A/N: ...okay, I know you guys are probably pissed. :/
As I've mentioned, I've been having a bit of a hard time in my life, so that's been taking up quite a bit of time. But also, on all of my stories, I've been stuck. So I write maybe a sentence or two everyday...depending on how the story flows in my mind.
Anyway, I had finished this yesterday, but I completely forgot to post. I hope you like it. I've been trying to make my chapters last longer. :)
Chapter 5: Angels and Demons
Well, Central Park didn't help, Clary thought as she climbed the stairs to her apartment. Her feet ached with exhaustion, and her numb toes certainly didn't help. Clary had originally gone to the park for inspiration for her gallery opening. Her manager needed a theme, and he needed it now.
Fall was too cliché. Love nauseated her. Fear? No, Halloween ended a month before. Rage? Maybe...
Clary wiggled her key around in the rusted lock. The damn thing wouldn't open. She bashed the side of it with her fist. The door finally sprung open. Clary made a mental note to replace the lock. "Simon?" she called out. "Izzy?"
Nothing. Sighing, Clary placed her messenger bag on the ground and kicked her ushoes off.
Her talk with Jace had settled her mind, but not her heart. It raced and kicked against her ribcage. The gold in his hair against the black of his jacket was branded in her mind. The tilt of his mouth, the slope of his jaw...Clary groaned. No matter how much her mind denied it, her body knew the truth.
She still loved Jace.
And the worst part was, she knew it was love. She'd felt lust before, but this wasn't it. This consumed her. She didn't know what to make of Jace. In the park, when she'd told him about that night, his expression had been unreadable. His eyes held confusion. A part of her didn't care, but a part of her wanted him to crush his lips against hers.
God, she really had to get her thoughts under control.
Clary set her bag down next to her and fell onto the bed. She tried thinking about something else, but she couldn't. Finally, her eyes drooped shut. Her mind teased her with sleep, putting it within her reach and yanking it away before she could grab it. Images of gold and feathers spiraled in front of her, taking shape slowly. Clary watched, mesmerized as her mind surprised her.
But as suddenly as the image appeared, it collapsed. Flames engulfed the once serene picture. Clary woke with a start.
She blinked to clear her vision. Her eyes widened.
She grabbed her sketchbook and pens. She took a deep breath. Then she started to draw.
Jace stormed into the apartment. "Alec!" he yelled. "Alexander Gideon Lightwood!"
"Jesus, Jace. I'm right here." Alec stepped out of his room. His hair was messier than usual, and his cheeks were flushed. No doubt Magnus' doing. "What is it?"
Jace threw his shoes and jacket off. "You knew, didn't you?"
"I know a lot of things, Jace," Alec said exasperatedly. "You need to be more specific."
Jace sighed frustratedly and collapsed onto the couch, rubbing his temples. His gold eyes blazed with betrayal. "You knew about me and Clary at that party," he stated.
Alec's brows rose but he said nothing. He took a seat next to his friend and rubbed his back. Jace made no move to push him away. Magnus stepped out from Alec's room. Jace saw Alec shake his head out the corner of his eye. Magnus's footsteps shuffled away. Jace sighed. "Why didn't tell me?"
"Because you weren't ready," Alec said simply.
Jace turned his head to glare at him. "What the hell, Alec? It's not like you were granting me a kingdom or anything. I wanted to know who that girl was. End of story." Jace stood up and started walking away.
Alec followed him. "You cared about that girl, Jace! That's why you wanted to know!"
"Will you stop that?" Jace burst out. His eyes turned to molten gold, a river of fury. "Why do you keep insisting that I do?"
Alec put a hand on Jace's shoulder, but he shrugged it off. Alec's eyes flashed with hurt. "Because you do, Jace. I know you do! And she does, too." His voice raised. "Why won't you just admit it?"
Jace took a step towards Alec. He could clearly see the dark bits of royal blue against the cerulean in his eyes. "Do you want a confession?" Alec nodded. "Of course I care. Of course I want her. Hell, I've always wanted her. But no matter what I want, no matter what she wants, I can't be with her."
"Why?" It came out small, reminding Jace of Alec's brother, Max. Picturing the little boy next to his brother, Jace's voice softened.
He turned around, hiding his face from Alec. "Because," he said, "I don't deserve her."
Jace walked away, and this time, Alec didn't stop him.
"So, that's it?" Isabelle's voice was resigned.
Alec didn't respond. He couldn't respond. He took his place by the window, watching the sun set over Manhattan. It was so beautiful. So surreal. "Jace is a martyr. That's definitely not a secret, big brother."
"You didn't see him, Izzy," Alec said. "He looked destroyed."
Isabelle's sigh was loud and clear. "That's just proof. He needs her."
"What if we do this, then they get hurt?" Alec focused on the crease in his jeans. "Jace could go off the deep end. Hell, they could both go off the deep end."
"Then we'll pick them up," Isabelle said firmly. "Alec, they're so unbelievably lucky. They found their soulmates. Yeah, they think they're fine. But honestly, how would you feel if you hadn't kissed Magnus three years ago."
My heart wouldn't be whole, he thought. I'd live with a constant heartache. "Okay, I get it. What're we going to do?"
Isabelle was silent. He could hear her steady breathing on the other end. His mind was turning. "I don't know," she whispered. "Frankly, I'm scared for them."
"Then we'll wait," he said. "They'll do it on their own." He looked back out the window. The sun was completely out of view. A purple tint painted the sky. "If there's one thing I know about true love, it's that it has to run its course."
Every damn song on the radio echoed her feelings. Clary felt like bashing it with a sledge hammer, but Isabelle would've killed her. An angry Isabelle wasn't fun to live with.
Even so, Clary was in the zone. Her paint brush flew against the canvas. Flashes of gold and red swirled out from her mind and onto the previously blank space. Her arm was exhausted, but she kept going.
She didn't know how long she had been standing there. Halfway through, she had to turn on her studio lights due to the sun setting. Finally, after what felt like minutes to her, she stepped back. Every hastily painted streak took a shape. She was surprised by her own hand, her own touch.
Confusion was etched across the entire piece, from the dancing flames to the wings of an angel.
Who happened to look like Jace.
Clary sighed frustratedly. It was maddening. He was in her mind, imprinted in her brain.
And apparently, on her canvas.
"Clary!" Isabelle called. "Dinner!"
At the mention of food, Clary's stomach growled. With one last hateful glance at the painting, she made her way to the kitchen. Heavenly aroma filled the air. Clary quickened her pace.
Steam rose from the grease-stained paper bags on the table. Simon was seated, while Isabelle was setting the plates. They both looked up as she entered. "Clary," Isabelle breathed, almost in a relieved manner. "I've been calling you for ages."
"Have you?" Clary took her place at the head of the table. "Sorry, I was painting."
Simon raised a coffee-colored brow. "I came in a checked on you two hours ago. We had a conversation."
Clary shrugged and opened the paper bag. The strong smell of pork dumplings overwhelmed her. She fished out two dumplings and handed the rest to Isabelle. "Well, next time, make sure I'm listening."
"You responded to—" Isabelle shot him a look, effectively silencing him. He stabbed his Veggie Lo-Mein, muttering under his breath. Isabelle took a bite of her dumpling. Clary mentally rolled her eyes. Only Isabelle Lightwood could make eating dumplings look delicate and dainty. "So, how's the theme brainstorming going?" Isabelle asked.
Clary dunked her dumpling in soy sauce. "Fine," she said bitterly. "Just drop it."
Isabelle raised a brow. "Really? Well, Starkweather called, and he needs an answer-"
"I said, drop it." Venom crept into her voice.
Isabelle raised her hands in a surrender motion. "Okay, okay." She pulled out several more styrofoam boxes from the bag. "Here, there's more food."
Despite the two dumplings, Clary's stomach growled. She hastily opened the closest box to her. And stopped.
Juicy, delectable Mu Shu pork teased her. Images flashed through her mind of Jace taking all of the Mu Shu pork. Jace claiming that it was his favorite while waving it in front of her face.
Clary dropped her chopstick. Her body filled with rage. Why the hell is he popping up everywhere?
Clary pushed away from the table and got up. "I'm not hungry," she said.
She walked away from the table, dumped her plate in the sink, and stomped to the bedroom, slamming the door shut behind her. She collapsed against the closed panel. Tears streamed down her face. Her body shook with sobs.
She stayed like that, a crumpled T-shirt on the floor. Crying is irrational, she thought. I need to stop.
But she couldn't will the tears to stop in her eyes. She felt the crushing blow of the holed-up feelings inside her. The dam broke. When she finally dragged herself off the ground, she yanked the bed sheet off the bed and threw it over the painting. She Awatched as the still damp paint colored the fabric slightly. She couldn't make herself care. She tossed her jacket on her arms and snatched her bag. Isabelle stepped into the room just as she was fastening her sneakers. "Where are you going?"
"Out," Clary replied. Her voice cracked on the single word. "I'll be back later."
She pushed past the other girl into the hallway. "Wait, Clary!" Isabelle called after her. "Can you at least tell me where you're going?"
Clary stopped and looked back. "The park." A vague tone weaved through her voice. "Manhattan. Hell, I don't know."
"Okay." Isabelle's voice was soft. "Just call if you need me, okay?"
Clary nodded and pushed herself into the night. The chill almost made her run back inside. It cut through her. She gritted her teeth and stalked away from her apartment. Her fingertips were already starting to numb. But Clary was stubborn. She kept walking, praying the movement would warm her up.
She found herself in a café not too far from Central Park. There was no way in hell she'd go to the park this late. There were muggers.
She ordered herself a large cup of coffee and dumped about three pounds of sugar in it. The room was fairly vacant. A frazzled businesswoman and homeless man were her only company. She chose a table near the window, away from everyone else. She stared out the transparent surface at the city she loved.
Not half an hour ago, she did the one thing she swore she'd never do: she had run. She had run from her feelings. She had run from Jace. Most importantly, she had run from herself. But she hadn't known what else to do.
In a split second, everything changed. She looked up. Shock colored her face. Her answer came to her. "Clary."
Because Jace Herondale was standing right in front of her.
A/N: Remember to let me know what you think!