He searched the room for the voice but couldn’t see anyone until Master George stepped through the parted crowd.
Eddie lowered his head. “Master George.” Eddie’s heart raced, and he couldn’t contain his smile.
“Clarice didn’t hear from you. Does that mean you’ve decided not to go ahead with what we talked about?”
Was he supposed to have called her? “Oh, um, I still want to go ahead with it. I forgot to call her and tell her. I was excited about coming tonight and didn’t think about calling ahead.”
“Shh. Eddie, breathe. It’s fine.” Master George slipped an arm around Eddie’s shoulders. “I wanted to go through a contract with you, that’s all. Can we do that now?”
Eddie didn’t want to read a contract. He wanted Master George. “Can we do it later?” he asked, eyes still lowered.
Master George was quiet, then a finger curved under his chin, lifting his head. When he met the vibrant blue eyes, he relaxed.
“Better. Yes, we can do it later, but we must do it if you want to go ahead.”
“I do, Sir. Definitely.”
Master George smiled. “What would you like to do tonight?”
Eddie licked his lips. “I’m not really sure.”
“Do you trust me?”
“Implicitly,” Eddie said in a firm voice.
Master George nodded once. “Come on.”
Eddie went with Master George to one of the private rooms but hesitated at the threshold, even though Master George still had his arm around him.
“What’s wrong?” Master George stepped in front of him and cupped his jaw, bringing their gazes together. “Talk to me.”
“This is the room…Master Douglas found me in.” Eddie’s heart pounded. He knew he’d have to face the room eventually because it was ridiculous to think a space could have this much of a hold over him.
“Let’s try another room.”
“No! Sir. No.” He stared into Master George’s eyes. “Will you help me?”
“With anything and everything I can. What do you need?”
“I want to do it here. I need something good to wash away the bad memories of this room.”
“Are you sure, Eddie? There is no weakness in not being ready.”
“I’m sure.” He nodded to emphasise his answer.
Master George stared at him for a long minute, then nodded in return. He slid his hands into Eddie’s and gripped them hard. “I’m here.” He stepped backwards, tugging Eddie into the room with him.
Every step had Eddie’s palms sweating and his heart jumping, but when they finally stopped in the centre of the room, Eddie sighed. He glanced around, never letting go of Master George’s hands.