author's note: wHEW, i made it just in time. i'm sorry, everyone! i had quite a busy back-to-school week. unfortunately there are even more assessments i have to deal with next week starting tomorrow... eh. i know nobody wants to hear this crap, but the next update will be probably be slowed down... sorry! :(
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They were all situated at the edge of the lake, together in a line, ready for a competition. She was the only one without a life jacket, though. Clary knew that it didn't exactly make a difference whatsoever, but still she felt kind of light.
Clary knew that she wasn't all up into coming first, for it was going to be impossible, but still she didn't want to be the first to flail into the water. If that was to happen, then she would be disqualified.
Her lifejacketless situation was another thing, too. She could swim if she ever fell, but she wouldn't be able to swim to her abilities if her eyes were stinging.
"Three!" Hodge's voice jolted her out of her thoughts. He'd spoke of safety precautions earlier, but Clary had told him that she was confident.
Her eyes flickered to Izzy, who was beside her. She gave her a grin.
"Two!" Clary blinked and looked further, eyes darting past a hostile Kaelie to spot Jace. He wasn't looking at her, for he was looking forwards, determination set on his features. Hmm…
She forced her eyes back forwards to avoid herself from being distracted just as Hodge announced "Go!"
Okay, I must have missed one.
With a sudden, forceful jerk of her limbs, Clary was sailing forwards. Everybody was going the same pace, but when they were a fifth in it was clear who was leading. Malcom, it seemed. Malcom, and Catarina.
Miraculously Clary was managing to keep her balance on the water, like how she'd told herself to do earlier. She kept her front arm straight, her weight on the other foot…
It felt good. The wind ruffled her hair as she again straightened up her back, squinting at the other side of the lake. There was distance, a lot of it. The flag was speared through the ground at the other end, marking the area where they were to stop.
She shifted her weight back to her right foot when her mast dipped forwards, slowing her down for just the slightest bit. Focus. Then she was back on it once more, ever so steady.
Then there was a splash.
Clary caught a glimpse of the person who fell swimming to the shore with his board as she dared her eyes to flicker right. Kirk. She then resumed her focus on the other side.
A third in, she was still on the water.
Halfway in, she remained on the waves.
How, she wasn't sure. She steered her board to avoid swerving into somebody else's path. Izzy fell into the water with a careless slip, and only then did Clary realize that there were not too many of them left. Jace was there, she saw, and she allowed her head turned sideways just for a moment to watch his surfer haircut glint in the sun.
She willed her eyes to go back to the flag. They did, and so she didn't even realize as Jace shouted hi to her. He then kerplunked into the water.
When she heard that, she looked sideways for a fleeting moment to see who'd fell. The moment her eyes landed on Jace, his life jacket lifting him from the water, she began to laugh. "Hi!"
Clary'd almost toppled into the water, slowing considerably, when she again regained her footing from a narrow miss. Not bad for a beginner.
It didn't occur to her until there were few left. It hadn't ever occurred to her that she could win. But now she saw visions of herself getting to the end first and as she hugged Izzy.
I have no idea how I have gotten here.
She was reaching the end. There were three other people now. Squinting through the spray of water she saw Kaelie's blonde head. Kaelie. And beyond that, she saw her icy blue eyes, fixated on her own.
She drove herself forwards, then, turning away from Kaelie. Her sight was filled with the bright flag and the celebrations that were to come, her ears with the rushing of water, the chanting of names and the sharp, piercing sound of a whistle. Her tongue tasted the flavor of summer.
All of a sudden, she was interrupted with a harsh jostle on her board. Her mast leaned narrowly to the right, the sudden impact allowing her body to jerk sideways. Quickly she braced herself towards the left, though it was risky for she was balancing herself mid-air.
"What the hell?" She barked as she regained her steady position. Kaelie had her cornered by the side of the lake now, the side where everybody disqualified stood at. Kaelie bumped Clary's board again, this time lighter, for she herself was fighting to keep steady.
"Stop!" Normally Clary would flee, but this time she aimed straight for Kaelie's own board. Tightly she grasped on her outhaul and jerked the board sideways, attempting to knock Kaelie flat off of her board.
Everybody seemed to see what was going on, for the chanting had intensified. Clary, she heard. Clary, and Kaelie. For a brief second she thought she'd heard Hodge scream hey, when the final blow rained down on her. With another collision, this time harsher than the others, Clary had herself knocked from her board.
Going, going, gone.
With her eyes wide open, the impact had her submerged deep into the waters of Lake Lyn. She saw the light on the waves above, and that was for one single second before she snapped her stinging eyes shut. There was the burning, highly unpleasant sensation in her nose, for so much lakewater had went up her nostrils.
For a moment she'd forgotten how to swim. She kicked with her legs, her eyes squeezed shut, mouth pressed together, attempting to propel herself upwards. Shit, I had no idea how deep this lake actually is.
Soon she felt the rushing of water beside her. Must have gotten out.
An arm wrapped around her small waist. She felt somebody touch her through the thin material of her swimsuit, fingers sturdy on her side. Soon she was fully enveloped against a chest, a bare chest, and with an unknown force she was then steadily propelled up from the depths of Lake Lyn, up towards the surface.
Clary opened her eyes, coughing out lakewater. She was in broad daylight, the sight of the trees and the green grass and the familiar surroundings of Camp Lake Lyn once again around her. Her campmates were at the side of the lake, entirely silenced, their mouths dropped open in bafflement.
She turned her head sideways to see Jace's features up close. Very, very close. His eyes were round and luminous, whites tinged with the beginnings of red. A droplet of water trickled down the side of his head, from his hair, which was pasted to the sides of his face.
He looked startled.
With one hand he pushed his hair backwards. The other he had wrapped around her waist.
She wanted to kiss him right there.
But she didn't. Forcing that feeling away, she drew back from him as everybody hooted and erupted in cheers. She wriggled from his grasp and then turned around and swum wearily away, back towards the shore.
Clary slowly lifted her head up to see Izzy, her figure growing larger as she jogged closer to her. She herself was seated against the trunk of a maple tree at an edge of the Green, even though she was supposed to be heading back to her cabin.
In fact, she didn't even wait for dismissal from Water Sports. She'd simply left the scene the moment she'd reached the shore.
She'd wanted time to process it all.
Clary cracked a weak smile at her approaching friend, hoping that she didn't, didn't begin screeching and squealing and wailing about what had happened earlier.
It wasn't a big deal. It wasn't. Just because some bitch had shoved her into a lake…
Izzy settled down beside her, her dark eyes wide. "Are you okay?"
Clary wrapped the towel tighter around her shoulders. It was July, they were in sweltering summer temperatures, and so it was unreasonable for her to feel cold. But she did. She was cold. Chilly. "Yeah, I'm fine."
"I thanked Jace."
Clary frowned and stared at the ground, her cheeks growing warm. All of a sudden she was angry. "I didn't need him to frickin' do that. Whydid he do that? He knew perfectly well that I have the ability to make my way to the surface. Why did you—"
Izzy interrupted her, shooting her a pointed look in the process. "Clary, he did it, anyway."
She didn't continue with her rant, even though she had grown even more annoyed at what Izzy had said. Instead she turned away from the subject and went ahead for a forced laugh. "You know, he was supposed to be the one to knock me into the lake."
Izzy caught on quickly with a tiny lopsided smile. "And what? Kaelie's supposed to be the one who saves you?"
She smiled, and shook her head. "Okay. So who won?"
"Malcom Fade," Izzy replied. After another pause, she said, "You know, Clary, we'll probably have to get back at Kaelie for doing this. You don't let somebody like her knock you down— literally."
"Nope," Clary shook her head slowly, after another abrupt pause. "No, We don't. Not this time, anyway. It's already happened. And besides, Hodge and Madeleine are probably dealing with her right now, anyway."
Izzy cocked an eyebrow. "Wait, what?"
"Jace," Clary spoke up with a sudden realization as she began to put two and two together. "You guys talked about it earlier. According to you guys, Kaelie hates me even more now because of Jace. If that's true, she pushed me into the lake because she wasn't about to let me do anything else to be competition for her in any way, since there's all that crap about me having her Jace. But it all blew up in her face, didn't it?"
Izzy nodded, gesturing for her to continue.
"So," She drawled. "Jace did that only because he wanted to wind Kaelie up even further, even after breaking up with her."
It was, for a reason, painful to say. Just when she'd beginning to think that Jace was not such a dickhead after all. Was that even the explanation to why he'd been acting so weird these past days?
A strange, small part of her wanted that to not be the reason he had dove into the lake for her.
It was a disappointment, really. Jace was using her for Kaelie's misery. Now that the sinking realization had slapped her in the face, she was not about to let it happen again, even if it meant that Kaelie would be getting what she deserved.
Isabelle cocked an eyebrow. Her tone was one of the unconvinced, but Clary paid no attention. "Jeez, he must really hate Kaelie, then."
Clary gave a listless shrug of her shoulders. "Karma bites."
author's note: yeah, i know. clary is very stubborn and very unlikable. hopefully it's not that bad...
please review and tell me what you thought of this! we're kind of close to 100 reviews... it'll be really amazing if i get there next chapter! can we try? :D
see y'all soon!