So, been a while since I have worked on this.
On the plus side, I am the proud owner of two university degrees and hopefully some job offers next year.
Here is a new update :)
Disclaimer: all characters associated with The Mortal Instruments belong to Cassie Clare.
It was Wednesday night and Clary was having a drink at The Hunter's Moon. As per usual, she was sitting alone in a darkend corner of the room drinking a vodka orange watching and listening to the room around her. Groups of drunken men were laughing, gaggles of women dressed in barely anything were grinding away on the dance floor and loud thumping music- controlled by a DJ with dreadlocks- caused everything to vibrate. For a Wednesday night it was very busy, but the bar often had student nights which offered discounted drinks and enough young half naked women to lure the older men away from sitting in front of their televisions.
Clary felt epically overdressed in her work clothes, but she figured that after taking her suit jacket off, the tight skirt, red blouse and nude heels helped her fit in a bit more. In this room somewhere, the fiancé of her newest client was probably drinking beer and laughing with his friends, but for once, Clary couldn't find it in herself to get up and get the job done; she was thinking about Jace.
Ever since he had invited her around for dinner at his house- something that Jace just didn't do, according to Isabelle- Clary had been struggling over what she should do about him. She was no where near in love with him, but she respected him and she genuinely liked him as a guy, but she was afraid to delve deeper into her feelings for something more than 'like'. And that was where her dilemma lay. She could claim Jace as a friend, and keep going on with her life-this secretive part of it especially- not feeling guilty about betraying him, or she could really consider giving him a go and giving up this particular part of her life.
Really, what was she gaining from this? She already knew what men could be like, and she had- in her opinion- helped many women realise what scumbags the men they were about to marry were. She had had to find out the hard way, and that had taught her to be strong; maybe she wasn't really doing these women any favors in sending them one text telling them that the men they loved were cheating asses. You could learn and grow stronger from things like finding out the man you loved had a tendency to favour someone other than just you.
Clary pondered this new chain of thinking. She had never met a guy since Sebastian that she had ever truly thought she would spend the rest of her life with, but maybe with Jace she could see herself being his friend and then something more.
Which led to her current predicament involving her little side job. She was far from a prostitute- she never slept with the men after all- but sometimes when they kissed her or groped her, she didn't rebuff their attempts. She went along with their clumsy attempts at getting her to go home with them, but she would always right at the end slip away never to see the men again or know the eventual outcome. Hopefully they all ended up on their asses outside the door.
But to allow another man to kiss her while she was in the early stages of 'maybe' dating Jace... Catching potential cheaters was different if you were being the cheater as well.
Clary remembered the drive back home on Saturday and how she had felt unsettled and unsure of herself. Sure they had kissed, and maybe somewhere in there, there might have been a declaration of some sort, but Clary just could not be definite of his intentions.
They had shared a few kisses and he had invited her around for dinner, but that was all that had happened to make it seem like she shouldn't be here tonight doing another job; a couple of kisses and an official dinner date. Not exactly 'we are official' material in Clary's eyes.
Sighing heavily, Clary sucked up some of the liquid in her glass and read the description on her phone from the latest client. She still marveled at how fast word of mouth had travelled, and while she knew there were some people who thought she was some sort of home wrecker, Clary didn't waste her energy caring about those opinions because she knew what she was, and she accepted it. But in her mind, she was helping out other women in relationships by giving them the chance to test the faithfulness of their husband's to be.
So sue her if she was a home wrecker. Clary solely believed that women put too much trust in the men in their lives- she had been one of them, so she knew- so giving them the opportunity for an objective third party to test this faithfulness was an idea that Clary prided herself on thinking of.
"Waiting for your boyfriend gorgeous?"
Clary was pulled out of her thoughts by the sound of a voice coming from behind her. Turning in her seat slowly, Clary arched an eyebrow up at the man standing in front of her.
It seemed like she had found her man- or rather, he had found her. The description in the text message fit the man right down to the picture of the half naked girl on a bike across the front of his blue shirt. That rarely happened, and it was a strike against him already. But at least Clary didn't have to go through the painful process of starting up a conversation with him amongst his friends. That was always a tedious task.
Keeping eye contact with the man, Clary smiled and shook her head. "No, actually I am drinking alone tonight. Bad day, so you know, just drinking my sorrows away." She allowed herself a grimace; it had been a trying day for her after all, so she wasn't exactly lying.
The man smirked at her and moved in closer. "Well how about you come join me and my mates and we shall see if we can make your night better?"
Clary mentally gagged- his breath smelt horrible- but maintained her cool composure and laughed lightly. "Oh, I wouldn't want to intrude. I mean, I am pretty depressing company I admit."
The guy shrugged his shoulders and moved to sit down in the vacant seat next to hers. "I'm sure we could easily fix that. Maybe get a couple more drinks into you, and you should be having a great time."
Clary smiled at the man in front of her as she stood up. Time to play her part. "Well, if you say so, how could I possibly refuse?"
"Axel." The hand stuck out in front of her face was long and thin with very little muscle to speak ok. Clary took it and smiled, but didn't offer her name. She never did, and when she was required to, the alias 'Jo'-short for Jocelyn- was what she used.
As the man gripped her hand and led her towards a rather large group of men, Clary swore to herself this was the last time she was going to do this. It just wasn't worth it anymore.
"Alec, better watch out for drunk girls tonight. Don't want the new shirt that Magnus gave you to get ruined."
Alec glared at Simon while the two boys walking next to him laughed. "That was not funny."
"Ah lighten up man. Tonight is the first time we've been able to drag you from your purple sparkly boyfriend, so you are not going to mope and complain all night."
Alec punched Jace in the shoulder. "Yeah yeah, I know. Boys night and everything. Can we at least be home by midnight? I want to see him off to the airport in the morning."
Jace halted his steps and put a hand to his heart. Turning to Simon he looked at his soon to be brother-in-law and pleaded with wide eyes, "Simon, please don't turn into such a sap when you marry my sister." Letting his hand fall away from his body he grinned, shook his head at the expression on Alec's face at being called a 'sap' and then continued walking.
It was Alec who remarked after sometime of silent walking, "Actually the chances of Simon being at Isabelle's beck and call are pretty high."
Now it was Simon's turn to punch Alec on the arm before smirking and saying, "Says the one who used to carry Isabelle's handbag around for her because she complained her arms were tired."
Jace put his hands to his face and shook his head from side to side. "No more, I won't listen to how a girl has both your balls in her grip!"
Alec and Simon smirked as they high fived each other. Alec had told the story of how Jace would always follow Isabelle around when he had first came to live with them and would play dolls with her when she demanded it, many times before. As much as Jace may hate to admit it, he too had his balls in Isabelle's grip. Despite this, they both knew that Jace was fiercely protective of Isabelle regardless of how much the thought of her having the ability to make them look less masculine horrified him.
Simon was rather keen to never upset his soon to be wife; Jace could be a force to be reckoned with when it came to Isabelle.
The boys were out that night heading to The Hunter's Moon for a boys night out. Isabelle was at a girlfriend's house for the evening and Magnus was packing for a business trip and insisted he needed at least five hours to get everything, so the three boys had decided that they would spend the evening at their usual haunt and have a few beers. "So what's the go with you and Clary tomorrow night Jace?" Simon asked as they reached the pub's entry.
Jace shrugged and fished out his I.D to show the bouncer. After being waved through and receiving the stamp to his wrist- a picture of a wolf howling to the moon- Jace replied, "Not sure actually. I told her to come for dinner, so I suppose I'll have to make something for that."
Alec rolled his eyes and Simon smirked. "You know exactly what you are making, don't try fool us."
Jace grinned sheepishly but didn't reply, instead choosing to lead them through the packed dance floor towards the bar. The lights were dim, the music was loud and the crush of bodies was suffocating. Jace was glad when he escaped from the bump and grind of the people who chose to make a dance floor of the walking path, and nodded his head in acknowledgement when Alec and Simon indicated they would grab a free table at the considerably less crowded part of the pub in the back corner. As he made his way towards the bar, Jace noticed a flash of red hair whirling past him in the corner of his eye. He wondered what Clary was doing; he would have invited her, but Alec didn't seem to like her, and he figured a night with the boys was long over due. He was going to see her tomorrow anyway, and like Simon had said, he knew exactly what he was doing.
He was Jace Lightwood after all. Even if he was a bit on the rusty side.
Ten minutes later, Jace was joining Simon and Alec at a little table in the back corner of the bar. It was dark- the only light came from some red tinted lights set high in the roof- and the music was more of a throbbing than the heavy heart pounding sound it was toward the front of the club. Jace raised his glass in salute to the other two men and then took a long pull, relishing the coolness in his throat.
The dance floor was tightly packed with writhing bodies and the blue, red and green strobe lights were giving a hypnotizing effect to the sweat glistening people who were out for a night of fun. Jace had grown up preferring to play instruments than dancing to them, and like Alec, wouldn't be caught dead dancing on a dance floor unless he really had to. Magnus had often tried to drag him and Alec onto dance floors in the past, and Jace had always thought that while he was an ok dancer, Alec made side to side shuffling and swinging of the hands look horribly awkward. The contrast between Magnus, in all his glitter and colorful glory, and Alec in his staple grey and black jumpers was shocking really. It often made Jace marvel at the way in which opposites really could attract so much.
Remembering a time when Magnus had gleefully grabbed Alec's hips and had tried to get him to do a hip swing- which had resulted in Alec falling over- Jace chuckled and looked over to where Alec was eyeing the dance floor distastefully. "Reminiscing Alec?" Jace asked, chortling.
Alec shot Jace a foul look and then took a long pull on his drink while Simon shook his head and grinned. "Actually, I'm surprised you're not reminiscing about that time those women on the hens night decided to attack you because they thought you were the stripper Jace."
"My dear Simon, I always think of that. That night is the perfect example of the fact that my body covered up is too great for the female population to bear... My body uncovered makes them swoon."
Simon snorted and Alec started coughing after choking on his drink.
"Yea, I'm pretty sure that night ended with you out on your butt on the street after the bouncers kicked you out for taking your clothes off."
Jace put on a look of pure outrage at Simon's words. "Never! I was the victim of sexual harassment. The bouncers were just jealous that I had women tearing my clothes left right and centre."
"Jace you encouraged them. I'd have thought the fact that they were throwing money at you as you wiggled your ass at them would have given the bouncers a good enough reason to remove you from the premises."
"They were jealous." Jade said firmly.
Alec and Simon shook their heads but grinned. That had been a good night for Jace; it was about a year and a half after the death of his fiancé and he had been trying to show a strong face for his family for too long. Isabelle had dragged them all out one night saying Jace needed to stop moping around the house and go out and meet new women. And new women had he met; Isabelle knew there was a hens night at the bar that night and so Jace- being the single and attractive young man that he was- was instantly fawned over by numerous single women. To the point where he started losing clothes because Isabelle not so subtly whispered to an exuberant girl that he was their stripper for the night. It had taken Jace by surprise to have the ten or so women around him start screaming and reaching into their purses for money.
Jace turned his expression back to the dance floor and watched as a woman in a red blouse was having her bum squeezed by a tall guy on the dance floor. Her red hair made him think again of Clary. He doubted it was love- he hadn't felt that way in a long time, but he could possibly get there if the two of them started to see more of each other.
Alec and Simon began a conversation about Simon's work, and Jace listened half heartedly, putting in his comment every now and then, but thinking mainly about Clary. He hadn't felt so nervous in many years when over the weekend they had kissed, and for that alone, he felt like he was a teenager with his first crush all over again. Jace was jolted out of his thoughts by Simon and Alec roaring with laughter, and Jace realised that without knowing it, he had been unconsciously watching the woman with the red hair on the dance floor. Jace shook his head- the red hair was a serious trigger for him it seemed- and tried to pick up what Alec and Simon were talking about.
Upon discovering the conversation revolved around Magnus' and Isabelle's shopping habits, Jace quickly tuned out and resumed his beer drinking while looking around the bar. It was very busy for a Wednesday night, but given the student discounts, Jace wasn't surprised it was so packed. His attention was drawn back to the dance floor at the sight of the red hair again- really, was he going to whip his head around at every sight of red hair?- and received a huge shock when the woman was quickly spun. He swore it was Clary! The woman's face was partially covered by the hair that had come lose from being spun so quickly, but Jace was sure it was Clary.
Alec noticed Jace's sudden move and exclamation, and looked where he was looking. He noticed lots of people dancing, but nothing extraordinary. "Jace, what's the matter man?"
Jace tore his eyes off the dance floor and turned to see Simon and Alec looking at him expectantly. "I think I just saw Clary."
Alec rolled his eyes and muttered, "Well keep her away from me. I like this shirt."
Simon stood and peered intently into the mass of bodies on the dance floor but couldn't see anyone that looked like Clary. "Maybe you are thinking too hard about her mate? I can't see her."
"Simon, your eyesight is worse than Isabelle's cooking. I'm not relying on your judgement. I'll be back soon; if she is here I want to say hello." Alec groaned and shrank back into his chair while Simon just shrugged and told Jace they would still be there when he got back. Standing, Jace took another swig of his beer and then made his way towards the large wall of moving people.
Clary's heart faltered for a moment and then kick started itself like a jackhammer chewing it's way through concrete. He couldn't be here, not tonight! Her arm was still in Axel's grip, and he was still pressing his body into hers from the behind, but Jace was getting closer to her spot on the dance floor and Clary knew she needed to get away now.
Putting into action one of the lessons her sensei had taught her about escaping an attack from behind, Clary lifted her sharp stiletto clad foot and slammed it down as hard as she could onto the large foot next to her own. Before he had time to properly react to this new pain, Clary twisted out of his now loosened grip- and ignoring the hands that tried to swipe at her- she started to make her way in the opposite direction to Jace, squeezing her way through the crushing bodies.
She was never more glad for her tiny stature than when it came to escaping in crowded places. She didn't have much strength to push people apart, but she could bend over and squirm her way through the throngs of bodies. She had even once got down on her hands and feet and crawled through people, but she had never done that one again after having her hand stood on by a girl wearing heels and having one rather enthusiastic dancing guy hit her in the head when she had jerked backwards in pain. That had been when she was 16 and at a popular band's concert, and she had never had the urge to do it again!
After much pushing and shoving, Clary made it out of the throng of people and slowly, so as to not catch any unwanted attention, she made her way through the bodies milling around chatting and slipped towards the exit. She breathed in a much welcomed breath of fresh air once she had nodded her head in farewell to the bouncer and started off down the street towards Magnus' house. Sometimes having a friend who lived in the hustle and bustle of the city came in use when you needed a place to crash the night. And a key to said friend's place.
As Clary turned the corner, she heard running footsteps making their way towards her. Chancing a look behind her in curiosity, Clary groaned out loud when she realised Axel had somehow managed to follow her out of the throng of people and out onto the street. She wasn't in her element here, and for that Clary suddenly became very nervous.
Clary rolled her eyes in exasperation but stopped. Seriously, wait? Like she could even outrun him in the first place. She was wearing heels and a skirt that didn't like to stretch for goodness sake! Clary casually leant against the concrete wall behind her and lifted her right leg up and tucked it up under her against the wall. It was in a good position to knee Axel in the groin if she needed to. She watched with a smile on her face as the man she had just escaped came closer.
"Hey Axel. What's up?"
Axel looked at her strangely, then shrugged. "You just left without saying goodbye. Just checking you were ok. You seemed pretty keen to get away from me."
Clary had to resist the urge to roll her eyes. Yes, she was more than keen to get away from him. Jace had almost seen her intimately pressed up against another man who was holding her possessively. Somehow Clary didnt think that would have given him a good impression for tomorrow night.
And she had just decided to give him a go as well.
"I'm fine, really. Just needed some air. It got a bit too stuffy for me in there." Clary shrugged and made a show of looking at her watch. "But anyway, I'm going to head home now ok. It was nice meeting you." As she was saying this, Clary stood up right and tried to side step the man who didn't know the meaning of 'faithful'.
As she side stepped him and turned her back to him as she made to walk down the street, Axel grabbed her by her shoulder and spun her so her back was once again to the wall. "I think I deserve a goodnight kiss. Don't you Sugar?" Whoa, this guy's mood change was going to give her whip lash.
The air blowing from this man's mouth was still just as terrible as it had been at the beginning of the night, and Clary really didn't want it anywhere near her own mouth. Playing coy, Clary smiled up at Axel and said, "Well why don't you give me your number, and we can maybe go out for dinner sometime?"
"I can go one better; how about you take me back to your place and then we can go out to dinner tomorrow." It didn't seem like a question to Clary; it was more like a demand, what with the way he was leering at her and holding her against the wall.
Ugh, Clary thought. Creep. Who would even want to marry this?
Sighing deeply, Clary continued with her facade, but she would be damned if her client was going to marry this man. "Really, I couldn't. It's a school night and everything, you know. Plus I have a housemate who doesn't like strangers."
"Well, in that case, here is as good as any place." Axel lowered his head and started nuzzling and licking her neck. Clary supposed that was better than him kissing her, but she wasn't going to take any of his shit.
She opened her mouth to tell him to back off, but ended up gasping instead when he bit her neck a bit too hard. Feeling more than just pissed off now, Clary slithered her hands up between their bodies and pushed him away. Things had gone far enough in her opinion, and she refused to let the man hurt her.
"Oh playing hard to get Sugar? Don't worry, you already have me babe."
Clary snorted and shook her head as she once again deployed her martial arts training, this time twisting the arms that had been holding her by the shoulders out and away from her body. Ignoring his sudden gasp of pain, Clary applied some pressure to her movements which caused him to step away from her even more to avoid the pain.
Clary kept her voice light, but her eyes betrayed her anger as she spoke her next words, "Well, while this has been fun, I do have to go. Like I said, school night and all, you know. Plus I wish you all the luck in the world with your marriage." Clary grinned at the man's flabbergasted expression, and after adding a swift blow to his groin, she started to make her way back down the street. She stopped after about fifteen steps and called back, "Assuming you survive the night first."
This was definitely the last time she was taking on another case.
If Clary had have turned around and looked down the opposite side of the street, she would have seen something that would have turned her blood cold, but as it was, she was feeling immensely impressed with herself for having escaped that incident relatively unscathed. She'd faced worse after all. It was without a single shred of remorse that she sent off a text message with the sole intention of ruining one young woman's future dreams.
But at least the stranger's heart was being saved for the long term in the process.
Jace had lost sight of the woman that looked like Clary when he had been speaking with Simon and Alec, but he was sure he could find her; red hair was difficult to miss. He trawled the dance floor for five minutes trying to find the woman in the red blouse, but couldn't see anyone with the same red hair. Eventually he gave up and made his way back to Alec and Simon who had finished their beers and were looking ready to leave. Jace drank the remaining dregs of his beer and after a quick toilet stop, the three men made their way towards the exit.
"What time is Magnus' flight Alec?" Simon asked as they stepped outside and began heading towards Magnus' place to drop Alec off.
"His plane leaves at 8."
Simon nodded and the conversation died.
Jace had an early start the next morning himself, as he had a big lunch reservation that needed catering for. Normally he would stay back late and work on Thursday nights, but he had swapped shifts with one of the other chefs so that he could be home for Clary.
As the high spirited men made their way down the street, Jace noticed a man and a woman standing close together on the opposite side of the road. The thing that sparked Jace's interest in the otherwise occupied couple was the street light reflection on the woman's hair. The rest of her body was blocked by the man standing in front of her, but what amount of hair Jace could see, he could tell that it was red. Feeling disappointed that it wasn't Clary he had been trying to find earlier, Jace lost interest. He knew it couldn't have been Clary because she clearly didn't have a boyfriend based on their interactions together, and Jace believed she wasn't the type to pick up men in bars and have shady hook ups on the side walk.
Simon and Alec were talking quietly next to him as they walked, and Jace was about to shift his attention to them when he saw the man stumble backwards and the small figure of the woman try to step around him.
The feeling in Jace's stomach was akin to that of a knife twisting.
The woman he had been actively pursuing just ten minutes ago was indeed Clary.
And she was in the arms of another man.
Oops... Yes, I just did that.
She was always going to get found out... I warned you chapters ago :p
So, it has been ages since this story was updated. I predict 2-3 more chapters until finished...
Thoughts on Jace's discovery?