Jace pushed the food around on his plate, looking the picture of brooding adolescence. He didn't feel much like eating but as friendly he was with the owner's of Taki's, he didn't know how much they'd appreciate him just strolling in and taking up a booth without ordering anything. The tucked-away restaurant was almost empty and was quiet except for the faint twitter of a radio behind the counter. It gave Jace time to gather his thoughts.
And gather them he needed to.
Usually he was so good at keeping his emotions in check. He could count on one hand the amount of times he'd actually risen to such obvious bait before. Funnily enough, all of them seemed to have occurred since he met Clary. Stabbing at his noodles angrily, Jace felt a twitch of anger. Who was she to make him lose his temper on so many occasions? Who was she to get so completely under his skin and turn him into someone he hardly knew anymore? Why couldn't she have just never showed up at the stupid club all those months ago? They would never have met, never have known they were related and Jace would have never struck out at a defenceless mundie for pawing the sister he wouldn't have known he had.
As Jace calmed himself once more, he knew his fierce thoughts were anger- and probably alcohol-fuelled. Now that she was there, Jace could never picture a life without Clary in it. Clary with her stubborn and foolish ways, her insane bravery, her ridiculous predilection for Simon, the way she was intimidated by Isabelle but for her looks, not her talent with a whip. The way she had grasped this strange new world with both hands, the way…
The way she always seemed to know where to find him.
The chimes above the door heralded a new customer and Jace looked up to see the object of his thoughts standing stock-still in the doorway, her eyes locked on him. They were caught in each others' gaze for a second before Clary backed away, letting the door close behind her. Jace swore to himself and followed, trying not to think about the conversation to come.
Of course he would be at Taki's, Clary thought angrily to herself. Of course he would presume they'd all go home without him, of course he'd stomp off somewhere to mope and feel sorry for himself. As she had locked eyes with her brother across the restaurant, she felt a wave of… anger? Regret? Desire? It was so intense she could hardly tell what she was feeling; she only knew she couldn't stay in the room with it any longer than necessary, and backed out of the door immediately.
But of course, he would come after her.
Clary had barely gone five strides before she heard the door chimes echo around the empty street and her brother's voice stopped her in her tracks.
"Did you follow me here?"
If Clary and Jace were less acquainted she probably would have taken the opportunity to marvel at his arrogance. Of course he would presume that she'd followed him. God forbid she might actually want to be rid of him for just a while to martial her thoughts into some kind of order. She didn't turn around to reply to him.
"No, Jace. I didn't follow you." Even to her own ears, her voice came out weary and deflated. She had been going for angry, or maybe even withering, but she just sounded tired.
"Oh." He didn't seem to know what to say. "Did you come for food? Because I was just leaving."
"I didn't come for food." Clary turned around now. "I came to think. To be alone."
"I guess great minds really do think alike," said Jace. He was leaning against the side of the building, looking at some point past Clary's shoulder. It was a warm night and the hair at the back of her neck stuck to her skin unpleasantly. Jace, as usual, looked impervious to any changes in temperature. Cool as a cucumber on a skiing trip. Clary wanted to hit him. "Or maybe it's the Morgenstern genes - we can't resist a good Chinese takeout." There was a sour quality to his voice, as though the words had left a bad taste in his mouth.
"Those famous Morgenstern genes. Shame you couldn't control the famous Morgenstern temper back there."
Jace had the good grace to look slightly abashed. "What's a guy to do when he sees a guy pawing all over his sister like that? I saw him, he had his hands all over you-"
"And what if I wanted him to have his hands on me, Jace? Did you not think about that? Maybe I liked the guy, maybe I wanted to see him again, although with what you did to his face I highly doubt visiting the Fray residence will be top of his list of priorities anytime soon."
Now Jace looked at her. "You're not Clary Fray, you're Clary Morgenstern.""If you get to be Jace Wayland, I get to be Clary Fray."
"For all intents and purposed, tonight we're Morgensterns. Because if you're a Fray and I'm a Wayland I don't have any kind of reasonable excuse for what I did." Sometime during their exchange, Jace had gotten so close to Clary she could have reached out and traced his jaw line with her fingers, skimmed his collarbone with her knuckles…
"That isn't the point," said Clary, looking down at the floor. Looking at Jace's light golden collarbones would do her no good in this situation. Come to think of it, when had it ever done her any good? Damn collarbones.
"Then what is the point?" Jace demanded, taking a step even closer. He was emanating an odd sort of anger. To an outsider his demeanour was perfectly calm, but Clary knew her brother better than that; the way his shoulders were slightly tensed told her that he wasn't as unfeeling as he liked to come across. "Did you like it then, Clarissa? Is that what you did want? To have his filthy hands all over you?"His proximity was making Clary lose all coherent thought. "I… you don't… maybe?" she stammered as Jace's breath stirred the hair by her ear and made her nerves sing. Jace's hands took hold of her upper arms, effectively holding her in position while he dipped his head to whisper into her ear.
"Maybe? That doesn't sound very convincing." His voice was like syrup poured over broken glass. "Didn't he make your pulse speed up with just a touch? Did he not manage to find that spot on your neck that makes you shiver? If I remember, it was right… here." He dropped a feather-light kiss to that accursedly sensitive skin and Clary knew that with his hands gripping her arms, he could not miss the delicious shudder that run through her.
"Jace, don't," Clary whispered back, but her body was betraying her. Her heart was thudding ten to the dozen, she knew her cheeks had turned scarlet and she made the awful mistake of raising her eyes to his. Before she knew what was happening, his lips were on hers and she was pressed up against the brick wall of Taki's.
Her breath left her in a whooshing gasp as her back hit the bricks and Jace captured her bottom lip between his, nibbling on her bottom lip in the way that he knew would elicit a moan. While kissing Jace was still the single most earth-shattering experience Clary could imagine, there was an edge to his actions - almost as though he was trying to teach her a lesson, to brand her. One of his hands moved up to cup her face, lingering for longer than necessary over her shoulder and collarbone and the other hand slid into the space between the wall and the small of her back, pressing her even closer to him if that could be possible.
Clary's head was spinning, whirling even. She couldn't process a single thought; her heart seemed to have exploded and the blood which had been wildly coursing through her veins just a second ago felt like it now had the consistency of honey. She gripped Jace to her blindly, her fingernails digging through the material of his shirt and into his pliant skin.
And then he was gone. Clary felt suddenly cold all over as she opened her eyes and saw him standing two feet away from her. He looked unaffected except for the slightly uneven tempo of his breath and the hands that were clenched into fists by his side.
"Do what you like," he spat. "Go off with the mundane or any random stranger who gropes you in a club. They won't make you feel like this. I can promise you that, Clary."
Clary opened and closed her mouth a few times like a goldfish, willing some sort of sensible answer to come into her brain, but she was still reeling. She watched, frozen, as Jace backed away, eventually turning and sprinting down the street. It was another few minutes before Clary moved. She slid down the wall, barely noticing the brick scratching her back, and buried her head in her arms.