Hi There! Finally an update! Thanks for sticking around- like I said, the last year has been crazy. But the good news is I'm writing again, I graduate from university in less than two weeks and I'm happy. This month marks the one year anniversary of my best friend's death which is also the month I stopped writing. I felt like it was fitting to bring out this new chapter now. I hope you enjoy, please review and let me know what you think!
I'm glad to be back.
Chapter Song: Parachutes by Charlie Simpson
Our suitcases had barely hit the ground before our hands were on each other, roaming and exploring as if we'd never touched each other before. And we hadn't, really. Not in this way; never fully aware of each other like we were in that moment. My body ached with how much I wanted her. Clary backed in to the door, bumping it closed with her hip as she curled her fist around the material of my shirt and pulled me with her against its surface, my body flush against hers. My hand pressed against the cold wood beside her head, trapping her between myself and the door. We paused for a second, taking in the soft click of the automatic lock. I didn't need to ask what she was thinking about. I saw it in her eyes and it echoed my own thoughts.
We were finally alone.
Suddenly I was hyper aware of everything; her breath coming out in short bursts against my neck, the goose bumps rising almost painfully across my skin. She was warm, inviting. I couldn't believe it had taken us this long to be doing this, to be together in this way. For a moment I felt sadness running deep within me for all of the moments I had missed out on over the last six years because of the stupid game I'd initiated. It didn't even make sense to me anymore why I'd ever thought treating her like dirt would be the right way forward in the first place. But then she shifted slightly and brought her lips to mine and none of that seemed to matter anymore. All that mattered was what we were now. I dropped my hands from the door and latched on to her waist, pulling her in to me. Her hands found the hem of my t-shirt and she tugged on it almost unconsciously. I moved my lips to her ear.
"Whatever you want. We can do whatever you want." I said, my voice low and throaty. I heard her breath catch for a second and I could imagine her face turning beet red. I smiled inwardly at the thought. It was my blush. I made her do it. Slowly, hesitantly, she inched my t-shirt up and tugged it over my head, letting it drop to the floor with a light thud. Her fingers lingered on my chest, fluttering and feeling their way over the muscle like only an artist would be able to do. Her wide green eyes slowly met mine and she raised her own arms above her head. An invitation.
"You're sure?" I asked with my barely there voice, never letting my attention wane from her face. My heart was hammering in my chest as she nodded her head once, a small smile playing at the corners of her lips. I felt my own face gain heat, an entirely unusual reaction for me, and suddenly I felt like I was reliving the emotions I'd felt during my first time- the nerves, the excitement, the fear- but amplified. Everything I felt for Clary was more than I'd ever experienced before. So much more. No one had ever been able to make me lose sight of myself like Clary could. When I was with her I had complete tunnel vision. All I could see, hear, breathe and feel was her.
My fingers met the soft material of her sweater and they lingered for a moment, testing the water and gauging her reaction. Her cheeks were burning and her chest was rising and falling heavily but her eyes were blazing with fire. There was something else hidden behind them, too. Behind the lust and nerves and need, there was a challenge. And I'd be damned if I didn't accept it.
I gave up any caution in a heartbeat and yanked the sweater over her head before quickly abandoning it on the floor beside my own t-shirt. My hands wound around her again and our mouths crashed against each other, tasting and exploring hungrily. We moved further in to the room and she pushed with enough force for me to topple backwards on to the bed. She clambered on after me, straddling my hips. I took a second to eye up the black lace bra she was wearing but as much as I appreciated it, it had to go. I had reached around for the clasp, fully intent on discarding it as soon as humanly possible when I heard it, or should I say; heard him.
He was stood in the doorway, gripping the spare room key in one hand and his bag in the other; his eyes had nearly bugged out of their sockets. Clary began to scream obscenities at him, scrambling for a pillow to cover up with.
"What the hell are you doing in here?" I yelled, shielding Clary with my own body.
"Oh God it's like watching my own sister get ravished," Simon groaned, finally having the decency to turn away after dropping his bags and covering his eyes with his hands, "This is not right. This is so not right."
"Simon Lewis, answer the damn question!" Clary yelled, abandoning her pillow shield in favor of tossing it at the back of Simon's head.
"Oh God, oh God, oh God," he whined, shifting uncomfortably on the spot.
"You have five seconds to answer the question Lewis, before I drive my fist in to your nose." I said through grit teeth. He let out a sigh, his head tilted to the ceiling.
"I get the feeling you'll be doing that once I've answered the question anyway." He muttered, a grimace evident in his voice.
"Hey Izzy," I said as I popped a couple of French fries in to my mouth later that evening. She met my eyes slowly and raised an eyebrow, daring me to continue. I swallowed my mouthful and shot her a grin that held no humour, my head cocked to the side.
"How long has it been since I last told you I hate you?"
Her eyes narrowed as she set down her fork.
"It's been five minutes, Jace." She said. Her voice was like needles.
"Oh good, perfect timing," I smiled pleasantly, goading her; "Do you know that I still hate you?"
"Yes Jace. I am fully aware of the fact that you hate me," she bit out. Clary huffed through her nose and shot me a look from her seat opposite but I shrugged it off. I had every right to be pissed, in my opinion.
"I'm glad you're aware. I don't know what I'd do if you forgot."
"You really need to stop acting like a baby." Simon said through a mouthful of food. I grimaced, flicking away a crumb that had flown from his mouth on to my shirt, and brandished my French fry at him like it was a sword.
"Don't you start with me, Lewis. It's bad enough that I'm being forced to play bunk buddies with your scrawny ass without your desperate attempt at sucking up and taking her side. You could at least act a little bit pissed that we're being forced to share a bed for two weeks. It's pretty much your fault I'm in this mess in the first place! If you could keep it in your pants for ten minutes instead of jumping the first girl who walks your way I wouldn't have to put up with this right now." I snapped. Simon balked and glanced at Isabelle out of the corner of his eyes, a frown appearing on his face. Her expression was stony, detached.
"Jesus, if it bothers you that much why don't you just sleep on the floor? I'm sure they'll have camp beds or something, anyway."
"I'm not going to sleep on the floor for two weeks, idiot. It's my room. And I'm not a dog."
"I beg to differ," Isabelle said darkly, her eyes trained on mine. We kept our glares locked on one another for a long minute before Simon stepped in, his voice exasperated.
"What about booking a separate room?"
I rolled my eyes, "Already tried. Hotel is fully booked."
"By all means, go to a different hotel," Isabelle said with a sickly sweet tone to her voice, "or a different city. A different country, even. Just so you know, I'm good with all of the options mentioned."
"And miss spending all of this quality time with you? I'd be mad to leave," I drawled sarcastically.
"Well in that case it looks like we're going to be the cutest couple in Paris for the next fortnight." Simon said, his tone final, and he continued chewing his food. I shot Isabelle a glare, mouthing the words 'I hate you' for good measure. She rolled her eyes and turned away, propping her chin on her hand. I watched Clary pat her knee kindly and felt a new wave of irritation. Why was she sympathizing with the cockblocking harpy?
"I'm going back to my room. I'm tired." Isabelle said quietly after a few awkward minutes of silence. She pushed herself out of her chair, throwing a handful of Euros at the table.
"Do you want me to come with you?" Clary asked. Her forehead was creased with concern. Isabelle shook her head, her long pony tail swinging wildly behind her, and offered Clary a small smile.
"Don't worry about it. I'm going to see my brother for a minute then have a shower and go to sleep. I won't be any fun."
"Okay. Call if you need anything. I'll be up later."
Isabelle smiled again; it looked more like a grimace.
"Thanks. See you all in the morning." She waved feebly, her eyes lingering on Simon for a second too long. I felt bad for her in that moment. Felt bad for him too. Their situation was messed up, and I'd had my fair share of messed up situations with Clary so empathy wasn't much of a struggle. Simon turned away from her stare and closed his eyes as she left, a tiny crease appearing between his eyebrows.
We finished our food quietly. Clary tried to coerce bits of conversation from Simon, her voice overly enthusiastic, but he kept himself quiet and ripped away at his napkin until it was nothing more than a mound of white. We both watched him in-between mouthfuls. I could see Clary was worried; she chewed nervously on her bottom lip and shuffled her food distractedly around her plate.
He stood up abruptly once she'd set her knife and fork down, letting out the breath he'd seemed to be holding since Izzy left.
"I'm going back too."
"You sure? Jace and I were going to go for a walk; you can come with us if you want." Clary offered. Simon shook his head and trained his eyes towards the exit.
"No thanks. I don't want to impose on your alone time anymore than l already have." He said sourly.
"Listen-" I started, intending to apologize for being such a dick about it earlier, but he held up his hand to stop me.
"No I get it. I mean, it's my fault you two have to spilt up and share with me and Iz."
"Seriously, what I said earlier-" I began but he cut me off with a wave of his hand.
"You know what the funny thing is? I don't even know what I did to make her so pissed off anymore. I thought I'd fixed things. I thought she'd finally be happy. Maybe she just enjoys the thought of being with me. Like, now she can have the reality she doesn't want it anymore. I wouldn't be surprised. I wouldn't want me either."
"Don't say things like that," Clary said forcefully, grabbing his hand and giving it a tight squeeze. Simon shook his head and sighed heavily.
"Listen, I'll ask for one of those camp beds to be brought up to the room. You take the real bed. I don't want to impose on you anymore than I already have."
"I can sort that, don't worry."
"No. I'm the one who's messed this entire thing up. I'm the asshole here. I mean, this is supposed to be for Izzy's birthday. What a great way to start the celebrations." He rooted around in his jeans and dropped a few notes on to the table.
"Simon, we don't think you've messed anything up." Clary said softly. He laughed; the sound was completely unlike him. Hollow, humorless. He looked tired.
"Izzy does." He shrugged and left the table. Clary watched his back as he stalked towards the cafe exit, chewing on her bottom lip. She sighed as the door closed behind him and turned her attention to me, her eyes narrow.
"You didn't have to shout at them like that." She griped as she reached for her money. I threw enough Euros down for the pair of us and rolled my eyes as she opened her mouth to argue, handing over her jacket.
"At no point in that conversation did I shout, or raise my voice in any way." I said diplomatically. I held out my hand and she took it absently, saying a polite au revoir to the waiter as he took our bill.
"Fine. You didn't shout, but you were awful. Don't you think the pair of them are feeling bad enough as it is?" she frowned. I sighed and ducked out of the door, in to the crowd of people bustling along the sidewalk. Clary stepped closer to my side and, despite the frown and the irritated pucker of her lips, she rested her head against my shoulder as we walked.
"I know they feel bad," I began, wrapping my arm around her shoulders, "And I know that I was maybe a little harsh, but I'm a greedy, spoilt little brat. I want you to myself- preferably in our own room. Is that so bad?" I said in my most reasonable voice. Clary glanced at me out of the corner of her eyes and grinned a little; just a small tug at the corner of her mouth.
"They're our friends. I know stuff isn't ideal at the minute but you're just going to have to toughen up and wait it out."
"Somehow, you make it sound like I'm some kind of sexual deviant whose lust needs to be satisfied constantly."
"You mean you're not?" she smiled and I laughed, shoving her arm.
"I'm quite capable of keeping my pants on." I said indignantly.
"Sure you are. That's why you pounced on me as soon as we got in to our room earlier."
"As I remember it, the pouncing was quite mutual."
For a long time, Jace and I didn't speak. The feel of his hand in my own as we wandered slowly along with the crowds of people up the Champs Élysées was enough. His thumb circled my skin lightly as we took Paris in with silent appreciation; his soft caress grounding me. This all felt so surreal. Paris, Jace; all of it. The entire avenue lit up the night sky with a soft yellow-orange hue; everywhere I looked there were lights. It was breathtaking. I was at peace.
The Arc de Triomphe stood boldly a short distance away. People milled all around it, posing for a near constant stream of photographs and seeing it there in front of me, that monumental piece of architecture that I'd drawn countless times for countless different art teachers, I felt that a photograph could never be enough to capture it. It was just so... I couldn't even find the words. To whole place reeked to me of memories even though I'd never been there in my life. Whispers of smiles, of laughs, or half remembered stories swept through my ears as I took it all in.
"You know," I said softly as we approached the Arc, "We were going to come to Paris when I'd just turned fourteen. Me, mom, dad and Jonathan. Dad said that no young girl should grow up without seeing the City of Light once in their life. We had it all booked and everything."
Jace looked at me out of the corner of his eyes, one eyebrow raised. He looked so radiant standing there beneath the golden shower of street light. I knew he was taken aback by the mention of my dad. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he knew I wasn't talking about Luke.
"Why didn't you come?" he hedged. I felt his grip on my hand grow almost unnoticeably tighter. Almost.
"He got sick before the trip and the doctors told him he wasn't allowed to fly. He tried to convince us to go without him but we couldn't do that so we convinced his specialist to let him have a weekend at home. Jonathan took an entire week away from college and got on a flight from California and we had this French themed weekend where we ate nothing but pastries and baguettes and watched old French movies together. It was one of his last placid moments. He got really sick really quickly after that." My eyes shifted back to the huge arc in front of me, my thoughts on my father. I'd never spoken to Jace about him before. I'd never spoken to any of them about him really; just passing comments to Simon and Izzy on occasion. For instance, they all knew my father had died; that Luke was my step-father. I never went in to details. Standing there beside Jace though, in front of one of my father's favorite pieces of historical architecture, I felt the need to let it all out.
"Dad was crazy about France. He lived here for a few years after he'd finished college and met my mom here when she was on vacation with some friends. He followed her back to the States but she says he never stopped talking about Paris. He tried to teach me the language a few times but I was too caught up in myself and my friends to bother much. I wish I'd listened now." I laughed quietly, thinking back to our realization earlier that not one of us knew any French other than basic greetings and an obscene amount of cusses.
"What happened to him?" Jace asked suddenly and I gave him a look. He squirmed uncomfortably, "I mean, if you don't mind telling me, you don't have to if you don't want too. I'd completely understand-"
I laughed loudly this time, rolling my eyes at him. He frowned and shoved my shoulder.
"I'm serious," he said, "I shouldn't have asked you that so bluntly. You don't have to tell me if you're not comfortable."
"Jace, I wouldn't have told you this much already if I wasn't comfortable with you knowing." I said seriously. We were beneath the archway now. I looked up at the huge structure above me, smiling gravely.
"He developed acute lymphocytic leukemia. We didn't catch it until it was too far on to do much about it. He was offered treatments, but he refused pretty much all of them. My dad was proud. He said he'd rather suck up the pain than become some needle cushion."
"But there could have been a chance-"
"He wasn't one for chances and odds. Never was the betting type. All he said was at least he knew how he was going to die and that's a privilege that few have. He died five months later on his own terms- at least as many of the terms he could negotiate in the end. He wasn't really there by that time, after all. And so we moved to New York, and I met you guys, mom met Luke, and Jonathan's doing God knows what with God knows who and we're as happy as we can be without him. I love my dad; I miss him all the time but he told us not to let our world's stop turning just because he was gone. He'd accepted it and so we had to, too."
Jace stayed quiet for a long time, doing nothing but tracing his perpetual circle on my wrist with his thumb. When he finally met my eyes, he was smiling.
"I have an idea."
I raised an eyebrow, silently questioning him.
"You said he lived here for a few years, right?"
"Right. What are you getting at, Herondale?"
"Why don't we visit his old apartment while we're here? You can see where your dad used to hang out and stuff. Your mom must know where it was, right?"
I frowned, unsure. Being strong about my father's death on my own was one thing, but being confronted with something that was solid, something with a connection to my father… that was part of the reason we'd moved away in the first place.
"I don't know, Jace."
"Come on. I'll be with you. Won't it be good to see a whole different part of him?"
Anger flared up in me suddenly, like a wild fire.
"I said I don't know Jace. Stop pushing." I bit out irrationally, wrenching my hand from his and folding my arms across my chest. Our eyes steeled on one another; mine issuing a challenge and his wary.
"Jesus, it was just an idea. I just thought-"
"You think too damn much," I let out before reaching up and pulling his face to mine. I kissed him angrily, not knowing what exactly I was doing, kissing him at a time like this. But his mouth met my fever equally, kissing me as hard as I was kissing him. His hands found my hair and entwined themselves there as we engaged in an emotional tug-of-war beneath the Arc de Triomphe.
We broke away as quickly as it started, both breathing a little heavier. We stared at each other through narrowed eyes, waiting for the other to back down from the lingering challenge in the air. It was funny, I thought, how we were together now but still everything seemed to turn in to a challenge. Maybe we were still at 'war' with each other. Maybe that's just the kind of people we were. Maybe, though, this time the stakes and values were just a little different. I couldn't help but feel that this time, if I were to lose; I'd have to put up with a little more than a bruised ego and scraped knees.
"I'll think about it," I said evenly after a few minutes. Jace nodded silently and leaned to drop a soft kiss on the top of my head.
"Thank you for telling me." he said simply. I nodded and took his hand in mine, and we began the walk back to the hotel.
Jace walked me to the room I was sharing with Izzy, leaving me with a sweet, lingering kiss before he turned away, hands in his pockets, and went back to his own room. I entered quietly, scared of waking Izzy. I knew she'd been tired and upset. I didn't want to make her feel any worse.
I swore internally as the lock clicked loudly in to place. So much for that plan.
"Hey. Sorry if I woke you up." I grimaced in to the darkness. I heard her quiet laugh and the rustle of bed sheets. The bedside light flipped on. Izzy pushed back her hair and grinned.
"Nah. Couldn't sleep."
I dropped my bags, kicked my shoes off and sat down on the bed beside her. She leaned her head against my shoulder, nuzzling in to my hair.
"Want to talk about it?"
She sighed, folding her long legs in front of her as she turned to face me.
"I freaked out. After he told me he'd broken it off with Maia so he could be with me all I felt was this massive ball of panic and it all felt so real and I'm not used to someone putting that much effort in just to be with me, you know? And maybe I'm not cut out for this whole girlfriend thing. It's new territory for me. I don't want to wind up hurting him. 'Cause I'm not good enough for him, you know. I'm not a nice person. I'm actually a crazy bitch, to be perfectly honest. And he's too nice to put up with my crap." The words tumbled out of her mouth as she pulled lightly on the ends of her hair. I gave her a measured look.
"I think it's up to Simon to decide if he can put up with it. And stop pushing him away before you've even started to try, that's just stupid. And you're not stupid."
"But if we've never been able to last more than a couple months before, why would it be different now?"
"Because you're both actually emotionally invested in each other? You, especially. You turned in to a crazy jealous harpy as soon as you saw him with Maia. That counts for something. You never got jealous before."
Isabelle contemplated this for a second.
"You really think I was a harpy?"
"Talons and all." I grinned. She rolled her eyes and flopped back on to the pillows.
"I guess we'll see what happens, then."
"Or," I interjected as I stood to change in to my pajamas, "You could apologize to him tomorrow and maybe everything will be okay."
"That desperate to get in to bed with Blondie?" Isabelle smiled wolfishly.
"No. I am actually looking out for your well being and overall happiness."
"Sure, and your vagina."
She laughed loudly and pulled me in to the bed beside her. We lay there quietly for a while and I felt my eyes begin to drop.
"Thanks for coming here with me. And for putting up with these colossal moods I'm swinging." Isabelle said quietly, flipping off the light.
"You're my best friend. It's what I'm here for." I said, patting her hand beneath the sheets and stifling a yawn, "But you seriously need to move your ass over because I swear to God, Lightwood, I'm not fighting you for this bed all night."
"But you know how I love to starfish."
"If you want to starfish, feel free to pull up some floor."
Izzy kicked my foot with hers.
"How was your walk with lover boy, anyway?"
I turned my head towards her, seeing her eyes reflecting a street light in the darkness as she looked at me.
"I told him about my dad. He wants me to go visit his old place here."
"Ah," was all she said before she wriggled closer to me, pulling me in to her and patting my hair down softly. Isabelle got it. She knew I didn't really want to talk about it but just that one small action made me sure she cared, made me sure that she'd be there when I did want to explain.
I fell asleep with Isabelle stroking my hair and dreamed of my father.
Thanks for reading, please review!