Warning: Mentions of body dysmorphia, negative body image, bigotry, and death
Thomas West was twenty-six before he had his first heat, before then he had assumed he was an alpha. After all, all the men in the West family had been alphas. Sure there had been a few betas here or there. But, it had nearly been alphas completely down the line.
He had already been questioning himself when he felt himself grow hot and bothered around the serious straight-laced alpha named Harriet Smith. A soft quiet affection turned into longing as they had worked on projects together. He had put her onto a database project and got needlessly involved in it to get closer. The urge to be near her was irresistible to him. Despite Thomas knowing that this could be a bad idea. But whenever their hands would brush together, Thomas felt fire spread through his body. That alone kept Thomas coming back each and every time.
But he kept these growing feelings quiet. After all, he was an alpha and she was an alpha. Why would she ever show interest in a man like him? But when that day came and he smelt a scent like no other. His body lit on fire and he melted in front of her. He wanted her so badly, it was only when he lifted his backside up instinctively he realized...
He was in heat and he was an omega.
A hurricane of feelings hit him all at once. As if the missed years from when he was supposed to present now weighed down on him. He was needy and he let that be known to the exasperated Harriet. She tried to feed him pills but Thomas didn't want that. The uncontrollable desire he had was not something that could be filled by pills alone.
When Harriet kissed him and forced the pills into his mouth and down his throat. Thomas was just happy to finally kiss the perfectly shaded lips of Harriet. He had been staring at them for months. They were as soft as he had hoped.
He wanted more after swallowing the pills, but when he felt the heat die down and his rationality come back. The horror he felt realizing he had lived a lie up until this point was significant. But he still wanted her, but before he could say anything Harriet left the room. Leaving only the blazer that Thomas had slipped off of her.
When the pills wore off Thomas could not control himself as he breathed in the scent that lingered on the blazer. For the first time in his life that night, he had fantasized as an omega. That night was filled with his whimpers of Harriet's name in his bed. The touches he gave to himself were clumsy and unsure. Everything felt so new but at the same time... Everything finally felt right.
Thomas went to work the next day and Harriet wasn't there. He had made sure searching every place he thought she could be. He felt anxious and wanted to see her. But while Thomas was an omega as he knew now. He was still a large man. Much larger than the small form of Harriet. He didn't want to frighten her by showing up at her door. Though he wanted to... How desperately he wanted to.
Thomas hadn't realized that Harriet had come back on the day that she did. He had brought the blazer she wore that day with him. Finding he felt less anxious with her scent around. Though the scent was faded from his... Use. He sat in his office alone trying his best to purr as he took in more of Harriet's scent. Though all that came out was a gurgled growling noise, he felt safe and happy smelling her. Though he was feeling frustrated because he couldn't purr as well as he thought he should be able to. He wanted to sound pretty like the purrs he had heard from other omegas. But this was all he could manage.
When the door opened and Thomas had been caught red-handed. He felt a little shame but not a lot. Mostly because he wanted Harriet to see how much he wanted her. Alphas liked it when omegas desired them right? Thomas had been raised as an alpha, he was told that alphas loved it when an omega desired them. The media was filled with images of needy omegas begging for an alpha. Harriet would like that right?
But Harriet didn't really respond. It seemed subtlety was not something that could be done here. So Thomas decided to be more obvious and more aggressive about his advances. When Harriet kissed him, he knew he was successful. When Harriet was inside of him, Thomas couldn't stop himself. It was like everything had clicked into place and he wanted the world to know who his alpha was. She was like an animal, he felt some sort of subconscious release of pleasure in his mind.
Things on his desk were thrown to the floor as he clawed at the expensive wood with nails he hadn't realized he had. Thomas wondered if his inner omega had finally been pleased. She spoke to him in an unexpected but not unwelcomed tone. Then Harriet marked him, Thomas held her close as he cried loudly loving the feeling.
When they parted Thomas was going to confess his feelings finally. Tell her exactly how he had felt and what he had hoped for in their new relationship. But they had been caught. They had forgotten where they were and what time it was. The middle of the day inside an office? What were they thinking? Thomas had been marked and mated as if he was some sort of animal.
The proceeding meeting was awkward. Thomas didn't blame anyone for not being able to focus. It wasn't every day you saw the boss getting railed on his desk by the most frigid woman in the office. Thomas wanted to speak with Harriet alone but couldn't. Maybe Thomas was too aggressive. After all, he had been raised an alpha... Maybe Harriet realized that an omega like him didn't suit her? He wasn't small or cute, he looked and acted just as an alpha would. Maybe if he acted like a proper omega it wouldn't matter that they had been caught? Maybe Harriet would feel the same as him then...
With fear and nervousness in his heart, Thomas rushed to the bookstore after work and bought as many books as he could find on how to act as a proper omega. His first instinct had been to immediately contact Harriet after work to talk to her. But, thankfully he read these books first that instructed him that was much too aggressive and Harriet would be scared away by such behavior. It was strange being a grown man reading pastel books. But... Thomas realized he couldn't approach this as an alpha would.
So he waited, but he could hardly stand himself, a day had barely passed and after work, Thomas went to her apartment. He hadn't even meant to, he had seen some clothing in a store that looked like something Harriet would wear. Then he blinked and he was here, just as he was about to knock on the door, his senses came back to him. He hesitated. Fears cropped up in him, he felt so insecure. He felt so afraid... What if she'd rejected him? What would he do then? He had seen on the news how rejected omegas often just fell apart. The tragic image of an omega withering away was a powerful one and struck fear into Thomas.
He had his first heat so late, what if there was something wrong with him? What if he wasn't actually an omega and that's why Harriet didn't feel bonded to him? Could two alphas even bond in the first place? What if Harriet thought he was weird or strange? What if she was embarrassed? What if she had felt forced? What if she wasn't attracted to him? What if... What if...
Maybe he should leave! Thomas was about to do just that when...
"Thomas?" Thomas looked over and saw a vaguely familiar face. An omega named Milo stood at the door of his apartment. Thomas felt jealousy prickle up inside of him. A beautiful omega just like that right next door to Harriet... Maybe the reason why this omega knew Thomas was because Harriet had made fun of him with Milo. Thomas couldn't figure out how he knew his name was Milo he just knew.
Thomas's fears were relieved when Milo explained who he was. He mentioned Avery, which explained why Thomas knew his name, Avery was a neighbor of Thomas and he supposed a friend at this point. They had known each other for years and even went out to restaurants and parties together. During that time whenever Avery even got the slightest bit tipsy, she would go off on a rant about an omega named Milo.
It was more of a declaration of how beautiful and sweet the omega was. But it was very aggressive and Avery often demanded that Thomas agree with her. Then Thomas remembered that last night Milo had clearly been on a date with Avery as they rode in the elevator together.
He was relieved, that omega was already taken... Thomas felt so large and gross next to a dainty-looking omega. Any alpha with eyes would pick Milo over him without any hesitation. Thomas knew he was a good-looking alpha, but as an omega... He felt disgusting. There were completely different sets of beauty standards.
Sure as a man he was expected to look a certain way but as an omega man, he was supposed to look graceful while masculine. Or at the very least soft and nurturing... Thomas looked like a men's wear model for alphas... With a broad chest and chiseled looks... No one would be able to tell he was actually an omega looking at him.
Briefly, Thomas thought he could play all this off and go back to living as an alpha. Despite knowing the truth now at least then he wasn't so unsure of himself... At least then he wasn't scared.
Milo invited him in, seeing his concern and they spoke. Thomas felt himself opening up once a small white cat landed on his lap. Milo listened without judgment but his eyes lingered on Thomas's neck. Thomas wondered if he wanted Avery to mark him just as Harriet had marked Thomas? He could see a jealous gaze hidden behind the concern in his eyes.
He didn't get to ask when Harriet suddenly showed up. She asked when he had gotten there. Thomas told her it was an hour, she asked why he hadn't knocked, and with the gentle urging of Milo. Thomas told her honestly. He was scared.
He had been scared that Harriet would be angry and reject him. He had been scared of so many things. Harriet pulled him off the couch with a gentle tug and out of the apartment telling him they needed to talk. Thomas didn't hear anything she said because he was staring at their hands being interlaced with each other.
Inside Harriet's apartment, everything smelled like her and Thomas felt his anxiety melt away. Surrounded by his alpha's scent, he knew he was safe. Harriet sat him down on the couch and sat next to him. They had a long talk, Thomas didn't remember most of it. He was overwhelmed by the smell of Harriet and just being near her again. But what he got from it was that. As Milo said, Harriet had been concerned about him.
"Businesses tend to lose investors if omegas run them." Harriet spoke frankly, "It hadn't been my intention to expose you like that. I apologize." She lowered her head respectfully. Thomas stared, he hadn't been concerned with that at all. The business was fine and while yes, news of his actual dynamic had leaked. His family was taking care of that issue, they seemed more relieved that Thomas had finally become seriously interested in someone than anything else. While briefly, he did consider hiding this and brushing over the incident... Sitting here. He felt much differently about the situation now.
Thomas touched the mark on his neck and stared at Harriet. The still healing skin felt rough under his touch. His alpha was thoughtful... He smiled slightly, it felt ridiculous to be this traditional in his heart. Especially considering he was a bit of a playboy when he thought he was an alpha. But nothing had made him feel like Harriet made him feel. Thomas knew this wasn't something he could easily brush past or bury. Especially knowing what he knew now. He wanted her in his life so badly, he couldn't go back.
"There's no need to apologize for that." He spoke carefully, Harriet looked up and stared at him meeting his gaze. He wanted to tell her how much he had enjoyed their first time together. But the words died on his lips. He was too flustered and that was much too forward even for him. He wanted Harriet to think of him as a perfect omega, just as people had called him the perfect alpha.
He wanted to hear Harriet proudly introduce him to people... He wanted to be shown off to her family. Thomas rolled his thumbs in his folded hands. Harriet was different than most alphas male or female. She was calm and analytical. She thought things through carefully and thoroughly. Thomas would like to think of himself in the same way. But he knew he was much more emotional than Harriet.
"I was more worried that you didn't want to be with me after... We got caught." Thomas spoke frankly, he glanced up from the floor and over at Harriet a few times. Catching his reflection in her glasses. He hadn't even known she wore those, at work Harriet always wore contacts. But she looked good in glasses too.
Harriet's lips twitched, "As strange as it may sound. I'm not bothered by that." She replied, "It certainly not the first time I've been caught doing that sort of thing. I'd much rather it be coworkers than family members like it was last time." She admitted, Thomas perked up and winced empathetically. He had been caught by his family before, he agreed that was much more humiliating than being caught by coworkers.
"I've been caught a few times too." Thomas remarked sheepishly, Harriet stared, "I know. I've walked in on you." She remarked causing Thomas to stiffen up, he had forgotten about that. "I... They..." Thomas felt humiliated, he had spent the last week reading up on everything about being an omega. He had also spent the last week dreaming about being with Harriet.
Thomas had spent a lot of time doing what he had thought he was supposed to do as an alpha. Harriet had walked in on him by complete accident. Before Thomas started developing feelings for her. He wasn't doing anything too out of the way, but the woman he was with was in the middle of stripping her clothes off. Alphas or omegas be damned, Thomas knew that no woman wanted to see a man she was with a ton of other women. He knew that Harriet knew that he had been with plenty.
Having a history was one thing, but what Thomas did not that long ago was a completely different story. He was constantly frustrated and thought being with those women would help. It never did. But now Thomas knew why. They weren't his alpha, they weren't his Harriet. He fidgeted with a nearby pillow on the couch they sat upon.
But, no alpha would want an omega like him. Something he had thought of other omegas before he knew he was one. He swallowed dryly, Harriet stared at him quietly before speaking. "I hadn't meant to offend you, Thomas. It was an observation, not a judgment." She clarified. Thomas let out a breath he didn't know he was holding.
"Relax Thomas. I'm not going to reject you." Harriet cut to the heart of the situation quickly. "That's good to know... I was very nervous about that..." Thomas admitted feeling better. Thomas saw Harriet smile, "I already told you that you were mine. I'm not letting you go so easily."