Heart had lived his life knowing exactly what he wanted and how to get it. He had had to learn early how to read people, how to gauge the best way to get what he wanted out of them and leave them without a single clue that any of it was his idea. This skill wasn’t for fun, no. It was survival. When one lives in a world that had a build in biological hierarchy, one has to use every tool at their disposal to blend in with those the systems favor.
Heart had donned many disguises growing up, depending on what suited the situation best. There was a solid three years where he had passed off as a girl with no one the wiser. Then he’d luckily hit a generous growth spurt which allowed him to ditch the dresses and heels. He’d kept the nails though. His long, colorful manicured nails were his pride and joy. When one’s confident enough, they were allowed their idiosyncrasies. And Heart was nothing but confident. He had to be. He was an Omega passing off as the Alpha star at one of the hottest entertainment companies in the Central City area.
He sat in the back of the limousine, sunglasses on his face, his shoulder length hair stuffed into a pink beanie, his eyes closed against the light filtering in through the tinted windows. His manager, Tracey, was reading him his schedule that day. Photoshoots. Commercial. Meeting with a company about representing the brand. Music video.
Heart’s eyes opened at the last one. “MV? What MV?” He asked, tilting his head to her.
Tracey glanced at him over her glasses. “The music video we discussed last week. You’re the love interest for the lead singer.”
Heart rolled his eyes behind his glasses. “Do I need lines or just be pretty?”
“Just be pretty. Don’t worry, it’s super simple. Now, where was I?”
“How long till the photoshoot?” Heart asked, leaning his head against the window.
“Maybe an hour. We need to get there early to do, Heart! Heart!”
At the light, Heart had slipped out of the back of the limo, tugging on a face mask. He knew Tracey wouldn’t chase after him. She was too concerned about her image. And she knew that Heart would miraculously show up on time.
He rubbed the back of his neck as he blended into the crowded streets. One would think that him being an internationally adored internet sensation would garner him some more attention. But people only saw what they wanted to see. So, they didn’t see the mega superstar walking down the street. They saw a cute, fashionable youth in a facemask, their hands in their pocket.
Heart ducked into the pharmacy, unhooking the mask from his face to let it dangle from one ear. He grabbed a cart, browsing through the shelves. He found what he was looking for, dropping it into the cart. He added a couple bars of chocolate, Tracey’s favorite ice coffee, and a juice box. He stood in line, staring at the tabloids as he waited. He tilted his sunglasses down as he saw the scandalous headline Superstar Heart Caught with A Girl! He snorted. Honestly. He hoped that reporter got paid in advance.
He reached the counter, digging out the cash in his wallet. The cashier scanned the top items, then paused at the medication bottles. Scent blockers and Heat control. He looked at Heart over his glasses, his Beta scent heating up in embarrassment.
Heart gave him a smile. Anyone else would explain away the items. He simply stared down the clerk until the clerk turned red and coughed. His gaze shifted from the clerk to the shelf behind them. “Throw in the condoms since I’ve already embarrassed you,” Heart purred, leaning on the counter.
The clerk, a thirty something with a wedding band, was now the color of a tomato as he grabbed the Ultra-Thin condoms from behind the glass case. Heart wasn’t planning on using them, he just wanted to fuck with the clerk. He slid the cash over the counter and took his bag. The clerk saw his nails, long, red, decadent, and his face turned a weird purple red color. Their gaze met again, and Heart winked at him.
He pushed out of the pharmacy, squinting into the sunlight. He had time. He pulled out his phone. “Hey, lover. I need a ride. I ditched Tracey.”
“I know. Already here.”
Heart looked up, and grinned at his best friend/bodyguard, Floris, who was leaning next to the blue Ford. He jogged over and ducked into the car as Floris held the door open. Shutting it after him, Floris went around and got into the driver seat. Heart closed his eyes as Floris’ Alpha scent wrapped around him.
“Mmmm. Picked these up just in time. You smell fucking delicious.” He commented, pulling the Heat Blocker bottle out.
“I always smell delicious. But yeah, cutting it close, babe.” Floris said, checking his rearview mirror.
Heart hummed, knocking back three of the tiny red pills. “When’s my next not obvious break?” He asked, putting the bottle back in the bag. He riffled through it, pulling out the chocolate.
“Like two weeks. You’ll be okay?”
“Yeah, I’m not super concerned about it. Scent blockers or no?”
Floris glanced at Heart, his gaze skimming across his best friend’s lithe body for a second before he yanked his gaze back to the road. “Scent blockers.” He confirmed. Nothing smells better than an Omega flirting with their Heat.
Heart sniffed his wrist, and grimaced. “Damn it,” he growled, shoving the entire chocolate bar into his mouth. He needed the food to hit his stomach before he could take the Scent Blockers. Not much was worse than taking Scent Blockers on an empty stomach. “How bad? Like can I make it through a photoshoot?”
“Honestly, no. Check the glove compartment.” Floris leaned his left elbow on the window ledge, pressing his hand to his face. “It might be the car, but you need an alternative explanation.”
Heart reached for the compartment. “What’s it smell like?” He asked, riffling through the perfumes he had in there.
Heart rolled his eyes. “Yes, thank you,” he snapped, opening the citrus one, sniffing the nozzle.
“Uhh, it’s spicier than usual. So, go with something that’s Alpha he-man.”
Heart opened the cedar and citrus one, spraying it generously on his neck and wrists. He rubbed his wrists against his collarbones, looking to Floris.
“Better. Now you smell like sex in a Bath and Body Works,” Floris managed. He glanced at Heart. “If you’re changing clothes, spray it down your pants.”
“What if I just cancelled. This is stupid. I’ll be fine in like an hour, and Tracey can reschedule it. Say that I’m hungover or something.” Heart complained, reaching for his belt buckle.
Floris nearly wreaked the car reaching over to stop him. “Please, don’t do that while we’re trapped in the car. It’s probably the car. I’ll park far away and see how you smell outside of this fuckbox.”
Heart laughed. He leaned down, pulling out the other chocolate bar. He broke it in half, handing half to Floris. “Here. Oh, I got you something else.” He leaned down, pulling out the condom box. “Happy birthday,” he said, tossing it into Floris’ lap.
Floris glanced at them, then the road as he sucked on the chocolate. “Thanks, you shouldn’t have,” he said, rolling his eyes. He picked it up, tossing it into the backseat. “Okay, let’s park here and see if you need to spray down your pants.”
He pulled into a parking lot that was around the back of the studio. Heart got out and stretched out his spine. Floris came around, sniffing around him. “Okay, yeah, it was the car. You smell fuckable, but in like the normal way.” He confirmed.
Heart nodded, reaching into the car, popping the Scent Blockers. He’d vomit that night, but better take early than later. “Cool. Wish me luck, lover,” he said, winking at Floris.
Floris rolled his eyes, going back to the car to park it in the staff lot as Heart made his way towards the studio. He grimaced at little as he reached the door, rubbing his stomach. He might have to ask Floris to move his break earlier. He’d already gone nine months without a heat. Any longer and he might end up in a hospital.
He sighed, rolling out his shoulders. He’d be okay. He’d push through whatever it was. He had a job to do.
Pushing into the studio floor, he grinned at Tracey, who rolled her eyes at him. “You’re almost late,” she scolded.
“I brought you coffee, love you,” he teased, handing the coffee to her.
She took it grudgingly. “Go change.” She paused, looking at him. She sniffed the air delicately, and Heart froze. She smiled at him, shaking her head. “How can you still smell nice after walking around in this heat,” she grumbled with a smile, and Heart’s shoulders relaxed.
He winked at her as he went to the waiting stylist. “One of my many talents, love,” he tossed over his shoulder.
As the stylist did Heart’s make-up, Floris came in. He leaned against the back of the studio, his gaze on Heart. Heart’s bright smile and bubbly personality was having the usual effect on the staff. He shook his head. He knew his friend was flirting with danger. But Heart wouldn’t be Heart if he wasn’t perpetually standing on the edge of the abyss. And Floris would always be there to pull him back from the edge. It had been that way ever since they were kids.
But as Floris watched Heart tip his head back onto the ivory couch, his pale neck gleaming in the studio lights, he knew it was only a matter of time before Heart would fall, and he would be left to pick up the pieces.