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America's Sweethearts

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The Set-Up

“Alec, will you hurry up? We’re going to be late,” Isabelle called down the hall. “The meeting is in half an hour.” 

“Relax Iz,” Alec replied. He pulled on his jacket as he walked down the hall to meet her at the front door. “We’re not going to be late.” 

“Exactly. We’re not going to be late because we’re going to leave right now,” she told him. 

Alec held the door open for his sister and followed her outside. He put on his sunglasses and shoved his hands in his pockets. 

“Why are we having this meeting anyway?” he asked. 

“We need to work on your image,” she answered as she got in the driver's seat of her car. 

“My image?” Alec asked. He got in the passenger seat and shut the door before putting on his seatbelt. “I didn’t know I had an image.” 

“Exactly why we need to work on it,” she told him. “We’re going to get you a boyfriend.” 

Alec snorted. “Your jokes are almost as bad your cooking.” 

“I’m not kidding,” she replied. “You need a boyfriend.”

“Why?” he asked. “I have plenty of fans without the need for a boyfriend.” 

“People are starting to lose interest in you,” Isabelle replied. “We need something to boost your image again.” 

“So your solution is to set me up with a rent a boy?” he asked. 

“Not a rent a boy,” she answered. 

Isabelle pulled the car up in front Hotel DuMort and got out, giving the keys to the valet. She ran a hand through her hair and checked her makeup. 

“Then who?” he asked, oddly curious at this point. 

She linked arms with him as they walked into the Hotel. “Magnus Bane. We’re having lunch with him and his agent, which is why we can’t be late.” 

“Magnus Bane? International supermodel and all-around pain in the ass diva?” Alec asked. “The, and I do mean pun intended, Bane of anyone’s existence if they so much as have an eyelash out of place? I’m pretty sure he eats publicists for breakfast.” 

“I eat the publicists for breakfast,” a man said as he walked over. “You are right on time.” 

Alec scratched the back of his neck awkwardly. “Sorry...I didn’t mean to be rude….” 

The man waved his hand dismissively. “Believe me. Most days I want to throttle Magnus myself. Ragnor Fell. I’m his agent. You weren’t kidding about your brother. He’s just the right type.” 

“Type?” Alec asked. 

“We can talk in the elevator,” Ragnor answered. He motioned for them to follow and pressed the up button with a green painted nail. 

Alec stepped on and noted that he pressed penthouse and the doors slid shut with a ding. 

“Magnus is known for having a string of lovers, however, none of that is actually true. It’s a ruse to cover up his more serious relationships. These serious relationships usually involve a type. Black-haired, blue-eyed beauties,” Ragnor answered. 

“If that’s the case, why didn’t you ask my sister?” Alec asked. “He swings both ways doesn’t he?” 

“Yes, but that type is strictly male, and your sister mentioned you would be coming out of the closet. What better way than to do it with Magnus on your arm? He is a known advocate for LGBTQ rights. His fans will undoubtedly rally around to support you when he does,” Ragnos answered. 

“Oh…” Alec blinked. “Well...when you put it that way. That does make sense.” 

The doors slid open to reveal the hotel’s penthouse. Alec stepped off and looked around. 

“Green Bean? Is that you?” A young man walked in from the balcony. He had a red sheet wrapped around his waist, and a glass of orange juice in his hands. His hair was pulled back into a messy bun with two chopsticks sticking out. “You’ve brought company.” 

“And you’re still not dressed,” Ragnor said. “I told you we were having a lunch meeting.” 

“In my defense, I was half asleep. You know I’m not fully functional until at least eleven,” he replied. 

Ragnor pinched the bridge of his nose. “Magnus, get dressed so we can go to lunch.” 

He ran his gaze over Alec and finished off his orange juice. “Only if he helps.” 

Alec blushed under the gaze and looked away. By the sound of retreating footsteps, Magnus had gone to get dressed.

He returned a couple of moments later in a pair of maroon-colored tight-fitting pants, a long-sleeved white top with a black vest, and knee-high lace-up combat boots with. His hair was still pulled back into a bun but it was neater and a few strays hair framed his face. He had on some makeup. Eyeliner that showed off the striking yellowish-green eyes, and maroon colored lipstick that matched his pants. 

“So, where are we going to lunch? I’m starved,” Magnus said. 

“I made a reservation at China Grill,” Ragnor replied. “Private table so we won’t be disturbed.” 

“I bet the only thing he eats is two bites of lettuce,” Alec muttered to Isabelle so Magnus wouldn’t overhear.

She elbowed him in the ribs and hid a small smile. “Behave you.” 

“I’ll take the chicken thigh skewers, and spicy beef dumplings for starters, then the wild mushroom pasta and drunken chicken with the veggie fried rice and an iced tea,” Magnus smiled at the waitress and handed her his menu. 

“That’s a lot of food for one person,” Alec pointed out. 

“Don’t worry, I’ll share,” Magnus winked and Alec drank his water to cover the fact he was blushing slightly. 

Alec scanned the menu and ordered a plate of lobster pancakes, woked beef, and duck fried rice, sticking with water. The waitress walked away once everyone had ordered and Magnus suddenly turned his entire body so he was facing Alec. 

“Green Bean tells me you’re planning on coming out of the closet,” Magnus said. 

“Green Bean…?” Alec asked. 

“My adoring nickname for Ragnor,” Magnus answered. “He went through this phase in high school where he dyed his hair green. But not the point.” 

Alec drank more water and nodded. “Yeah...I'm nervous about it, it was hard enough coming out to my parents...” 

He was surprised when Magnus reached over and squeezed his hand. “I can’t promise that everything will turn out okay after you do, but you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Believe me.” 

Alec was struck speechless by how sincere he sounded and was disappointed when Magnus moved his hand. 

He thanked the waitress for his iced tea and took a sip. 

“Now, Alec will be making his announcement in the coming weeks, we'll need to nail down a definite date. But it still gives us plenty of time to plant some rumors about the two of you. Isabelle and I will leave and have a couple of the waiters take a few pictures of you two eating together, talking, having a couple of drinks, getting cozy. Let one of us know when you plan to leave and we’ll tip off some paparazzi so they can catch you leaving together.”

“Woah, hold on, you’re going to plant rumors?” Alec asked. “Rumors about what?” 

“Just little things,” Isabelle answered. “Don’t worry about it.” 

“That only makes me worry more,” Alec pointed out. 

“Just leave everything to us,” Isabelle replied. 

Alec nodded a little. “Right, because those words have never come back to bite me in the ass.”

“So?” Isabelle asked. “What do you think?” 

“He is not how I thought he’d be,” Alec answered. He grabbed a beer from the fridge and leaned against the kitchen counter. “Seems nice enough. What does he get out this? I know I'm supposed to get more publicity, some endorsement deals or something like that, but what about Magnus?"

“It’s just how he is. Most of the things written about him are rumors and little white lies. I don’t think he’s actually done half the things people say he has. As far as what he gets out of it not super sure. Honestly reaching out that far was a longshot, but Ragnor said Magnus was interested and even sounded excited at the idea,” she replied with a shrug. “I have to get going. I promised Clary I’d stop by the store and pick up some ice cream for her on the way home. Don’t forget, you have a sparring session with Jace tomorrow morning okay?” 

“Never miss it. If I do he will literally pour water on me to wake me up,” he answered. “Give Clary my best.” 

He walked his sister to the door and shut it behind her before grabbing his laptop off the desk and sitting on the couch. 

The twitter page Clary had helped him sign up for was already blowing up about his little ‘lunch date with Magnus.’ His follower count on Twitter and Instagram had almost tripled. He had to hand it to their agents. They really knew what they were doing.