After the final season of Teen Wolf had wrapped up, twinky young actor Michael Johnston found himself struggling to find roles. He had enjoyed playing the cute Corey on the supernatural teen drama but there didn’t seem to be much call for twinks like him in Hollywood currently and each failed audition was leaving him more and more agitated. What did he have to do to get a little success?
The moment his manager decided to cut ties with him, Michael knew that his career was on the rocks and he’d need to do something drastic to revive it before it was too late and he was completely forgotten. It wasn’t as if Teen Wolf had ever really made him a star and he was determined enough to make something of himself. If it took finding a new manager then that’s what he’d do and thankfully it didn’t take long to find somebody who seemed eager to help.
Adrian Boswell was a name that Michael had heard floating around on the Teen Wolf set from his fellow actors but all he really knew was that the man worked closely with the ever-elusive Mr Cavanaugh and those kind of connections could only be a boost for Michael’s career. If Adrian could help him make something of a spearhead into Hollywood then he was more than happy to strike a deal with him. Hell, he’d be foolish to consider any other option!
Michael’s first meeting with Adrian was productive and for the first time in months the young actor felt somewhat optimistic about his future. His new manager had scored him a pass to an exclusive gym in downtown Los Angeles which was the go-to place for some big-time names like Chris Pratt and Tom Holland. If the cameras could catch him rubbing shoulders with the likes of them then Michael had no doubt that his stock in Hollywood would rise.
While it wasn’t his first time inside the confines of a gym, Michael couldn’t help but feel slightly nervous as he entered and made his way to the cute young blond guy behind the front desk. “Mr Johnston, right?” the blond asked, smiling politely down at him. “We were told to expect you. Here’s your pass, and your free chocolate-flavored protein shake for signing up with us. Your manager’s already signed the contracts so you’re free to go straight in!”
The greeting was somewhat unexpected, as was the gift of a protein shake. Michael stared it curiously for a moment before accepting it and the card that would act as his pass. “Thanks,” he mumbled, ducking his head to hide his blush as his fingers brushed against the blond’s.
Making his way towards the locker room, Michael did his best not to stare at the men currently working out in the gym. In the corner of his eye he identified Derek Theler from Baby
Daddy working on the free weights and Channing Tatum doing cardio a little further on. Holy crap, I’m a Z-Lister compared to the guys in here. It was impossible not to feel more than a little anxious!
Keeping his head down once he was in the locker room, Michael quickly changed into his workout gear and did his best not to feel self-conscious. His body was lean and toned but he was hardly on the same level as all the men he’d had to pass on his way in with their rippling muscles and alpha personalities. In many ways, he envied them, wishing that level of musculature and confidence for himself. Those things could only come with hard work though and wasn’t that why he was there?
Stepping out into the main area of the gym, the young actor pulled the cap off of the chocolate protein shake he’d been given by the cute receptionist. He’d heard horror stories about how gross protein drinks could be from the likes of Cody Christian and Dylan Sprayberry back on set but he was surprisingly delighted by the taste that met his tongue. He greedily gulped down the whole drink in a few seconds and wiped his lips clean before making his way towards the running machines in order to get his body warm and ready.
As he began at a slow and steady pass on the machine, Michael began to notice his body temperature rising at a surprisingly fast pace. Brushing the surprise aside, he quickly moved up to a jog and then a heavy run, all while every inch of his body warmed up. Reaching up to wipe the sweat from his brow, Michael absently noticed that his skin looked a little more tan than he was expecting but he was quick to dismiss it as a trick of the gym’s artificial lights.
Michael’s gym workouts were usually cardio-oriented, simply because he lacked the confidence to hang around in the weights areas where all of the supposed ‘big men’ hung around to show off. He had always felt emasculated in their presence but he couldn’t shake the feeling that he wanted to lift and quickly made his way over, exchanging a polite smile with Robbie Amell as he did so.
Picking up the lightest dumbbells available on the rack, Michael pulled out two quick bicep curls before re-racking them. Far too light, he thought in bemusement, moving up to some heavier weights. Beside him two hulking jocks were lifting obscene amounts but Michael was proud of himself for working through the twenty-five pound weights with relative ease. His confidence was building and he felt encouraged to move up to a higher weight yet again.
After working through several sets of bicep curls and tricep extensions, Michael returned the weights to the racks and rolled his shoulders. His workout shirt felt tighter around his chest and a glance down confirmed that his body did indeed appear to be broader. The sight should have concerned Michael, but instead all he could think about was making sure he worked on his chest next. After racking up the bar, he settled down onto one of the benches and began to get to work as if he was a regular at the bench press.
During his third set, somebody joined Mike at the bench to spot him for his last few reps. After returning the bar to its shelf, he pulled himself up into a seated position and looked up at the handsome new arrival. It took a few moments to place where he knew the other from, before his mind supplied that this was Charlie Cox, of Netflix’s Daredevil. Mike felt strangely comfortable in his presence and reached out to bump the other’s fist, again taking notice of the much darker tone of his skin.
“Didn’t think you were planning to come in today,” Charlie said, quirking an eyebrow. “I thought you said you wanted a break from the gym life now that we’re done filming?” The familiarity in Charlie’s words should have raised alarm bells in Mike’s brain but instead he found himself chuckling and shrugging his broad shoulders.
“You know me, brother, a day out of the gym is a day wasted,” Mike responded, his voice much deeper than what he was used to. He ran a hand over his head, accepting his sudden lack of hair without question and then scratching at the goatee around the lower half of his face. “You cool to spot me for this last set?”
The other actor beamed and nodded, getting in position to support Mike in lifting his new personal best on the bench press. He remained with Charlie after that, working through a number of leg exercises that saw his quads expand with firm muscle until the fabric of his gym shorts were stretched around them. It was undeniable that he now had the complexion of an African-American as opposed to his own white skin but that hardly seemed worthy of concern.
Rising from the leg press machine, Mike smirked down at Charlie as the other took his place and had to lower the weight considerably. He wasn’t sure at what point he’d gotten taller than Charlie, nor where his cocky attitude had come from, but he had no reason to question either as they simply felt natural and right.
Eventually the two finished up their workout and returned to the locker room. The clothes and items that Mike found in the locker he’d used earlier weren’t his own but he took them without question, exchanging his sweat-covered gym clothes for a burgundy tee and some pale blue jeans. A quick inspection in the mirror confirmed that the tee showed off his broad shoulders and firm pecs nicely, not to mention his big arms that caused the seams to strain whenever he flexed them. With Charlie’s smaller frame stood next to him, Mike looked like a dark-skinned muscular god!
On his way out of the gym, Mike made eye contact with the cute receptionist and winked at her. He felt like stopping for a conversation but the third wheel that was Charlie made his presence known and all but pulled him away from his next catch. “See you later, Mr Colter,” she called after him, a flirtatious tone in her voice. I’ll have to get her number next time, Mike thought, already imagining the fun they could have behind closed doors.
There was only one thing left to do and that was have another meeting with Adrian Boswell. They arranged to meet at a local cafe and Mike was quick to settle down with a coffee while he waited. Thankfully he wasn’t kept waiting for long and Mr Cavanaugh’s associate approached with a smile, clearly appreciating what he saw. Mike was hardly surprised though because there was a whole lot for people to appreciate.
“So what have you got for me?” the actor asked as soon as his manager had sat down across from him. Boswell had promised him success and being the lead in Netflix’s Luke Cage series wasn’t enough. Mike wanted more!
“Three roles lined up already, dude,” Boswell confirmed with a smile, “All of them asked for you by name. You’re in demand, my friend.” He slid several documents across the table, all including the role details and scripts Mike would need. There was no doubt that he would ace the auditions and his stock in Hollywood would rise even further. After all, with or without his boss’ knowledge, Adrian Boswell made sure to look after his own personal projects…