Surveying the sea of beautiful people occupying the trendy bar, Justin Plank felt a slight thrill of the hunt. At the very least, one of these young stars-to-be would be desperate enough to talk to him about a contract. "Ok, Justin," he said to himself. "This is your night."
For the past three years, Justin had been running his father's talent agency in Los Angeles. The senior Plank had died in a skiing accident, boosting Justin to a top position that he was hardly qualified for. He was twenty-five at the time.
Now, at the age of twenty-eight, he had accomplished little with the once well-regarded agency. Other people in the industry now mocked Plank Talent for only signing on D-list celebrities, and then putting them into sub-par projects. It was a dismal time for Justin Plank.
People would avoid him if they saw him walking towards them at parties. Wearing a stiff three-piece suit, his unpleasant bland, brown hair greased back, and donning a pathetically desperate grin, Justin would stride around with his hand out, shaking vigorously with any well-connected person he could find. He was of average build, and paled in comparison to the shining stars that event planners would stock at these types of parties.
"How many times do I have to tell you, Justin?" one such star sighed, annoyed that the greasy talent agent had caught him. "I already signed on with Toroda."
Justin's grinning expression barely flickered at the mention of the talent agency that had been taking over L.A. like an unstoppable force. Tony Toroda, at the same age as Justin, was the youngest talent agent to build his own company and make it the most profitable in five years. Toroda People had languished during Plank Talent's heyday, while Justin's father had been alive. However, now that the bungling son had inherited the company, Toroda blasted to the top.
"I know that," Justin rasped, "but you had been a loyal talent at Plank for ten years, my father built your career!"
The star shook his head sadly, "And you were going to destroy it. I couldn't risk it. I'm sorry Justin." He clasped Justin's shoulder with a conciliatory grip, and walked away, Justin staring murderously at his back as he went. He glanced around at the people smirking at him, and rubbed his chest nervously. "Tough crowd…" he murmured, a phrase his father loved to say constantly. Taking out an old pocket-sized notebook, he quickly crossed out the star's name and shoved the pad back into his pocket. With a shrug, he headed towards the bar, where several beautiful women were standing, waiting to be discovered.
It was a futile task; as soon as they heard the name "Plank Talent", they would rudely turn and walk away from Justin. He tried flirting, which was virtually pointless. He didn't have the physical presence that women found attractive, nor did he have the charm. Usually, Justin came off like a sleazy car salesman.
Of course, 'sleazy' was not a false term to pin on Justin, for he did try to pull underhanded tricks at times, misrepresenting himself, lying that he was from a different talent agency so that he could get phone numbers from unsuspecting hopefuls. Most people in the industry were aware of Justin's antics, but viewed it pityingly, a son desperately trying to live up to his father's image.
"Christ…" Justin said, leaning against the bar as he slurped down a cheap glass of wine. All of the women who had been crowding the bar dispersed when he had arrived, as if he were some leper. With a sigh, Justin decided that he would just drink the night away.
Of course, that was when Tony Toroda decided to show up.
Justin could hear the clapping cascade starting from the front of the room, moving back to where he was at the bar. People stopped their conversations midsentence as the word spread that Tony had arrived. The very slight chance that he would have shown up was the only reason why most of them were there. Then the excited whispering erupted as people tried to figure out where he was standing, so that they could inch towards him.
Justin scoffed at the transparent adoration, just before trying to crane his neck high enough to see the hotshot talent agent.
Tony certainly stood out. He was tall, with longish blond hair, which he kept gelled back in the same way that Justin did, only the hairstyle complemented him magnificently. He was wearing a demure, but modern suit that no doubt cost thousands. Justin looked down at his own Sears three-piece and smiled derisively. His green eyes moved up when he heard the crowd grow louder, indicating that Tony was coming closer to the bar. Quickly straightening his jacket, he moved forward, hoping to intercept the industry giant.
"Tony!" Justin shouted, jumping up to get the man's attention, "Tony, over here! It's Justin Plank!"
The taller man stopped upon hearing Justin's name. He turned his head, and everyone around him glared down at whoever dare shout out Tony's name so personally. "Justin?" He smiled when he caught sight of the other talent agent. "Justin Plank?"
Truth be told, they knew each other. Truth be told… Tony had interned at Plank Talent. Justin hated him even then. They were the same age, but Tony had accomplished so much more with his A-type personality, and Justin's father simply adored him. Justin tried to keep up at the agency, where his father had given him a concurrent internship with Tony. Unfortunately, Justin just did not have that killer instinct, and everyone knew it.
Tony waded through the crowds of people, and walked up to Justin with a friendly smile. He placed his large hand at the small of Justin's back, and gently guided him towards the bar. Justin gritted his teeth at being handled like some bimbo floozy, but ignored his rising hatred towards Tony.
At the bar, Tony ordered two scotches and smiled down at Justin. "I haven't seen you in awhile," he said as he put an elbow on the bar, and clasped his hands. People were watching them conspicuously, reminding Justin to keep this conversation going as long as possible so that everyone could see that he knew important people. Tony's eyebrows rose with curiosity at Justin's momentary space-out. "Any one in there?"
Justin bounced back to reality. "Sorry, of course, it's been too long." Justin chuckled. "How's the business going?"
Tony smiled knowingly at Justin, well aware that everyone on the planet knew that Toroda People was the fastest growing talent agency in L.A. "Are you trying to play coy, Justin?" Tony smirked, "We've known each other far too long to do bullshit small talk." Justin flinched at Tony's cavalier tone, and glanced again at the people watching them out of the corner of their eyes. "Don't worry Justin, they can't hear us." Tony said, catching Justin's expression, "So tell me, how close are you to suicide? Has Plank Talent filed a chapter 7 yet?"
Justin looked down at his drink, trying to emit fake laughter along with Tony, as he battled the urge to smack the condescending prick on the face. "We're still going strong Tony," he was finally able to say. "Nothing to worry about."
He set the glass down on the bar, and tried to walk away. Nothing was worth listening to Tony Toroda brag about his success. However, as he began to step towards the front, Tony grabbed his arm, and jerked him back. It was so fast that no one would have noticed, or probably thought Justin stumbled because he was drunk.
"Why don't you just sell the agency to me, Justin?" Tony said, his fake smile now firmly back in place, "You're running it into the ground, your father's legacy doesn't deserve that." His blue eyes glinting as he glared at Justin.
"It's my agency now," Justin hissed back, as he tried to claw Tony's grip from his arm. He staggered a bit, and Tony had to hold him up. Maybe he was a bit more drunk than he had thought. Glancing around nervously again, paranoid that everyone was laughing at him, Justin finally was able to pull his arm away. "Tell me," Tony said mockingly as Justin tried to regain his composure, "what was you tactic tonight? Try to flirt your way into a number, or bribe someone?"
Justin shook his head, which only made his vision swim. "I don't play dirty."
These words only seemed to make Tony angry. He scoffed, and took a last sip of his drink. "Fine Justin, let your father's agency go up in flames, it shouldn't really matter since he's dead." As soon as Tony said this, his anger seemed to dissipate, and his model-handsome features melted back into a pleasant, but distant smile. "Well, it was nice talking to an old friend," he said casually, and walked off without a goodbye, back into the crowd of his adoring fans.
Justin watched him with a blurry gaze, and then turned back to the bar, only to come face to face with the bartender. "You an actor?" Justin mumbled, "Need representation?" He pushed a shaking hand into his pocket, and pulled out a crumpled business card. "We represent every kind of talent."
The bartender looked down on him blankly. "Even if I were an actor, I don't think I would sign with you," he said, "Maybe that guy… but not you."
Justin let out a choked laugh, and nodded his head as he tried to flatten the business card on the bar. More people converged towards them, taking up the bartender's attention. Justin listened in as they all gossiped about what brand Tony was wearing (Armani!), and whom he was dating (she's only twenty!). Tony Toroda… he was the king, and he had a cool name. Justin had a name that rhymed with 'spank', which did not go over well on the elementary school yard. Now that he was an adult, he had managed to grow up in the city of angels with a fashion sense that one could only label as 'government auditor chic'.
As he was spacing out again, Justin noticed a young and glamorous woman trying to get his attention. He shook his head again, and looked at her. "Yes?"
She giggled at his slurring. "How do you know Tony?" she shouted over the din. Justin smiled ruefully at her question; berating himself for thinking she might want to talk to him about a contract. "We used to work together," he mumbled vaguely. This seemed to excite the girl. "Really?" she shrieked, "Do you think you could get me an audition with him?" Justin snorted, and looked at the girl with disbelief, "Are you serious?" he asked, "There is no way in hell that I would do that."
The girl was undeterred. "Pleassseee," she whined, "Just refer me!" Justin blinked at this, "Refer you?" he said distantly. The girl nodded enthusiastically, "Yeah! Look, Tony just walked out the door, you could run now and ask him!" As she said this, she ran a dainty hand down Justin's arm, but he was already checked out of the conversation. "Excuse me," he mumbled and headed for the door.
Once he reached the long line of limos waiting outside, he glanced up and down the street, finally catching a glimpse of Tony Toroda's blonde hair as the man stepped into a Hummer limo. "Figures…" Justin said to himself as he ran for the monstrous car. "Tony!" he shouted, "Tony!"
As he reached the car, he slammed a palm against the door that Tony had climbed through. He heard the engine start, and starting pounding as hard as he could. "Tony!" Suddenly, one of the tinted windows rolled down, and Justin ran over to look inside. Tony Toroda was calmly sitting back in a plush chair as he stared straight towards the front of the car. "What do you want now?" he said, barely turning his head.
Justin was breathing heavily from running, and had to bend over to catch his breath, putting his hand on the rim of the window to keep steady. Finally, as he stood back up, he saw Tony staring at his pale fingers with an odd intensity. "Sorry," Justin said, moving his hand away from the car. This seemed to break Tony of his reverie, as he looked up into Justin's eyes. "Why did you start pounding on my car?"
Justin took one last breath, and then broke into the speech that he had been planning during the sprint from the bar. "Listen Tony, your agency is big, you guys must be only signing on the best right now, so maybe you could send the castoffs my way?" His eyes were wide as he started to breath heavily again.
Tony's expression was unreadable for a moment, as if he was considering Justin's words, but then he smirked. "Why would I do that, Justin?" Leaning forward, he grabbed Justin's collar through the window, and dragged the man towards the car. "Why would I ever do anything to help you?" His gaze was unwavering from Justin's, who could suddenly see how much hate was built up behind those ice-blue eyes. "Please…" Justin whispered. He brought his hands up to clasp the one holding his collar. "Please, Tony."
The grip was released, and Tony withdrew his arm. Justin had to jump back quickly as Tony swung the car door open, and beckoned the smaller man towards him. "Get in," he ordered. Justin paused momentarily, trying to figure out how he could get into the car without awkwardly climbing over Tony. Turns out, he couldn't. Placing one hand on the man's leg, he hoisted himself up, and climbed around Tony. He sat down rigidly next to the taller man, and said, "Wow, you would think that a car this big would be easier to get into."
Tony ignored him, and ordered the driver to go on. They sat in silence for a moment, as Tony seemed to gather his thoughts. Justin watched the man's stern face, and wondered what he was thinking. "So…" he said.
Tony looked at him suddenly, causing Justin to glance away. "So, Plank… here are the terms," without warning, he pulled Justin down to his knees on the floor of the car, in between Tony's legs. "I think its pretty clear what you need to do."
Justin couldn't help but stare at Tony's crotch. "You… you must be joking," he said, as his mind started to sober. He grimaced as Tony threaded his fingers through Justin's greased hair, and pulled his head closer. "Why would I joke about this?" he started to run his hand over Justin's head, as if he were petting him. "You're the one who wants all of my extra talent, why should that be free?" Justin's mind was racing a mile per minute as he tried to rationalize what was happening. His father's agency was on the brink of failure, his only legacy. If Justin could somehow wrangle the castoff talent from Toroda People…
He inched forward, and placed a hand on Tony's leg, as he started to reach for the zipper on the man's Armani pants. Suddenly, Tony knocked Justin's hand away, and shoved the man back on to the floor. "You're disgusting," he said quietly, looking down on Justin. Sitting up, Justin looked at Tony as his head reeled. "What?"
There was no answer as Tony tapped an intercom button, signaling that the driver should stop. "Get out," he said, glaring at Justin. The smaller man moved slowly towards the door, unbelieving of what was happening. As he stepped out of the car, he turned to look at Tony. "You're a cruel prick," he said, swaying slightly, "I can't imagine how you live with yourself."
Tony didn't react visually to Justin's words, but said, "You're not even worth hating Plank, I'm surprised you haven't found some hole to crawl in and die." He shut the door with a slam, and the car drove on without Justin. The young talent agent tried desperately to hold back tears, and started to pull out his cell phone to call a cab.
However, when he looked up, he saw that the Hummer had stopped a few yards away, and the door was wide open. Standing there for a moment, Justin contemplated his options.
There were none.
He put his phone back into his pocket, and ran towards the car. Tony was once again staring rigidly at the front of the car. "You have no pride, Justin," he said coldly, "If it were me, I would have walked away."
Justin nodded, "Tony… I'm not you." With that, he clamored into the car, this time without being self-conscious about touching Toroda. He was about to get back into position between Tony's knees, when the larger man grasped him by the upper arm, and pulled him up on to his lap. "That's not going to be enough," he said tersely, his gaze unwavering as he looked into Justin's eyes. "We're going to my house, and you are spending the night."
Justin blinked, "What… why?" He tried to lean back, away from Tony, but the other man had too strong of a grip on him, "Isn't this humiliating enough?" Justin asked, panicking. Tony seemed confused for a moment, his eyebrows knotting.
"You think I'm trying to humiliate you?" he said, his grip tightening somewhat on Justin's arms.
Justin scoffed, "Of course, what else would it be? If you actually wanted sex, there are a million hot and young people falling over themselves to be in bed with you," he said, glaring at Tony.
The other man considered these words, and then nodded. "I guess you know me better than I know myself Justin." He leaned back, pulling Justin closer towards him, as he started to pull the smaller man's jacket off. "I am trying to humiliate you, and no, that would not have been enough." He paused to look at Justin's eyes, and then ripped away the man's vest. "I want complete humiliation."
Before he could start on destroying Justin's cheap dress shirt, the brunette stopped him, and said, "But this is the deal… you will give me the castoffs, right?" He stared imploringly at Tony, wondering if he still had time to back out.
"Correct," Tony replied, knocking Justin's hand away as he started tugging on the shirt. He smirked, "It shouldn't surprise me that you're so scheming, Justin." With that, he leaned up, and roughly caught Justin's lips with his own, grabbing Justin's hair, as he demanded entry with his tongue. Growing frustrated with the buttons, he tore the shirt away, and laid Justin down on his back, as he loomed over the smaller man, never breaking contact with the kiss.
Justin pushed away slightly, but Tony ignored this as he started to tug Justin's pants down. Finally, while appraising Justin's naked form, Tony smirked. "Complete humiliation," he repeated, and then pushed down.
For the rest of the encounter, he was surprisingly gentle.