Previously on At Your Assistance
I blanched. "I'm spending a week with my brother and father, in Idris?" Dammit! This was supposed to be a holiday!
Amatis didn't say anything further until we reached the city and neither did I, silently grumbling away in my head, suddenly in an awful mood.
I would have pulled my phone to text Jace, but one) I was in Europe, two) I wasn't supposed to be leaning on him, since I'd dumped him, or three) because Izzy would whip my sorry ass if I did.
Date unknown, early March
When I arrived back in New York, I couldn't keep the smile off my face. I'd learnt so much, even though I now hated my brother and father more than ever, at least I could appreciate their craziness for what it was. Valentine, Jonathon and Sebastian deserved to be locked up in a mental asylum, I thought, since they were pretty much insane – that whole demons, werewolves, vampires thing was a little out of hand.
Simon was going to pick me up from the airport, which was awesome because I hadn't seen him in what felt like forever, even though it'd only been a week. I got my bag from the carousel and waited outside, where Simon had told me to meet him, smiling at the way my breath fogged in the air.
A car pulled up in front of me, and the door opened, I watched out of the corner of my eyes as a messy blonde head got out of the car –
He bounded straight into me, throwing his arms around my waist, picking me up. I felt my cheeks turn bright red.
"Oh, Clary," he said, finally setting me back on the ground. "You have no idea how much I missed you!"
For a moment, I just stared at him. I'd broken up with him. What right did he have to hijack my ride home and hug me like that? I'd never admit it to him, or anyone, but I was glad to see him, happier than I'd ever been. "Where's Simon?"
He looked a little stunned, and I liked it. "I – I asked him if I could pick you up instead. He said he had some geeky stuff to do at the office, so …"
I sighed, and lugged my suitcase over to the shiny black car. "You gonna open the boot, or what, Wayland?"
Sunday April 1
I rolled over, groaning. At least it was a Sunday, and therefore no one could make me get up all that early. Then my phone vibrated on my bedside table, and I answered it.
Jace said, "Clary! I need you to come upstairs, quick! I think I just – I don't even know what's happened, but it smells like something's burning, and – SIMON, get away from the ledge!"
My phone promptly clattered to the floor, and I ran out into the corridor in my pyjamas, and into the lift, pressing the button violently.
I was not going to let Simon fall to his death, or anything close to that. No matter how hammered he was. And I was not going to let this building burn down! It was the closest thing that I had ever had to a home that wasn't my mother's house.
I slammed my fist against Jace and Alec's door, a little too hard, I realised as my knuckles seared in a painful protest.
Jace opened the door, happy as Larry.
"Jace, I –"
He smirked, then, "APRIL FOOL'S!" and he cracked up. I pulled my fist back and smashed it against his jaw bone. He actually fell to the ground, which I thought was quite impressive. Or it would've been if he weren't still laughing.
"He's not even here," Alec said, walking into the room, bleary-eyed. "God, Jace, did you make enough noise? How old are you? Do you want a coffee, Clary?"
"Please," I said, closing the door behind me. I gave Jace a half-hearted kick in the side and joined Alec in the kitchen, even as Jace continued to snicker away.
It felt like forever before he'd finally calmed down enough to talk normally.
"But really," Jace said, "I just wanted to talk to you about something."
"What's that?" I asked, sipping on my black coffee.
Alec had gone back to his bedroom to entertain Magnus, who was still sleeping – I could tell by his snores.
Jace stole my cup of coffee and had a sip of it, only to spit it back in the cup. I shot him a look, and he shrugged. "It's not like you haven't shared saliva with me before, Clary."
He passed me my mug and I set it down. I was hardly going to drink it now, no matter what he said. I wasn't really the nervous type, but Jace had been acting differently at work lately. And by that, I don't mean different as in post-break-up awkward, I mean, it was different from that kind of awkward. He was talking to me more, but distantly still, little things like "How are you?" or "Is the workload not too bad?" that made me think he still cared.
To be honest, I hoped to high heaven that he still cared, because I didn't think that I could be just friends with Jace Wayland.
"Look," he said, touching my knee, bringing my mind back into focus. "I want you to know that I'm here for you, all right?"
Is that all?
"What I mean is that if you're still interested in me, Clary, then I would very much love to begin our relationship again, even if we have to start all over."
I refrained from throwing myself at him. "Aw, I don't know, Jace … I mean, I met this really great guy in Idris – a total spunk."
Oh, God, his face!
I grinned. "April Fool's, Jace."
His cheeks turned bright red, and I kept on smiling. He still hadn't reacted after a moment, so I hopped down off where I was sitting on the kitchen counter and put my arms around his waist.
He leaned over, burying his face in the crook of my neck. "Don't say stuff like that, okay? I love you too much to deal with that kind of shit." He put his arms around me, holding me close, tight.
I thought, for a moment, that the world stopped spinning, and suddenly my centre of gravity shifted. "Jace, I –"
"Oh, Angel, I said that out loud, didn't I?"
"You don't have to say it back," he said, pulling back slightly to look into my eyes. "I mean I kind of sprung it on you, and I mean it, I really do, but I don't want to force you into saying anything you don't mean. Or doing anything you don't want to. Hell, there's something wrong with me. I'm going mental."
I stretch up and give him a quick kiss. "I'm not ready, Jace, to tell you that I love you, or to be in a relationship with you, not yet, not with all of the stuff that went on earlier this year, but think of this as a promise of what's to come." I stepped forward, so that he would step back, and I used all of my 5'2" to press his 6'2" frame against the cupboards, and I pulled his head down so that I could kiss him properly, and thoroughly.
I borrowed Jace's shower, and washed my carrot-coloured hair with his shampoo. Biting my lip, I can't help but remember the showers we shared before I cut it all off barely a month ago. When I'm done in the shower, Jace makes pikelets, and I smile at him. "You've been practicing."
I put on a pair of his tracky-dacks and my pyjama top when I got out of the shower, and he just stared at me before shaking his head to himself. I allowed myself a smile, and wondered what I could do today.
Then as Jace serves up a plate of pikelets, I have the best idea ever.
I returned home around mid-afternoon. It took me a while to find a hairdressers that was open on a Sunday, but then it's Manhattan, so there was bound to be at least one open.
Jace was in my apartment, and the second I stepped inside the door he was on his feet. "What did you do to your hair?"
I touched my head, running my fingers through my hair. "I'm starting afresh," I told him.
"Oh," he smiled.
"I'd like to start afresh with you," I added.
Jace's smile turned into a grin, and he kissed my forehead.
"That, Jace, was the shittest kiss I've ever gotten from you."
"Ready for the best one?" he asked, taking my lips with his.
Date unknown, June
I woke early, for once in my life, to sunlight streaming through open doors, a warm breeze wafting through open doors. It was about three months after Jace and I had agreed to start over again, and we were on holiday in Australia, up on the gold coast, staying at a resort in a small cabin that was separated from everyone else. It was perfect. For the last three mornings, I had awoken in Jace's arms, and smiled to myself, letting myself forget what day it was, and falling back into a gentle slumber, until Jace woke me to tell me of our activities for the day.
This morning, though, I was going to protest. There would be no daily activities that involved leaving a 100-metre radius of our home for the fortnight.
I slipped out of his arms, and out of my pyjamas – which were minimal anyway. I rolled him onto his back, and laid along the length of his body, waiting for him to wake up.
"Clary, what are you doing?"
I opened my eyes, blinking. Did I fall asleep?
"I don't want to leave the house," I told him. "I just want to stay here, and rest, maybe go for a swim in the water out there."
"I'll come for a swim," he said, "but only if you're naked."
"ISABELLE LIGHTWOOD," I yelled into the phone. "Calm the bloody hell down, will you? And then repeat."
"SIMON," she yelled.
"I can hear you when you're not trying to yell all the way to Australia, Is."
"Simon – he proposed, Clary."
"OH MY GOD," I squealed. "Tell me everything!"
Izzy told me about how Simon took her for a bike ride in Central Park, and they were sitting by the fountain when he got down on one knee and popped a small red velvet box out of his pocket, that he said he was sorry it wasn't from Tiffany's or Cartier's or anything like that, but it was a family heirloom, and would Isabelle like to make him the happiest geek alive.
Finally, I hung up on Isabelle, and Jace walked into the little house from the beach, putting his arms around me.
"Can we please just stay here forever?" I asked him.
"What do you think about children?" he asked in response.
"Well, that was a little random," I replied.
"I'm curious," he said, "I've never asked you before."
"Probably because you were so focussed on sex," I joked. Jace didn't look amused. "I don't know. I guess I'd always assumed that I would have kids but I've never really thought about what that would actually entail in the long run, you know? And childbirth is supposed to be really painful."
"I've heard that," Jace said.
"Why do you ask?"
"It was just the dream that I had last night …" he said, sounding almost reminiscent, quite pleased with the memory. "We were, like, old, and we had three kids, and they were all carrot-tops like you. And they were so adorable, and it was – wonderful. I was so happy."
"I am not promising to give you children, not right now."
He smiles, pulling me to his chest.
"And one more thing."
"Our children will not be redheads."
My phone vibrated. "Clary, you swore you would turn your phone off."
"But it's Magnus," I say, picking it up. "Hey sweetie."
"Hey doll," Magnus replied. "How's the trip?"
I smirked at Jace. "You have no idea, Mag."
"Alec says he's glad you're enjoying it."
"Tell him thanks. It's the best early-slash-belated birthday gift I've ever gotten."
Magnus said, "So I'm excited for our present."
"Didn't you get my e-mail? God, Clary. Get your shit together. Check your e-mail and get back to me."
He hung up on me! "I love you too," I muttered.
"What's he want?"
"I'm supposed to check my e-mail."
"No way!" says Jace, grabbing my phone and chucking it at the pillows on our bed. "We are not playing catch-up New York. We are supposed to be escaping."
I sighed, defeated all too easily. I kissed him. "Come on, then." I grinned. "Let's go skinny dipping."
Jace had his clothes off in seconds. I rolled my eyes. I followed suit, though, and raced him into the water again, which was still warm, even though it was dark out. We splashed and played in the warm sea water until our fingers turned pruny, then we shared a shower and went to sleep in each other's arms.
Of course, our little holiday away ended all too soon, and we had to head back to New York City for business reasons. I never did end up modelling that campaign for the fragrance that was released this week, which ended up being called something so corny I'm not even going to repeat it, but it sold so incredibly well that it rivalled Wayland's top-seller from the day it was out.
I walked out of Jace's bedroom to make myself a cup of coffee – it was nearing seven a.m., and we had work today – and Alec was standing in the kitchen, looking quite dreamy.
"Good morning," I ground out. "What's up?"
Alec bit his lip, and it was so cute. "Magnus just asked me if I'd like to marry him." I couldn't keep the delight off of my face.
"What did you say?"
Alec frowned slightly. "I said I'd have to think about it. I mean, it's a huge commitment, right?"
I nodded. "How long have you and Magnus been going out, now, though?"
"Since I was eighteen," he said, "so, like almost nine years or something."
I smiled. "If that's not commitment, Alec, I don't know what is. And this is New York. If my opinion counts for anything, I say go for it. I am a huge Malec shipper."
That last bit made Alec turn red, but he smiled, then engulfed me in a hug. "Thanks, Clary." Then he left the room with his mug, and I poured myself a cup of coffee.
I saw Jace walk into the living room, and I poured him a cup of coffee too, just the way he liked it.
"Hey, babe," he said.
I couldn't even bring myself to tell him how much I hated it when he called me 'babe', or maybe I was just getting over it. I didn't care.
"Do we have to go to work?" I asked.
"As CEO," he announced, "I would love to be able to take a day off for no reason, but since we had a two-week holiday, and I don't think I'm allowed all that many days off for the rest of the year. And that means you too. I suppose we could have a lazy day. It is casual Friday."
"Can I wear trackpants?"
Jace rolled his eyes. "Not quite that casual."
"In Australia, people wore their pyjamas to the supermarket, Jace, and ugg boots. I'm so jealous of how laid-back they are in comparison to New York."
Jace pulled me against him and gave me a thorough kissing. "I love you."
I wasn't really sure when I'd gotten to the point when I could say those three words back to him, but it was sometime after we'd returned from Australia, where I'd realised that life was short, and that life in New York City was always moving so quickly. Heck, Simon and Isabelle were getting married – I was just glad he'd sorted out that shit with Maia – and Magnus had proposed to Alec. It was all too perfect, like in the end of Breaking Dawn, where Stephenie Meyer tried to fit everything in together. It didn't seem at all likely, but it had happened.
It was entirely possible that Jace and I would be next. Mum had professed her love for us as a couple, despite how annoying he could be. She said I had to promise not to have red-headed children, though, because they would hate us forever for being rangas.
"I love you," I told him. "Now pass me my coffee." He shot me a look. "Jacey-Wacey."
"Oh, for the love of the Angel, Clary!" but much to my pleasure he passed me my coffee with a smile on his face.
We sat down on the couch to watch The Today Show, and I curled up against Jace, glad that almost everything finally seemed to be turning in my direction.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own TMI. Go figure.
To be honest, I don't really know what to say to you guys but thanks. To every review, every favourite, every chapter of this fiction that you ever read. I know I've been an awful fanfiction writer, having taken pretty much a year off to finish this story. Despite it all, all of my excuses, this story is finally finished. There may be some strings that I have left untied, but I'm going to leave it up to you to close those off in your own mind. I hope you've enjoyed reading this, and seeing my versions of Clare's characters develop, as much as I have. I will hold you all in my hearts for a long time to come. I have certainly received some wonderful reviews in my time on this website, some very inspiring reviews, indeed. One of my first reviewers, Taylor Jade, has told me that I have a "true talent" which she says, in other words, is enviable, and you have no idea how much that means to me. You're all very beautiful people, and I appreciate every single one of you.
All my love and best wishes for the future,
Anita x :~)