Chapter 4: Wishing and Hoping

Two weeks had passed since their first, proper date, and Jace felt like kicking himself every time she would text him and he would have to reply with a hesitant no, due to all of the pressure he was currently under to get his office and class load set up, not to mention—no, really not to mention—the responsibilities his father was putting on him with the company. She said that she didn't mind, but all Jace could think about was her biting her lip, a look of disappointment crossing her cute face. Damn, he was turning into a girl. He didn't even get a chance to talk about their date until finally Isabelle wrangled him into a lunch date, dropping down beside him at a small Bistro near to the hospital, her hair tied back in a tight bun and a tired look on her face.

"Spill." His cousin said, perusing the table for bead and taking a huge bite. Jace hid a yawn, realising just how tired he was, and Isabelle raised her eyebrows. "Ah, so I guess it's going good with our Clary then, ey?" She winked. Jace glared.

"You know that's not it… I'm sure she's told you all about how much of an asshole I am, blowing her off so much. I'm just so busy—" He yawned again and Isabelle flicked him, rolling her eyes.

"Oh will you please stop that you're making me—" She cut off, yawning herself. "Besides, Clary doesn't mind. She's a busy, working gal. Plus, she hasn't really mentioned it."

Jace pretended not to be perturbed. "She hasn't?" He asked as subtly as he could. Isabelle raised her brow again.

"Uh uh, you're supposed to be giving me the details! Where did you go, what did you do?"

Jace bit his lip, wishing his cousin weren't quite so nosey. "We just went for dinner… well, we went to the Gardens first, you know the event being put on by the shareholders?" He said, and Isabelle raised a perfect eyebrow.

"Oh… so you told her…?" She lead, and Jace tried to look innocent.

"Jace. You know you're going to have to tell her who you are eventually, right? I mean, she knows that my family is rich, and that freaks her out enough already. Wait until she finds out—"

"What? That I'm the black sheep in a family of perfect socialites… I don't want to scare her away. She's… she's…"

"Different." Isabelle finished for him, smiling lightly, and Jace nodded.

"Yeah… she's different."

Isabelle pursed her lips, holding back a comment for the man that she had always known to be… more than a little liberal with the ladies. But he seemed kind of wistful, stirring a mixer in circles though his coffee. "Fine. Tell me more, then. Why haven't you had another date?" She asked, smiling up at the waiter that came to take her order, Jace rolling his eyes at the way he stumbled over his words at the bat of her eyelashes. She had that effect on people.

"I've been snowed under, Iz. I know she'll get pissed soon, but I just… I want to do things right, here. Make a name for myself that isn't completely because of my father's money. And besides." Jace said, taking a long drink of coffee to wake himself up. "We had a run in with her ex."

Isabelle's eyes darkened and she leant in closer. "You met Sebastian?" she asked, and Jace nodded gingerly. "Man, I hate that scumbag."

Jace frowned: he had been able to tell that he wasn't exactly a ray of sunshine, but he didn't think anyone could get his cousin this riled up.

"What, you know him?" He asked, and Isabelle looked at him incredulously.

"He was dating my best friend for… for forever." She said slowly and Jace narrowed his eyes. "And he's working at the hospital again. He is such a piece of work—what did she tell you?" She asked rapidly and Jace swallowed nervously.

"Um… that he had cheated on her? He seemed… I don't know, to enjoy making her uncomfortable. He was with this blonde woman—"

Isabelle slapped her palm to the table, shooting yet another angelic look to their waiter as he looked over in shock. Then she looked back to Jace, fury colouring her flushed cheeks. "He really is a rat bastard." She said, and Jace couldn't help but grin. "God, and I thought he couldn't get any worse."

Jace rubbed his neck, thinking of the way that Clary had reacted to him. "Was he… really that bad?" He asked, trying not to seem nosey, and Isabelle grimaced.

"Besides the whole, cheating on the woman who loves you, moving away to finish your residency with only a phone call, and leaving her in the apartment they had shared together with all the bills to pay? Yeah, I'd say he's pretty much scum."

Jace felt his hands involuntarily clench, forcing himself to calm down when he realised the waiter was approaching again. He didn't know why even just hearing about the this guy made him so mad, but it did. It made him furious.

"I should probably call her." He said slowly, trying to rearrange his schedule in his head, and Isabelle just laughed.

"Oh, Jace—" She said as their meal arrived. "I know you'd never do anything like that to her—despite your reputation with the ladies—I just really want her to be happy. And if that's with you…" She chewed thoughtfully for a moment, perfect lipstick never smudging. "Well, then I guess you have to also leave it up to her. She won't mind that much… she's pretty easy going. "

Jace rubbed his temples. "That's what I like about her, Isabelle, she's so carefree… she has such a normal life. She didn't even recognise the Herondale name, I mean… she just… likes me." He stopped, realising how cliché he sounded. "Well, she did. I'm not sure she'll even reply to me anymore."

Isabelle just rolled her eyes once again, sipping her water carefully. "Jace, I'll say it again. You'll never know if you never try."

Clary was pissed off. Pissed off at a lot of things: firstly, her favourite patient had died that morning. He was old, yes, and kind of a sexist, but he was also sweet and caring and asked nothing of her, even when he had been in pain. He had been in the hospital for four weeks, and he had finally passed away. There was nothing that could be done, but she still felt like she was having god play a cruel joke on her. Because straight after he had died she had been assigned a new case, a case with none other than Dr Verlac. So she had to watch as he flirted with the sweet young woman who had come to the hospital to have an infected gall bladder removed, and then pulled aside when he had noticed her discontent.

And Jace still hadn't texted her back. Not to mention she was about to finish her long day with a big fat heaping of babysitting so that Jon and Seelie could get their freak on. At least someone was getting laid.

"Clary? Earth to Nurse Fray?"

Clary blinked, disgruntled to find that she was still in the nurse's lounge, Sebastian staring down at her with his piercing black eyes. She scowled.

"What's up with you today? I thought you of all people would know the importance of bedside manner, and you've looked like you have a stick up your ass the entire day." He said firmly, not even flinching as he doled out his criticism. Clary raised an eyebrow, pushing past him to get her bag.

"Leave me alone, Doctor Verlac." She spat, hiking her bag up her shoulder, not bothering to change. There was no way she would be stripping off in front of him, anyway. Sebastian grinned.

"No need to be like that, Clary. We can be civil." He said lowly, a dark look crossing his face, and Clary rolled her eyes.

"We can be civil when we're in a patient's room together. Other than that, I have no obligation to you, no obligation to be nice in any way. Now move; I have places to be."

Sebastian stepped in front of her, his looming stature imposing over, blocking out the sun. If it weren't already raining. "Clary… come on. We can be friends; I want us to be—"

She held up a hand, stopping him, ignoring the way that his eyes took on the same jaded look they always did whenever she upset him. "Please… Sebastian. I just… I want to go home. Just drop it."

He scanned her face and Clary could tell that he wanted to raise an eyebrow, like he always did. "You off home? Or have you got another date with the Golden Boy?" He asked, and Clary flinched, remembering his presence on their date. Just more salt in the wound in the fact that Jace seemed uninterested.

"Why do you always feel the need to ruin things?" She hissed, clenching her fists. "And what was all that about, at the Botanical Gardens, that I'll always be yours. Right in front of your new girlfriend? Very classy."

Sebastian let out a light laugh, scratching at his head, "Ah, you know she isn't my girlfriend. I just… I wanted to see if you still cared… clearly you still do."

Clary scoffed indignantly, pushing past him to leave. "I could literally not care less whether you lived or died, Sebastian." She spat, watching his face fall and feeling slightly bad. She shook her head. "Whatever, see you Monday."

She left before she could say anything more that could get her fired, before she could throw any actual punches, rushing from the hospital without looking back. Just her luck, she also forgot her umbrella, and as she made a run for it through the ceaseless drops she felt yet again the draining exhaustion she had been feeling all day.

It seemed like fate that at that moment her phone would finally ring. Fumbling with her bag and trying to avoid getting splashed by the cars swarming past she frowned at the caller: Jace.

"Hello?" She said apprehensively, brushing the rain from her face.

"Clary…" His voice came through, equally tentative, and Clary felt her heart drop. He was calling it off. Over the phone.

"Look, Jace, I get you're super busy, you don't have to say anything—"

"No, I mean—"

"Let's just call it a day so we can be civil when we see each other with Isabelle—"

"Would you just—"

"I've got to go, my brother's waiting on me. Bye Jace."

She hung up before he could say anything to ruin her day further, standing under the open skies as she ignored his next calls, putting the device onto silent as the rain slipped down the small of her back. Just great. And now she had been stood too long in the rain, soaked the bone as she began to sprint back to her apartment.

By the time she made it home, bounding up the stairs two at a time, Jonathon and Seelie were already standing outside her door, a carrier in Jonathon's hand and her niece bouncing in Seelie's arms. She smiled sheepishly, Seelie just grinning at her bedraggled state, and Jonathon barked out a laugh.

"You should get an umbrella, little red." He said through his laughs.

"Hush, Jon, you'll wake up Henry!" Seelie hissed, leaning in to kiss Clary's cheek. "You look like you had a good day." She said wryly to Clary, who rolled her eyes as she stuck her key in the door.

"Oh, the best."

"Auntie Clary! You're so wet!" Adele giggled from Seelie's arms, turning her wide eyes onto Clary.

"I know, right! I swam here!" Clary replied, leading them inside. The second that she was inside Adele jumped out of her mother's arms and began climbing onto the couch, settling down in the corner.

"You can't swim here, Daddy says you're always late!"

Clary glared at Jonathon who raised his hand in surrender, Henry sleeping in his carrier at his feet. "I can't lie to my daughter, Clare, what kind of man would that make me?"

"A man that owes me a favour." She replied, pulling off her sopping coat. Seelie bit her lip sympathetically.

"Thank you for doing this, Clary…everything has been so crazy, with the bar, and the kids…"

Clary shook her head with a grin. "I'm kidding, Seelie. I'm happy to, really—you guys have a nice evening… you deserve it. I'll see you tomorrow."

Seelie still seemed hesitant, glancing at her daughter who was busy chewing on the corner of one of Clary's couch cushions. "You sure?"

"I am completely sure. Now go, you two, leave me to be a bad influence on your kids."

Jonathon pointed out the bag at his feet as he was ushered out, blowing a kiss to his daughter. "Make sure you put her to bed early, Clary, you'll never even know they're here-_"

"Yeah, yeah, stop telling me how well behaved they are and get outta here." She stood at the doorway, Adele running to cling to her leg. She stroked her blonde hair, smiling at Jonathon. "See, they love me."

Jonathon frowned for a moment, scanning her face. "Are you sure you're okay?" he asked quietly, and she glared at him again.

"I am fine, Jonny, now go and follow your wife before we both get in trouble." She urged, practically slamming the door in his face—much to her niece's amusement.

"Okay." She said to the girl, lifting her up into her wet arms, ignoring her squeals. "You wanna help Auntie Clary dry off?"


Turns out, looking after two babies wasn't exactly the welcome distraction Clary had needed. Henry was so docile he just drifted in and out of sleep, his eyes barely opening even when Clary held onto him, stroking his soft hair. Clary tried a different approach with Adele, putting on loud cartoons and bringing out the glitter in the hopes of keeping up her infectious energy. Instead the kid exhausted herself, and a measly two hours after Jonathon had left Clary was tucking her up into the small bed in the tiny spare room, Henry sleeping soundly in his carrier at her feet. Clary bit her lip as she shut the door over, conflicted between being both enamoured by her brother's children and cursing them for being so damn well behaved.

Now she was alone again, barely seven 'o' clock on a Friday night, slumping down into her couch ready to watch reruns of Scrubs until she fell asleep. She couldn't help but think of Sebastian, the fact that she had finally found someone new, and he just had to reappear back into her life. Like a bad omen.

Jace probably realised she had baggage and decided she was too much trouble.

Putting her head in her hands she groaned, thinking of how uncomplicated everything had seemed since he had been gone. The distant, gentle sounds of the children sleeping made her feel slightly better, lessened the heartache and made her revaluate her self-pity. She wasn't alone alone. She was just…

Her train of thoughts were interrupted by a knock at her door, and she cursed: it was probably her nosy neighbour trying to borrow sugar, again, and she was going to wake her niece and nephew whilst she was at it.
"I'm coming!" She hissed at the door, pulling her mane of hair out of the bun in an attempt to look slightly less deranged. She pulled at the door, all ready to sigh exasperatedly at Dorathea's appearance, that is until she actually did open the door and come face to face with the last person that she expected to see. She pulled her sweater around her tighter and blanched, her face flushing red.

"Jace?!" She exclaimed whilst trying to flatten her hair: standing in front of her, whilst she looked like a drowned rat, Jace seemed even more handsome than when she had last seen him, his golden hair darkened by the rain and his eyes intense. He was frowning, one hand rubbing his neck whilst the other was clutching a heavy looking bag. He grinned sheepishly, raking his eyes across her figure.

"Can I come in?" He asked quietly and Clary had no control over herself as she pulled the door open wider, slightly dazed as he made his way into the apartment, eyes sweeping a place he had already been in twice, but that seemed so guarded. He placed the bag on the counter and turned back to Clary, running a hand through his hair, as she shut the door.

"Jace… what are you doing here? How did you get in?" She whispered, and Jace frowned at her demeanour.

"I… I know, I should have called, but our talk earlier… I just… and your neighbour let me in—" He cut off as Clary hurriedly bounced over to him, placing two fingers on his lips, stifling his voice. Clary blushed, removing her hand and biting her lip.

"Sorry." She whispered, lashes dancing against her cheek as her eyes flicked to the spare room. "Jonathon's kids are here…"

Jace's eyes widened and he had the good sense to look guilty: she was busy. She hadn't just been annoyed at him. "Shit… ah, sorry, Clary… I just felt so bad about constantly having to blow you off when I've been thinking about you like crazy, and I wanted to bring you dinner, which is probably cold now, but I guess I should have called again instead of just showing up and I am rambling—what?" He asked, looking down at the soft expression that had crossed Clary's face. A smile played at her lips.

"You've been thinking about me?" She asked, grinning, and Jace groaned.

"Way to go, Jace." He said, running a hand through his tousled hair. "Way to sound cool and suave,"

"Oh, when have you ever been cool and suave," Clary said quietly, and Jace began to smile. "I'm sorry too… I had the worst day, and I just… well, I thought you were calling to… call it off between us."

Jace's eyes widened in disbelief and he shook his head. "Seriously? Clary, I hate to sound even less cool, but I'm afraid if you want me out of your life you're gonna need to ask me pretty clearly… until then, you're stuck with me." He said lowly, reaching out to brush against a spiral of scarlet hanging by her cheek. Then realisation struck him and he glanced once again at the spare room. "That being said… if you're too busy babysitting tonight, I can always come back?"

"No!" Clary whispered, blushing. "I mean… if you can be quiet?" She asked; Jace's grin widened in response, and he grabbed the bag of take out.

"Oh, I can so be quiet."

Jace liked the way Clary always seemed so at ease: there they were, after what must have counted as their first fight (If they could even call it that?), and she was perfectly happy to fold up on the couch as they ate Chinese food from the containers, Jace's long legs having to stretch out over what felt like half of Clary's small living room.

"So I guess you've been busy." Clary said with a raise in her eyebrow, and Jace grimaced.

"I'm really sorry about that. Work has been… crazy." He said, and Clary seemed more surprised.

"I never knew the life of a University researcher could be so exciting," She teased, and he pressed his lips together.

"Believe me… it's not. I just want to do well," He said quietly, brushing at his lips. Clary watched him, then tilted her head.

"You say that a lot you know." Clary said thoughtfully. "That you want to do well… why do you think you won't do well?"

Jace blinked: no one had ever asked him that. "I… I have a really judgemental family." He decided on, nodding at Clary's tinkling laugh, before continuing. He brushed his fingers against Clary's worn couch, thinking of the brand new one that he had received from his parents two days ago, delivered without request to his door. "My father is a stickler for success… you should've seen his face when I decided to pursue academia instead of going into business with him."

Clary perked up, pushing her containers onto the table and leaning closer, as he began to open up. He hadn't spoken about his family yet. "So… pressure?" She asked. Jace shrugged.

"Yeah, pressure… and I kind of want to prove him wrong. Which sounds childish, I know… but I want to prove that doing something I enjoy, researching, teaching… I want it to be worthwhile. I want him to know that."

Clary smiled slightly, "I get that. I never knew what I wanted to do… I think it's important to do what you love. I'm sure your Dad knows that, too."

"Oh, he'll never think anything except making money is worthwhile, but that's okay." He grinned. "I'll get over my ass-kissing eventually." Clary laughed again and Jace couldn't help but think that he loved that sound, the way her nose scrunched up, the freckles on her cheeks dancing as he mouth turned up. Then he blinked, and wondered how long he had been zoned out.

"Wait, you said you had a bad day… what about you. Please, give me all the details. I'm sorry I'm such a shitty date—"

Clary just shrugged, shifting to sit on her knee. "Eh, it's nothing. You know that guy we ran into the other week?"

"Sebastian." Jace immediately responded, grinning sheepishly, and Clary nodded.

"Sebastian." She said with disdain. "Well, he seems really eager to make my life a misery. I usually don't mind, you know, it's actually pretty funny her thinks that I care… but I…" She quieted, looking at her hands. "I lost a patient."

Jace's heartstrings tugged and he inched a hand closer to hers, covering her warm fingers with his own. "I'm sorry." He whispered.

Clary swallowed, watching the way that Jace's brow furrowed, the worry lines etching against his skin. She flipped her hand so that their palms were touching, lacing their fingers together with finality. "It's okay." She murmured. "He was old, and ready to go… but he was just such a nice guy." She swallowed again, and Jace squeezed her hand.

"That must be hard, Clary… it really sucks."

"Yeah… it does suck. But believe me, if possible, Sebastian just makes it a thousand times worse… God, I really shouldn't talk so much about him, should I? That's a bad thing to do on a date."

Jace shrugged, rubbing his thumb over her hand. "I don't mind… As long as I'm the only one you're having dates with." He pressed his mouth shut quickly, and groaned once again at Clary's laugh. "Can you please shut me up, I'm begging." He said, eyes turning back to her. "I promise I used to be better at this."

"Oh, I don't know…" Clary said, shuffling closer to him. "I think you're doing okay." She closed the space between them and Jace couldn't help but slip a hand to her waist as her soft lips met his, pulling her closer. Clary was glad for once for her short stature and pushed herself up against him, letting him wrap himself in her, deepening the kiss. He groaned, and she shushed him against her lips. "You have to be quiet, remember…?" She said, pressing a kiss to his neck, and she smirked in satisfaction as his head fell back against the couch drunkenly. She continued to trail kisses along his neckline, the taste of sunshine and his soap making her feel like a teenager, a feeling that grew even more as he trailed his fingertips along her torso. She sighed against him, and Jace brushed a kiss against her forehead.

"We should probably stop." He murmured, pulling back so that he could look into Clary's eyes, his own gold ones gleaming with excitement, a flush colouring his cheeks. Clary blushed in return, turning in his lap until they were pressed against each other, his arms encircling her on the small couch.

"Okay." She breathed out, all her composure gone. "But… can you stay? For a while?"

Jace felt the same fluttering in his stomach, and he nodded. "I have nowhere to be." He murmured, and Clary hummed. "I really am sorry… if I made you think I wasn't interested… I think you should probably know I am way, way more than interested,"

Clary shushed him, turning her television back on low and shifting against him. "I overreacted." She said lightly, feeling her eyes begin to fall at the dull haze of the television, the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest. It was only as she looked over her shoulder that she realised, much to her amusement, his eyes had already fallen shut, his head resting against the armrest, and he was asleep.

It wasn't until Clary was being shaken awake that she realised she had fallen asleep to. She opened her bleary eyes, something tugging at her arm, and was met with the sight of her niece standing in front of the now off television with her wide green eyes staring straight at her. Clary bolted upright, blinking away the sleep, and realised that Jace was still behind her.

"Auntie Clary…" Adele whispered and Clary tried to focus, head still foggy with sleep, as her niece reached up for her. Clary untangled herself as carefully as she could without waking Jace and grabbed Adele by the arms, putting her on her hip as she glanced at the clock. When did the sun come up? Adele was still wriggling in her arms, and Clary kissed her head.

"What's up, Addy?" She clucked, quietly opening the door to the spare room.

"Auntie Clary, there was a man on the couch…" Adele whispered, and Clary blushed: Henry was already up, fussing, and Clary got to cleaning him up.

"I know… that's my… friend. That's Jace."

"Jace?" Adele repeated swinging her legs. "Jace, Jace, Jace, Jace—"

"Shh!" Clary laughed, glancing back at Jace's sleeping figure. "How long have you been up Missy?"

"Ages… You were snoring."

"Was not."

"You were too… Dad snores way louder though." She said matter of factly, and Clary wondered when she hadn't gotten so literate. Henry gurgled happily as Clary finally put him into fresh clothes, and she bit her lip, glancing at Jace's sleeping figure again.

"Come on… I should probably get you breakfast." Clary said, leading her to the kitchen with Henry still in her arms. "And you Mister, why did you let your sister get up and bother me?" She teased.

"Hey!" Adele said as Henry was deposited in his seat on the countertop, Clary turning to the fridge. "You're the one who wouldn't get up from the funny man!"

"Funny man?"

Clary turned, surprised, to see Jace wandering into the kitchen. He was scratching at his neck, a cute just-woken-up look on his face. "Hi." He said, glancing at the kids with a look of nervous apprehension. Clary grinned.

"Hi to you too." She said, handing a cup of juice to Adele. "You don't need to look so scared," She said lightly. Jace feigned a look of disagreement.

"Scared?" He said. "Me? Scared…" he blinked. "Try terrified."

Clary laughed in response and couldn't help but melt when Henry started laughing to. "We're very friendly, aren't we?" She blew a raspberry to Henry before looking to Adele, who was drinking her juice at the table, swinging her legs, staring at Jace. "You gonna say hello, Addy?" She asked, and the toddler blinked.

"Hello." She whispered, and Jace grinned nervously.

"Hi… Addy?" he said in response, and the child grinned happily.

"That's what Auntie Clary calls me…!"

"A pretty name for a pretty girl," He smiled charmingly, and Clary understood exactly how Addy felt as she squealed nervously, an adorable blush in her cheeks.

"I like your hair. It's like mine." The child continued, and Clary steered Jace over to the table, forcing him to take a seat opposite the child whilst she made coffee. She had to admit, making him squirm was pretty entertaining.

"Yours is nicer."

"No, Auntie Clary's is the nicest."

Jace nodded at that, turning to Clary. "You hear that?"

"Oh, hush." She said, handing him a cup of coffee and hovering awkwardly. In the harsh light of day she felt slightly embarrassed, as though she had crossed a line with Jace that she shouldn't have yet. And now he was meeting her family…

"Please please please can I have some." Adele said, shaking Clary from her worry, and she picked Adele up, sitting down in the chair that she had vacated and settling her on her lap.

"Coffee?" Clary asked. "No, you can't!" Adele pouted, sucking on her juice. "Your dad would kill me. Speaking of—" She checked the clock on the wall. "He should be here already. Where're your parents, huh?" She asked, bouncing Adele. Jace caught her eye, and she bit her lip.

"Do you need me to go before they get here?" He asked quietly.

"Why?" Adele butted in, and Clary grimaced.

"You know what, I think it's okay… Adele has a big mouth anyway, don't you?"

"Nuh uh."

"You do, Addy, that's why you can eat your breakfast double fast before your Dad gets here."

She nodded mindlessly, taking the bowl that Clary had already put on the table and eating her meal without complaint, Jace still watching her.

"Is this awkward?" Clary asked, and Jace bit his lip.

"I think I said before I'm not great with kids but… no. No, this is okay."

"Okay." Clary grinned. "Good."

They were interrupted once again by a loud buzzing, and Clary looked to the door. "That'll be your daddy." She said to Adele who began shovelling outmetal faster into her mouth, and she tried to get up.

"No!" The child protested, not wanting to move, and Clary looked at Jace helplessly.

"I got it," He said, getting and going to the door. Clary felt even more nervous for some reason, like she was a kid again whose older brother was about to catch her doing something that she shouldn't be doing. Jace opened the door, flattening his shirt as he did so in an attempt to look less dishevelled. It didn't work.

Clary couldn't help but blush seeing Seelie and Jonathon at the door. Jonathon still had his hand raised, like he was about to ring the bell again, and a look of disdain crossed his face as he took in Jace.

"You're not my sister." He said sharply, brows furrowed, and Clary called out to him.

"We're in here!" She shot Addy a look of fear, squeezing her to occupy her nervous hands. "That's Jace, you met him before." She said as Jonathon walked in, still scrutinising Jace. Seelie wasn't quite so cold.

"Nice to meet you, Jace." She said, taking in his dishevelled clothes and, admittedly, very handsome features, even after a night on the couch. Jace shut the door, rubbing his neck awkwardly as Jonathon approached Clary.

"There's my girl." He said, taking Adele from Clary's lap and wiping at the excess milk at the corner of her mouth. "Messy breakfast, huh?" He looked down at Clary who was drinking her coffee innocently. "You had that guy over pretty early, huh?" He said, and Adele clapped at her father's cheeks.

"They were snoozing so long, Dad, I had to get Auntie Clary up."

Clary flushed bright red, standing up to greet Seelie, and Jonathon followed her around the kitchen counter.

"They were snoozing, huh?" Jonathon asked his daughter who was happily nodding. "Oh, really…"

"Shut up, Jon." She hissed, smiling at Seelie who now had Henry in his carrier in her hands.

"Thank you so much, Clary," Seelie said, clucking at Henry. "Honestly, we needed the break."

"Oh, anytime, they are literally the best company—aren't you Addy?" She said gently, ignoring Jonathon's icy gaze.

"Yes, yes, yes. Auntie Clary lets us glitter, mama."

Seelie raised an eyebrow and Clary laughed. "Oh, does she?"

"I feel like if she can get it out here, you can have some peace."

"Oh, we will never have any peace from the glitter." Seelie said, gesturing to her husband. "Come on, Jon, let's get the kids home."

"Uh, I'm sure we can stick around." He said as he stared down Jace, who was looking more than slightly perturbed, and Seelie rolled her eyes. Clary was once again struck by how, even after two kids, and years putting up with Jonathon, Seelie was still one of the most beautiful women she had ever seen… her high cheekbones, supermodel physique. It had never bothered her until that exact moment when she realised Jace had been watching her, eyes wandering over her, whilst Clary stood there with her bed head and clothes she fell asleep in.

"No, we're leaving. C'mon, Jay—" She said firmly, pulling at Jonathon's arm. Jonathon blinked, flicking his gaze to Clary with a scowl before following his wife.

"I'll call you later!" Jonathon shouted as his wife pulled him through the door, and Clary bit her lip to stop a grin when Seelie poked her head back through the door and gestured a thumbs up to Clary, grinning mischeviosly.

"You are such a caveman!" She heard Seelie shout as the door slammed shut and couldn't help but blush furiously.

"Oh god." She said as the door finally closed. "I am so sorry, I knew that this would be awkward—"

"Clary." His voice came, closer. "You're okay, really. Your brother seems… protective."

Clary groaned again and put her head in her hands. "You think we're beyond weird, right?"

She lifted her head as Jace placed a finger under her chin, bringing her face up to look at him. Clary felt her heart flutter again, once more of unsure how a man like this had ended up in her life.

"I think you're lucky to have a relationship like that. It's good he's protective. You never know people's intentions…"

He trailed off and Clary let her eyes fall on his lips. She wet her own, smirking. "Intentions, huh?"

Jace smiled lopsidedly, closing the distance between them with a chuckle.