Summary: Clary is the It girl at her high school. Jace is the bad-boy no one touches unless they want their heart broken. Both are playing the game of love. But when dared to ask out Clary, will the two end up giving up their game—or worse—make it a competition?
In the back of the car
On the way to the bar
I got you on my lips; I got you on my lips
At the foot of the stairs
With my fingers in your hair
Baby this it…
She won't ever get enough
Once she gets a little touch
If I had it my way
You know that I'd make you say
The music pumped up through the dance floor and into my body. I swayed my hips slowly next to my best friend, Isabelle Lightwood, fraternal twin to Alec Lightwood. I put the cherry in my mouth and popped it off the stem with my lips. Letting the stem fall to the ground, I turned to face Izzy.
"Cherries, huh?" Izzy asked, not missing a beat in her dance.
"What can I say? I do love fruit."
She snorted. "Yeah that's it. You're eating cherries 'just cause you like them'"
"Of course I am. I can't believe you would think otherwise."
Izzy rolled her eyes and held out her hand. "Cherry me up, baby."
Smirking, I put a cherry into Izzy's hand. She mimicked my actions, sucking the cherry off the stem then tossing the brown twig to the ground.
"Let's dance, cherry girl."
Smiling, I took up Izzy's offer and began dancing to the real beat of the music. We both danced our hearts out side by side. Guys tried to cut in and we would give them a seducing smile, maybe brush our hands on their arms, and turn away.
Rule number one: Only give them a taste. They'll be panting for more.
Laughing, Izzy and I led ourselves off the dance floor and over to the bar. Rob, the tender, looked us up and down and got us our usual drinks.
"Anything else you may be interested in, ladies?" Rob leaned against the counter, eyeing us like a piece of meat.
"Maybe I could squeeze you in some day." Izzy grazed her fingertips up and down his arm.
Chuckling to myself, I turned, drink in hand, and left Izzy with her newest boy toy. I made my way up the stairs of the club, going to the top level where the only lights were the occasional candelabras. The music was faint up here, less powerful. My heels clicked softly on the hard concrete floor as I walked down the length of the level to the farthest corner.
"Drink?" I offered out my drink to my best guy friend, Simon.
He nodded his head and took my drink. He gulped it down like a shot and scrunched up his face. "Never thought of you as fruity kind of girl, Fray."
"I happen to love fruit, thank you," I said, waving a cherry in his face.
"Ah, the infamous cherry. Sad you have resorted to fruit to make a guy notice you."
I laughed aloud. "Hey, love is a game, Simon. I gotta play it with everything I've got."
I sat down on the cool floor next to him, the iciness of the concrete going right through my skinny jeans and chilling me to the bone. Shivering, I wrapped my arms around my middle.
"I don't understand you, Clary."
"What do you mean?"
Simon looked away, off toward the flashing multi-colored lights below us. "You play love as if it means nothing to you. What if you actually do fall in love?"
"But what if it does?"
I kept silent and looked off in the same direction as him. I saw Izzy, still flirting with Rob, now sitting on the bar table, Rob leaning closely into her. The lights flashed over the wave of people down below, making the sequence-covered mini-dresses sparkle.
"I don't know," I whispered. "I don't know."
Cars honked as they passed by my friends and I on the barren sidewalks of the city. Hands stuffed in our pockets, we ran to the club a block over. Once there, we ducked in and made a beeline for the back room, weaving through throngs of people.
Pool tables were all over the back room. Guys were talking, joking, and knocking their sticks into the cue balls. My group headed over to an empty table, grabbing sticks along the way. Alec racked up and Magnus got us all some drinks.
"So, already starting to scout out your next victim, Herondale?"
I grinned over at Alec before going back to scouring out the room, looking for any girl who had managed to wander in here. "You know it, Lightwood."
I heard him laugh behind me and come up to stand beside me. He clapped me on the shoulder. "You are amazing, dude."
"Please, don't flatter." I flashed a smile at him before focusing in on a girl in particular. She had firey red hair and a short leather skirt on. How she could even walk in the thing was beyond me, but, quite frankly, I didn't really care.
Alec noticed my line of sight and furrowed his brow. "Kinda looks like Clary."
I stopped admiring the red-head to look at Alec. "What?"
"Clary. Clary Fray."
I stared at him blankly.
Alec sighed. "Izzy's friend, Clarissa Fray."
"She's in your Algebra II class?"
I looked back at the girl, straining to remember someone who looked like her. Nobody rang a bell. I shook my head.
Alec pursed his lips. "Mmm… Okay, maybe this'll ring a bell—the girl who every guy pants after, the girl who is always voted dance queen, but she never shows up to claim the crown. The Clary Fray. She has her own reserved table at lunch, but she never eats there. She has a new guy every day."
Finally, a short red-headed girl entered my mind. "Oh, yeah, I remember Clary. The girl who sits next to me in Algebra."
Alec started at me incredulously. "Seriously? That's all you know her from?"
Alec shook his head sadly. "Do you, like, live in a cave? She's freaking the high school slut!"
Just then, the door slammed shut. In came Alec's sister, Isabelle. "So is that how you refer to my friends, Alec?"
Her heeled stilettos clicked on the floor as she came over to Alec and I; Magnus was hot on her heels. She perched herself on the pool table and spit a cherry pit onto the floor. Magnus gave her a disproving look and handed us all our drinks.
"I see Clary has gotten to you."
Isabelle laughed. "More like, I got to Clary and she picked up on a little more tricks." She winked and spit another pit out. "I gotta ask you all, though, what is with guys and cherries?"
I shrugged. "What can we say? We got ourselves a weakness for red fruits."
Isabelle rolled her eyes. "Whatever."
Alec took a swig of his drink. "What's Clary up to tonight? Leading some guy on?"
She shook her head. "No, that was me tonight. I don't know where Clary is. She left me at the bar and disappeared. I wouldn't be surprised if she was though."
"Does everyone know this girl but me?"
Everyone looked at me like I had six heads. Isabelle cleared her throat. "You seriously haven't talked to her before?"
She furrowed her brow. "She's basically a second you."
I raised my eyebrow in question.
"Yup. She plays love, never really caring much. Just like you, playa'."
I scrunched my eyebrows. "Huh. I wonder why she never tried to play me."
"Jace, you really don't want to be the apple of Clary's eyes." Magnus gave me a worried look.
"Because she'll break your heart." Isabelle cut in matter-of-factly.
"I play the same game as her. There is no way she could break my heart. It's impossible."
"That's what you think," Magnus muttered. Alec nodded in agreement.
"How bad is she," I had to know.
"Let's just say," Alec started slowly, "that I'm glad I'm gay."
I slowly started to smile. "I think it's time to meet this girl."
Isabelle hopped down from the table and looked me in the eyes, a serious, anxious expression on her face. "She's a heart-breaker. Don't mess with her, Jace."
I smirked. "Don't worry about me, Isabelle. I'm just gunna have a little fun." I turned and started to walk away. Half way to the door, I turned, still walking, and said. "That's all. Just a little fun."
I turned back around and pushed open the door, entering the club once again.
Time to have some fun.
I threw my head back as I laughed. Simon tightened his arms around my waist. He twirled us swiftly around in our dark little corner; my heels slid against the floor, slowing us down.
"Wait, wait. I gotta take these torture traps off." I unwrapped my arms from his neck and yanked my heels off before tossing them to the corner.
Simon looped an arm around my waist and pulled me towards him. His other arm grazed my back, making me shiver. He put his lips to my ear. "Clary."
"Why don't you ever try the game on me?"
I pursed my lips and closed my eyes. The very thought of playing Simon like that made me sick to the core. Every boy I've led on has always been someone random, someone I didn't really know. Simon was different. He was my best friend. And I couldn't ever bear to lose him to the difficult game of love.
"Because I don't want to lose you."
He pulled my body closer to his. "You won't," he murmered, still impossibly close to me.
"Yes I would," I whispered. "I would lose you to the game. I can't do that, Simon. I can't lose you."
"Maybe you wouldn't have to. Maybe you could stop the game for me?" His sweet breath tickled my face and his warmth wrapped around me. But somehow it seemed wrong. Something was telling me no. Don't do it. Simon is your friend.
Simon pulled his faceback to look at me. His eyes bored into mine as he brushed my hair off my face and tucked it behind my ear. "Just think about it, Clary. Please. Just do that for me."
I bit my lip. "I already know my answer."
He smiled. "Always so stubborn." He paused, just staring into my eyes. Finally, he said. "I have to go. Mom'll be wanting me."
My lips twitched. "Tell her I said hello."
He grinned. "She told me something, you know."
"Yeah? What's that?"
His grin grew wider. "Maybe I'll tell you some day."
He kissed my forehead. "Maybe some day. I'll see you around, Fray."
"Yeah. See you."
Then Simon disappeared into the shadows. I wouldn't know when I would see him next. I never did. Simon was home-schooled and only came to the club on Wednesdays, and some Fridays. But even so, he didn't come every Wednesday. It was impossible to know when I'd see Simon next. Sometimes it was a day, sometimes it was a month. It all depended if we were in the right place and the right time.
I looked away, at the multi-colored flashing lights. It was then that I saw him. Jace Herondale. His golden hair glowed under the bright lights and his eyes sparkled as he looked around the club. Girls were obviously looking him over, some even attempted to get him to dance. Every time, though, he would whisper a promise in their ear and send them on their way.
I scrunched up my nose. What was he doing here? Herondale hung out in the back room and at parties. The club was my place. And I need to set him straight. There can only be so many players in one club. Two was plenty enough--but three? That was going overboard. I should go down there and tell him to get lost.
But suddenly I just felt tired. Tired with my talk with Simon. Tired of flirting with any guy that gave me a glance. Tired of dancing. Tired of owning up to my title. I just wanted to go home, climb in bed, and go to sleep.
I made my way back down the stairs to the main level of the club. The lights blinded me instantly for I wasn't used to the brightness. When my feet slapped onto the concrete, I realized I had left my heels up on the second floor where I was with Simon. Heeless, I was about three inches shorter--not a good thing when you're in a sea of people already taller than you with the heels.
Groaning, I turned around--only to be met with Jace. I jumped back several paces and bumped into some guy. I quickly spun around and muttered an apology.
"S'Okay, baby. You can crash into me any time."
I cringed and turned back around to Jace, not in the mood to flirt with anyone right now. "Please--don't scare me like that."
He smirked. "My apologies. I was just worried--you seemed upset."
I shrugged. "Just tired."
"Would you like it if I drove you home?"
I placed my hand on my hip. "Look, I'm really not in the mood to get all flirty, Herondale. So just step aside and let me go upstairs."
He quirked an eyebrow. "Sassy." He looped an arm around my waist. "I like that in a girl."
I pulled back my hand and smacked him good across the face. He stumbled back, surprised, his hand held to his cheek.
"Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get my heels."
I stomped around him and skipped up the stairs, taking two at a time. It wasn't long before I reached the landing and was on my way back to the corner I was just at with Simon.
Grabbing my heels, I went out the fire door that led to a set of stairs leading to the back of the club. I slowly desended them, not risking another encounter with Jace tonight.