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He sighs. “Can’t you just make this shit up?” he asks me.

“No, I can’t,” I say. “What if you get pissed and sue us? Or what if what I say doesn’t connect with what you say? Just work with me here, Dustin.”

He flips his hair from his eyes. “Fine. Ask another.”

I look down at my notes. We’ve been at this for twenty minutes now and he hasn’t given me more than one useful comment. He said he loves his fans, which is about as generic as you can get, but I can use it.

This kid is driving me crazy, but I keep it together. He keeps looking at the musical equipment Ethan has scattered around the studio, even though Ethan isn’t here. Dustin clearly cares more about music than he does about PR, which is good, it should be that way.

But he needs to learn to play the game a little bit. Or at least he needs to stop giving me such a hard time.

I glance at Jordan again. He’s here just to get to know Dustin some more and get a feel for the way he acts for the upcoming campaign. Clearly he can’t use any of this, either.

“Okay, Dustin. What made you want to get into music?”

“I like sound,” he says.

I clench my jaw. “What else?”

“Beats make me happy.”

I nod. “Okay, we can work with that.”

“Yeah, you now the way bitches get when they be dancing, all shaking their asses? That’s what I want to feel all the time.”

I cringe again and Jordan’s barely concealing his laughter. “You should stop using the word ‘bitches,’ Dustin. It won’t play very well with the media.”

“Fuck the media. They don’t know me.”

“That’s exactly right,” Jordan chimes in. “That’s what we’re trying to change.”

Dustin looks over at him. “Who’s this guy?” he asks me.

“This is Jordan Reeves. He owns the ad agency that’s working on your launch.”

Dustin nods. “Okay. Cool, cool. I’ll try and tone down the bitches shit.”

“Good,” I say. “Now, with this new album, what are you trying to say?”

“Just that, like, fucking around and having fun is cool.”

Jordan grins at me again and I basically want to die.

This garbage interview goes on for another twenty minutes. It’s like pulling teeth, but less fun. Dustin has to be the stupidest person I’ve ever met, or at least the biggest narcissist. He clearly doesn’t give a shit about anything that he’s saying and he thinks this whole thing is a joke. He just wants to get back to recording.

Which I understand, but he needs to grow up. By the time I start asking him about his personal life, I’m ready to flip a table and walk out.

“What’s your favorite album?” I ask him.

“Probably ‘2001’ by Dr. Dre.”

“Okay, good. How is that influencing your current songs?”

“By making me want to make fat beats and shit.”

I stare at him for a second before slowly standing up. “Excuse me for a second, okay, Dustin?”

He nods. “Word.”

I walk away quickly, back through the booth, back through the hall, and downstairs. Once I’m back in that hidden room, I walk up to an empty box, and I start kicking it.

“You. Stupid. Little. Prick.” I want to smash shit, break everything in this room.

But I stop and take a deep breath. I can feel tears in my eyes, frustration welling up. I’m overreacting, I know, but it’s not really just because of this interview. Every moment with Dustin is more taxing than the next. I’m like his babysitter, always tasked with keeping him happy, and he’s the most obnoxious person I’ve ever met. I feel like his fucking mother or something.

“You okay?”

Startled, I quickly turn around. Jordan’s standing in the doorway, smiling a little sheepishly.

“I’m fine,” I say, sighing. “Just got a little frustrated.”

“I know.” He glances at the dented box on the ground. “Took it out on that poor thing, huh.”

I sigh. “I know it’s not professional.”

“No,” he says, “but that kid is such a little cock.”

I laugh a little. “He really is. I mean, just the absolute worst.”

Jordan walks over to me and wraps his arms around me, pulling me against him in a big hug. I didn’t realize I needed this, but it feels so good.

“You’re doing great,” he says. “Seriously. I would have punched that little prick in the mouth by now.”

“Fortunately, you’re not the one babysitting him.”

“Fortunately,” he agrees.

He holds me for a little bit as I slowly calm down. It feels surprisingly normal, natural. I know we’re supposed to be coworkers or whatever, but we’re clearly more than that. He keeps it professional when we’re around other people, but alone… I feel like I can be myself.

I look up at him and we lock eyes for a moment. He’s so handsome, with his deep, dark eyes and full black hair. His lips are soft and full and I can’t help but stand up on my toes to kiss him.


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