A/N: I'm sorry for being so inactive. Writer's block got worse, but I managed to finish this chapter.
She sat in Taki's, nervously tapping her cup of coffee as she waited for Jace.
Last night, she'd asked Jace to talk with her in person. She wasn't one to break up with someone over the phone. It was the worst thing you could do. So even though it was a fake relationship, Clary still had to meet up with Jace to let him know.
She wasn't sure how she wanted to go about doing this, but the last time she planned a conversation with Jace, it left her with tears and broken hopes. Sighing, she absentmindedly sipped her coffee.
"Hey," Jace said, slipping into the chair across from her. His hair was ruffled by the wind, which caused Clary's heart to squeeze painfully. Talking to him in person was hard enough, but his attractiveness made it harder. "What did you want to talk about?" There was a confused and concerned look in his eyes, causing Clary to feel a flurry of mixed emotions.
"Nothing, it's just…" She looked down at her coffee. "I'm going to say a bunch of stuff, and you can't interrupt me, okay?"
He looked startled and even more confused. It made him look a lot cuter in Clary's opinion, but she did her best to ignore it. "Um, sure… I guess. What's up?"
"I think I like you," she blurted out. Seeing Jace's shocked expression drove a knife into her chest. It was a look of pure surprise, like he never expected her to actually like him. Of course he didn't. She gave him no reason to think that, and she supposed he thought of her as a little sister. Everyone seemed to think of her that way. "Don't interrupt," she said quickly, as Jace was about to open his mouth. "Just… don't. If you do, I'm not going to be able to get through this entire thing without crying, and my eyes are puffy enough."
"Just stop," she said, cutting him off. "I came here to tell you that I like you, but I know you don't like me back. I know I'm just a friend to you, and that's okay. Which is why I think we should stop fake dating." In her peripheral vision, she saw Jace inhale sharply. "I'm totally cool with being friends, but I need a little time." She nodded to herself, still staring at her coffee. Clary couldn't bring herself to look at Jace. She knew if she did, she'd burst into tears and she wanted to keep a little bit of her dignity when she left Taki's.
"Also, I'd prefer if we never talked about this. Never." Even now, she could feel the tears coming, unbidden. "Thanks for being a great friend," she let out before she got up and walked quickly out of the diner.
"Clary, wait –"
She didn't wait for him to finish. The diner door closed behind her, and she started to run home.
Her mother had asked her if she was okay when she locked herself up in her room. Half an hour later, Jocelyn Fray had knocked at Clary's door, letting her know that there was a carton of Ben and Jerry's at the door. As her mother's footsteps pattered away from her room, she unlocked her door and picked up the carton. Sometimes, her mother was infuriating, but at other times, she was a beacon of light when all else was dark.
Clary sat on her bed, huddled with the carton of Chunky Monkey while re-watching a book to TV-show adaptation on Freeform. It had done alright, especially since it had just been the first season. She had high hopes for the next season. While she was watching, her phone started buzzing. She glanced down at it. Realizing who it was, she quickly turned her eyes back to her laptop screen, shoveling ice cream into her mouth.
She knew it was kind of rude for her to run away like that instead of giving Jace a chance to speak, but the tears were about to slip out of her eyes. Besides, what good could've come from staying? It would've been awkward. If she was in Jace's position, she wasn't sure what she'd say. After all, wh
at do you tell someone who likes you when you don't like them back?
It was still a strange idea – her liking Jace – but it was no longer unwelcome. How ironic, that it had become an acceptable idea when she had to stop loving him.
She finished another episode – the one where the main character's love interest was revealed to be her brother – and sighed. She'd read the book, so it was only a mild nuisance. She knew it would turn out okay in the end. They'd end up together, because they weren't actually siblings. If only life was as simple as YA fiction, where endings were guaranteed to be happy. No matter what happened, the main characters would always survive, and they would always be together.
"Clary?" Her mother's voice was muffled by the door.
"What?" she managed to croak out. She hadn't realized her voice was so raspy from all the crying.
"There's someone here to see you."
A bolt of fear tore through her, ripping the broken pieces of her heart apart and leaving the shreds to sink into her stomach. "Who is it?"
"It's Jace. He says he knows you from school?"
On one hand, she didn't want to put herself through more pain. On the other hand, she knew she would have to talk to him eventually. If she waited until then, things would be even more awkward, and she wasn't sure if it was more beneficial for her to get it over with, or to wait.
"I'm busy," she croaked out.
"I told him that, but he's very insistent." Her mother seemed apologetic. "He says it's an emergency." There was a moment of silence before Jocelyn Fray spoke up again. "He seemed frantic. I think you should talk to him," she said softly.
She bit on her lip, thinking.
"Clary?" Her mother's voice came through the door again.
"Send him up," she said quietly.
As she heard her mother's footsteps go downstairs, she frantically cleaned her room. The dress that she'd worn to Jace's birthday yesterday was still draped over a chair, and it looked like a tornado had gone through her room. She didn't have time to worry about that, though. Her eyes were swollen, and her cheeks were stained with tears. The floor was littered with dirty tissues, and her hair was a tangled mess.
She quickly threw all of the tissues into the trashcan and pulled her hair into a messy bun. Clary darted to the bathroom and splashed some cold water on her face, hoping that it would make her eyes seem less swollen. By the time she went back to her room, Jace was sitting on her bed.
Even though she was determined kill her feelings for him, her heart still leapt at the sight of him. He seemed so vulnerable, sitting on her bed slouched over. His hair was all mussed up, and his golden eyes seemed so heavy. She cursed herself for noticing. "What's up?" she asked, trying to sound as lighthearted as possible.
"Clary." He jumped up from her bed, as if he were doing something horribly wrong. He stood there awkwardly. "I wanted to talk to you."
"Is something wrong?"
"Yes. No. I don't know." He ran his hand through his hair, clearly conflicted. "I came here to ask you if you're determined to end things…"
It felt like a dagger being driven through her. "Jace, I told you I didn't want to talk about it…"
Jace went on, as if she hadn't said anything. "… because I feel the same way about you."
A wave of confusion hit Clary, along with that insistent scrap of hope. "Excuse me?"
As he stepped towards her, she could see the vulnerability in his face. Jace was close enough for her to see flecks of gold in his eyes. "You're not the only one, Clary," he said awkwardly, scratching his head. "I like you too. But if you don't want to do this, then that's fine. I understand. I promise I won't bother you or anything anymore –"
She cut him off by tiptoeing and crashing her lips to his. He seemed surprised at first, but he responded quickly. She'd daydreamed about this moment, and although it wasn't anything she thought it'd be, it was better than she dreamed. He was gentle and careful with her, as if he was scared of breaking her, or scared that she'd change her mind and leave. Her fingers traced his jawline, his cheekbones, everything she'd always wanted to draw but had been unable to.
Eventually, they broke apart. To Clary, it had seemed like both an eternity and a few seconds at the same time. Jace's pupils were dilated and he seemed to be as breathless as she felt. His hands were around her, and she could feel the thump-thump of his heart as he pressed her close to him, as if he was afraid that she'd be taken from him. As she stared up at him, she thought her heart would explode with how much she cared for him.
"How could I?" she asked. Jace looked down at her, clearly confused and slightly dazed. "How could I not want to be with you when you're all I think about at night?"
He grinned at her. "You think about me?"
"Of course I do," she said, rolling her eyes and slapping his chest. "Don't let that go to your ego."
"I think about you too," he whispered while looking down at her.
"How could I not, when you're the highlight of my day? How could I not, when your presence makes me smile? How could I not, when everything about everyone else reminds me of you?"
She looked at him and grinned. "That was kind of cheesy, but I appreciate the general sentiment."
"I can't help it, doll. You make me feel all cheesy inside."
She shuddered in his arms. "Ew. No. No pet names. And stop being so cliché."
He looked apologetically down at her. "Sorry. I guess it's just habit." He cleared his throat. "Although, in all seriousness, I like you a lot, Clary. I've liked you for a long time."
She raised her eyebrows. "Really, now? Since when?"
He chuckled and shifted his arms around her waist. "I've lost count of the days. But definitely before New Year's, when I asked you out."
"Fake-asked-me-out," Clary corrected.
He grinned and lowered his head in submission. "How about you?" he asked, his eyes curious.
"How about me?" she asked, purposefully avoiding his question.
"When did you realize you couldn't resist my amazing charm anymore?"
Clary rolled her eyes and sighed. "Remember that Valentine's Day date where we had dinner outside and stargazed?"
He seemed pleased with himself. "Really?"
"Don't let that get to your head, either."
"I wasn't planning on letting it. I was just going to ask you if you'd like to do that again next weekend, but as a real couple." There was hope in his eyes.
Clary feigned hesitance. "I don't know… I might need some persuading."
He laughed, pulling her close to him again. Their lips met, softly and sweetly, unlike their first kiss, which had been tentative. Being in Jace's arms felt like adventure and security all rolled into one, and her skin tingled as he held her. He seemed more confident now, although his hands stayed safely above her waist like a gentleman.
When they came apart for air, Clary grinned at him. "You're a very persuasive man. I guess I might have time for a date next week."
He chuckled, shaking his head. His eyes were soft as he looked at her and whispered, "That's good," before pulling her close for another kiss.
A/N: THE A/N IN THE LAST CHAPTER WAS AN APRIL FOOL'S JOKE, OKAY GUYS?
So I think that this will be the end of Just Another Clace AU for the moment; I don't think I'll have anymore time for fanfiction during the rest of the school year. Between finals, tests, violin, and other stuff, I'm running out of time to sleep, let alone write.
But I'll edit this story to have it make more sense sometime during the summer. I've kind of realized that there's a better way for Clace to fake date, so I might change a little bit of the plot, but nothing too significant. They'll still have a fake relationship, and they'll still realize that they like each other a lot.
I'll also go back and correct the grammar mistakes, so check on this story in a few months; it'll be a different story by the end of July (hopefully).
I also don't know if I should write a Sizzy-centered fic or a Victorian/fairytale sort of fic next. Review and let me know, and if you have any prompts (either for a one-shot or for a full length fic), then please share.
Review if you liked it, review if you hated it.