All through the day, Jace continued to send me hopeful glances that I avoided like a champ. In Science, I was even able to pawn Jace off on one of his many fangirls for a break. All we did was take notes on the next chapter, and even then, he decided to stare until I uncomfortably turned to look back at him. He smiled and waved awkwardly, to which I just shook my head, trying to not smile back.
At lunch, Maia told me she was staying after for track and Isabelle was making costumes for the school production, so I was on my own this afternoon, which wasn't too bad because I had a lot of work to make up after being absent for nearly a week.
Lugging my over-stuffed bag down the quickly emptying halls, I felt my phone buzz in my pocket. Looking around, I saw Jace at his locker with a determined look on his face. When he turns, his eyes light with new excitement and he hurries away. I guess he wasn't the cause for the alert. Deciding I'll check it later, I begin walking again.
Hoisting my bag over my shoulder, I prepare for a long walk home. Getting outside, the bright afternoon light blinds me for a second and when my eyes adjust, I see Leo leaning nonchalantly against his car.
"I thought you may need a ride," he offers, relieving me of my bags.
"Sure, thank you," I sigh, feeling the weight of all my textbooks leaves my back as my spine says a silent thank you as well.
"No problem," he smiles brightly back at me and I imagined one of those sparkles to appear like in the corny toothpaste commercials. Laughing, I get in the passenger seat as Leo places my bags in the back.
"I'm sorry, but I can't hang out. I have a ton of work to makeup," I groan, thinking of the entire chapter of math I missed this week. Sensing my distress, Leo looks over and smiles.
"I can hang out with you if you want. Help with anything I can, get you snacks for that pretty brain of yours," his words are joking, but his tone is sincere.
"That would be heaven," I mutter.
"Well, then its settled," he affirms, driving to my house with a satisfied smile. I don't hesitate to realize, he already remembers the way.
** Time Skip** Later that night**
I sit back on my desk chair and sigh. I was finally finished. It had taken from the moment I walked in the door to now, midnight to finish all my work. Leo was sprawled on my bed, looking just as exhausted. He was there for tutoring, moral support and snack breaks. I'll admit he counseled me through a few moments where I threatened to throw all my books out the window.
"No Clary," he would sigh. "Because then we'd have to go all the way downstairs and pick them up," Not wanting to endure the extra effort, I would collapse back into my chair and return to my hellish work.
"Done," he asks, pleading for good news.
"Done," I confirm, "I couldn't have done it without you," I sigh.
"It was my pleasure," he smiles, getting up from my bed, pulling on his fitted leather jacket, "I have to get going," he sighs.
He's almost to my door when I shoot up and after him.
"Leo," I exclaim, slamming between him and the door, not allowing him to leave.
"If you're going to miss me that much, I can drop you off at school again today," he smirks, showing a confidence I had never seen him possess, one so much like Jace's.
"It's not that," his eyebrow crawls up his forehead, "I was going to say that I hope you aren't feeling used," I begin.
"Used?" he asks.
"Yeah. You were my fake date, and then I ran out and didn't talk to you, now you're pretending to be my boyfriend and helping me with my homework. I want you to know I never intend to use you, and I want us to be close no matter what happens," I don't know where this comes from, but I realize it's true. He must have been so angry after that party.
"Well, maybe we can make an exchange then," he suggests.
"What kind of exchange?" I ask, confused, but relieved that he looks almost giddy, not angry or disappointed in me.
Before I know it, his face is much closer to mine than before, his lips mili meters away. The kiss is soft and warm, smooth and knee-wobbling, but nothing like the fireworks I get with Jace. He pulls back with a sheepish grin.
"You can be my real girlfriend. Forget Jace, or anyone else. Be mine and only mine," he whispers, his hands coming to loop around my waist. NO, no, no, no!
"Leo," he hums in response, "I can't" his eyes snap open and the look they contain is like shattering glass, broken beyond repair, then he looks annoyed. He rips his arms from around my waist and begins to pace.
"What's wrong?" I ask, looking at the muttering, pacing mess in the middle of my floor.
"What's wrong?" he repeats with a dry laugh, "What's wrong is you screwed up idea of a relationship! You fake date to make a guy jealous, and then when you get a completely different guy, you fake date to get him back. Relationships shouldn't be held together with lies and schemes! They should be natural and happy!" he seems outraged and disappointed, as if I was a stupid child he had to explain this to.
"If you think it's so wrong, why did you agree to be a part of it?" I ask, feeling whiplashed.
"SO I COULD HAVE A SHOT! So you could see that I care about you, not him!" he pulls at his hair, then suddenly he stops all movement, as if a wave of cold water has rushed over him, quelling his anger and numbing his bones.
"You know what, I do feel used. I'm done feeling care and maybe the beginning of love for a girl who will never feel the same," he tells me calmly, making his way to the door.
"We met three time Leo! How the hell do you know enough about me to love me?" I ask, feeling confused and all this being rushed.
"I spent the last two years hearing about how amazing you are form Izzy and Maia. I feel in love with the mere idea of you. Then I met you and it was so much better. But, I guess your true colors are finally bleeding through," with that he stormed out, slamming the front door behind him moments later.
I stand there shell-shocked. Why is it that everything can hit a tail-spin so fast? Why do the crazy, bi-polar guys like me? WHO GOES THROUGH THIS MUCH CRAP? I sit at my desk for a minute, looking out my window. Jace is a mere lump in his dark sheets.
I think of what Leo said, that my idea of a relationship was screwed up, but laugh at how he thinks relationships could just be happy. Has he ever been in one or is he basing this idea off Disney movies?
I think of all Jace has done for me next. How he was there when no one else was, how he protects me and cares for me. His only flaw is how little confidence he has in his ability to be a good boyfriend. If only he knew how amazing of a job he's been doing.
Then, icy realization whips me in the face. How could he know if I never told him? He left, but when he tried to come back, I pushed him away. All I wanted for him to do was come back, and I screw it up when he does.
I was hurt, but now I know his reasons. I know we can work on them together. That's when I decide to lean out my windowsill and call into Jace's open window.
"Jace" I say softly, hoping he hears, "Jace," he tosses and turns a little in his sleep and I continue calling to him until he sits up, eyes cracked open.
"Clary?" he asks into the darkness, rubbing sleep from his eyes. Opening them fully, he sees me and they widen.
"Jace, can we talk?" I ask sheepishly, feeling embarrassed for how I reacted today.
"Of course, but I'm not sure if all my shit is together just yet," he smirks and makes his way to the window. He begins to climb out and onto the branch, so he can enter mine. I don't even dare tell him to use the front door, knowing he'd just wave me off.
He lands gracefully, in all his shirtless glory, on my wooden floorboards.
"You called, fair Juliet," he says. He fiddles slightly, shifting on his feet. He's trying to play it cool, but I know he's freaking a little on the inside.
"I'm sorry," I sigh. His eyes snap to me in shock.
"No, Clary I'm sorry. I left you… I left you crying and I didn't come back until a week later," he looks ashamed, his eyes downcast.
Placing a hand under his chin, I lift his face to look at mine.
"No, I wanted you back and then pushed you away when you came. I know why you did what you did and we can fix it," I assure him.
"I heard you, sobbing. I heard it all the way in my room and it nearly killed me," he whispers, taking my cheeks in his hands. His eyes glisten with water and I know he is still reluctant about something.
"Jace, what is it? Has anyone said anything? Because you should know there is no one out there better. You are sweet and caring and annoying as hell but I love it," I laugh, "and I love you," I tell him.
'What about Leo?" he says the name with bitter hatred.
"That was just to make you jealous," I laugh.
"Well it worked," he tightens his arms around my waist, pulling me into a hug. He inhales deeply.
"I missed this, I missed you, so much," he sighs.
"I did too," I reply, hugging him close.
"You know what else I missed? Kissing you, walking down the halls knowing you were my girl and no one else's," he tells me. Leaning up wordlessly, I capture his lips with mine.
"I missed everything about you," I sigh. That night, Jace slept over. We talked, but soon sleep came to claim us and I caught up all the sleep I had lost this week.