Clary had no desire whatsoever to open her eyes. She was comfortable, pressed snugly against a firm, warm side, an arm wrapped around her back and knotted in her hair. She sighed happily, rubbing her face against Jace's bare chest, still not opening her eyes. The sheet was tucked around them, keeping the two decent, but the humid summer air had her wanting to kick it off.

He stirred underneath her, his hand tightening in her curls as turned toward her, rolling from his back to his side and pulling her flush against his body. Clary buried her face in his neck, her ear pressed to the pillow as his body covered hers. Jace tugged her leg over his hip and sighed, his breath ruffling her soft, tousled hair as he draped the arm that was not supporting her head across her waist and up her back.

"We have to get up," Clary whispered against his skin; her voice sounded strange to her ears, muffled and distorted by Jace's neck and sweat dampened hair.

Jace grunted; Clary assumed it meant 'no,' but it was getting close to six, and she had a son who needed to wake up and eat breakfast before school. She could hear the traffic outside, the sound traveling through the open window to reach her still sleepy ears. She smiled against Jace's cheek as she placed a kiss there. She attempted to detangle herself from his strong arms, but Jace just clutched her tighter to him.

"You aren't going anywhere." His voice was muted, still thick and heavy with sleep

"Jace, I have to get up. I have a son to get up and around for school." She pressed another small kiss to his cheek, nuzzling for moment before lifting her leg from its place over his hip. He moved – a lightning fast motion – and grasped her knee with the tips of his fingers, pressing her back to him.

"I just got you back." He pulled back from her face to gaze at her half-lidded eyes, lips full and still swollen from the previous night's activities. He paused for a moment, cocking his head to one side as he rolled, pushing Clary to her back and resting his body against hers. "You aren't going anywhere." He was wide awake now, no chance of going back to sleep, but there were other things to do in a bed. He placed his lips on Clary's collarbone, sucking gently to mark her as his. He traced little patterns against her neck, ran his nose along her cheek before lowering his mouth to hers for one, two, three chaste kisses. After a moment of this, he nudged her lips open and deepened the kiss, bracing himself above her on his forearms to leave her gasping for breath. He took a cue from that and trailed back over her slim neck, placing individual kisses in a wobbly line to where her collarbone met her neck. His fingers played with the hem of her (really his) shirt before sliding underneath to span her soft belly.

"Jace," she grunted, pushing him off of her body and swinging her legs over the side of the bed, "I really do have to get up." She turned back towards him, smirking at his shocked face, lying on the flat of his back, arms in the air as if to ask what the hell she was doing. "I have to get Mattie up for school and fed." She leaned back over to press a very fast kiss to his forehead, escaping before he could pull her down again. "I'm sure that you have things to do today too."

"Oh, I've got things to do." Jace answered darkly, flopping back to the bed and rubbing his hands over his eyes wearily.

"Hah," Clary said sarcastically. "I get it."

"Oh, you'll get it." Jace answered under his breath, but she still heard, throwing an exasperated look over her shoulder at him.

"Well, one of us has to be an adult, bucko." She retorted, pulling Jace's shirt over her head and tossing it back to him, walking to her closet in only her unflattering white cotton bra and underwear. From the look on Jace's face though, you would have thought that she was a Victoria's Secret model that was working a private show for him and him alone. She was all of a sudden very shy, backing away with a small blush that crept over her cheeks. She bumped into the closet door, still trying to shy away from the intense look on Jace's face as he stood, indecent save for the black boxer briefs that hid his hips from her view, and quietly, powerfully stalked toward her.

"That blush is incredibly sexy on you, Clarissa Fray." His voice was soft, vaguely threatening, like a predator. She froze before him, still fetched up against the wall as Jace's arms went to either side of her head and he leaned in, his face only a breath away from hers. He came closer, touching the tip of his nose to hers before inclining his head towards her and peering up at her from beneath his eyelashes. Clary's eyes were wide, her lip caught between her teeth.

Jace pressed his forehead against hers and groaned, caressing the back of her head with his finger tips, raising goosebumps across her skin that spread like fire. "You can't bite your lips like that if you don't want me to do something about it, Clary." She released her grip on her lip and tilted her head back against the door, pushing his hand away from her face, trying like anything to regain her bearings.

"Jace," she whispered as he leaned his forehead against her shoulder, breathing hard. "Stop. You have to go. I need to get ready and go to work." She spoke slowly, determinedly, not allowing him to bully her into another round. She had to have her priorities straight. "You can come back tonight, but if you aren't going to stop, you have to leave."

Jace lifted his head, looked in her eyes, and smiled tiredly. "You have no idea what you do to me." He pressed a kiss to her forehead, lingering for a moment before pulling back and slipping into his clothes from last night. "Get in the shower. I'll go get some breakfast for us."

"Jace," she caught his attention, finding her voice only a moment before he walked out. He turned, lifting his eyebrows in attention to her, and she finished her thought: "You're wrong. You have no idea what you do to me."

Jace's small smile warmed her as he shook his head. "No, Clary. You're wrong." With that, he slipped from the room, leaving no room for argument.

Clary shook her head, trying to retain some sort of sanity, some sort of clarity, as she entered her closet and rifled through, trying to find the clean Taki's uniform that she knew was in there somewhere, but being unable to properly focus on what she was doing, despite the scant amount of clothing she had. Mechanically, she reached for a towel, holding it tight to her chest.

Every move she made for the next fifteen minutes was robotic; she could not move freely as she waited for the heat in her body to cool. Open bathroom door. Remove clothes. Turn on shower. Step in.

Out of curiosity, she twisted the knob to the right, gasping at the sudden river of icy water that coursed over her, snapping her back to reality and forcing her mind to clarity. Shivering violently, she yanked at the knob one more time, allowing the warm water to return and cascade over her, rinsing the built up sweat and salt from her body. She could focus on the tasks at hand now, the fog of Jace was lifted from her, and she squirted the shampoo into her hand and massaged it through her hair, cleansing inch by inch.

Jace blew a long, slow breath from his lips, pushing his hands deep in his pockets as he walked down the steps and through the already busy streets of Brooklyn.

My kingdom for an open bodega, he thought to himself. He figured he would just get a few bagels and some coffee, return to Clary's apartment, and convince her to blow off work and stay home with him, where he had a few ideas of how they could pass the day. Thankfully, after only a few minutes of walking, he found a street cart that was open for business. Four bagels, two coffees, and ten dollars later, Jace was headed back towards Clary's apartment.

Clary was thankful for the bagels; it saved her the headache of having to prepare breakfast at such a late hour, but was not thankful enough to stay home from work with Jace.

("Jace, I have to go to work. I need money.")

("I'll buy whatever you need. Just stay home with me!")

"That's not how she rolls, Jace!" Matthew had giggled, causing the adults to laugh along with him.

So finally, Clary and Jace started walking towards the school, dropping Matt off with a hug and a kiss from Clary before continuing on to Taki's. Jace reached out and grabbed Clary's hand, squeezing lightly, playing with her fingers, anything to drive her crazy.

"Jace," she warned, "I really can't stay." Jace shot her an innocent look, to which she replied, "Mattie tries that look all the time." She stretched up, reaching for his cheek with her lips, "It doesn't work."

Jace looked at her a grumbled under his breath. They were almost to the diner, which means that he would have to release her, something he was not looking forward to. "So, tonight," he started and trailed off, wanting to know what Clary thought.

"So, tonight," she copied the way he spoke, turning towards him, grabbing his arms and pulling him up against her as she leaned against the wall. Jace, surprised by the sudden outburst, pushed closer to her, peppering kisses along her cheek and forehead.

"And what are your plans, Miss Fray?" Jace asked, lingering for a moment at her temple.

"Hmm, dinner and a movie at my place? Mattie can go to bed a little early," she trailed off suggestively, sliding her hands up Jace's arms to his shoulders.

"Sounds perfect." He whispered before pressing his lips to hers.

"And now," Clary groaned around Jace's lips, "I have to go to work."

"Nope," Jace whispered, giving her another kiss.

"Yep," she said, making no move to get away from him.



"Don't make me pull out the big guns, Fray."

"Don't make me pull out the big guns." She deadpanned, and he groaned as he released her.

"Fine." He stepped back so Clary could collect herself. "What time do you get off? I'll pick you up."

"Four. I have to pick Mattie up at four-fifteen from his after school program, and then the rest of the day is yours."

"Perfect. I'll see you then." Jace leaned in, wrapping his long fingers around the back of her neck to pull her close enough to kiss her forehead again. "Bye."

"Bye, Jace."

He smiled as she turned to walk into the diner and he turned to walk back towards her apartment and his car. He walked quickly, wanting to get back and get his car so that he could go home, shower, and get some work done before he picked Clary up again at four. He slid past the door of his Aston Martin, turning the key over with a satisfactory purr before he raced off to the apartment he shared with Alec.

It took longer than he would have liked, what with the awful morning traffic, so his already foul mood from leaving Clary was compounded. Alec's behavior did not help at all either. When he swung the door of the apartment open, Alec was inside speaking on the phone, and upon seeing Jace, jumped and immediately began speaking in a hushed, conspiratory tone. He hung up quickly and turned to face his friend.

"What happened to you?" Jace asked, his voice accusatory as he folded his arms over his chest and looked at Alec.

"Nothing," Alec was terse. "Why?"

"You look like death warmed over. That's why." Jace retorted

"Well, I'm not, so," Alec trailed off, but Jace just cocked an eyebrow at him. Alec rolled his eyes, and throwing his arms in the air (causing him to turn a little bit greener in the process) nearly shouted, "Fine, I'm a little hungover. So freaking what?" Alec turned to grab a bottle of Gatorade from the fridge, grunting in pain when bending over caused what felt like a railroad spike being pounded into his head. "You come home hungover all the time."

"Nothing's wrong with being hungover," Jace said debonairly waving a hand, "I'm just curious about the hickies on your neck, that's all." Alec jumped, a guilty look coming over his face as he clapped a hand over his neck. "And the fact that you know exactly where I'm talking about just proves my point." Jace sauntered over, a cocky expression on his face as he peeled Alec's hand away. "Man, she really did a number on your neck there."

Alec flushed a little deeper, not willing to say anything.

"So," Jace reached around his friend to grab a bottle of water before leaning back against the countertop. "Who is she?"

"Nobody you know." Alec muttered, attempting to walk away and escape.

"I know a lot of people." Jace smiled, stepping in front of the other boy.

"Not this person, okay, Jace? Trust me." Alec sidestepped, but Jace blocked him again.

"I really might."

"Jace, back the hell up, okay? This is none of your damn business. Get out of my face. It's not like you aren't a man whore anyway."Alec knew that he was crossing a line, but in that single moment, he didn't care. He wanted to go take a shower, lie down, drink some hangover cures, and try not to throw up.

Jace feigned hurt, placing a hand over his heart. "Ouch, brother. That stings." Alec shoved him out of the way, ignoring Jace's protestations until he grabbed his arm. "What is your problem?"

"Right now, it's you, Jace. You come in here acting all high and mighty when you were out with some random girl, who by the way, you probably won't remember in the morning. I'm allowed to go out too, you know. I know how to have fun. I'm allowed to cut loose every now and then, and I don't appreciate you acting like it's some huge deal because I get drunk and hook up with somebody." Alec knew that a big fight was about to boil over – he had called that girl that Jace was dating a slut, and the moment he said it, he knew that Jace would not react kindly. He saw a flash in Jace's golden eyes and wait for the hammer to fall.

"Why do you keep saying that about Clary?" Jace asked, a scary quietness sinking through his voice.

Alec already regretted saying it. He knew that both of them were in disagreeable moods and that this was their tempers talking. He would regret it, but he was too fired up, too deeply rooted in the idea that "Clace," as his sister had deemed them, was a bad idea. So he went ahead with the hateful words that were at the tip of his tongue.

"You heard me." Alec said slowly, looking up from the floor to meet Jace's eyes.

"No, I don't think that I did. Because Clary is not a slut. And you know that. And you know better than to insult her in my presence." Jace's voice was deadly.

"Well, if she's not a slut, how did she have a kid at, what, fifteen?" Alec raised his arms from his sides. "I bet you don't even know." Alec's pointer finger was in Jace's face now, "I bet she didn't tell you because she probably doesn't even know who the damn father is!" Alec's voice was raised, and he saw the look of anger, hurt, and doubt leap across Jace's face before determination took its place. Alec knew that look. It was the look that Jace got right before he broke his arm when they were ten. It was the look that nearly got them arrested in a bar when they were seventeen. It was not a look that you ever wanted directed at you.

Jace took a deep breath through his nose, exhaling through his mouth, and tried counting to ten. It didn't work. He had never really believed that one could see red, but in that moment, his vision was scarlet. "I told you. Do not ever speak about her like that again." Jace's face was terrifying – full of rage and betrayal and hurt – and Alec had caused it. "You know nothing about her. Nothing." Jace hissed. "Do not ever let me hear you talk about her that way again. She is not some random hook up."

With that said, Jace pushed past Alec and stalked to his room, shaking his head slightly. He repeated softly, "She's not some random hookup."

Alec took a step toward him, wanting Jace to see his side. "Jace, she doesn't make sense. Think it through." With that, he picked up his drink and sulked away into his bedroom, hurt and anger on his face. Jace just stared blankly at Alec, looking over his shoulder, unable to comprehend what had just happened.

Jace took another deep breath and rubbed his hands over his eyes, closing the door to his room with a ferocious kick. Alec was no romantic, this much was true, but didn't he at least respect Jace enough to respect Clary? Jace jerked the drawers of his dresser open, grabbing clothes before crossing to the ensuite bathroom to shower. He scrubbed at the salt and sweat that had built up on his body from the heat of the last months of summer, washed his hair with the lemony shampoo and stepped out, crossing to the mirror to look at himself.

He stared hard, observing his body in a way that he really had not before. The golden hair, darkened and curling from the water. Golden eyes, hooded with fatigue and longing and anger. Hard, muscled torso, the result of years of training and hard work. Long, lean legs that could run miles and miles. He sighed and reached for a towel to dry himself.

Jace sought solace at Isabelle's. He knocked once, but didn't wait for a reply before entering the rather large apartment that Robert and Maryse had purchased for her. She was inside, ear buds in, running on the treadmill. She threw a nod at Jace when she saw him, calling loudly to him over the noise in her ears, "Almost done. Just a sec." She was panting hard; Jace wondered how many miles she had run already.

It was only a few minutes until she was done, but Jace entertained himself by raiding her fridge, grabbing a bottle of pineapple juice for himself and a fancy, imported bottle of coconut water for Isabelle, tossing it to her and she slowed and stepped down. Her body was covered in a thin layer of sweat, and she smiled appreciatively at him before twisting the cap off and daintily swallowing some. "What's up?" She asked, replacing the cap and pulling a chair from the kitchen so as not to damage the fine French sofa in her living room.

"I need to ask you something," Jace answer hesitantly, playing the bottle in his hands and jiggling his leg anxiously."


"What do you think about Clary?"

"She's nice enough, I guess. I've only met her a few times." She shrugged, but continued, "But we both know that isn't what you're really trying to ask me."

"Well, quit screwing around and just tell me the truth." Jace was cranky now, and he spat the words at her.

"Jace," Isabelle stated his name gently, not a quality oft associated with her, "You don't want to hear the truth."

"You don't think we should be together either." Jace's voice was hurt.

"I think that people like us don't marry people like her." Izzy was careful, not wanting to hurt him, but wanting to get her point across.

"I don't want to marry her, Iz." Jace laughed, "I want to date her."

"Jace," she replied skeptically, "You don't date. You sleep around."

"What is this ridiculous obsession that you and your brother share with my sex life?"

"What is this ridiculous obsession that you have with yourself?" Isabelle replied snarkily, raising her eyebrows at her "brother."

"Look, I like Clary. I like her a lot." Jace stood, slipping the bottle of juice into the pocket of his jeans before walking towards the door, "And you and Alec don't get a say in that. Thanks for the juice."

"Jace, you can deny it all you want, but you're in love with that girl, and it scares you. You don't quite want an out," Isabelle tossed at him before standing and pulling her shirt over her head as she walked to her bathroom, "But you're too scared to give any more commitment. It's why you came here, and it's why you went to Alec and asked us what we think. Make up your own damn mind. I'm not going to do it for you, but get it done before you get their hopes up and break their hearts." Jace had paused at the door, averting his eyes as Isabelle stripped her clothes off to shower, and listened to her words. He scoffed, but something inside of his head nagged and nagged as he drove to Taki's for lunch.

"Well this is a pleasant surprise," Clary said, her face alight when Jace sat in the corner booth of her section. Maia grunted at her questioningly. "My boyfriend came in for lunch." Clary smiled, the dimples in her freckled cheeks growing larger as she attached the order slip to the rotating string and walked out of the kitchen to get his order. Jace smirked when he saw her walking towards him, curly red hair swinging in the braids she normally wore.

"Hey, babe."

"What are you doing here?" she asked, "Not that I'm not happy to see you, but,"

Jace grabbed her wrist and tugged her down for a kiss. Clary recovered after a second and pulled away, scolding him lightly with her eyes. "I'm not on break," she said, but winking, added, "Save it for tonight."

"I just wanted to see you again," Jace answered, sighing as she pulled away. "Didn't want to wait."

Clary smiled at him. "What would you like to eat?"

"Coffee and surprise me." Jace looked a little glum, his voice flat and face fallen.

"Are you okay?" Clary asked, reaching out to touch his cheek. He leaned into her touch, turning his head to kiss her palm.

"I'm fine, just tired." Jace looked up at her and smiled, but it didn't quite reach his eyes. Clary was concerned, but let it slide until she actually had the time to devote to talking with him. Stealing a glance back toward the kitchen and not seeing the boss-lady, she leaned forward and pressed a kiss to the top of his head, lingering for a moment.

"Maybe I can roll some silverware while you eat; we aren't that busy." She said as she straightened, smoothing Jace's blonde curls back from his face; he smiled a small grin, his lips pulling up and showing his white teeth in a genuine smile that warmed Clary all over.

"I'd like that," he answered. "I just want to be around you." He whispered as she walked away, his golden eyes burning a hole in her back with intensity and passion that scared him a little. "I'd like that a lot."

And that is Chapter 17. About thirteen more to go. Let me know what you think in that wonderful little review box.

Also, you all should stalk me on tumblr – wearedustandshadows-1118. I'm not above begging, clearly : )

Also, because I'm feeling slightly angsty because most of the fics I'm reading are ending, I would absolutely love if you would recommend a story for me to read, instead of the other way around. *winky face*

Also, I'm taking requests for one-shots; anything you like; I'm open to anything, and I want to try to test myself a little bit. Preferably in the TMI, TID, Klaroline, Avatar: The Last Airbender, or Korra fandoms. I'll even take Twilight… But if I've read or watched it, I'll attempt writing it, so leave it in any of my many boxes.