Chapter Five: Scalpel

Clary smoothed her dress dysphorically as Simon approached at his normal, leisurely pace. She was sitting on a park bench and waiting for their date to begin. All that stood in the way now was that Lewis boy's sprightly but nonetheless slow walking.

They had decided to go on a date that evening, both realizing that the relationship needed serious reevaluation after the previous night's events.

But neither knew what was to occur on their outing; that was to be decided as they went along.

Clary had even gotten all dolled up for the occasion. What a mess that had been...

Clary, in a feeble attempt to give her hair more volume, was back-combing her already voluminous hair until she heard a sickening, ripping noise.

"Oh-my-God," she hissed, pulse rising. "Oh-my-God. Damn it! Oh-my-God." She maneuvered her mass of slightly-longer-than-shoulder-length hair around so that she could see what happened in the mirror, and her heart sank. "DAMN IT!"

Her h- no, what used to be her hair- was now a frizzy, messy, bright-orange-colored tangle, a hair-don't at its finest.

Clary raked her comb through her unfortunate locks unsuccessfully, until it was jarred out of her hand. "AGH!" Surely enough, it was stuck in her hair! Now Simon would see it and break up with her on the spot, and-

The comb finally broke loose of her hair's binds. "Oh, thank God." She continued with her try at taming her mess. "God... damn... you!" she cursed hysterically at the pink plastic comb for not doing its job properly.

This was hopeless. She needed an expert's opinion! Clary grabbed at her phone and dialed her best friend's number. "Izzy!" she wailed. "My hair... my hair..."

"Your hair what?" Isabelle wondered, usual lack of enthusiasm in her voice. "You didn't cut it off, did you?"

"No-" stab with comb, "but I'm-" another jab, "considering it!" Clary wildly threw her comb on the ground as tears flew into her eyes. "Izzy, it's an absolute mess! I was trying to back-comb it, and-"

"Why the hell would you do that?"

"I DON'T KNOW!" Clary wept. "But now it looks like a hairball! A hairball, Isabelle!"

Her friend sighed. "Clary, just try to ignore it for now."

"How am I supposed to ignore it? It's kind of attached to my head!"

"CLARY! I'm not done yet!"

The raving ginger quieted. "Oh. Sorry."

"Now, as I was about to say... Put it in a bun for now."

"A bun?" she echoed. It seemed so simple...

"And wash your hair later. It'll be fine, as long as you calm the fuck down, okay?"

"Okay. Thanks, Izzy."

"Yep." She hung up, and Clary felt somewhat stupid. Only a bun! That was easy!

Wrestling her hair into one, however, proved more difficult, but she ended up with most of her hair in a tousled, textured knot at the nape of her neck with some pieces falling down. It actually looked really nice! After all that crying and trouble... Maybe she should try it again some time, if the end product looked that nice and even... sexy.

That was a new concept to her. But gazing at her perfectly messy hair in the mirror, the adjective seemed to fit.

Then, Clary remembered that she was a woman, and it all made sense.

Goodbye, Raggedy-Ann, she thought.

She next set to work on her makeup, applying what she felt to be the most grown-up from her collection: sparkly gold eyeshadow, peach-colored blush, and her pink, bubblegum-flavored lip-gloss. She didn't have any mascara, which was unfortunate, but Clary still thought that it looked relatively good and sophisticated.

But... would Simon?

It was time to find out.

"Clary!" he said brightly, catching her by the shoulders and pecking her cheek.

"Hi, Simon," she replied, taking a step back and grinning up at his lanky frame.

"Well, you look nice," Simon told her whilst examining her outfit. "That's a cute sundress."

Clary caught the yellow gingham material between her fingertips, smiling. "Thanks. My mom got it for me a while ago." She wrapped her arms around her boyfriend's thin waist, saying, "What do you think of the sweater? I almost wore a jean jacket, but I decided against it at the last minute."

He detangled himself from her arms with a sigh. "Clary, I thought you wanted to talk about serious things."

"Or make out," she added, running her hands up his graphic T-shirt-clad chest, stopping upon reaching his scarf. "Either would be fine."

Being a woman gave Clary confidence, and made her realize that she wanted to have sex again. With Simon. As soon as possible.

"Stop it," he insisted, catching her hands and holding them gently. "You were right when you said that we need to talk. So, are we just going to stay here, or go somewhere, or what?"

Clary pouted, but his deep brown eyes were so reassuring that she nearly forgot his rejection. "Can we do dinner and a movie?"

"Sure. What movie do you want to see?" He kept hold of one of her hands, starting to walk down a pathway with her. Simon was so sweet.

Their entwined fingers swayed back and forth as they walked, just like in high school. Just like they had never parted ways at all, and had been happy ever since. "Well, Breaking Dawn: Part One just came out..." Clary alluded obviously. She really wanted to see that movie, and it would make their date great.

Simon rolled his eyes, but was smiling half-heartedly nonetheless. "Whatever you want."

"I heard that it's really good," she appealed, hopefully trying to warm him up to the idea.

"Yeah, yeah. As good as the other three, right?"

"It's apparently better, actually. With lots of violence..." ...and a really sexy honeymoon scene.

They stopped walking, due to Simon's pause mid-step. "Well, are we going? Because if we are, we need to get showtimes."

"I deff want to go, Simon."

Releasing his girlfriend's hand, the Simon in question dug in his messenger bag and unearthed his brand-new iPhone. "Alright."

As he turned it on and attempted to access a movie app, Clary started milling around the area, examining the surrounding foliage of the park. The humid air, hanging in the atmosphere like a wet towel; the carefully manicured shrubbery positioned at neat intervals; the hurrying pedestrians tearing up the sidewalk and not-too-carefully evading the stationary couple.

"God damn it," Simon said under his breath, poking at his phone's screen. Beads of perspiration from the hot August day dripped out from his hairline and down his forehead. "I thought this thing was supposed to be fast."

His ginger-haired intimate coached, "Just be patient." She grasped the thin fabric of her dress's skirt, swinging it back and forth as she let her imagination take over. Suddenly, the heat of the day and the sweat plastering her dress to her back disappeared, and she didn't even register that she was overheating in her unnecessary sweater.

"Clary-" Simon began exasperatedly, but then glanced at the screen again and perked up. "Oh, finally! Okay. Breaking... D-A-W-N- No, you stupid thing! I spelled 'dawn', not 'damn'!" he narrated, jabbing at the touch screen in exasperation. "There we go. Dawn. And here we are. What theater do you want to go to?"

"What?" Clary asked, jarring back to reality. The sudden question caught her off-guard, and pulled her back to humid, sticky real life. The truth was that she had been caught in one of her occasional Jace-fantasies. This time, he had been tackling her at night on a grassy plain scattered with debris, kissing her deeply and feeling up her bare back under her thin blouse. The air was crisp and cool, a far cry from the present. "Sorry, I zoned out," she explained, blushing as vibrantly as her hair.

"Where... do you... want to see the movie?" Simon said slowly, wearing his sarcastic-face.

Clary waved her hand unconcernedly, tugging off her cable-knit sweater and draping it over an arm. "Wherever's closest." With her shoulders and neck exposed, Clary felt strangely liberated. The hot sun beat down on her thin arms, sure to raise more freckles, but she couldn't bring herself to stop drinking in the light enough to care.

"Ooooo-kay..." So that she wouldn't sink into another Jace-related daydream, Clary almost guiltily studied Simon: his dark, shaggy hair, his brown eyes, his eyebrows furrowed in concentration... Simon was so hot. How could she ever want anyone else?

Jace is hotter, her mind nagged unhelpfully. And Simon's almost like a brother.

"Looks like the closest theater is some new place called Mysterioso Cinemas," he said finally, glancing up to meet her eyes.

"Then let's go there!"

"I dunno, Clary. 'Mysterioso'? It sounds more like a bad strip club."

Clary tugged on his slender, tanned arm, resting her temple on his gently muscled bicep. "Pleeeeeeease? I want to go there!"

She looked at his phone's display, and saw a list of showtimes. "Fine. Calm down. What time do you want to go?"

"You can pick, but remember that I want to go to dinner first," she reminded him.

"9:45?" he suggested after a brief mental calculation.

The ginger checked the current time in the corner, 6:07. "Sounds good to me."

They started ambling along down the path again, with Clary clinging to Simon's arm and Simon tucking his phone back into his canvas messenger bag.

"Now, dinner?" he asked.

"Let's just keep walking for now," Clary said, steering them off the park's pathway and onto the regular sidewalk. "Maybe we'll see somewhere we want to go."

The next few minutes passed in silence as the young couple navigated the busy streets together. At one point, they passed a small movie theater that was styled to look vintage, the marquis lit up and bearing two words: MYSTERIOSO CINEMAS.

"Well, it doesn't look like a strip club," Clary said, glancing at the multitudes of oddly-dressed people rushing in.

"You would think so," Simon remarked darkly, giving a mordant chuckle. "Let me tell you that some of the most unlikely places end up being strip clubs." A couple seconds later, "Or gay bars."

That made his girlfriend laugh. "Because you would know all about those types of venues."

"Let's just say that my college friends dragged me to some really weird places."

"Oh." Clary couldn't keep the cold note from her voice; a reminder of their previous distance was unwelcome at best. Why would he even bring it up when they were supposed to be on a date? "That's great," she said in a sour sort of tone.

Simon heaved a sigh. "Clary, don't be like this."

"Don't be like what?" Clary freed his arm and walked to a spot a pace or two from their previous ambulatory-cuddling.

"Like this! How many times do I have to apologize for what happened a couple years ago?"

"As many times as I feel that you have to."

"Clary, that's ridiculous. Maybe this date was a bad idea," Simon said uncertainly.

"No!" She was determined to make this work and to end the night in his embrace, even if it killed someone. "No." Clary grabbed his hand and forced him to meet her eyes, pleading silently for her boyfriend to understand.

"Fine," he delivered flatly, stubbornly not matching her gaze again. "We'll talk this through."

"Thank you." Just then, Clary spotted something at the end of the block over the heads of all the tall people around her. "Hey, a restaurant!"

"Where?" Simon squinted through the bright, late-August light in hopes of seeing what Clary had pointed out.

She moved his head manually so that he could view the sign. "Right there. Scalpel: Organic Gourmet Cuisine."

The sign itself was in a flourished font with much decoration, especially the horizontal medical knife piercing the letters.

"Um..." Simon said, thoroughly bemused. "It seems kind of shady. Who the hell names their restaurant after a surgical instrument?"

"Can we just try it? Look, it's even organic."

Growing up, Simon had been Jewish and vegetarian, but emerged from college as an atheist living an organic lifestyle.

It must come with being a hipster, Clary thought.

"Okay... I guess we can try it... But if they have human kidneys on the menu, I'm leaving."

"Oh, Simon," Clary laughed. "You're so funny."

"Yeah, ha-ha," he replied humorlessly. "I'm serious."

"Cheer up. I bet it's fine!" she insisted as they approached the door.

Simon was about to open it for her, but it swung open on its own, scrubs-clad man leaning against it. "Welcome to Scalpel," he said in a wheezy voice, adjusting his surgeon-hat and grinning.

Simon leaned over to whisper in Clary's ear in a warning: "If this somehow goes wrong, I'm blaming you."

"Just relax!" she coached supportively, repressing her secret fear of this so-far-strange restaurant.

As they entered through a threshold, the concrete underfoot changed to utilitarian gray tiles, and everything became illuminated in sickly, fluorescent lighting that made Simon's olive skin look green and highlighted Clary's freckles.

Everything was too white to be real, walls and tablecloths alike draped in pristine white cloth. There were spots on the walls where the fabric pulled away to reveal cubist paintings of surgical tools.

Sitting at the tables were people in various stages of dining, but all of them appeared to be enjoying themselves, at least.

"Relax," Clary repeated, for Simon's benefit as well as her own. "We'll get a gourmet meal out of this, if anything."

As there was a small group of people that seemed to be waiting for tables, they drew near to the host's podium, a tall, narrow barstool-like structure covered in white cloth, almost resembling an operating table. The hostess herself was clad in mint-green scrubs like the doorman, complete with latex gloves.

"Table for two?" she asked nicely enough.

"Uh-huh," Simon forced out, fearfully looking at the surrounding area.

"Can I have the name of your party, please?"

A wicked look crossed Simon's face, and he got a devilish tilt to his mouth. "Donner," he said.

Clary elbowed him. Leave it to Simon to make a historical joke about American cannibals at a time like this, she thought.

The hostess scanned her table registry, not seeming to get Simon's pun. "Oh! Mr. Donner, we can actually seat you immediately. Right this way, please," ordered the perky woman, grabbing two clipboards from behind her podium and leading the couple to a table positioned underneath a painting of medical scissors.

Clary attempted to keep a hopeful attitude about the whole thing, pushing her feelings of dread to the back of her head where they couldn't bother her.

Simon hissed in Clary's ear, mirroring her doubts, "It's not too late to turn back, you know!"

"Simon!" she chastised, hitting his arm and sliding into a stark metal booth.

He reluctantly sank onto the seat opposite her, narrowly concealing a glare at the hostess.

The woman kept standing, still as a statue, at the head of the table for a few seconds and then laid down the clipboards in front of the couple. "Your server will be in shortly," she chirped, springing away with a swish of mint-green fabric.

Clary smiled, satisfied with the friendly service, and began perusing her laminated menu card that was clamped onto the clipboard. It actually wasn't much of a menu, offering only three or so choices under each category, and nothing seemed recognizable and/or edible, but this was sure to be bushels of fun.

"What the hell is on this thing?" Simon asked rudely. "Can't they serve anything normal?"

Clary brought her menu down on top of his head, feeling like she was babysitting a bratty child. "Don't be mean. This is fun," she emphasized.

"Oh, yeah? When does the fun start? 'Cause for now," Simon dropped his voice, leaning in close to his girlfriend, "this just looks like I'm going to be miserable the entire time we're here."

An idea struck the ginger, and a manic grin took over her face. "Not now," she whispered back, trying at being coy.

That just confused him. "What? Of course I'm miserable now. What are you talking about?"

"This," Clary said, closing the small distance between their faces. Simon's lips were warm and soft, as they always were, but for once, he wasn't reciprocating her kiss.

That only meant that she had to try harder!

She raised both hands to cup his face, practically yanking him across the table, and pressed harder against his mouth. On impulse, Clary bit his lower lip.

It was all part of a rapidly-conceived plan. Simon opened his mouth (probably to protest at the maltreatment of his lips) and she forced her tongue into it immediately.

Then, before she could slide her palm elsewhere, someone cleared their throat.

Simon jerked back with a strangled, "What the hell was that?" and Clary fell away from him as limply as a ragdoll, both of their faces burning.

It was a waiter, probably in his mid-forties and more haggard than ever. Like the other waitstaff, she was dressed in typical "surgeon wear", scrubs and latex gloves and plastic hair covering and all (the only thing missing was a face mask). He cleared his throat again, saying in an extremely musical voice, "My name is Ithuriel. Our wine today is a special house blend called Scalpel Rouge, and you can see the rest of our selection on the backs of your menu cards. Can I get you anything to drink? Water will be out once you two children give me an answer."

Clary was so distracted by the bass rumble of his voice that she almost missed his question. "Um..." she started, unclasping her clipboard and looking over the wine selection. Should she try wine? What did it taste like? She chose one at random. "I'll take Cab... Caber-Net... So-Vig-Nin..."

"Cabernet Sovignon?" Ithuriel clarified uninterestedly, practically singing.

"Yeah, what you said."

"Can I see your ID, young lady?"

Clary dug out her Hello Kitty wallet out of her tote bag, retrieving her license and handing it to the waiter. As he studied it, she studied him. Although his face was lined like one who had worked rigorously in recent years, he was still handsome. And poking out from under his hat were bright golden curls that made her think of Jace. Come to think of it, the waiter with the strange name even had the same light-brown, goldish eyes...

Words tumbled out of Clary's mouth. "Are you related to Jace Wayland?"

Simon gave her a look, but Ithuriel just sighed and said mellifluously, "No, but I get that all the time."


He handed Clary back her license, and turned to Simon for his wine order.

"Pinot Grigio for me, please."

"I'll be right back with water for both of you," Ithuriel said miserably, ambling away with the canter of one who was carrying a heavy burden on his back.

Once he was out of earshot, Clary pouted. "Why did he ID me and not you?"

Simon disregarded her question, a glower playing at his features. "What was with that display?"

"What display?"

"You... kissing me like that. What was that about? I was trying to get away, and you just shoved your tongue in my mouth."

The way he put it made it sound so harsh. And Clary had been trying to be romantic! "Oh. That," she said simply, at a loss for what to say.

"Don't you, 'oh, that,' me, Fray," Simon warned. "What the hell came over you?"

Clary stared at her hands, clasped and resting on the table, for a moment and then reached one up gently, holding it against his cheek. "It's because I love you," she half-pleaded. "And I want to be with you forever."

Simon exhaled carefully, a strange look in his eyes, as he brought one of his own hands up to remove Clary's. Even so, he held it in both of his on the tabletop. "That's what I want to talk about with you."

Then his expression contorted violently, and he jumped to his feet.

"Simon? What's wrong?"

"I've got to go to the bathroom," he explained frantically, darting off to an attached hallway with a plaque above it proclaiming: RESTROOMS.

His first impression of the men's room at Scalpel was that it was nice. Almost too nice, decor-wise, and it didn't have the strong odor that most men's bathrooms usually did. Had he stumbled into the women's room by mistake?

Turning a corner, he saw urinals with the same modern, metallic finish as everything else in there. Ah, so he was in the men's room. That was comforting.

And he was the only one inside, too.

With no hesitation, Simon wrestled down his tight jeans.

A minute or so later, as he struggled to pull them back up over his hips, he heard the door swinging open again. He tried even harder to force his jeans up (why had he worn the super-tight ones today?) at the risk of being embarrassed with the arrival of the newcomer.

Sadly, he was too late.

And once he saw a familiar head of white-blond hair turn the corner, his mouth dropped open.


Sebastian recognized Simon and grinned the grin of a cat before its teeth entrapped a helpless mouse. The Morgenstern grin. "Oh, Simon. Fancy seeing you here... and in such a state."

Simon finally wrenched his pants up, buttoning them and trying not to look as mortified as he felt. Naturally, Sebastian would be the one to walk in on him fighting with his jeans in the public bathroom of a shady restaurant.

"Um..." Simon sputtered, grasping for words. "What are you... doing here?"

Sebastian kept staring at him, a smirk playing at his lips. "I was going to go to the bathroom, as it appears you were just doing."

Only Sebastian would be so obviously candid as to make Simon feel unintentionally stupid for asking such a question. Either way, staring at the tall, fair-haired man brought butterflies into Simon's stomach and memories of the night before flooding into his mind...

Simon blushed, but played it off as nothing. "No. What are you doing here at... Scalpel?"

The slightly older young man took a few slow, measured steps towards Simon, his smirk growing and taking over his face. "I was just at a birthday party upstairs for my aunt, Elodie."

"Ah. That's nice."

Sebastian advanced even more, until they were barely an arm's length apart. "But I'm sure that she wouldn't mind if I was away for a short while..."

He ducked in with intent of kissing the brown-haired boy, but Simon turned his head in panic at the last moment. Sebastian's lips grazed his cheek, arms folding around to cradle him.

"You're all I could think about today," he whispered in Simon's ear, hot breath evoking a shudder.

"S-Sebastian?" Simon squirmed, only half-trying to free himself from the model's embrace. The truth was that he had been thinking about Sebastian all day, too, and that every second that went by sent him closer and closer to melting in sheer desire. He barely wanted to fight it anymore.

"Yes?" Sebastian's mouth dragged along Simon's jawline.

Simon was forced to play the last card he had. "This might sound awkward, but... don't you have to go to the bathroom?"

A laugh rumbled through Sebastian's chest, and his composure slipped. He pulled back for a moment, a real smile on his face. It made him look almost... harmless. Friendly, even. "Does it matter?"

"Well, kind of. I guess."

He laughed again, still holding the other boy in his tight embrace. "You are so innocent, in your own way. It's extremely refreshing."

A witty comment tumbled out of Simon's mouth. "Just because people like you are over-sexed doesn't mean the rest of us are." He regretted saying it as soon as he did- would the model see it as an insult?

But he laughed yet again, looking actually happy instead of predatory.

"Wow, you must be really starved for humor," Simon observed. "I'm not that funny, you know."

"Simon," Sebastian playfully admonished, his pale face almost sweet. "In my book, you are hilarious."

"Is that an insult?"

Sebastian paused briefly, a look of amusement frozen as if by a 'pause' button on a remote control. Finally, he pecked Simon's cheek before he could react. "Of course it's not an insult."

Simon's face grew warm from the brief pressure of the blond's lips on his cheek. "Oh. Good. I hoped it wasn't," he choked out awkwardly. Then, he resentfully remembered his girlfriend. As much as he wanted to stay in that bathroom, laughing and talking with Sebastian, it just wasn't fair to Clary. Damn ginger. "Sebastian..." Simon began grudgingly. "I just want you to know that I'm here because I'm on a date. With Clary."

The taller boy drew back, studying Simon placidly through his midnight eyes. "Are you." It wasn't a question.

Simon answered it like one anyway. "Yes, I am. It's to reevaluate our relationship."

"Alright," he permitted with a curt nod. "But you can't leave me empty-handed."

"Can't I?" the brunet squeaked.

"No, I wouldn't say that you can. You at least have to give me something to remember you by until you're officially on-the-market."

"A token of my affections?"

Dark humor shone in Sebastian's piercing gaze. "If you want to think about it that way, then yes."

Seized by a sudden, uncharacteristic whim, Simon gave in to his desires that had been brewing, and pressed his mouth against the other young man's.

The nerves in his lips felt like they would explode- was this what kissing was supposed to be like? Not the tame, safe embraces of Clary (or her apparent scary side...), but something passionate and primal and instinctive?

Simon felt his back press up against an empty wall of the bathroom as Sebastian's mouth ravaged his and vice versa, and wasn't even sure how far things were going to go, but did he even care?

And then he heard a call echoing around the corner. "Sebastian! Sebastian, are you in here?"

The boys' lips came apart to barely an inch as they stared into each other's eyes in wonderment, trying to catch their breath.

"Sebastian!" It was that voice again...

"Shit," muttered the Sebastian in question, jumping a foot away and beginning to assiduously wash his hands. He raised his voice. "I'm in here, Jace!"

Jace Wayland turned the corner then, exasperatedly bringing a hand through his gold curls. "There you are. God damn it, why didn't you answer me the first time?"

"I couldn't hear you," his twin claimed innocently, the sexual flush still in his cheeks, as Simon noticed in the mirror.

"Like hell you couldn't hear me. Either way, the old man sent me to get you. Elodie's about to freak out. She thought you left." Jace leaned against the wall opposite Simon, crossing his muscled arms and looking lazily into the mirror. He seemed to actually notice the room's third occupant for the first time, eyebrows raising. "Well, what do you know. Simon, right?"

"Yeah," he barely choked out, trying to make his face return to its normal color.

Jace's buttery brown gaze slid fluidly from his brother to Simon over and over again, and then a knowing smirk spread across his face. "Ah, I see," he teased, strutting up to the sink next to Sebastian's and looking at him in the mirror's reflection. "So that's what's been taking you."

Sebastian's expression turned hostile. "Don't. Tell. Anyone," he enunciated.

As Simon stared at the brothers in the mirror, he was abruptly jarred to the realization of exactly how much their looked alike, especially for fraternal twins. And seeing Sebastian's evil smirk replicated on Jace was just scary.

"Don't tell anyone what?" Jace mocked.

"You know what I'm talking about, little brother."

"Do I?"

"You do."

"You sure about that?"

Simon took the chance to sigh loudly, and started making his way to the door. "Look," he said, interrupting the brothers' bickering, "it was nice seeing you, Sebastian, but I've got to go now. So... bye, I suppose."

"Goodbye," Sebastian said, giving the brunet a wink in the mirror. "I'll see you later."

It almost sounded like a threat. "Yeah. Later." Simon turned on his heel and crossed the remainder of the room.

"What, no goodbye for me?" Jace called after him. "Typical."

Of what? "And goodbye, Jace!" Simon yelled back indignantly.

When he got back to the table, Simon found Clary sipping dark red liquid from a wine glass and grinning like a lunatic.

Maybe Sebastian was the better choice...

"Simon!" Clary squealed as he sat down, putting her wine glass on the table with a 'clink' noise. "I hope you don't mind, but I ordered for you since you were taking so long."

"Thanks," he commented uncertainly. "What did you order?"

"You'll see!" That was Clary-ese for "Actually, I picked at random and can't remember what I blindly chose." Either way, she covered it up with a winning smile. "I'm just really happy that you're back."

"Yeah, alright."

Clary could sense that something was off about her boyfriend, but she didn't quite know what. She wanted to ask him, but then figured that if it was any of her business, he would surely tell her on his own. Nevertheless, the mere sight of him made Clary's heart kick into overdrive.

Her Simon, so handsome with his kindly brown eyes, always supportive of her and an overall wonderful person.

To think that she had slept with someone who probably wasn't him... It was baffling to know that alcohol could do that to someone.

Clary took another absentminded sip of her wine and kept staring at her boyfriend, batting her eyelashes slightly. If she had to lose her virginity to a stranger, she could at least make it up to Simon later.

"Now, Simon," she said, attempting an Isabelle-esque purr. "What were you going to say earlier?"

Simon distractedly played with his own wine glass, tracing the rim, down the side of the cup, down the stem, across the base, and the same in reverse. His doe eyes didn't meet her once. "Well, Clary, it's something I've been thinking about for awhile now, and..."

Was he going to propose? That would be so romantic, Clary thought. But if he's planning on spending his life with me, we should at least talk about last night first.

It was that thought that prompted her to interrupt, "Wait. Hold on. Before you say anything else, let's talk about what happened last night."

Simon's gaze flicked to hers for an instant, and then back to his wine glass. "Okay, fine. What about it?"

She drew in a deep breath, and then words began falling out from between her glossy, bubble-gum flavored lips. "Well, basically, I don't really know what happened, but I know that I had sex and I know that it wasn't with you, so I'm really disappointed and kind of upset about that, and I know that you slept with Sebastian and probably Raphael, and that I made out with Jace, and-"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, Clary, slow down," Simon said wearily, grabbing her sweater-clad shoulder from across the table and shaking it gently for emphasis. "Just take it one thing at a time."

Breath left her mouth in a muted hiss, like a whistling tea kettle after the heat was turned off. "I know," she sighed, attempting a wry smile. "But, anyway... I'm really sorry about last night."

"It wasn't your fault," he said immediately.

"Well, yeah, but I still broke our personal commitment to each other."

"I broke it too," Simon said, another odd look coming over his face as it flooded with vibrant color. He opened his mouth, wordlessly at first, and then began to speak, voice anguished. "Clary, I-"

But then the Jace-reminiscent waiter, Ithuriel, appeared at the head of the table, laden with two plates.

Clary grabbed Simon's hand and squeezed it. "Look, our food's here!"

"Actually," clarified the weary waiter, "these are your appetizers that are complimentary with the entrees you ordered."

"Same diff," Clary scoffed, mildly insulted. Then she downed the rest of her glass of wine.

Ithuriel laid the plates on the table, two white rectangles identically made up with a pipette filled with light liquid, with a cherry tomato, a basil leaf, and a sphere of mozzarella stuck on the tip.

"Um," Simon said, staring down at his plate, "what is this, exactly?"

"Salad," replied Ithuriel. "The concept is that you stick the whole tip in your mouth- the tomato and mozzarella and basil, in other words- and squirt the olive oil in as you chew." With that, he left the wary consumers alone and confused.

"What, are they going through budget cuts?" Simon muttered. "May as well try this..." He picked up his pipette and did as instructed, grimacing as the flood of too much olive oil entered his mouth. Still, he finished without spitting it out.

"Well?" Clary pressed, fingering hers and trying to decide what she should do with it.

"That was..." he said, smacking his tongue and wrinkling his nose, "interesting. Not necessarily bad, but interesting."

Clary, at that moment, ate her "salad". It actually wasn't bad and was kind of interesting, but the deluge of olive oil was extremely disorienting. Regardless, it left a pleasant aftertaste in her mouth. She wished she had more, if anything.

"How was yours?" Simon asked.

"I kind of want to ask for another."

Simon sipped his wine and rolled his eyes affectionately. "You are one odd little ginger, Fray. But what was the chef thinking? How does that qualify as salad?"

"I don't really know, but I liked it."

The Lewis boy poked at his empty pipette on the stark white plate. "I just realized something. Why did the olive oil come in a medicine dropper? It seems really shady. Like the rest of this place!" he tacked on, finishing in a conspiratorial whisper.

"It's probably just going with the theme. You know, hospitals and doctors and stuff."

"And who in their right mind would make that the theme of a restaurant in the first place?"

Clary shrugged noncommittally. "I dunno. Someone."

Ithuriel came back again with two more platters.

"That was quick," Simon murmured under his breath to his girlfriend.

The waiter set down a plate in front of Clary, then Simon, saying, "I have the open-faced roast beef sandwich with arugula and pumpkin butter, and the sweet-potato gnocchi with cranberries, apples, and Amish bleu cheese." Simon made a betrayed face at Clary at what she had ordered as Ithuriel collected their empty pipette-laden trays. "Your sides of apple sauce are on the way, but will take several minutes."

Once he was a safe distance away, Simon widened his eyes comically and accosted his ginger-haired girlfriend in a shaking voice, "Clarissa June Fray, what the fucking hell did you order?"

"I just picked at random," she confessed, grinning at his melodramatics.

"You... picked... at random?" Simon squeaked, his voice choked. His gaze dropped to his plate of sweet-potato gnocchi. "Clary, this looks like a tray of severed thumbs."

Clary laughed. Her boyfriend was so funny sometimes. "Oh, Simon." Then she looked upon her own platter, another stark white rectangle, this time occupied by a cheerful slab of bread, atop of which sat roast beef and leafy greens resting on a light orange paste.

"At least yours looks edible," the brunet complained petulantly, grabbing for a fork and coming up with an oversized pair of tweezers. That set him off, apparently, as he slammed his fist on the table and yelled, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PLACE? Can't I just have a normal fork instead of these God-damn mother-f-"

Clary desperately picked up a piece of his gnocchi (which coincidentally did look like a severed thumb) with her fingers and shoved it in his mouth in hopes of quieting him. By now, people were staring due to his outburst, and she needed to calm him down as soon as possible. She didn't want to be kicked out! That wasn't romantic at all.

Simon slowly chewed his gourmet mouthful, asking out of the corner of his mouth, "And what the hell did you just feed me?"

"Part of your food," Clary said, gesturing at his plate.

"It's fucking disgusting," he pouted, nonetheless picking up his tweezers and stuffing in another bite.

"Then why are you eating it?" The ginger was still wary of the onlookers, but everyone's eyes seemed to be averted once again.

"I'm starving. That damned salad-substitute made me hungry. I bet it's something in the olive oil."

Clary gave him a look and searched her side of the table for a knife to cut up her sandwich with. But all that was left was a scalpel...

Wow, she thought, I'm all for themed restaurants, but this is going overboard.

In any case, the young Fray stabbed her tweezers into her sandwich to hold it in place and cut into it with her provided scalpel.

Simon, meanwhile, kept shoveling his "disgusting" gnocchi into his mouth, including the various pieces of bleu cheese, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and apples scattered throughout the dish. All the while, he wore his same angst-ridden expression, but his temper seemed to have cooled.

That was good for Clary if they were finally going to consummate their relationship that night. Unless they had angry sex... She'd heard about it on television and it seemed promising...

Clary, then, took a bite of her quartered sandwich, and it tasted... Surprisingly normal. Refreshingly, almost. A second later was when the pumpkin butter kicked in, leaving a warm and pasty spice on her tastebuds. It was a bit gross, but not overbearing. She took another bite.

As the young couple was finishing their entrees in food-induced silence, Ithuriel came back with a third set of two white trays. This time, they each held a syringe- an oversized one at least six inches long and an inch wide- filled with applesauce. "Your sides," he delivered in his pleasant baritone, dropping them off on the table and walking away.

Both adults stopped their eating and stared at the new arrivals.

It was Simon, naturally, who broke the silence. "Do they expect us to eat that or shoot it up our veins like heroin?"

Clary finished her sandwich and picked up her syringe, turning it over in her hands. It was an awfully large one, and how was she supposed to get to the applesauce trapped inside?

As she lifted it up and pushed the pointy (yet needle-less) tip past her lips, a thought crossed her mind.

A dirty thought.

Recalling Harry/Draco slash fics she occasionally read before going to sleep at night.

Clary wondered if Simon recognized the potential for naughty symbolism that lay in this syringe. She looked forward to him to see if he was paying attention, and surely enough, he was staring bemusedly at her.

A smile twitched at the corners of her mouth around the syringe.

And Clary Fray instinctively decided to put on a show.

She pushed the syringe in deeper.

A/N: Wow, I'm sorry that took so long! What did you all think? Tell me! Is it too sexual? I'm going to keep it rated T since I've seen much, much worse, but what do you all think?

Again, I'm sorry that this took so long, but it was a difficult few months writing-wise. Not much time to write recently! And as of right now, my nose is running like a faucet and I have a pile of used Kleenexes in front of me about as tall as Mt. Everest, but I figured that getting this up is important! So you'd all better appreciate it. Let's hope I get better soon!

Can you at least leave me reviews so I can know if it's good or not? Thanks.

Oh, and before anyone asks, this is where I got the ideas for all the wacky food: My aunt dragged me to a shady fundraiser awhile ago, and that was all the food that was served. I tried it all, and my opinions are reflected in the characters. =) Yes, the applesauce syringes were included.

With love,
I Suffer From Hubris