Ventures and Investments
Justin sat on Tony's bed, absent-mindedly petting the head of the husky trying to crawl onto his lap.
Tony had said something about a quick office call, business. Something.
He had said it after nuzzling Justin awake, and then kissing his forehead. He had said, while tucking Justin tighter into bed, that he would be right back. That Justin looked adorable. And then his warmth had disappeared and Justin had sat up with a jerk as he remembered everything that had happened the night before.
Justin blinked, rubbed at his eyes. He glanced around at Tony's spartan room.
They had gone to dinner, Tony had acted cold. Tony had been acting cold the whole week. Justin… had begged. Because what Tony was doing, after all they had been through—
Tony had played him.
Justin gently pushed the dog away, slid off the bed, and padded down the hallway in only his briefs.
Tony was there, standing at the stove and cooking eggs as he talked on the phone. His broad naked back, his tousled blonde hair, his long legs-he was only wearing underwear too. Justin nearly bit his tongue when he felt a groan escape his lips. He was going to fuck this up, because he had to. Because he couldn't let Tony win, but he sure was giving up a fine ass because of that.
Waiting until Tony ended the call, Justin went to him. He stood behind Tony for a moment, waffling. And then he hit Tony on the back. Hard.
"Shit!" Tony dropped his spatula, and jerked around. His lips parted, but instead of saying anything, he just raised his eyebrows at Justin.
Justin was finding it hard to hold eye contact. He was shaking from anger. "I'm not going to let you win."
He saw it, the flicker of knowing in Tony's eyes. A small frown creased Tony's lips. "Justin…"
Swallowing, Justin crossed his arms. "I don't know if you hate me or love me, I can't even tell anymore. But I do know-last night-you were manipulating me. I can figure out that much."
Tony watched him, expression unreadable. And then with a sigh, Tony knelt down to grab the spatula. He threw it in the sink, and opened a drawer to grab another one. Justin waited, but all Tony did was return to the eggs. "Are you ignoring me?" Justin asked.
He saw Tony's jaw clench.
And then, without warning, Tony took the entire pan and the spatula and slammed it all in the sink with a crash. Justin stepped back, eyes wide.
"Justin," Tony said. He bit his lip, looking down, and gripped the kitchen counter. After a moment, he continued, "What would it mean, if I win?" He looked at Justin, his crystal-clear blue eyes flashing with emotion. "You'd live here with me. I'd take care of you. I'd buy you anything you could ever possibly want."
He was searching Justin's gaze for something. He licked his lips. "Yes. I manipulated you. I did it on purpose, and I'm probably never going to stop."
At that, he stood straight and approached Justin, who tensed. Slowly, Tony clasped Justin's arms, holding him tightly. Tony bowed his head a bit, looking into Justin's eyes. "If you don't tell me what you really want right now, I'll decide for you."
Justin trembled, but all at once Tony's words sunk in.
What did Justin want? Did he want an apology? Did he want to be free of Tony? Last night had proven that he didn't. But it also proved that Justin was still falling for Tony's tricks.
"I want to be happy with you," Justin said slowly, and he saw how Tony's eyes narrowed, the suspicion clouding them. "But I don't want it to happen because I had nothing else left—because you left me with nothing else."
Tony gripped a little harder onto Justin's arms. Justin could see from his expression that there was no regret over what he had done. For working to ruin Plank Talent, for bringing Justin down to where he was then. And that was what Justin had to decide if he could live with.
"If I asked you to apologize, would you?"
There was a flicker in Tony's eyes. Like he was forcing himself to keep eye contact with Justin.
Justin continued, "If I asked you to give up, would you?"
"You don't want me to give up, Justin," Tony replied.
Justin shook his head. "That's not what I asked."
"Are you really backing out again?"
Justin looked up and almost flinched at the way Tony was looking at him. "It's not about backing out, Tony," Justin said, "It's about—needing room to breathe. You've completely fucked with my life. Why—how could I ever just agree to let that go?"
"I'm not asking you to let it go," Tony replied. "I'm asking you to accept it."
At the very least, it sounded like Tony knew what he was saying was crazy. But it didn't really sound like he cared. "Justin," he said, "I've always liked you, for more than ten years—I've been in love with you." He paused for a moment, and then sighed. "If you are asking me to give up, that's one thing. But if you are asking me to wait… then say it."
Justin stared. Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes. "I'm asking you to wait."
"I don't think he's coming, kid."
Chris lifted his legs and sat sideways in the diner booth, leaning back against the wall as he pulled his hood up tight around his ears."Why don't you fuck off, pap?"
"Personally," the idiot said, completely ignoring Chris, "I'm starting to get the feeling you and I both dodged a bullet on this one, you know? Seems like Justin has a lot of issues he needs to work out on his own."
"I haven't dodged anything," Chris muttered, sinking lower on the booth. He grabbed his hot chocolate from the table, and took a chug, wiping an errant drip away with his hand.
He heard a low, amused murmur, and rolled his eyes. "You know what, pap? No one asked you. No one invited you. So, by all means, leave."
There was a low laugh, and then Vincent leaned in. "Are you throwing a tantrum because Justin ditched you?"
Chris sat up at that, glaring at Vincent. But then his gaze moved up past the pap, as he saw Justin walking towards their table. A smile spread across Chris's face. "Told you so."
Vincent looked over right when Justin reached them. "Sorry I'm late," Justin said. He was wearing jeans and a hoodie, and Chris was a little thrown off by the casual wear. But then Justin turned to look at Vincent. "I'm sorry about this, I know I invited you, but there's something important I need to talk to Chris about."
Nodding, gaze moving from Justin to Chris and back again, Vincent slid out of the booth and stood up. As he reached across to grab his camera bag, he said, "I'll see you later," to Chris.
Chris sneered at him and didn't say anything. He was about done with the pap always lurking around he and Justin-without trying to get a story or anything.
When he was gone, Justin took his place in the booth. Sighing, he rested his forehead on his hand. "I need to ask you something important, Chris."
Never hearing such a sober tone from Justin, Chris sat up, and pushed his hoodie back. "Yeah?"
"Do you actually want me to be your manager?"
Justin's brown eyes were focused on Chris, his eyebrows drawn together with a little crease of worry between them. He looked like he hadn't slept very much. "I do—" Chris said quickly, but Justin held his hand up, cutting him off.
"Do you really want me to be your manager?" Justin repeated with a firm tone, "Or is it about something else. Anything else…" After a second, he continued softly, "Because there won't be anything else."
Something heavy settled in the pit of Chris's gut. His fingers curled into his palms on the table. "So—" he said with a sharp laugh, "Tony's finally beaten you down."
"Yeah," Justin exhaled. "And now I need to see if I can get back up again."
Chris's eyes widened at that. "You want to leave Toroda People?"
Nodding, Justin considered him. "I want to be your manager, I want to help your career grow, but I don't want to use you."
Chris thought about the friendship he had with Justin Plank, this rat of a man. How his life had been before he met Justin, and what it would be like without him. "Well," Chris said, "It's not like I'm in love with you."
Justin snorted, and Chris forced a smile. "What does Tony think about you leaving?"
"I don't know, and I don't really care," Justin replied as he waved down a waitress. Despite how tired he initially looked, he was exuding some kind of confidence that Chris had never seen before, or rather it was like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. He ordered a coffee, and then turned to fold his hands together as he looked at Chris.
"Manager means you have to do everything that I want," Chris said with a grin. Or at least it meant he could keep an eye on Justin.
Justin had a grin of his own, and he reached forward to ruffle Chris's hair. "That is not what that means."
There really was something different about him. Chris wondered if he was a bad person for feeling sad about it. "Does this mean Tony is going to be my agent?"
"I don't think so," Justin laughed, "but I made sure he wouldn't leave you with some loser like me."
Chris laughed, reaching forward to flick Justin's hair.
There was no breaking whatever had happened between Justin and Tony. That fucking pap was probably right, Justin had a whole bunch of issues he needed to get over. But Chris didn't have to give up. He could keep Justin close, and maybe some day he could get what he wanted.
"I heard the show was renewed for another season," Justin heard.
Justin, hands in the pockets of his tux, turned to see Vincent sidle up next to him at the wall he was leaning against. "Yes, it was," Justin said, not able to hide his pleasure. He cocked an eyebrow. "No camera?"
"Not on the clock," Vincent replied, glancing around. "So where is the golden child, anyway?"
Justin felt his lip curl with amusement. "He's making the rounds." Last time he had seen Chris, he had been downing a bottle of champagne with his castmates in the catering kitchen of the hotel. "Did you want to talk to him?"
"Am I not supposed to?" Vincent replied. He patted his chest with a frown, and then nodded towards the balcony doors. "Let's chat outside."
Justin followed him to the veranda, and they stood next to each other while Vincent lit up a cigarette.
"He's doing a lot better than I thought he would," Justin said, "but he's already itching to move on from this show. Maybe try some movie auditions."
Vincent chuckled. "Make him stay on for the next season."
"Yeah, yeah." Justin had to admit, Chris's ambition had been seeping over. "I'm not his agent anymore, anyway."
"That's right, you're his babysitter."
"Shut up," Justin laughed.
"Yeah," a new voice added, "shut up, pap." It was Chris, who slung an arm over Justin's shoulder, resting his weight on him as he pointed at Vincent. "How the hell did you get in here, anyway?"
Vincent dropped his elbow on the veranda's rail, and took a puff from his cigarette. The corners of his eyes were crinkled from his smile. "It wasn't easy, brat," he said. "Had to pull a few favors, had to hand over my camera. Fully body search."
"I bet you snuck over the gate," Chris replied.
Letting out a fully belly laugh, Vincent just shook his head. "I'll never understand why you hate me so much."
"I don't hate you," Chris replied, reaching over Justin's shoulder to steal an olive from his plate of snacks. He popped it in his mouth and chewed as he spoke. "But I don't like you."
"You don't like me because I take Justin on photo trips during the weekend."
"I don't need to be with Justin all the time!"
They continued to snip back and forth at each other—Vincent with his small smile, and Chris with his snide remarks, while Justin took a glance around at the party. It was being held by Toroda People, an end of the year type deal, and Justin had been a little nervous about going. He hadn't seen Tony for a couple of weeks.
Managing Chris had turned out to be a lot more fun than attempting to be an agent ever was. Justin wasn't trying to sell Chris, wasn't trying to woo him over either. He kept him out of trouble and he organized Chris's schedule. He drove him everywhere, and he made sure Chris was up on time. It was simple.
Justin smiled. Noticing his plate was empty, he excused himself and chuckled when Chris barely noticed as he slipped away.
Stomach rumbling, he hovered at the where the food was for a couple of minutes, taking advantage of the break he had from Chris and Vincent to survey the room again while he munched on fancy cheese and crackers.
"Having fun?" The words, said with a familiar and deep voice, preceded a gentle hand at the small of Justin's back. Looking up, he found Tony smiling down at him.
Justin didn't shy away. He didn't grimace. He took a breath, exhaling that haunting feeling of inadequacy that twisted his gut every time he saw Tony's face. "I am. Chris is, too. Thank you for inviting the cast."
"Well I can't say that was entirely innocent," Tony replied smoothly, his eyes sparkling as he watched Justin. "There's some talented kids in the lot, with not so talented representation."
"Are you poaching clients?" Justin smirked, his eyebrows rising.
Tony narrowed his eyes in amusement. "Taking a page out of the Justin Plank method of agenting."
A light laugh escaped Justin's lips. He moved in a little closer to Tony, allowing himself to revel (just a little bit) in how all-encompassing Tony's attractiveness was. How it felt when all of that was directed at Justin, was for his benefit.
Because he could tell that it was.
Tony was gently rubbing Justin's back—keeping him caged, like he always did. Justin wondered if Tony even realized he was doing it.
"You seem happy, Justin," Tony said. His voice was quiet. When Justin looked up at him, he saw that there was a sad smile on Tony's face. "Is it because I've been leaving you alone?"
"It's because things are going well," Justin replied. Tony's expression told him he didn't quite believe it.
That didn't stop Tony from sliding his hand up to palm the back of Justin's neck, to massage his throat with his thumb. "If you don't complain about this, I'm going to keep going," Tony said softly.
Justin didn't get to answer. There was a low cough from next to them. It was a man he didn't recognize, a cute guy with close-cropped hair and a sleek suit. He looked young, and he was staring at Tony with wide eyes. "Mr. Toroda…" he said breathlessly.
"Ah," Tony said, releasing Justin and stepping back a bit. "Justin, this our newest intern, Sam Dale."
Who cares, Justin thought, but he held his hand out to shake Sam's. "Justin Plank," he said.
He saw a flash of recognition in Sam's eyes, a slight flicker as he pulled away. And then Sam completely turned his attention to Tony, practically edging Justin out of the conversation. "I just wanted to thank you for letting me sit in on those meetings today. I learned so much just from watching you."
Justin fought the urge to roll his eyes. But then he heard Tony chuckle. "You're a fast learner."
Justin's frown deepened. He watched how Tony was smiling at the cute intern.
The cute intern was practically shaking his tail, and the way he was looking at Tony—
Ugh. Justin forced himself to look away and take a sip of his drink. The sip turned into a thrown-back chug, and he dropped the glass from his lips, his eyes narrowed as neither of the two men noticed his theatrics. "How old are you?" he snapped suddenly.
Sam looked at him, completely innocent. "Oh? Well. Twenty?"
Justin sniffed, letting out a small scoff. "Baby."
"Uh…" The intern shot a bewildered look at Tony, like he didn't know how to handle Justin, or something. Justin narrowed his eyes, and then he looked down at his glass. It was empty. He held it up to Tony.
Cocking an eyebrow, Tony took the glass from him. "Another red?"
Justin nodded. Tony slipped past him, and he watched him go until he was down at the open bar. Then, Justin turned to look at Sam, a sneer spreading across his face. "Tony's quite the boss, isn't he?"
"He is," Sam said, still looking so angelic. "I admire him, especially when I heard about all the... obstacles he's had to deal with. I hope to continue working at Toroda, you know? Besides his business sense, I just really like how Tony manages his life."
Justin grunted, crossing his arms, but Sam kept right on talking: "LA is such a sick town, but it's amazing how just low some people will go to ruin someone."
At that, Justin's smile turned cold. He had forgotten how gung-ho and loyal Tony's team was, especially in their unflagging enthusiasm for hating Justin. But what could they do about it?
"Anyway," Justin said lightly, "I was having a private conversation with Tony, so if you don't mind—"
Sam's expression cracked, just a little bit. "He probably doesn't want to be cornered by one person the entire night."
Justin licked his lips, blinking once. "He didn't seem to mind."
He could see Sam gearing up to say something snide in return, but he could also see Tony coming up towards them, Justin's wine in his hand and a frown on his face.
"Didn't you quit Toroda People?" Sam said.
Well. In his tenure as a sketchy talent agent that no one wanted around, Justin had learned to recognize the more subtle nuances of people saying he wasn't welcome. And this rude kid didn't even come close to subtle. "You know—" he started to hiss.
"Justin." There was a firm hand on his waist. Tony leaned over to place Justin's drink on the banquet table, and then slid his arm around Justin's middle as he straightened, as if to keep Justin from lunging forward.
Justin nearly choked when he saw that the intern was smirking at him.
"You should fire him," Justin said. Sam went completely pale.
"Justin—" Tony said again, and Justin could hear the slight trace of amusement. Without even a word to the intern, Tony started gently pushing Justin towards the main doors of the banquet hall. Was he really kicking Justin out?
Shame made Justin's cheeks heat, and for an embarrassingly brief moment, he tried to struggle against Tony's grip, digging his feet in, but it was useless against how strong Tony was compared to Justin's slight frame. If he really wanted to, he could have just easily picked Justin up.
"Are you drunk?" Tony said, dragging Justin along by the arm.
No, which made this whole thing even worse. Justin was mortified. But he kept half-heartedly pulling against Tony's grip. "I can't believe you took his side."
Tony came to an abrupt stop, and turned to stare at Justin with a shocked expression. They were out in the lobby of the hotel, guests and party goers milling around them. Tony's gaze was locked on Justin with an intensity that made Justin shake. But after a moment, he narrowed his eyes with a smile.
Before Justin knew what was happening, Tony had turned again and started dragging him towards the elevators, grip so tight on his wrist that it throbbed with pain.
Tony was just able to pull him into an empty elevator car as the doors were closing. Justin nearly stumbled, but then strong hands gripped his shoulders and he slammed back against the elevator doors. Tony smirked down at him. "You get jealous when you're not the center of my universe?"
He reached up and brushed his thumb over Justin's lip as he tilted his head. "What a little brat you still are."
"I'm not a brat," Justin breathed. He never quite knew what to do with himself when Tony used his size like this to overwhelm him.
Tony cocked an eyebrow. "Then what was with that tantrum?"
Justin licked his lips, and then dropped his gaze from Tony's eyes. Clenching his hands into fists, he said, "I was jealous."
When silence met his words, he stalled for a moment, but finally looked up.
Tony was blushing. He was frowning, and his eyebrows were drawn together like he just didn't know what face to make. Then, he exhaled. "Jesus Christ, Justin," he muttered, reaching over to press a floor number on the panel. But he wouldn't meet Justin's eyes.
Justin stepped forward and hugged him, smashed his face against Tony's chest. He felt Tony tense for just a millisecond, and then arms wrapped around Justin, pulling him in tight. "I won't make it easy for you to leave me again."
"I know," Justin said, muffled by Tony's tux.
A hand slid down, palmed his ass. "I mean it, Justin," Tony said, pressing his face down in Justin's hair. "It's too late now. I gave you a chance."
Justin stretched up to kiss the nape of Tony's neck, to keep kissing him like he was begging for Tony to kiss back—and then he felt fingers curl under his chin to encourage him to look up. Lips pressed against his own, hot and demanding.
If this was giving up. If this was—letting Tony win. Well, it felt like there was nothing left to do. Justin didn't want the alternative. If he thought about someone else touching Tony, if he thought about Tony ever being able to move on from Justin…
Justin slid arms up to wrap them around Tony's neck, standing on his tiptoes so they could kiss more easily. He felt Tony grip his hips, tight enough to bruise. It made Justin moan.
What had Tony said? It's too late.
Fingers threaded through his hair, pulled his head back and he stared at Tony, who was watching him. "You'll move in with me. No more waiting, no more walking out. You will do this."
"I will," Justin replied with a docile nod. He felt Tony tremble against him.
...It's too late.
Well, it was too late for Justin, too. He realized that as Tony kissed him again, bit his lip. As he dragged Justin through the opening elevator doors and down the hallway to what was probably Tony's room, to where Tony would fuck him.
Why should anyone else have Tony? After all the shit Justin went through to get this point. After everything. Justin belonged to Tony.
And Tony belonged to Justin.
(a/n) Ok-so. It's done. This was exhausting to write, especially this chapter. I hope everyone enjoyed the story, some of the story, any of the story. I hope everyone enjoyed Justin and Tony. I had a lot of fun writing VAI, and WOW it's almost four years old! Anyway, thanks for reading :) I'm actually kind of sad right now, haha.
just some newsy notes~
i had an account for (my) escapist type stories (some noncon, dubcon, incest) stuff on aff, but I decided to put it all on my livejournal (roughdrafthero livejournal) for now on, so I won't be updating 1singularsensation stuff anywhere else. (I have three stories up atm, two WIPs and once complete.)
Leviathan will be the next update here!