Dean woke on his last day of the tour the same way he had every other day of the tour – hungover, disoriented, and staring at a giant picture of his cock. Okay, so maybe the picture was a new edition. Dean squinted, trying to make sure he was seeing what he thought he was seeing, and then rolled onto his stomach to get a better look.
“Where’d you get that?” He reached for the photo.
His manager, Chuck, ripped the photo away with a flourish. He slammed it down onto the trailer’s kitchen counter and said, “I got that from an overzealous magazine editor that demanded a ridiculous sum of money for it despite the fact that he wouldn’t have been able to run it in his publication.”
Dean chuckled even as he rubbed his temples. His head pounded, but a pounding headache paired with a classic Chuck tirade went down as smooth as a mimosa nowadays. He let his face fall back into the pillow and mumbled, “Why not just let him keep it?”
“Because.” Chuck slammed his fist onto the counter again – Dean groaned and was unsurprised to hear a second voice joining his own – “If he didn’t run it in the magazine, then he’d post it on the internet. And if he couldn’t do that, he’d SnapChat it to all his dumb friends and eventually there’d be a trending article about your dick blowing up goddamn BuzzFeed.”
Dean thought he wanted to laugh again but the bubbling sensation in his throat turned out to be vomit. He managed to shift enough to puke on the floor instead of his mattress, but still ended up coughing out the acrid end as his stomach spasmed. A warm hand touched his hip, he felt a body lean over him, and then a voice near his ear said, “That’s disgusting, man.”
Chuck cursed. “How fucking long has he been there?”
“I don’t know,” Dean said. “What time did I leave the after party?”
Chuck turned around with a litany of curses as Dean turned his head to see the man lying in bed with him. Not bad, considering the beer goggles he must have had by the end of that party. He didn’t remember much of it – post-concert high mixed with a little bit of coke and all the vodka he could pound before getting thrown out of the club left little short-term memory intact – but he wished he remembered that pretty face smashed up against his. The dark stubble alone was the stuff of his darkest fantasies, not to mention his muscular arms, dark skin, and pearly white smile even as he looked down at Dean’s having-recently-puked face.
“Hey,” Dean said, loving how he didn’t have to put on the rough and gravelly voice he normally used to get into situations like this. It was just there. God bless hangovers and dehydration. “Did I ever get your name?”
The man hummed. “Don’t think I gave it while throwing you out of the bar.”
Dean chuckled. “Fucked the bouncer. There’s a new one.”
The man leaned down and kissed him rough. Rough enough that Dean rolled back into the kiss, pulling him closer, losing himself in a little before—
“Stop! Stop this right now!”
Dean groaned and turned his head towards Chuck. The man sat up, raising his hands in surrender, a mischievous smile on his face. Chuck snapped his fingers at him, “Out. Now.” And Dean groaned in protest even as his hands slipped from the muscular, broad body on top of him. He threw an arm over his eyes, listening to the sounds of the man dressing and leaving.
“Do you have to ruin everything, Chuck?” Dean said.
“This is serious, Dean. One of your hookups took a picture of your dick and sold it to the tabloids.”
“So?” He opened one eye to see Chuck pacing. “I have a nice dick.”
Chuck laughed. A delirious, high-pitched sound that made Dean want to put in earplugs. “You think that’s the point? You think I should be less concerned because you have a nice dick?” He paused only long enough to take a short, clipped breath, then knelt down to look Dean in the eye. “You are out of fucking control, Dean. This whole tour has been a press nightmare. You’re drunk or high or fucking someone every time a camera points your direction. You’ve been in the news cycle for weeks. Social media is blowing up with group chats from the girls you fuck.”
Dean sighed. “Then I’ll only fuck guys.”
Chuck hit him across the face with the photo and Dean rolled towards the wall. He hit his head, let out a pathetic wail, and then closed his eyes tight. Chuck grabbed his shoulder and turned him over again.
“You’re missing the point. This shit has to stop.”
“Because you’ve missed three concerts,” Chuck said. “You’ve missed eight interviews and thirteen fan experiences. You keep ending up at dive bars in town instead of at the sanctioned, sponsored after-parties.”
“Your label is talking about dropping you.”
Dean felt his stomach heave. He puked again right on Chuck’s shoes. Without apologizing, he pushed himself into a sitting position and pressed two fingers into his temple to stop the shooting pain working its way through his brain. “They can’t do that,” Dean snapped. “I have a contract. It’s airtight. You told me that.”
“Yeah, almost two years ago when you signed a two-year, two album contract.”
Dean pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes tight. “And now... now what, they just want to drop me? Just like that? I make them more money than Justin-freaking-Bieber and they want to drop me?”
“You’re a liability. You don’t make them so much money that they’re willing to be sued for letting you loose in the world.”
Slowly, Dean opened one eye and then the other. Miraculously, Chuck was still standing right in front of him, puke on his shoes and all. His expression was dead serious, eyes unblinking. Dean rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, trying to bring the trailer into focus, to see something other than the blur of yellow-orange walls past Chuck, but to no avail.
“What can we do?” Dean asked.