Page 6 of Make You Mine

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He wanted to throw his phone against the wall and watch it crumble to the floor in pieces because that son of a bitchwasright, and itdidn’thurt the way it should. But he wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction. He wanted to get away, to do something new and different and maybe completely off brand for him, only because he wanted to shed the outer layers of himself that were all imprinted with the man Eric was.

He hit the Home button, Eric’s tweet disappearing into the void of time and space, and he tried not to look at his DMs because he knew they were full to bursting. He had a few celebrity friends—and a few old real-life friends—who were probably watching his life implode on itself, waiting for the supernova to consume what was left.

He wouldn’t let that happen.


He would live well, God damn it.


Dragging a hand down his face, he tried to stand, but a wave of vertigo caught him so hard he stumbled sideways and just managed to hit the couch cushions instead of the floor. He felt himself groan—it was probably loud, not that anyone was around to hear it. On his belly, his drunk-heavy limbs reached for the throw pillows that still smelled like that asshole, and he buried his face in them before closing his eyes.

When had he stopped loving Eric? Or more importantly—had he ever?

* * *

Adriano strolledinto his agent’s office refusing to take off his sunglasses. His double-shot Americano was cooling against his palm, and he was just barely starting to feel like a person again after a greasy plate of hash browns and two mimosas. He felt coated with grease and liquor sweat in spite of an extra-long shower, but it was hard to care when he knew something was going on.

He hadn’t bothered opening his texts yet. The ones from Eric had stopped somewhere around nine the night before, and two of his brothers had tried to get him to respond, but they were easy enough to ignore. None of them had really liked Eric, so at best they wanted to gloat, and he wasn’t in the mood.

Mostly, he was just stressed. He’d lost both his boyfriend and, more tragically, the interpreter he’d been working with the longest. The last thing he wanted to do right then was get in touch with the agency that employed Eric—and not just because he’d have to explain, though it was likely they already knew. But they hadn’t turned out the best interpreters in the past, and once upon a time, Adriano had felt lucky to have Eric.

A bitter, sharp-edged laugh threatened to slip out, and he took a sip of coffee to wash it down as he tipped a little hello to the receptionist. If she tried to get his attention to stop him from pushing the elevator button, he wasn’t aware of it, and he was inside and riding up before she could follow.

Adriano knew he approached his agent with swagger that came from his own notoriety. He was unique—the fact that he was as big as he was and had a body that required massive amounts of protein and a huge number of hours spent in his gym with his trainer. He was attractive, which was a given for his industry. He had a nice, big, uncut cock that was sought after for close-up shots even when he wasn’t a headliner in a film. He was Deaf, and he knew both fetishists and the curious alike watched for that one single line at the end of every movie where he let himself voice.

Part of him hated that people got off on it, but the bigger part appreciated that his new Gucci loafers didn’t put a dent in his credit line. Those people existed anyway—might as well profit.

Pressing two fingers to his temple to ward off his lingering hangover headache, Adriano managed most of his coffee before he reached Xander’s office, and he didn’t bother knocking as he walked in. There was a woman sitting in the corner of the room with her hands set primly on top of a grey wool skirt. Her hair was a soft blonde, pinned back, and her shirt was high-collared. He hated making snap judgments, but he was fairly sure she was the interpreter, and he was fairly sure she was going to walk out before the conversation got fully underway.

She was at least polite enough to make introductions before he had to address Xander, who remained seated with the edge of his foot hooked on the corner of his desk. He looked arrogant as ever with his silk button-down and tight jeans. He was a wannabe, which was why he was an agent and not a star, and Adriano knew there was some level of bitterness with every job he booked for his clients.

‘Hi,’ Adriano signed, then offered her his sign name.

‘Mary,’ she spelled, and didn’t offer hers, which was interesting, but he didn’t much care.

He knew he looked like hell, and the fact that he kept his sunglasses on was twenty shades of rude. But fuck politeness when his ex had confessed to boning a guy he supposedly met at Trader Joe’s and was now going to live with him or…whatever.

‘What agency are you from?’ he couldn’t help but ask, and he braced himself for the answer.

‘Sun Valley Interpreting Services,’ she spelled.

He knew them. They mostly dealt with public events and church services, which really didn’t bode well. He looked past her, then gestured for her to step back before he addressed Xander. ‘Did you hire her?’

Xander never really did have any tact, even with Eric who had become actual friends with him over the years, and he stared at her over his shoulder as she spoke. “Uh, yeah,” he said. “Why?”

‘Did you just google interpreting services or something?’ Adriano could tell her inflection didn’t match the rage in his fingers, but he didn’t have the strength to correct her in that moment.

Xander gave him a bland-faced shrug. “Does it matter what I do now? Eric moved on to greener pastures, right?”

And really, if there ever had been a glass-shattering moment, that was it. Not because of Xander’s blasé attitude, but the reason why. And maybe it took Xander being an absolute dick for him to connect the dots that had been there the entire time, but now was that moment.

‘You fucked him. He left…You’refucking him, and he left me for you!’

He watched Mary’s lips form the first half of the word fuck before she stopped. ‘I can’t say that.’

Fury—a sort of burning, consuming rage—coursed through him, and he hit the desk so hard they both jumped. ‘You say what I sign! I am paying you for this!’