stimulated Harry’s prostate externally instead.

Harry rolled his eyes before flopping onto his back and starfishing against the bedspread. “Need another minute,” he said. “Then brownies.”

They ended up using the next several minutes to recuperate before heading downstairs to the kitchen, but Texas was fine with that. He didn’t exactly want to be helping Harry stir his brownie batter while still wielding a particularly stubborn erection.

The scene that proceeded once they stepped into the kitchen was different than Texas had expected. He’d had a taste of domesticity with Harry before on the island, but now it felt that much more natural to wrap his arms around Harry’s waist just to piss him off a little as he cracked eggs into the brownie mix, or to rest his chin on Harry’s shoulder as he greased up a baking pan, deliberately antagonizing him into swatting Texas out of the way with his spatula as he worked.

Once the brownies were in the oven, Harry alternated between licking the excess batter out of the mixing bowl and offering the spatula for Texas to have some as well. Texas indulged, but once the bowl was clean, he couldn’t help but lean forward to lick a bit of the batter Harry had gotten at the corner of his lips as well.

Harry stared at Texas with an unreadable expression in his eyes as he pulled back from Harry’s face with a soft smile. “What now?” Texas asked, trying to distract from the charged moment.

They ended up going outside to Harry’s backyard to wait while the brownies baked. Harry, who was always full of surprised, followed Texas out a good thirty seconds after him with a bottle of red wine in one hand and two glasses in the other. They curled up on a little patio sofa that faced west, and Texas held out the glasses for Harry to pour the wine into before settling in next to him, one arm slung loosely around Harry’s shoulders.

It was only mid-afternoon, but it was late in the year, and as far north as they were, the sun was already beginning to set. It rode low on the tree-line as they stared out over the fence, watching as the sky turned to a dusky amber and orange while they waited.

“Sort of wish I was home,” Harry suddenly commented from out of the blue. “Would have been nice to take a dip in the pool for a bit.”

Texas turned his head toward him with a curious expression. “You consider LA home?” he asked. “Isn’t your whole family here?”

Harry shrugged a little, shifting Texas’s arm a few centimeters in the process. “I probably spend more time here these days thanks to work, but…I dunno. California just feels more like me, I suppose.”

They dipped inside a while later to retrieve the brownies from the oven and stayed inside while the dessert cooled, chatting about nothing, everything, crazy fan encounters and the worst clients Texas had ever had. When the brownies were finally at a consistency suitable for portioning, Harry carefully cut a few squares each for both himself and Texas and placed them onto plates that they took back outside.

It was significantly darker now, and Harry turned on the patio lights before returning to his spot on the sofa. They ate together in relative silence, and when they were both finished, Texas found himself reaching for Harry’s plate and setting it aside with his own on one of the flagstones nearby so that he could press Harry down onto the sofa cushions and kiss him.

They made out leisurely on the lawn furniture until the sky was pitch black above them and it started to become too cold for comfort, at which point Harry finally sat up with kiss-bruised lips and cried uncle. He shivered the whole way inside, his knitted cardigan flowing loosely around his hips and apparently doing nothing to mitigate the late autumn chill.

“Suppose we shouldn’t eat until after the scene’s over with,” Harry remarked as he turned all the lights outside off and locked the back door again. He glanced up at Texas, almost with a hopeful look on his face, as though trying to use Texas’s response as a gauge for whether he could expect to actually get fucked tonight.

Texas just nodded. “We could prep something now,” he suggested, “and put it together afterwards.”

The hour they spent in the kitchen compiling all the necessary ingredients for a one pot pasta and salad was even more painfully domestic than the time they’d spent making brownies—or rather, the time Texas had spent watching Harry make brownies. This time around, he was much more participative, taking Harry’s orders for once instead of hovering just to be a pest.

It threw him off kilter again when he realized how natural it all felt, and Texas suddenly stopped dead in the middle of chopping an onion, suddenly wondering to himself just how the hell they’d gotten to this point.

Harry noticed immediately that something was wrong. “You all right?” he asked cautiously as he portioned out the spices needed for the pasta sauce.

Texas quickly averted his eyes and resumed chopping. “I’m fine,” he replied dismissively. “Just…déjà vu or something.”

Thankfully, Harry didn’t call him on his bullshit and they finished up without any further hiccups.

After they were through and had put everything in the fridge for later, Texas turned to Harry and instructed him to keep himself occupied for a bit while he got everything set up in the playroom.

Suspension was always a rather daunting prospect. It was hard to do safely; and technically, it was impossible—there was always some degree of risk of injury or worse. Since this would be Harry’s first time and Texas wasn’t setting things up completely from scratch, he had fairly limited options. All the suspension stuff he’d done before had been at an actual dungeon, and never in a client’s home.

But, as with everything else, Harry was special. Texas was starting to resent that fact just a little bit.

Texas climbed the stairs quickly (alone) and immediately headed for the playroom. He didn’t want to waste any time. He gave the space a good once-over first, trying to decide what exactly he could get away with.

Harry’s only specification had been the use of nipple clamps, which was easy enough to rig. There were a series of hooks bored into various positions in the ceiling, and after getting up on one of the multiple sex benches that Harry apparently owned, it was determined that all of the suspension points could support an adult’s body weight on any single hook.

But now that Texas had established the fact that he could do what Harry wanted, he still needed to figure out exactly how.

Texas spent a good twenty minutes going through the various items Harry had stored in the playroom itself before coming up with an idea that necessitated going back down a floor to the home gym to borrow some equipment from there as well.  

Another fifteen minutes later and he finally had a rig set up that would allow him to keep Harry suspended primarily from his wrists while standing with his legs apart on two of the exercise steps Harry usually kept stored with the rest of his gym equipment. The idea was that Texas would attach the nipple clamps to another hook in the ceiling after getting Harry into position, and that over the course of time, he would move the steps under Harry’s feet further and further apart, causing the tension on the clamps to increase and pull at his nipples.

It wasn’t all that elaborate, but it was Harry’s first experience being restrained this way, and Texas had already come up with an idea for how to spice things up once Harry was ready to begin.

Texas had left Harry in front of the TV downstairs but found him in the sitting room instead, doing yoga on the rug. Texas stopped for a moment in the doorway and just watched, not wanting to interrupt but also simply enjoying the view a little bit.

Finally, Harry sat up and looked over, noticing Texas at last.

“Everything’s ready,” Texas told him.

Harry nodded and moved into another pose, giving Texas a very clear view of his ass as he bent over double. “Let me finish and shower,” he said with a bit of effort. “I’ll be right up.”

Texas was tempted to stay and watch a little longer, but there were still a few minor things to take care of upstairs, so he headed back up to the playroom to wait while Harry did his own form of preparation.

While waiting on Harry, Texas decided to double check everything to make sure that it was all up to snuff. There were certain things that he couldn’t really do until Harry was actually there, but there was no such thing as being too careful, so Texas tested the restraints he’d secured to the ceiling one more time, just so he was confident they would hold.

Once everything was as ready as it would ever be, Texas chose to lie down on the bed on the other side of the room, which was far enough away from the suspension set up that he was sure it wouldn’t pose any problems during the scene. There were hooks installed in the ceiling over the bed, too, in addition to the fastenings on the bedrails themselves that lent themselves to less complex forms of bondage, and Texas found himself staring at the lot of them as he laid flat on his back, almost completely zoning out while he waited for Harry to come in.

How did his life even come to this? Texas found himself pondering the fact that he’d gone from a relatively normal guy with relatively unusual employment to something else entirely in the span of just a few months. And that begged the question: what exactly was he to Harry now? Because it was clear the lines were blurring, and Texas wasn’t so sure he liked where that was starting to lead.

It was strange to think that if Texas had just ignored that email, if he’d acknowledged the red flags for what they were and deleted the damn thing from his inbox without investigating further, that he wouldn’t have ever known what he was missing. And what would his life look like now if he had?

The spiraling train of thought was becoming a bit too melancholy for Texas’s tastes, so he sat up and pulled out his phone, connecting to the Bluetooth speaker system in Harry’s house and choosing a playlist to hopefully get himself in the mood for the upcoming scene.

Music was something Texas often relied on with his clients to diffuse the awkwardness of the situation, so it was easy to lose himself in the carefully curated hard rock drum rhythm that emanated from the surround sound speakers as soon as Texas hit play.

The playlist served its purpose soon enough. Texas felt himself beginning to savor the anticipation of the upcoming scene itself instead of worrying about what it all meant, which was exactly the headspace he needed to be in when doing something that was inherently dangerous—more so even than the wax play scene they’d done the night before.

It wasn’t long before just the thought of what he was planning to do to Harry had Texas thickening up in his shorts, and he couldn’t help but palm himself lazily as he laid there in bed with his eyes closed, focusing on nothing but the music playing overhead and the fantasy of what was to come.

Texas was midway through the second song on the playlist when he heard the door open. He opened his eyes just in time to catch Harry slipping in sneakily, dressed now in just an oversized t-shirt and tight boy shorts that rode up obscenely high on his thighs.

Texas was a bit embarrassed by the fact that his dick twitched just at the sight of Harry, even though there was nothing overtly sexual about the way he looked or was dressed. What was sexual was the buzz of anticipatory energy that Texas was still riding high on, and he got up immediately as Harry walked in, wanting to get started as soon as possible.

Harry still had yet to look over at Texas as he walked in and set his phone down. He’d turned to stare at the elaborate set up that Texas had built on the other side of the room instead, and he was staring at it with wide eyes when Texas finally walked over to him and spun him around with a gentle pair of hands on his shoulders.

“You ready?” Texas asked.

Harry nodded automatically but then glanced up at the speakers, over which Texas’s music was still playing. “Can we change that to something without words?” he asked. “I don’t mind listening to something, but I don’t want to get distracted.”

“Sure,” Texas agreed easily. He moved back over to the bed and picked up his phone, quickly changing the aggressive rock music to an instrumental EDM playlist instead.

With that taken care of, Texas walked over to Harry again and carefully steered him over to the far end of the rig, having him stand in front of the suspension set up before helping him undress. Once Harry was naked and his clothes had been moved out of the way, Texas leaned in to kiss him, connecting their mouths for a few seconds and then deepening it a little further. Harry was red-faced and breathless when they finally broke apart, but he said nothing as Texas stepped away for a second before moving in again to get him rigged up at last.

“I’m going to walk you through everything before we start,” Texas assured Harry as he gestured for him to climb up onto the two exercise steps that had been positioned directly under the wrist restraints already dangling from the ceiling. “You’re going to hang from your wrists here and here,” he explained as he attached the cuffs to each. “It’s your first time, so you won’t be fully in the air or anything, but you’ll be standing on these platforms, and I’m going to move them at certain intervals so that you’ll have to strain more to take the weight off your wrists.”

Harry wore a focused expression throughout the entire explanation. “What intervals?” he finally asked.

Texas gave him a warning look before continuing. “In a minute,” he replied. “You saw the dildo when you came in, right?” It had been pushed aside for the moment, but it was well within sight of the door.

Harry nodded but didn’t interrupt.

“If you’re okay with it,” Texas told him, “I’m going to put just the tip of it inside you to start, and every time I move the steps further apart, your body weight will cause you to sink down on it a little more.” He waited for that information to sink in before continuing with the rest. “It’s completely safe,” he added. “It’s flexible and short enough that even if something goes wrong, it shouldn’t cause any injuries.”

“Shouldn’t,” Harry parroted back, latching onto just that one word amongst all the rest.

Texas made a face and shrugged. “Suspension is never foolproof,” he replied honestly. “There’s always a degree of risk. That’s kind of the whole point; that you’re trusting me to keep you safe. Like when we used the knife last night.”

Harry nodded to show that he understood. “Okay,” he said quietly. “And the nipple clamps?”

“Don’t worry,” Texas replied with a slight grin. “I didn’t forget them. It’s pretty easy to attach them to the suspension hooks with just a bit of slack. When I move the steps or you come off your toes, it’ll go taut and add more stimulation. Do you want to go over anything else before we start?”

Harry hesitated for a moment before opening his mouth to reply. “Can I see the dildo again?” he asked.

Texas nodded and moved over to get the bench he’d secured it to, sliding it across the floor so that it was within Harry’s eyesight. The dildo itself wasn’t particularly intimidating, but Texas had identified it almost immediately for its potential: the flared base would keep Harry from sliding down too far, but the tapered length with little in the way of texture made it ideal for the illusion of impalement. The bench itself could be adjusted a number of ways, but the ability to raise and lower it would allow Texas to set it up to suit Harry’s height perfectly.

“Have you used it before?” Texas wondered. He reached up to test the restraints now that Harry’s body weight was pulling against them, making sure they would hold, making sure that Harry wouldn’t rub his wrists raw the second there was actual tension applied.

“A couple times,” Harry replied slowly. “It’s kind of…it’s a lot.”

“We don’t have to use it,” Texas reassured him. “We could do a plug instead.”

Harry weighed his options, swiping his tongue across his bottom lip as he stared at the dildo on the bench and evaluated the possibility of having it inside him. “No, I think I want to try it,” he finally decided. “You said it’s safe, right?”

“As safe as it can be,” Texas replied. “If you decide it’s too much midway through the scene, we can always pause for a minute and readjust.”

“Then yeah.”

Texas was actually reassured by the fact that Harry seemed to actually have a semblance of regard for his own personal safety, especially after how cavalier he’d been about things to start when he’d first arrived.

There was still one more thing to go over before they could begin, however.

“So when we begin,” Texas explained, “I’m going to edge you, but you are not allowed to come unless I explicitly tell you to, okay?”

Harry nodded seriously.

“That means you have to tell me when to stop,” Texas elaborated further. “But every time you do, I’m going to slide the steps further apart, and when that happens, the dildo will go a bit deeper and the chain on the nipple clamps will go taut.”

Harry’s breath started to quicken a bit. “So when do I actually get to come?” he asked.

“Whenever I decide you’ve had enough.”

With that, Texas moved the bench and dildo behind Harry and knelt down so he could adjust them to the right height. Once he was confident it was where he wanted it, Texas grabbed a bottle of lube and started to open Harry up, slicking both him and the dildo up before positioning just the tip inside Harry’s hole.

“Still feeling okay?” Texas asked as he moved back around to face Harry again. He picked up the nipple clamps and attached them to a carabiner hanging from the ceiling, making sure there was a healthy amount of slack before looking Harry in the eye again. “Don’t be shy about using your safeword,” Texas reminded him as he attached one clamp to Harry’s left nipple before just as quickly doing the other. Harry hissed at the feeling and shivered a little, but otherwise didn’t react to the pain. “I don’t want to end up on a magazine cover in a week as the guy who maimed Harry Styles in a bondage-gone-wrong scenario.”

“I’m pretty sure that’s not the first time you’ve used that line on me,” Harry replied in a slightly higher pitched voice than normal. “But I do trust you,” he added earnestly.

Texas smiled placatingly. “Not really the point,” he replied, “but I appreciate your faith in me. Remember: yellow if you want to take a break and talk things out, okay?”

“Okay,” Harry replied tightly.

“You ready?”

Harry nodded. “I’m ready.”

“Good.” Texas tugged at the chain connecting the nipple clamps, yanking a choked-off gasp from Harry’s throat before stepping away to get a better look at him.

Technically, Texas didn’t have to be aroused for this scene to work, but it was hard not to be when Harry was stretched out and exposed, muscles taut and skin glistening with a fine sheen of sweat as he tried futilely to make himself comfortable. But that was the whole point, pushing him right to the edge of discomfort and pain and turning it into something pleasurable instead.

Texas retrieved his phone quickly and skipped to the next song before setting it down and going around to Harry’s front again. He carefully moved the steps Harry was standing on a few inches further to each side, forcing his legs open by just the smallest increment.

The effect was almost immediate, and Texas got down on his knees as Harry started to squirm, taking Harry’s cock into his hand and roughly starting to jerk him off. There was little to finesse to it; Texas was simply trying to get Harry as close to the edge as possible as fast as possible, and it wasn’t long before Harry’s legs started to tremble.

“Stop,” Harry gasped out at last. The song Texas had started playing before they’d started hadn’t even reached its end, but Harry was already giving in.

Texas didn’t want Harry to actually come yet, though, so he stopped, stood up, and nudged the steps a little further apart. He didn’t even pause to take another breath before resuming the motions of his hand, working Harry’s cock with firm, twisting strokes, trying to bring him to the edge just as quickly as he had before.

It took even less time to force the ‘stop’ out from Harry’s lips again.

Texas let his hand fall away instantly. He didn’t want to give Harry even the slightest bit of accidental stimulation, knowing that he must have already been exerting every bit of his willpower in trying to keep from coming.

This time, after nudging the steps apart again, Texas stepped back and allowed Harry another moment to adjust.

The clamps were finally starting to actually pull at Harry’s nipples now, so Texas checked them over, making sure there was still enough slack for them to continue even further. A bitten-off whimper escaped Harry’s mouth at the gentle tug, and the sound lengthened when Texas reached down to jack him off again, slower this time, the long, lazy motions of his hand reducing Harry to a series of whines and choked out sobs.

“Stop,” he finally sobbed, now sounding like he was in legitimate pain. By the looks of it, he was, his cock nearly purple from the repeated stimulation and denial of much-needed release.

Texas was careful to not let any sympathy show on his face as he moved back again to adjust the steps. This time he moved around to Harry’s back to check his progress on the dildo. He’d slid about halfway down the shaft, the rim of his hole clearly struggling to take the ever-increasing width. But it still wasn’t enough to satisfy Texas, who knew that Harry could endure much more.

After circling back around to face Harry again, Texas got back down onto his knees and this time, carefully sucked Harry’s balls into his mouth, holding a tight grip with his thumb and forefinger around the base of his cock just to make sure that he wouldn’t come. Harry’s legs were spread enough that Texas could easily get his tongue up behind Harry’s balls, licking over the seam that split his taint and over the rim of his hole where he was stretched out obscenely over the girth of the dildo buried in his ass.

The stop that poured out of Harry’s mouth a minute or two later was barely recognizable as human speech, but Texas clocked it right away as a warning sign and quickly moved off.

The nipple clamps were starting to put up a solid fight against the carabiner clip now, which meant that they were almost at the point that Texas had determined he would let Harry come—but Harry didn’t know that.

Texas moved behind him again, and this time spread the steps even farther apart than he had before, until he could see Harry clearly straining to take the increased width of the dildo. Texas watched as Harry pushed up on his toes to try and lift off of it with every breath, to try and take some of the pressure off his poor, abused nipples, but there was no escaping it. He didn’t have the strength to keep it up for more than a few seconds, and each time he sank back down again, a strangled sob clawed its way out of his throat.

Despite it all, Harry’s cock was still rock hard and straining against his belly when Texas circled around to his front again. “Do you want to come now?” Texas asked him.

Harry nodded frantically as tears sprouted at the corners of his eyes. Apparently, a verbal reply was too much for him now.

Texas stepped in close and wrapped a single hand around Harry’s cock, moving the other up to pinch the release on one of the nipple clamps. He was just about to remove it and hopefully push Harry over the edge with just the sensation of the blood rushing back into the abused tissue alone when a musical tone sounded from by the bed, accompanied by a strange rumbling noise.

It took only a few seconds for Texas to realize the noise was coming from Harry’s phone, which he’d left on the nightstand when he came in after his shower. Not only was it ringing, but the light on it was flashing aggressively, and it was vibrating slowly across the surface of the wood as the ringtone went on and on without pause.

Texas was actually a bit annoyed at being interrupted and gave Harry—who was too out of it to even register the attitude—a dirty look as he moved away to silence the device. In the process, Texas got an unintended glimpse of the caller ID: a woman’s name. A female partner maybe? Harry had never been specific about the genders of the people he slept with regularly. At least it wasn’t his mother. Again.

Technically, it wasn’t Harry’s fault that someone had tried to call him in the middle of a scene, but he could have at least put his phone on silent before they started. And truthfully, Texas couldn’t resist the opportunity to punish him a little bit.

Texas pushed the steps a little farther apart from behind before rounding on Harry with a sober expression. “You were being so good, baby,” he teased. “I was going to let you come, but now I think you deserve a punishment first.”

Harry’s face crumbled. “Please,” he begged. “Please, I’ll be good, please.”

The emotion on his face was genuine, but it wasn’t a safeword, and since Harry was clearly coherent enough to produce at least a red or a yellow, Texas decided to proceed with his new plan.

Texas moved over to the rack of impact play toys hanging on the wall and selected a plain black paddle from amongst the more adventurous tools. He didn’t want to actually break Harry, after all.

“Three on each side,” Texas told Harry as he moved around behind him. “Count them.”

For all the crying and pleading, Harry managed to count all six without faltering. Once Texas was finished, he tossed the paddle aside and stepped around to the front to face Harry again, taking Harry’s chin in his hands and pulling him in close as if giving him a onceover.

“Please,” Harry was still begging, the words garbled a bit by the pressure of Texas’s fingers against his jaw. “Please let me come, I can be good for you, I promise I’ll be good.”

Texas found himself faced with a choice now, and he paused for a moment, considering. Then he chose to play the bad guy.

“I don’t know if you deserve it,” Texas replied callously. “Maybe you don’t even really want it.”

Harry jerked hard against his restraints, ripping himself out of Texas’s grip and making him flinch a little at the sudden movement. “Please,” he cried out, “please, please, please, I’ll do anything, please just let me come.” Harry’s voice was hoarse by the end of it, but he kept fighting against the restraints, moving as much as the cuffs and the dildo he was impaled on would even allow.

Texas reached up with both hands without responding and released the clamps on Harry’s nipples simultaneously.

The howl that Harry released was ear-splitting. It was so loud, in fact, that Texas was actually a little worried Harry’s neighbors would hear, but there was no helping that now.

Texas had just gotten back down onto his knees again with every intention of sucking Harry off (to completion this time) when a frantic knock at the playroom door had his head spinning around in a panic.

The handle started to rattle as Texas got to his feet, making him terrified for a moment that whoever was on the other side was about to walk straight in, but whether out of habit or some bizarre foresight, Harry had apparently locked the door behind him, and the person rattling the doorknob couldn’t get in.

“Harry!” a woman’s voice called out from the other side. “Harry, I have a key and I’m going to open the fucking door if you don’t come out here right now!”

Texas froze for a second before leaping into action. He’d been shirtless before, but as he raced toward the door, he managed to pick up the oversized shirt Harry had been wearing fresh from the shower and tugged it on—inside out—over his head as he made a dive for the doorknob. He had the good sense to hit the lights before turning the handle, plunging the room into near darkness only milliseconds before pulling open the door and coming face to face with a woman around his own age, with lank chestnut-brown hair and freckles, who was wearing a suspicious and fearful expression as she stared back at Texas in obvious concern.

“Um,” Texas said, suddenly at a loss for how to explain the situation he’d found himself in, “Harry’s a bit occupied at the moment? I’d be happy to get him for you if you could wait just another minute.”

The woman’s eyes narrowed even further. “Who the hell are you?” she demanded. “Where’s Harry?”

Texas did his best to remain calm despite the buckets of adrenaline he could feel coursing through his body. “Look, I’m sure Harry would be happy to explain everything, but we just need a minute to—to make ourselves presentable. Please.”

The woman stared at him hard for a long moment before finally giving a tight nod and moving back from the door a bit.

Texas heaved out a quick sigh of relief as he shut the door and relocked it before turning the lights back on and moving back over to Harry to try and figure out what the fuck to do next.

Harry was blinking rapidly, apparently still adjusting to the lights coming on again as Texas knelt down between his legs to lower the bench so he could remove the dildo as quickly as possible. His only reaction was a small hiss of discomfort as he was left suddenly gaping and empty in its absence, but otherwise, he didn’t show any signs of acknowledgement that the scene was now coming to an abrupt end.

It became very clear that Harry was not in a suitable headspace when he let his head loll onto Texas’s shoulder as Texas carefully unfastened the cuffs around his wrists before lowering him down so that his feet could touch the floor again.

“Can I come now?” Harry whispered into his ear.

Shit, Texas swore internally. He squeezed his eyes shut and helped Harry stay upright as his mind raced to find a solution. Shit, shit, shit.

“Someone’s here to see you,” Texas finally explained as he drew back a bit, looking directly into Harry’s eyes and trying to impress upon him the seriousness of the situation in a vain attempt to cut through the haze of subspace. “You can come later, but right now I need you to come back to me, okay?”

Harry shook his head, still mostly unresponsive. Not good. Texas had to think fast.

Texas sucked in a deep breath and scanned the playroom, trying to figure out how to jolt Harry back into himself again. There wasn’t a shower, but there was a small half bath attached to the room with a sink, and that would have to do, Texas decided.

He dragged Harry into the bathroom and turned the faucet on in the sink, running the water cold before ducking his head under the water for just a second. “You with me?” Texas asked as Harry gasped a little, the water running down over his cheeks and down to his chest, leaving drops that a part of Texas still registered with the massively inappropriate desire to lean down and lick off of him, despite the circumstances.

Harry nodded weakly. “Think so,” he replied, blinking a few times before looking around as though just becoming newly aware of his surroundings. “The door?”

Texas was relieved that Harry apparently hadn’t been as far under as he’d feared. “Yeah,” he replied as he grabbed for a washcloth and wetted it quickly before giving Harry a quick sponge bath. “It’s someone here to see you, so you’re going to have to come up with a good explanation for what we’ve been up to. I’m pretty sure she heard you screaming, too.” Texas still had no idea who the woman was, so it was the best verbal preparation he could give Harry in the moment.

With Texas’s help, Harry finally managed to get dressed, though neither of them looked fit for polite company by the time they stumbled out of the playroom. Harry practically limped down the stairs, and Texas grimaced in sympathy from behind him the whole way down. There wasn’t anything he could do about it, though, so he focused instead on making sure that Harry didn’t inadvertently trip and fall as they slowly descended.

Despite the abrupt end to the scene and Texas practically forcing him out of subspace, Harry had managed to stay relatively calm throughout it all. It wasn’t until they got to the ground floor and walked into the kitchen to find the woman leaning against the counters that Harry showed some genuine signs of panic.

“What are you doing here?” he demanded in a shrill voice, freezing right there in the doorway so suddenly that Texas almost knocked into him.

The woman’s eyes remained patently suspicious as she glanced between Harry and Texas, still clearly uncertain about what to make of his presence even though she had confirmation now that Harry was alive and well. “We were supposed to get drinks,” she replied sharply. “We made plans ages ago.”

Harry shut down for a few seconds, his face completely blank as he processed her response. “Shit,” he finally said. “Yeah, sorry, it totally slipped my mind. I didn’t think—fuck.” He paused, shaking his head a little before turning to face Texas. “Um, Texas, this is my sister, Gemma. Gemma, this is my…friend, Texas.”

Gemma arched a single eyebrow and crossed her arms over her chest. “Friend or ‘friend’?”

Harry gave her a resigned look. “What do you think?”

Gemma rolled her eyes. “Well, I hope you’re being safe, at least,” she replied.

Harry rolled his eyes right back, and for the first time since Gemma had nearly barged in on them, Texas could totally tell that they were related.

“If you still want to go out for drinks, we can get dressed and come with you,” Harry offered out of nowhere, which had Texas panicking instinctively at the prospect of having to spend time with Harry’s sister almost immediately after being caught mid-scene. Which was to say nothing of the awkwardness Texas had already endured over the course of their meal with Harry’s ex-boyfriend—partner? Paramour? Or the fact that Texas was already far too entangled in a client’s life already without getting Harry’s family involved in their mess, as well.

Thankfully, Gemma started to shake her head as soon as Harry was finished speaking. “I’ll take a rain check,” she said as she turned around and plucked a brownie from the container Harry had put the leftovers in to keep them fresh for later. “But if you leave town without making sure we spend some proper quality time together,” she threatened as she got her things together, “I will kill you.”

“I know, I know,” Harry replied.

Gemma ruffled his hair as she moved past them and then paused at the front door, turning her attention back toward Texas as she turned the handle. “Have fun,” she told him with an ominous eyebrow waggle that had Harry sighing from where he was standing at Texas’s side.

And then she was gone.

Texas sighed quietly under his breath and turned to Harry with an inquisitive expression. “Does your sister know about your…hobbies?”

“No,” Harry replied, his eyebrows raised as he took a step back, bracing himself against the decorative table in his foyer. “Is it common practice for your clients to inform their families about what they get up to in the bedroom?” he shot back.

“Not really,” Texas answered sincerely. “But she seemed like she was implying something when she left.”

“Oh, Gemma knows that I’m a bottom,” Harry replied airily, “just not that I like to be tied up and spanked in the process.”

A laugh burst out of Texas at hearing that, unintended, but Harry’s lips curled into a broad smile to match as he stared back at him.

“Do you really think she’d only be fine with one and not the other?” Texas wondered.

Harry shrugged. “I don’t think she’d really care, honestly, but I always got the impression that other people might judge me a bit for cluing my family in on the details of my sex life.”

Texas raised his eyebrows. “I wouldn’t have taken you for someone who cares what other people think,” he said.

“Guess you don’t know me very well then,” Harry replied with a laugh. He pushed up off the table with a groan before Texas could come up with a response and padded back into the kitchen, snagging himself another brownie and taking barely a nibble out of it before offering the rest to Texas, who had followed him like an obedient puppy without even thinking about it.

Texas accepted the treat and chewed it pensively while Harry got a glass of water from the fridge. Harry turned to face Texas again with the glass lifted to his mouth, staring at him with narrowed eyes, as though trying to decide something. Finally, he lowered the empty glass and set it down on the counter with a dull ping.

“So,” Harry said.

“So?” Texas replied dumbly.

“Are we going to go back upstairs now so I can finally come?”

Texas didn’t need much convincing. He tossed Harry over his shoulder—not easily, because while Texas had more bulk, Harry was all limbs—and raced up the stairs with him, finally faltering on the second to last landing and setting him back down to catch his breath.

Harry looked exhilarated by the whole experience, as short as it had been.

“Do you really want to do the same scene again?” Texas asked, now that he’d had a minute to actually think about the implications of picking up more or less exactly where they’d left off—or worse, starting over completely.

Harry leaned against the bannister and blinked slowly back at Texas. He hummed contemplatively under his breath before answering. “I suppose we better not,” he replied with no small measure of reluctance. “I’m already pretty sore.”

Texas wasn’t surprised to hear that, nor did he think it was the best idea to subject Harry to being impaled on a massive dildo for another ten, twenty minutes after seeing how much it had affected him the first time.

“Something else, then?” Texas suggested.

Harry’s lips curled into a teasing smirk. “if you’re up for the challenge,” he countered.

“Oh, I’m sure I can think of something.”

Something ended up being Harry with his hands cuffed behind his back and yanked up between his shoulder blades, the end of the rope secured to the overhead bed rails, making it almost impossible for him to ride Texas, even though that was what he’d been instructed to do. And to make things even harder on him, Texas had decided to bring a Hitachi wand into the mix and was currently pressing it firmly against the underside of Harry’s cock.

It was even easier to make Harry come apart after the beginnings of their interrupted scene, and he was sobbing within minutes, grinding pathetic circles against Texas’s hips as he searched in vain for enough leverage to actually lift himself up off of Texas’s cock so he could sit back down again.

Even with the orgasm Harry had had earlier in the afternoon, Texas knew there was no way Harry could hold out long enough to get him off first, no matter how good Harry was determined to be. Texas decided to make things easy on him for a change.

“You’ve been so good for me, baby,” Texas told Harry as he held him in place with one hand while pistoning his hips into him hard, the other hand still pressing the end of the Hitachi wand just underneath the head of Harry’s cock. “Want you to come for me now.” Texas punctuated the end of his sentence by pulling Harry’s hips down in one swift movement, bottoming out and grinding into him deep enough that he knew Harry had no choice but to feel it.

Harry doubled over as much as his restraints would let him. The muscles in his arms went bowstring-taut as his stomach clenched, and Texas could feel Harry tightening up around him just as come started to spurt out of Harry’s cock and onto Texas’s belly like an ancient Roman fountain. Then Harry went completely limp, the ends of his curls tickling Texas’s skin as he hung from his restraints like a puppet from its strings.

Texas quickly turned off the wand and tossed it aside before bringing his hand up to Harry’s chin. He lifted it to gaze directly into Harry’s glazed over eyes, pupils dilated as though he’d popped an amphetamine right before they’d fucked.

“You okay?” Texas asked, concerned by the complete lack of responsiveness in Harry’s face. He didn’t get a reply this time. Texas had managed to push Harry fully over the edge into subspace; he was conscious, technically, but for all intents and purposes, had virtually no awareness of his surroundings.

If Texas had been with any other client, that would have been his cue to put an end to the scene. But with Harry, it was different.

The two of them had already established that Harry liked to be used for other people’s pleasure, even if he was asleep and therefore unable to derive any real enjoyment out of it. True trance-like subspace was sort of like being asleep, except that part of Harry’s brain was still awake and processing the physical sensations he experienced, converting them to additional sources of endorphins, enhancing the high he was on even more.

His mind made up, Texas carefully eased out of Harry and moved to the side so he could sit up and loosen the ties holding Harry’s arms up behind his back. He let it go completely slack before rolling Harry onto his back, but left the cuffs themselves on for now.

Harry’s cock was still bright red and lay slowly deflating against his stomach. Texas had no plans to further stimulate it right now; Harry was too far past the point of being able to distinguish pain from anything else he was feeling, and Texas didn’t want to unintentionally hurt him.

Texas lubed up again before carefully easing himself back into Harry’s body, gliding into the hot, wet space inside him with little resistance after the abuse Harry had endured while in suspension as well as the fucking he’d just received only moments prior. Harry wasn’t even close to being as tight as he usually was, but Texas had never minded a sloppy fuck.

All Texas cared about right now—with Harry’s safety paramount before anything else—was getting off, and he thrusted into Harry with careless, quick jabs designed to get himself there as fast as possible.

Harry’s eyes remained half-lidded throughout it all, and it wasn’t long before Texas’s rough strokes produced a series of moans and whimpers as Harry started to move his hips back in time with the pace of the fucking itself. He was still very clearly in a deep subspace, but not so far gone at least that he was totally unresponsive to physical stimuli.

Texas was reassured by that fact and lengthened his strokes in response, pushing upward to try and stimulate Harry’s prostate a little with every thrust. He didn’t think Harry had it in him to come again, but Texas wanted Harry to feel good, even when he was in the process of selfishly indulging himself.

Harry writhed more on Texas’s dick at the increased pressure on his prostate, and gradually, Texas began to change his mind as Harry’s cock started to fatten up again with every jolt of Texas’s hips slamming into his. Maybe Harry did have it in him.

Texas slowed his pace to a standstill before leaning over Harry to retrieve the Hitachi wand from the other side of the bed. He lifted it almost ceremoniously over Harry as he sat back up again and glanced down to see if there was any reaction, but Harry just continued slowly breathing in and out through his mouth as his eyes drifted nearly closed, his hips hitching a little every now and again as he unconsciously searched for the stimulation he’d become accustomed to receiving.

Texas waited another moment as he built up to the same rhythm as before, and then without warning, he pushed the wand right up against the underside of Harry’s balls and turned the vibration back on.

Harry’s eyes widened as his mouth dropped open in shock, but his gaze was still unfocused and vacant as Texas pressed the wand even harder against his prostate from the outside while his cock battered against it from within.

Texas fucked him hard, and less than a minute later, he felt Harry tightening up again as his cock dribbled a thin stream of mostly clear fluid onto his stomach.

Satisfied now with the two orgasms he’d wrung out of Harry, Texas tossed the Hitachi aside without even bothering to turn it off first and bottomed out inside Harry once, twice, three times, savoring the little punched out groans that accompanied every thrust.

Finally, Texas came with a bit-off yell, his dick still throbbing where it was buried inside Harry as he collapsed bodily onto him. They lay there like that for a long moment, Harry still trembling hard enough after his own orgasm that Texas could feel it radiating through him.

Texas closed his eyes and focused solely on the beating of Harry’s heart under his ear. It moved rapidly at first, and then gradually, it began to slow, and Texas could feel his own pulse-rate lowering to meet it.

Eventually, their position became too uncomfortable to maintain, so Texas finally peeled himself away from Harry’s torso and finally reached over to silence the insistent buzzing of the wand against the mattress. He placed a hand against Harry’s jaw as he sat up, manipulating Harry’s face so that he could check his pupil dilation and assess whether Harry was still in subspace or not.

Harry blinked slowly up at Texas as his head was tilted upwards. He looked half-asleep, but no longer seemed to be in a nearly hypnotic state like before.

“Do you want to shower now or after we eat?” Texas asked in a quiet voice.

It took Harry nearly a minute to formulate a coherent response. “I don’t think I can even stand up,” he finally managed.

Texas laughed and ran a hand down the line of Harry’s torso, grounding him, and maybe himself, before he rolled out of the bed. “Juice good?” he called out as he walked over to the mini-fridge to pull out one of the bottles of apple juice he’d seen at the back during the course of their wax play scene the previous night.

Harry mumbled his assent and looked nearly unconscious again by the time Texas returned with a bottle in hand

“Drink this,” Texas instructed after helping Harry sit up against the pillows. “I’ve got to clean up at least a little bit. And piss, too.” He started to move toward the tiny half-bath attached to the playroom, but Harry’s voice stopped him in his tracks.

“You can use my shower if you want,” Harry said groggily. “In the master bedroom.”

Texas hesitated. He didn’t want to leave Harry alone for very long after such an intense scene, but he could already feel his dick starting to itch from the drying lube and come, and being able to actually rinse off was certainly preferable to just using a damp washcloth to wipe down in the other bathroom.

“Just a quick one, then,” Texas said. He waited until Harry nodded in confirmation before actually leaving the room, and true to his word, he kept the shower to no more than a two-minute scrub under a chill spray.

The last thing Texas expected to find when he returned to the playroom was an empty bed, but it didn’t take him long to find Harry rummaging around in the shelves on the opposite side of the room, still completely naked.

Texas watched him for a second before voicing his confusion. “What are you doing?”

Harry spun around with a startled look on his face, nearly knocking everything off the shelf at chest height in the process. “Nothing,” he replied hastily. “I mean, I was just tidying up.”

Texas frowned, but he was still too focused on making sure that Harry wasn’t about to experience a violent case of subdrop to worry too much about the bizarre response to a perfectly innocent question. “Do you want to clean up before we go down and finish dinner?” he asked.

Harry shook his head. “I’m good,” he said firmly.

“Okay.”

Texas helped Harry put on some clothes, and together the two of them made their way slowly down the stairs so that Harry, whose legs were still a bit wobbly, wouldn’t fall flat on his face.

“Sorry about not being able to finish the suspension scene,” Texas remarked a bit later, after they’d finished cooking the one-pot pasta they’d prepared earlier and had sat down together at the kitchen table to eat it.

Harry had already wolfed down half of his, apparently needing to replenish his flagging energy after how much he’d exerted himself in the last hour. Texas predicted he’d be suffering the effects of a carb coma before too long and made a mental note to make sure Harry showered one way or another before he hit the hay.

Harry just shrugged without looking up from his food. “It’s not like you could’ve known Gemma was going to show up,” he replied, without making any mention of the fact that he was the one who should have been responsible for keeping track of that sort of thing. “Besides, we have all week to try it again.”

“Fair enough.”

After gorging themselves on the food they’d made, Texas hauled Harry back upstairs for a nice hot shower, and the two of them stayed under the spray until their skin turned pruny and the hot water finally ran out, finally forcing them to make their exit.

Harry couldn’t stop yawning as Texas dried him off with a towel before helping him into bed, the crash hitting him hard just as Texas had predicted.

“Goodnight,” Texas said as he pulled the covers up to Harry’s chin.

“Goodnight,” Harry sleepily mumbled back.

He didn’t ask Texas to join him, and so Texas made the long walk back to the spare bedroom he’d spent the previous night in—alone—to pass the time as he waited for the inevitable exhaustion to catch up with him, too.

For whatever reason, Texas found himself dwelling on what Harry had said before about caring what other people thought of him as he laid with his head against the pillow later that night. Something about it was bothering him, but he couldn’t quite figure out what it was, and then it didn’t matter anymore as he finally drifted into blissful unconsciousness at last.

The next day played out similarly to the last with the exception of Harry being so sore that they had no choice but to take things easy. No intense scenes, no penetrative sex. Just a lot of relaxing. Which Texas was fine with—to start, at least.

He ended up joining Harry for yoga in the morning after breakfast and found it much more strenuous than he’d expected, which led to Harry suggesting they trade massages, which of course then led to dry humping on the couch. After that, Texas mostly just hung out around the house while Harry walked around and made various work-related phone calls and otherwise went about his daily routine.

It wasn’t until after lunch had gone and went and the sun started to set that Texas began to get a bit annoyed by the monotony.

“Do you never leave the house when you’re in London?” Texas asked as he lifted his head up from where it had been buried between Harry’s legs for the better part of twenty minutes.

“What do you mean?” Harry panted.

“We haven’t gone anywhere since the day I got here,” Texas pointed out.

Harry shuffled into a better position, sitting up a little and dislodging Texas in the process. He looked a bit pained as he replied. “I just don’t think it’s a very good idea to risk being seen in public together,” he explained without meeting Texas’s eyes. “I don’t want to put that scrutiny on you, from either the fans or the tabloids.”

“Right,” Texas replied hollowly. “That makes sense.” He wasn’t sure why Harry’s answer had upset him so much, but he found himself dwelling on it unpleasantly over the next few hours, and by dinnertime, he’d finally resolved to stop thinking about their conversation at all.

By the fourth day of Texas’s stay, he was pretty sure he’d gotten off more since he arrived in London than he had in the past month. But constant sex was only so interesting when everything they’d been doing together was fairly vanilla, and in the morning that same day, after Harry had woken Texas up with a blowjob, he’d also informed Texas that he would be gone most of the afternoon and evening, doing promo for something or other.

“I was thinking we could celebrate with another big scene once I’m home again,” Harry tacked on shyly, fluttering his eyelashes as he stared up at Texas for good measure, still with a bit of come clinging to the crease of his mouth as he spoke.

Texas nodded dumbly, his brain turned to mush after having the life sucked out of him via his dick. He probably would have agreed to anything in that moment.

It wasn’t until later, after Harry had been gone for a few hours, that the boredom truly started to set in, like an itch that Texas couldn’t manage to scratch no matter what he tried. Texas had never been much of a homebody, and while the brief moments of pure domesticity with Harry had been enjoyable in their own right, Texas was getting more and more restless the longer that he was cooped up in Harry’s big, lonely house in north London.

It was that same restlessness that eventually drove Texas to scour the house itself for anything to keep himself occupied while he waited for Harry to come home. There were a few things of interest here and there, art that Harry had collected, quite a few awards that he’d won since being launched into musical fame as a teenager, but it wasn’t until Texas found the liquor cabinet in the sitting room that he perked up a little.

Harry was apparently quite the collector, Texas was pleased to find, if not much of a drinker himself. There was an assortment of various—and very expensive—bottles that Texas was a little too afraid to touch, but Harry apparently didn’t make much of a distinction between fine spirits and the every day stuff, because there was a half-empty bottle of apple brandy stashed in the back that Texas was certain he could make a decent fireside cocktail out of.

Texas stretched his hand to the very back to grab the bottle, but paused when his fingers brushed against thick cardstock instead. He frowned, pinching the item between his fingers and pulling it out to get a better look at it.

It was an envelope, unsealed but with the flap tucked in to keep it closed. There was clearly something small but solid enclosed inside, but Texas wasn’t sure what it could possibly be without opening it to look. Then he turned the envelope over and saw the name written on the front in Harry’s familiar capitalized scrawl, and his heart stopped.

The envelope was addressed to Nick.

Not properly addressed, but with just his first name, like it was a letter Harry planned to hand over to Nick personally. And it was clearly something Harry didn’t want Texas or anyone else accidentally stumbling upon, or else he wouldn’t have stashed it at the very back of his fucking liquor cabinet.

Texas sat for several minutes in the armchair nearby with the closed envelope clutched between his fingers, contemplating opening it even though he knew full well that he had no right to pry into Harry’s unfinished business with Nick.

But there was a feeling Texas couldn’t shake, something compelling him despite his better sense to investigate what was inside the envelope. So he opened it.

It was a USB flash drive, small and unassuming and unmarked. It was the exact same device that Texas had used in college to hand in assignments, but there was something strangely ominous about the sight of it lying there in his palm, like it was secretly a bomb about to go off.

Texas knew he should have just left well enough alone, tucked the USB back in the envelope and put it back where he’d found it, but instead he found himself marching up the stairs to the spare room where his laptop was sitting on the bed. As though in his own sort of trance, Texas sat down, plugged it in, and brought up the only file on the device: a video. And then, after nearly a minute of nervously hovering his mouse over the icon now that he’d encountered the true point of no return, he hit play.

The room in the video was immediately recognizable as Harry’s playroom, the silhouette on the bed obviously Harry himself, with his hands behind his back and a pair of legs poking out from between his thighs. But it wasn’t until Harry dropped forward and Texas’s own face became visible for just a moment onscreen that it fully clicked.

Texas’s real-life body went hot and then cold in the span of just a few seconds, like he was experiencing an acute fever. Harry had filmed them having sex the night that Gemma had come over. And he’d put a USB containing just that video file and nothing else in an envelope with Nick’s fucking name on it.

Texas didn’t want to see the rest. He exited the tab and hurriedly ripped the USB out of his laptop before shoving it back into the envelope and racing down the stairs to put it back where he’d found it. Harry wasn’t due back for another hour at least, but that didn’t matter to Texas. He just didn’t want to even look at the damn thing anymore.

Later, after he’d downed two cocktails containing more than the recommended amount of apple brandy for someone drinking on an empty stomach, Texas realized that he should have just deleted the file while he’d had the chance. But no, he quickly rationalized, it probably didn’t matter. Harry no doubt had another copy stashed away on a hard drive or in cloud storage somewhere. There was no getting rid of a sex tape anymore thanks to the wonders of digital technology. That video of Texas fucking Harry was now as everlasting as fucking Stonehenge.

The alcohol he’d imbibed ended up being instrumental to Texas pulling himself together before Harry arrived back at the house. By the time the front door opened again, Texas had decided to play it cool and stick things out for the remainder of the week so he could at least get paid before bailing on this gig permanently. Knowing Harry, the amount transferred into his bank account when he got home would be enough to pay the next year’s worth of rent with no problem, and he could figure out how to proceed from there in the meantime. Maybe he’d finally get a normal job for once.

Or maybe not. After all, Texas had already been through this once and come out the other side more or less intact and without too severe of a career change. He could do it again.

In sharp contrast to Texas’s morosely drunken mood, Harry was as affectionate it as ever as soon as he walked in the house, practically throwing himself onto Texas’s lap after setting his things down in the foyer.

“Smells good,” Harry commented as he took a sniff of Texas’s glass. “Can I have some?”

Texas offered him what was left of the drink without saying a word.

Harry’s restless energy remained unassailable even after he’d gotten a bit tipsy on the last of the brandy, and before too long, he started to get handsy again, which just made Texas feel even worse as he mustered the last of his mental strength to play along like everything was fine.

Thankfully, Texas wasn’t forced to play house with Harry while prepping dinner again as they’d done previously. Instead, they picked out a take-out place that would be open late and called ahead for a delivery in an hour. Then the two of them made their way upstairs to begin the degradation scene they’d planned early that morning, before Texas’s whole world had been rocked to its very foundations.

Texas was still reeling when they made it to the playroom. He didn’t feel fully present as he caught Harry’s hand, keeping him from jumping straight into getting undressed like he knew Harry would if left to his own devices. The fading buzz from his earlier inebriation certainly wasn’t helping matters any either, but Texas was too afraid to call attention to himself by putting off the scene he knew Harry had been anticipating all day.

“Stay here,” Texas ordered in a hard voice as he manhandled Harry into position at the foot of the bed, leaving him standing there as he stepped back again. “Don’t move.”

Texas maintained perfect eye contact with Harry as he stripped off his own clothes, quietly suppressing the urge to look away in some masochistic attempt at proving to himself that he could pretend things were still fine between them.

Without a word, Texas stepped forward again and pushed Harry backwards onto the bed, his cock still mostly soft but slowly getting there as the energy built up around them with each passing second.

Harry was still dressed in an outfit that must have cost thousands, but Texas carelessly tugged his shirt open by the collar, just enough to grope at the soft mounds of his tits before leaning down to suck one of Harry’s nipples into his mouth.

With his left hand, Texas traced his fingers up the long line of Harry’s throat before twisting them into his hair and dragging him down onto his knees. He stared down at Harry coldly, feeling the hot rush of blood pumping through his body as his cock finally thickened up between his legs enough to actually use it.

“Open your mouth,” Texas instructed. He didn’t wait more than a second before shoving his cock inside and didn’t give Harry any time to adjust to the intrusion before fucking him hard, roughly enough that Harry gagged nearly every time Texas’s cock hit the back of his throat.

Texas waited until Harry scrabbled uselessly at his thighs with blunt nails before yanking Harry’s head back so he could get some air. He watched expressionlessly as Harry gasped and sputtered, and then slapped him hard across the face with his right hand before shoving his cock straight back into Harry’s open mouth.

The substitution they’d agreed upon for Harry’s safeword was a pinch on the inside of Texas’s thighs, but no matter how hard he fucked Harry, and no matter how much Harry struggled, he never made any attempt to stop the scene.

So Texas kept going, getting rougher and rougher and holding Harry’s head with his nose buried in Texas’s pubes for longer, slapping him each and every time that he let Harry off for air until his cheek and jaw were bright red from the abuse.

Harry was crying steadily now, but Texas was only just getting started.

Texas pressed Harry’s head down against the edge of the mattress and kept his hand in Harry’s hair as leverage as he straddled his chest and shoved his cock into Harry’s throat from a new angle. Harry was gagging far less now, but that didn’t mean Texas was going any easier on him.

After a minute or two of mindlessly rabbiting into Harry’s slack mouth, Texas pulled out again and hauled Harry up by his hair before tossing him fully onto the bed. Harry landed with a muffled squeak of pain that Texas ignored as he hooked his thumbs into the waistband of Harry’s trousers before yanking them down his legs without even bothering to undo the zip first.

Texas raised an eyebrow upon seeing the plug nestled between Harry’s ass cheeks now that he was mostly naked.

“Didn’t realize you were that much of a slut,” he remarked as he climbed up onto the bed and situated himself in between Harry’s legs. He pulled out the plug without warning, and this time, Harry’s cry had his ears ringing. “God, you’re loose,” Texas commented as he shoved two fingers into Harry before quickly adding a third. “Guess I should’ve expected that, though; all you are is a warm hole waiting to be used.”

Harry started to sob even harder as Texas fucked his fingers in and out even faster, not even trying to make it good for Harry as he brutally shoved them inside to the knuckle on every in-stroke. It wasn’t long before Harry instinctively started to shy away from the intense stimulation—Texas tapped the underside of Harry’s balls with the flat of his hand, causing Harry to freeze in place instead.

Texas finally tore his fingers out of Harry’s ass as he laid there, silently struggling to catch his breath, and quickly replaced them with his cock instead. He pounded into Harry mercilessly, slapping at his cock with either hand every few seconds, and despite it all, Harry still managed to get hard.

“You won’t get to come at all if you can’t manage to get me off,” Texas taunted as Harry cried through loud, watery sobs that would have given him pause at any other time. “I’ve fucked old pussy tighter than this.”

The lines were dry, rehearsed. Even to Texas’s own ears they sounded flat, but all he could think about as he fucked Harry harder and faster as the scene went on was the video Harry had stashed at the back of his liquor cabinet, in an envelope addressed to Nick.

After not much longer, Texas could feel his erection starting to flag despite the blatant falsity of his claims that Harry was too loose to fuck. He wasn’t sure if it was the brandy or his own mind driving him to distraction, but the scene would be over sooner than either of them had planned if Texas couldn’t keep his dick hard, and he certainly didn’t want to deal with the inevitable questions that would follow if he went completely flaccid without achieving the desired end for them both.

“Think I preferred your mouth better,” Texas decided as he hastily pulled out of Harry’s ass and shuffled forward to sit on his chest again instead.

Texas could see the gears in Harry’s head turning as he scooted closer, slowly, so that Harry could call yellow if he was having second thoughts. But Harry didn’t say a word; he opened his mouth obediently and gagged hard at the taste as soon as Texas’s cock touched his tongue.

Texas stared down at Harry’s puffy, red-rimmed eyes as he forced Harry to deepthroat his cock again, this time working up to a steady rhythm that he knew would allow him to come.

“Gonna cover your face in my come,” Texas grunted as he fucked in and out of Harry’s mouth while Harry weakly gagged with every stroke. “I should make you walk around on the street like that, where anyone could see you.” He was close now. He could feel the pressure starting to build low in his belly. “God, your mouth is so fucking good,” Texas groaned. He closed his eyes for a second, trying unsuccessfully to clear his mind as he spiraled ever closer to orgasm.

Texas didn’t mean for the rest of the words to slip out, but the alcohol had loosened his tongue, and the frustration of not being able to get off had only made the lines harder to see even as he crossed right over them.

“Guess Mesh must have had a better mouth, though,” Texas remarked carelessly, riffing off of the standard-fare dirty talk he’d been engaging in before without so much as taking a breath in between. “If yours had been as good as his, maybe Nick wouldn’t have dumped you.”

Harry choked violently on the end of Texas’s cock and shoved him hard, with enough force that Texas went tumbling backwards onto his ass, bouncing awkwardly at the foot of the bed before regaining his balance again.

Texas glanced up at Harry’s face just in time to watch his lips curl around a word he hadn’t ever expected to hear come out of Harry’s mouth.

“Minnesota.”

The word was forced out around a rasping cough, and Texas continued to stare at Harry for several seconds as his heart slowly descended into the pit of his stomach. Finally, he moved off the bed, trying to give Harry a bit of space.

Texas sat himself down, still naked, on a bench on the other side of the room, watching out of the corner of his eye as Harry curled up into a ball against the headboard with the sheets pulled up around himself like a protective shield.

Harry was the first to break the silence. “I know I asked for you to do this sort of thing,” he said slowly, “but why the fuck would you think that was okay to say to me?”

Texas’s vision went bright red. “I don’t know, Harry,” he shot back as he stood up, his eyes blazing, totally uncaring of the fact that he was still buck-naked. “Why the fuck would you think it was okay to film us having sex without asking so you could send the tape to your ex as what—some kind of warped revenge bullshit?”

Harry gaped at him silently for a long moment. “I didn’t—” he started, but Texas was beyond wanting an explanation.

“You know what?” Texas said as he knelt down to pick up his clothes, pulling them on without even bothering to make sure they were the right way around. “Fuck you,” he spat at Harry, not even looking at him in the eyes this time. “I can’t do this right now. I can’t even fucking be here right now.”

Texas could hear the sheets rustling behind him as he reached for the doorknob, but he refused to turn around.

“You’re really just going to leave after a scene where I had to word out?” Harry demanded, his voice high-pitched and hysterical as he shouted through the burgeoning tears.

Texas paused with his hand curled around the door handle. He took a deep breath and looked back over his shoulder at Harry, who was on his knees now with the sheets pooled around his waist, his fists clenched tightly over his thighs.

“If you really can’t be alone right now, then tell me,” Texas said seriously, “and I will call someone and wait for them to get here so they can make sure that you’re okay. But if you’re just saying that so that I won’t leave? I can’t—I can’t do it.”

Harry sat there, shivering with suppressed sobs, but he didn’t answer.

So Texas walked out the door.

He waited till he was safe in the spare bedroom before calling one of the emergency numbers for Harry’s security team. He kept the details to a minimum as he packed up his belongings, informing the woman on the other end of the line that Harry needed food brought by and taken to the room at the top of the stairs and that somebody should at least get verbal confirmation from him that he was okay before leaving.

Then he called a cab and walked outside to wait on the curb at the end of the road to be picked up.

By the time the cab arrived and Texas was climbing into the backseat, he had a text message from Harry waiting in his inbox. After a second or two of deliberation, he opened it to find an address and a short message from Harry saying that he’d booked a room for him at a nearby hotel.

“Address?” the cabbie asked, distracting Texas from the text message for a moment.

“Oh, um….” Texas glanced back down at his phone again, his mind racing as he tried to decide whether it was a good idea to even accept Harry’s gesture after what had happened. Finally, he rattled off the address Harry had provided him with and then slumped against the seat, silently deciding to just deal with the consequences of his decision—if there were any—later.

Texas zoned out during the drive, a preferable alternative to allowing his mind to dwell on the incident that had just occurred. When the cab pulled up in front of a very nice hotel about a half an hour later, Texas had grown mostly numb to everything that he was feeling, and he paid the fare silently before climbing out of the car and walking inside to check in.

When Texas reached his room on one of the upper floors, he dumped his suitcase on the floor and immediately made for the bathroom, turning the shower on as hot as it would go before entombing himself inside as some sort of attempt at literally drowning out his problems.

Afterward, he helped himself to the minibar, perversely comforted by the knowledge that the expenses would be charged to Harry’s credit card, and once he was drunk enough, Texas collapsed face first onto the hotel bed and passed out without even crawling under the sheets first.

Texas was wrenched out of a deep alcohol-induced coma the next morning by the sound of housekeeping rapping insistently against the door. He let out a groan, contemplating just shouting for them to go the fuck away, but this was a rather nice hotel, and he didn’t really savor the idea of being prematurely thrown out for being an asshole just because he was pissed off and hungover.

Somehow, he managed to drag himself out of bed, and only just remembered to grab his discarded towel as he passed by to cover his dick before going to the door to fend the maid off.

It wasn’t housekeeping waiting on the other side when Texas opened the door. It was Nick.

“’Lo there,” Nick said, giving Texas’s naked body a very exaggerated once-over as he leaned against the doorframe with feigned nonchalance. “Can we talk a minute?”

Texas remained silent and unmoving as he considered the potential repercussions of allowing Nick to step foot inside his hotel room. Finally, he stepped aside, wordlessly inviting Nick in as he turned to grab a pair of pants from his suitcase.

Nick walked by as Texas got dressed and sat down primly at the foot of his bed. “Not hard to see why Harry likes you so much,” he remarked as Texas pulled the pair of sweatpants up around his waist.

Texas turned his head to glare at Nick but didn’t respond. He finished getting dressed a few seconds later and then spun around to face Nick fully, his arms crossed over his chest as he waited for Nick to break the silence.

Nick just stared back serenely, apparently content to continue this little game until Texas finally got bored of it.

Texas didn’t have much patience for that sort of thing on a good day. And today wasn’t one of those days.

“You’re the one who showed up here out of the blue,” Texas reminded Nick. “What the hell do you want?”

“Harry told me what happened,” Nick replied calmly.

Texas carefully kept his expression neutral as he formulated a response in his head. “Before or after he gave you the video of me fucking him?” he finally asked.

Nick lifted his eyebrows as though surprised by the question. “I didn’t see the video,” he told Texas.

“Oh, how noble of you.”

Nick rolled his eyes. “No,” he said sharply, “I didn’t see the video of you two because Harry didn’t show me the video. There’s nothing remotely noble about me.”

Texas was surprised to hear that, actually, but he managed to tamp down his reaction before it could show on his face. “Harry still took the fucking video,” he pointed out.

“Sure,” Nick agreed with a shrug, “but there’s virtually no chance that Harry would have actually ever given it to me. He did something stupid and impulsive, but that doesn’t mean he was ever planning on going through with it.”

Texas staunchly refused to be swayed by Nick’s argument. He didn’t even know why Nick was here of all places, trying to defend Harry, when clearly their own relationship was just as murky as the one that currently existed between Harry and Texas. “He still shouldn’t have filmed us without saying anything,” Texas said.

“And you shouldn’t have gone snooping through his things,” Nick retorted.

“Those are kind of on different levels, don’t you think?”

Nick shrugged again and waved a hand dismissively. “Let he who hast not sinned cast the first stone and all that rot.”

Texas sighed deeply and uncrossed one of his arms to press a palm to his forehead as he screwed his eyes shut. “Why are you even here?” he finally demanded.

Nick waited until Texas looked back up at him again before answering, and this time, there was none of his usual smug demeanor remaining in his expression. “I think you should give Harry a chance to explain himself,” he replied earnestly, before bracing himself against the mattress and standing up, still wearing a sober expression as he stared at Texas without blinking. “He’s pretty broken up about what happened between you two, and personally, I don’t want to see Harry lose anyone else if I can help it.” He swallowed hard, his Adam’s apple bobbing in his throat as he paused before continuing. “It’s my way of finally making amends for what happened between us, I suppose.”

Texas gazed back at Nick for a long moment without saying anything. “I can’t give you an answer either way,” he finally managed. It was the most honest thing he could say in that moment.

Nick just nodded solemnly as he moved toward the door. “Harry will still be there when you get your head on straight again,” he said in parting.

But Texas couldn’t bring himself to take Nick’s advice, and the longer he stayed cooped up in his hotel room on Harry’s dime, the more he wanted to just go back home to Berlin.

Texas finally booked his flight that night, not even batting an eye at the cost of buying a ticket so last minute, and by the next day at noon, he was at home in bed, feeling drained both physically and emotionally. Texas barely had the energy to strip out of his clothes after turning off his phone and locking his door just to make sure that no one bothered him during his attempt to sleep off the residual effects of the last few days he’d spent in London.

Texas woke up later that evening feeling no more mentally refreshed despite his unavoidable physical rejuvenation, and no matter how long he lingered in bed, Texas couldn’t manage to convince his brain to shut back off again.

So instead of sleeping even longer like he would have liked, Texas finally got out of bed and turned his phone back on, swiping away the stack of text notifications from Harry without even bothering to read them before sending out an email to help spread the word in his professional circle that he was making himself available for private bookings again.

With that taken care of, Texas wandered out of his room for the first time since he arrived at home and walked into the kitchen to find himself something to eat. Thankfully, his roommate worked odd hours, so Texas still had a bit of time to savor his aloneness before he was forced to confront the fact that other people still existed who had no idea what had just happened to him, who he would have to put on a façade for every time they had a conversation just so he could pretend that he was perfectly fine even though he still felt anything but.

Texas browsed the fridge fruitlessly for a moment before turning toward the pantry with a sigh. One of the biggest problems with leaving for a week was that Kevin was completely incapable of keeping a stock of normal food on hand, instead leaving Texas to do most of the grocery shopping in their little household.

Luckily, they had a fairly good stock of non-perishables collecting dust on the pantry shelves, so Texas grabbed a can of spaghetti hoops to tide him over until he could grab some real food and was turning around to find the can opener when an unexpected knock at the front door made him freeze in his tracks.

Texas cautiously made his way over to the door, still with the can of spaghetti hoops clutched in his hand. There were a lot of possibilities running through his head before he slowly opened the door, but nowhere on his radar was the thought that Harry would be standing there, in the flesh, on the other side with his hands shoved in his pockets and his eyes bloodshot, like he’d still just been crying right before he’d arrived.

Harry and Texas just stared at each other for a long moment, and then Harry’s eyes finally drifted downward to land on the can in Texas’s hand. “Am I interrupting something?” he asked with a half-smile.

Texas gaped at him for a little while longer before shaking his head at last. He moved wordlessly out of the way to let Harry in, but it was like his brain didn’t catch up to his body’s actions until Harry was sitting there in front of him on the ratty pleather couch in the front room of his Berlin apartment. “What are you doing here?” Texas asked in a small voice.

Harry glanced up at him with a pleading expression. “I couldn’t just let things between us end like that,” he replied. “Not without giving you an explanation, at least.”

“I thought that was the whole point behind sending Nick to the hotel to talk,” Texas pointed out flatly.

Harry’s face went a bit stony at that. “I didn’t send Nick,” he clarified. “And I think it’s better for you to hear it from me, firsthand.”

Texas shook his head and stepped back a little, putting his shoulder blades right up against the door. Ironically, in his attempt to put as much space between himself and Harry as possible, he’d also blocked Harry’s sole means of escape, but Texas was determined to resolve this once and for all just so he could have some damn peace of mind again.

“Why don’t I tell you my side of the story first?” Texas said in hoarse voice. He couldn’t look at Harry as he said it, but he lifted his gaze in time to catch Harry’s apprehensive nod.

“Okay,” Harry replied slowly. “I’m all ears.”

Texas stared back down at the floor again for a few seconds and collected himself before opening his mouth to detail just how badly Harry had hurt him.

“When I first started all this shit,” he began, “I had a client—this older woman, nearly my mom’s age—and she had this obsession with filming us fucking. And I didn’t really give a shit back then, because I didn’t know any better, but this was back when I still lived in the States, and the woman’s son was friends with people I knew back at NYU, and somehow he got a hold of the footage of us and shared it with people who shared it with other people, and eventually it made its way all the way back to my fucking family, who more or less made it clear that I was the embarrassment of the entire clan and was therefore no longer welcome at family dinner. And that taught me two lessons: don’t ever let someone film you, and don’t fucking shit where you eat.”

Texas looked up to find Harry staring back at him with wide, watery eyes. The point of the story hadn’t been to make Harry cry, but now that he was finally getting it all out, he found that he felt a bit vindicated by the evidence of Harry’s guilt. He wanted Harry to know just how much he’d hurt him.

“So that’s why it upset me so much when I found that USB,” Texas continued. “And also, I guess because it sort of felt like—” He paused as a realization hit him. He’d only been so rocked by the knowledge that Harry only viewed him as a tool to get back at Nick because Texas himself was starting to think of Harry as something other than a client.

Fuck. He was actually starting to fall in love with Harry. So much for that second lesson, then. And this was the worst kind of confirmation that his feelings weren’t reciprocated that Texas could have ever received.

“I don’t know how I’m supposed to just forgive what you did,” Texas said quickly, trying to distract Harry from the confession he’d been so close to unintentionally spilling. “So if you’re just going to feed me some sob story as an excuse, you can save it.”

Harry sniffled loudly and wetted his lips. His hands were white-knuckled over his kneecaps, and he could barely maintain eye contact with Texas as he replied.

“I’m not here to make an excuse,” he said carefully, like the words had been rehearsed beforehand. “I just wanted to apologize to you in person, both for hurting you and for betraying your trust like that. It’s not something I should have done without your knowledge or permission, and I realize that you might just see me as some entitled A-lister, but I am asking you to acknowledge that I’m just a human being like you, who makes stupid mistakes sometimes—and frankly, I’m only halfway through my twenties, so I’ve got a fair bit of time still to make them. And that doesn’t erase what I did to hurt you, but I am sorry, and I want to make amends however I can if it’s at all possible.”

Harry paused and sniffled again. He looked like he was just holding back tears now, and Texas thought that under normal circumstances, he might’ve thought the apology less sincere for having been so obviously prepared beforehand, but there was something in Harry’s face that had him convinced without any lingering doubts whatsoever that he had been one-hundred-percent genuine about every single word.

“Would you prefer we leave it at that?” Harry continued meekly. “If you want, I’ll leave now and never bother you again, but I’d really like to explain myself if you’d be willing to hear me out.”

Texas considered it for a moment before nodding. “You can keep going,” he replied in a quiet voice.

Harry nodded, his eyes dropping back to where his hands were resting against his thighs as his face slowly turned bright red. And then it all came pouring out.

“I feel like such a whingy prick saying this,” he started, “but I suppose I’m just a naturally insecure person when it comes to relationships? I always feel like I’m constantly afraid of people leaving me, and it always seems to happen no matter what I do, and Nick—he’s been there since I was a teenager, and I suppose some part of me had finally decided that I didn’t have to worry about him like I did with all the others. Like, I thought we were on the same wavelength, because Nick always insisted that he never wanted to settle down, and that commitment just wasn’t in the cards for him. And I was fine with that, because it meant that whenever I came back to London, he was there waiting for me. And that always felt like the perfect arrangement for us.”

Harry paused, his throat bobbing as he swallowed a few times before continuing, his voice a bit scratchier now from the effort of suppressing his tears.

“But then Mesh kind of showed up out of nowhere, and it felt like there was nothing easier in the world for Nick than dumping me after that. And I just got so angry about it. And I obsessed about it every minute of every day and some part of me was just so desperate to get back at him—and that’s why I brought you to London in the first place—but then it didn’t get any better after we went out together, and I just got even more worked up about it after. And I didn’t even—like, I didn’t plan to record us or anything. It was a split-second decision, and once I’d done it, I felt so bad about it that I just hid the fucking thing. And I don’t really know why I didn’t just get rid of it then, but some part of me felt like I had to hang on to it, like just in case I changed my mind later. But I never really…I never would have actually given it to him.”

Harry finally glanced back up at Texas, with tears finally spilling from his eyes now as he stared up at him determinedly.

“I really am sorry,” he said thickly. “I do hope that someday you’ll be able to forgive me. I never intended to do anything to hurt you, ever, but I realize that I did, and that was wrong of me.”

Texas stared back at Harry blankly, completely at a loss for how to respond to Harry’s explanation, apology…any of it.

Harry glanced away again and leaned over the arm of the couch to reach into his bag without waiting for Texas to reply. He lifted out a large, black, hardcover book and set it delicately on the coffee table between them.

“This is something I commissioned a little while back,” Harry explained as he slid the book closer to Texas, who finally moved away from the door to cautiously retrieve the proffered item. “It’s a collection of boudoir photos,” Harry continued as Texas flipped the cover open only to come face to face with a nearly naked photo of Harry, clearly taken in his younger years. “I started doing them back when I was nineteen, and I printed a few copies for myself and my long-term partners. I wanted you to have one as well.”

Texas flipped through a few more pages, confirming that it was indeed a very racy collection of photos that—should it fall into the wrong hands—had the potential to seriously damage Harry’s reputation and career. “You’re giving this to me?” he questioned as he looked back up at Harry again, still a bit skeptical.

Harry nodded earnestly. “I thought it would be easier to show my trust,” he explained, “rather than just asking you to believe me outright.”

Texas closed the cover of the book again and ran a hand down the embossed designs on the front before setting it carefully back down on the coffee table. “You know I could just as easily turn around and sell this to someone for a load of cash,” he pointed out.

“I know,” Harry replied serenely. “That’s why I decided to give it to you. Because I know you wouldn’t.” He sucked in another deep breath. “And I’m hoping that it’ll help you believe me when I say that I would never do anything to hurt you like that ever again.”

Texas was overwhelmed. By the book, by Harry’s apology, by everything. It took him a minute to sort through his own feelings and emotions, but by the time he’d managed to compose himself again, he was more or less certain that he’d come to a final decision.

“I understand your feelings,” Texas said slowly, as Harry stared up at him with wide, fearful eyes. “And I forgive you.”

A sigh of relief loudly whooshed out of Harry’s lungs. He abruptly relaxed against the couch cushions, looking like the release of his anxiety had physically deflated him. He closed his eyes for a moment and then opened them again, staring up at Texas questioningly. “So where do we go from here?” he asked.

Texas drew in a deep breath, considering. “I’m open to continuing our working relationship,” he offered, “if that’s something you’d still be interested in.”

Harry’s mouth quirked up into a tiny smile. “I suppose you don’t mean that we should resume that relationship right now,” he joked.

Texas pursed his lips and shrugged. “I’m game if you are,” he replied casually.

The past day of emotional turmoil had taken its toll on Texas—as he was sure it had likewise affected Harry—and he knew he could use a nice surge of endorphins to counteract all that. From a logical standpoint, though, it probably wasn’t the best idea to work off that nervous energy with sex when sex had been the source of the problem to begin with, but Texas was nothing if not impulsive.

Somehow, they both ended up lying horizontal on the couch with Texas hovering over Harry, whose pants had come off somewhere along the way and disappeared into a distant corner of the apartment. Texas’s roommate was just depraved enough to leave lube lying around in the drawers underneath the coffee table where they kept spare batteries for the TV remote, and it wasn’t long before Texas was two, three, four fingers deep inside Harry, stretching him open around his hand as he pushed in deep, curling his fingers up to press directly against his prostate with every thrust.

Harry muffled a scream against Texas’s shoulder as Texas shoved in hard all the way to his thumb, rattling the couch frame and making Harry squirm like he’d been fucking electrocuted. Texas was still fully dressed, his cock hard and straining against the crotch of his pants, but he couldn’t even contemplate getting it out until Harry had come at least once on his hand first.

They were still in that position, Harry stifling his wails into the fabric of Texas’s t-shirt as he was hand-fucked into another dimension, when the front door suddenly flew open to reveal Kevin in all his glory with a couple grocery bags tucked under each arm.

Texas froze, his eyes connecting with Kevin’s from over the top of the couch. For a moment they just stared at each other, and then Texas felt Harry clenching weakly against his fingers and suddenly remembered where he was and what he was doing. “Um,” he said uncertainly as he continued to stare at Kevin, who had gone bone-white upon stumbling onto the unexpected scene.

“I’ll just…leave these here,” Kevin replied in German as he hastily dumped the groceries onto the kitchen counter before fleeing to his room at a near sprint.

Texas looked down at Harry, who looked nothing less than wrecked, and blinked a few times. “You okay?” he checked.

Harry nodded. “What did he say?”

Texas shook his head. “Nothing. It’s fine. Do you want me to…?” His hand was still half-buried in Harry’s ass, and not even Kevin’s surprise appearance had managed to make his erection flag.

Harry narrowed his eyes and tilted his head back toward the door to Kevin’s room. “Do I need to have him sign an NDA, too?” he wondered distractedly.

Texas rolled his eyes with a loud scoff. “Kevin wouldn’t even recognize Kanye if he ran into him on the street,” he assured Harry.

A tiny frown formed on Harry’s face as he glanced back up at Texas. “Are you implying that I’m less famous than Kanye?”

Texas arched an eyebrow and pushed his hand a little deeper, wringing a gasp out from Harry’s lips. “Were you saying something?’ he taunted.

Harry shook his head frantically. “No,” he replied, breathless now. “Keep going on, come on.” He shifted his hips as much as he could manage with Texas still pinning him down, searching for more.

“I thought I was giving the orders here,” Texas replied without moving his hand again to give Harry what he wanted.

“Please?” Harry begged in a high-pitched whine.

This time, Texas didn’t reply, but answered in the form of his hand resuming its rhythmic motion against Harry’s prostate, until he was fucking him just as hard as he had before, but this time, he kept his other hand over Harry’s mouth, making sure that no sound escaped as he pushed Harry closer and closer to the edge. “Close?” Texas asked as he ground down against Harry’s thigh for some relief, no longer able to help himself.

Harry nodded as Texas pried open his mouth and curled three fingers against his tongue. He screwed his eyes shut tight as he came, staining the inside of his shirt with come and leaving a damp patch that quickly seeped through the thin fabric and turned it dark as Texas watched him shake apart.

Texas rutted against Harry’s thigh a bit more before sliding his pants down just past his ass and pressing Harry’s thighs together so he could fit his cock between them. It was tight, the friction almost too much, but it didn’t take much for Texas to come, this time splattering the outside of Harry’s shirt and leaving it completely unsalvageable.

Afterwards, they cleaned up in Texas’s bedroom and Harry draped himself in one of Texas’s baggier t-shirts before crawling—still pantsless—into his bed. Texas sidled up alongside him, lining them up back-to-chest with one arm looped snugly around Harry’s waist.

“Suppose I’ll have to write you another check before I leave,” Harry mumbled sleepily.

Texas didn’t want to think about Harry leaving. Not yet. “I’ll let you have this one on the house,” he replied as he pressed his lips to the hollow behind Harry’s ear. He closed his eyes, listening as Harry’s breathing evened out into the slow rhythm of sleep before finally allowing himself to relax and drift off as well. He knew that when he woke up, Harry would still be there in his arms.