I haven't had the pleasure of joining in all 100 Sundays since this Sunday Snog fest began, but I've joined in a fair few, and it's been pretty wonderful. This week, it's the 100'th Sunday of the great tradition, and I'm happy to join in agian, and support the Doctors Without Boarders cause Miss Blisse and the others have decided to contribute to. It'a great cause, and I'm proud to support it. And on that note, a little bit of a kiss-it-better scene from Off Stage: Right, when Stan gives in to his need to try and make the pain, physical, and heart-felt, go away for the man he's quickly falling for. (and because it's a special occasion, today, it's a nice chunk of the scene to celebrate)
Krane pushed Damian upright and slipped around to kneel on the floor in front of him. He proceeded to unwrap Damian’s left hand. He didn’t take his time or be gentle. “Look at what he did to you, Trevor.” Damian turned his head so he wouldn’t see the mess or the scratched out tattoo.
“You d-don’t know him like I do.” He couldn’t get his voice above a whisper, even now.
“You know him so well you anticipated this?” Krane gripped Damian’s wrists and lifted. “If you know him—” He dragged in an audible breath and tempered his tone. “If you know him this well, then why? Why push him? Why let him do this?”
“I didn’t let him!” Damian’s skin crawled as he tried to pull free. The beginning of a bone-deep shaking started in his hands, but soon spread through his entire body. “I made him.”
“Don’t try and tell m-me it w-wasn’t my fault. I g-got him th-that mad.” He twisted his hand, hunched his shoulders, but there was no making himself small enough to hide from this. “I b-b-broke him. Should have b-b- been h-home. N-n-not h-high.”
Why could he not get a single word out, suddenly? Like there was a tennis-ball sized knot of phlegm in his throat and he had no control over his own tongue.
He squeezed his eyes shut, but that only sharpened everything else: the stink of antibiotic cream and celery juice, the scent of Stanley’s aftershave. The feel of him there on one knee in front of Damian, watching. Waiting.
“Trevor,” Stanley said softly.
Damian tried to wipe the back of one hand across his face. It only reminded him of the implacable hold the other man had on him. It made him wince at the sharp pain of his cuts and kept him aware of how the other man was watching him, seeing him fall apart. Seeing how he couldn’t blink back the tears fast enough. Seeing the snot running over his top lip.
“L-let me g-go,” he croaked. He could barely hear the words over the roaring in his head.
“Trevor.” Stanley shuffled closer between Damian’s legs. He gently put Damian’s hands down and took his face between warm, huge palms.
“Wh-wh-what?” Damian glared at him through the dampness.
“Whatever you did that you think was deserving of this, Lenny very deliberately ruined that tattoo. He purposely caused you a great deal of pain. Why?”
Stanley’s face kept wavering in and out of focus no matter how hard Damian tried to zero in on his features. He shrugged. “Bec-cause I h-hurt h- him f-f-first, I g-guess. T-t-too many t-t-times.” He swallowed convulsively. “F-f-f-”
“Shhhh.” Stanley pulled Damian to him, cradling Damian’s head against his body.
Godddamn, but everything about the man was so warm. Steady.
“F-fuck,” Damian whispered. His throat ached. His eyes stung and his lashes stuck together. He thought his head might explode, and he was sobbing like a little kid all over Stanley’s powder-blue dress shirt. The one that matched his eyes and hugged every plane of his chest just so.
“You’re going to be all right,” Stanley assured him.
“I’m f-f-f—” Damian growled. “F-f-f-fuck!”
Damian pushed free of Krane’s grip, ignoring the pain of shoving the comfort away. “I am c-c-ca.” He banged a fist on his thigh in frustration. The pain eclipsed everything. A white-hot sheet of flaming agony sizzled through him and he thought the top of his head might blow off.
“Breathe.” Stanley had him by the wrists again. The hold anchored him. Stanley’s voice steamrolled over Damian’s frustration and finally, he managed to draw a deep breath.
“I’m c-calm,” he muttered, cheeks flushing with heat.
“You’re stuttering,” Krane pointed out.
“D-d-d-on’t f-f-finish m-my w-w-w-ords!”
“You’re right.” Krane nodded. “You’re right. I’m sorry.” He stroked a thumb along Damian’s palm. “I’ve never heard you stutter before. Not even when you’re drunk.”
“I d-don’t st-st-st.” Damian slowed, concentrated. “I do n-not stutter,” he said. “Anym-more.” He wrung his hands, not so much in an attempt to get free, as to feel the way Stanley’s fingers tightened ever so slightly when he did. “I outgrew it. T-took v-voice lessons wh-when I w-was ten or s-so. To get over it. It w- worked.”
“So what’s going on here, then?” Stanley released one wrist, but before Damian could find a way to complain, Stanley cupped his face instead. “Talk to me.”
“T-t—” Damian bit his lip. “T-talk to you ab-bout m-my stutter?” He tried to smile, but it was a limp effort. “Wh-why?”
“Because if you haven’t done it since you were ten, and clearly, you’re doing it now, and you can’t control it, then something is going on in there.” He tapped the side of Damian’s head. “And I want to know what.”
Damian wanted to know too. He met Stanley’s—Krane’s—gaze and shook his head. “It’s better now.”
He hesitated, but what the hell? At some point, Krane had stopped being his manager and begun to be something else. Someone else. He lifted his captured wrist and a flush of warmth wended through him when Stanley’s grasp firmed. “Why does this make it better?” He glanced at the containment Stanley’s grip offered.
Stanley didn’t look away. His gaze was so steady, so serene. So very, very soothing. “You have to work that answer out for yourself. I can ground you, Trevor, but why it works, what you really want it to be, that’s something only you can figure out.”
“Grounded.” Damian nodded. “That’s how it feels.” Because grounded sounded so much better than safe or kept, even in his own head. He closed his eyes and drew a smooth, deep breath. Stanley’s fingers tightened to just this side of painful and Damian shivered, deep down where no one could see it.
“Look at me, Trevor.”
Damian kept his eyes closed. “I can’t,” he said honestly. Stanley would see what that grip did to him if he opened his eyes. He’d see inside to that quivering part of him, the secret no one was allowed to see.
“Fuck, I hate it when you say my name like that.”
“Because. It sounds….” Like Stanley already knew his secret.
“Why?” Stanley asked again, insistent.
Damian smiled. “You do hang onto things until you get answers, don’t you?” He tried to make light of it as he finally opened his eyes, but Stanley wasn’t smiling.
“I want to hear you say it, Trevor.”
Damian twisted his hand, frightened, suddenly, that Stanley would never let go, and terrified that he would.
Stanley released him.
“Please.” Without thinking, Damian scooted forward.
Damian held his hands up between them. They shook, but he couldn’t help it. “Don’t let g-go.”
Stanley smiled. “I have to clean those hands,” he said. “And bandage them now.” He ran his fingers down Damian’s cheek. “I am not letting you go.”
“Promise.” Damian mouthed the word, unable, yet, to give voice to the need opening up inside him.
“Is that what you really want?” Damian lifted his hands another inch.
Instead of taking him by the wrists again, Stanley lowered both Damian’s hands to his thighs, cupped his chin, and kissed him.
“Soon,” Krane said. “You’re not ready yet. But I will keep you safe while you figure things out. That, I promise. Even when you don’t like it or want me to."
And don't forget, there are tons of authors participating this weekend! Check them all out. You can find their links on Victoria's page by following the linky. Happy snogging!!!