Disclaimer: I do not own mortal instruments, the character names are owned by Cassandra Clare. The original content, ideas and intellectual property of this story are owned by lily fierce, 2011-2012. Please do not copy, reproduce, or translate without express written permission.
Hello lovely peoples! Thank you guys so much for all your reviews and here's a new chapter, although this one didn't take as long as the last one :D
I have finals this week and i know I should be studying for my algebra final, but I hate math so much… I just can't handle looking at another equation made of letters! (Someone should tell these people you can't subtract X from Y.)
Anyway, sorry for that, read on!
12. Makes Me Weak
Love you will find
Only where you may show yourself weak
Without provoking strength.
Someone once said, and Clary couldn't really remember who, that "Patience is power. It waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way." This person, god bless their soul, must've been insane because patience wasn't power; it was a shorter word used to replace the very lengthy phrase 'I have nothing better to do so I shall sit here and wait'. In other words, at the moment, patience was Clary driving herself up the wall waiting for tonight to come, waiting for every single snail-like individual to get the hell out of the office so she could be with Jace… and of course look for the darn book that would signify her freedom from these chains of captivity otherwise known as marriage.
Patience was a stupid word anyway.
A knock sounded at the threshold startling her out of her thoughts and drawing her gaze to the large wooden door. The office was about twenty minutes from closing and nearly everyone had left, so why anyone was knocking down her door was a wonder to Clary.
"Come in." she spoke loudly so the person on the other side could hear. To her surprise, and utter displeasure, the door opened and there stood Raphael with his black hair slicked back and a disgusting glint in his eyes. She wanted to groan with the misery and bitter reminders now coursing through her blood like poison. Wanted to, not so politely, tell him to piss off. Yet, some sensible, mature part of her realized that having a plan does not mean much in the world of business and that, for the moment, she was entirely powerless.
"Mi amor," Raphael's Spanish lilt was seductive and low… and it completely disgusted her. "Are you coming with me tonight? You know you can't avoid the inevitable forever." Perhaps, she thought, but if I can avoid it for now, that will be all the relief I need.
"Raphael, when have I ever gone anywhere with you?" she questioned.
He stepped towards her, reaching out his hands as if to caress her arms, her face—god forbid other parts of her—and Clary desperately wanted to step back but she wouldn't dare. She refused to show him any hint of weakness, of fear, she wasn't weak. She was Clarissa f*cking Graymark, and she was strong.
"we can start this instant nena" he had reached her now and his hands were trailing down her arms, beginning at her shoulder blades and tracing down to her fingers before starting all over again. "I can show you a really good time."
"I told you I didn't like you touching me." Clary was aware of the tell-tale trembling in her voice and of the condescending expression on his face as she tried to pry his fingers off her skin. "I don't feel comfortable."
He just smirked as if amused by her words "you can stop playing 'hard to get' now, you know. Nobody's fooled by it."
Clary ignored his comment and shook his slimy fingers off her body before stalking to her desk and sitting in her armchair, feeling much safer now behind the wall of wood. "If you just came to harass me I suggest you get out before I have security take you out."
But Raphael didn't seem eager to go anywhere near the door he'd just come in through, instead choosing to step towards her desk "I know you—"
But he didn't finish before the door was busting open and a furious Jace stepped into the room, holding the door agape as an invitation to Raphael. Jace didn't speak, his lips pressed into a hard line and his eyes were vacant, but she saw. She saw the fire burning in his gaze, the flames sparking onto the gold, melting it into a pool of molten fire.
And through all this Clary felt pure unadulterated relief, her breath slowed considerably, her heart calmed and her hands, which rested on her lap and had been shaking profoundly, were now motionless over the smooth fabric of her skirt. She wasn't prepared for the emotions that flowed through her body at Jace's appearance and if she hadn't been sitting, it would've surely knocked her onto her knees.
"Hello Jonathan, I'm afraid we were having a conversation, if you could just wait outside the door."
"I don't know what you were discussing… don't particularly care," Jace remained calm and composed, his stance that of someone who was accustomed to dealing with unwanted pests. "But I suggest you leave."
"Mr. Herondale, you and I seem to always take off on the wrong foot." Raphael said, he smirked and a line of glinting white teeth shone through his lips.
"Pretty soon you won't have any feet to take off on if you don't get the hell out of here."
Raphael just chuckled lightly and seemed to decide that an argument with Jace wasn't worth his time when he strutted to the door like a proud peacock stopping inches away from him, obviously wanting to have the last word, and muttering loud enough for Clary to hear "your threats are amusing." A final laugh and the door boomed shut nearly hitting Raphael on his way out.
Clary's gaze raced to the other figure in the room, trained her eyes on him and hoped that his would meet hers, that she could offer him some sort of comfort, a reassurance that she was alright. But his gaze was focused on the door, fists clenched at his side.
"Jace?" she said, barely above a whisper "are you ok?"
"I should be asking you that."
"I'm fine. I was fine before you barged in like hell was on fire." Clary was only partially lying, she was fine, and after all, Raphael wasn't going to try anything. She was almost sure of it.
"Were you?" he asked "because it seemed to me like you were hiding behind your desk."
Clary stood up in a flourish, her eyes narrowed as she walked around the desk and stood before the man that made her feel so many things. "I wasn't…"
But he didn't let her speak, stepping towards her, crowding around her body, but never touching her "and Clary… if you think that desk would've stopped him…"
"I don't think my desk would've done anything!" She interrupted, desperate to get just a few words in. she needed to let him know, needed to make sure he recognized that she wasn't vulnerable, she didn't want him to play the hero in her life, she was her own hero!
"God damn it Clary!" Jace exploded. He grabbed her arms squeezing, shaking her just enough to push every other thought out of her mind. "You're so naïve. You're so blind. Can't you see?"
She gaped at him with blank, bewildered eyes, wanting to speak but incapable of removing her attention from Jace's golden stare.
"Raphael wants you and he's the type of man that gets what he wants" Jace exhaled, his energy seemed to escape through that one puff of air "I can't… I couldn't bear it if—I mean…" his head dropped and the tangled mess of words halted.
Clary couldn't help herself, she was defenseless against the emotions he caused. She could feel her chest expanding and, good god, what was wrong with her?
She walked to him on shaky limbs, placing her hand on his slightly stubbly cheek and Jace's eyes turned to look into hers… right into hers, and at that moment it was like he was searching her soul, glancing into the very essence of her being, like he could see every part of her and she stood fully clothed yet utterly naked before him.
"I'm sorry." She said in just a whisper.
His hand lifted and he trailed his finger gently across her cheek "you have no idea do you?" his eyes narrowed on her face and his expression turned bewildered, like he was wondering about some unsolved riddle and that riddle was her. "It's amazing how truly clueless you are."
"I'll try not to take that as an insult."
"Ok, if you say so" she conceded and stepped back, out of arms reach "I think maybe we should head to the library." She said, although it seemed like the most anticlimactic sentence to ever leave her mouth considering what had just happened and the way she was feeling, not to mention the look in Jace's eyes: sadness, yearning, desire. It was all too much to bear and she was weak, though she loath to admit it.
Clary grabbed his hand and pulled him behind her to the library. His strong grip on her hand was so unlike anything she'd ever felt before. His hands were rough, but soft. Not at all the hands of a corporate associate, he had the hands of a hard worker. She felt good walking like this with him, could even picture herself doing so when the building was filled with people.
But, at the moment, everyone was thankfully gone and the lights in the hall had been dimmed, though a spare few had been turned off. The darkness left behind an eerie silence and shadows dancing in the corners where walls met.
Seeing the office building in this new light, or lack of light, was a novel experience to Clary. She'd never stayed this late and the comfort of Jace's hand in hers was the only thing stopping her from running out the door because, well, the place looked like a scene out of a horror movie and she felt like one of the poor bastards walking down the dark hallway while some masked slayer trailed behind them with a chainsaw waiting to decapitate its next victim.
At that thought she looked back and heard Jace chuckle.
"What are you looking back for?"
"Oh, you know, the usual…" she looked up at his smirking face "ghosts, monsters, masked serial killers."
Jace laughed and she wanted to laugh too, not because their current situation was funny, but because his laughter was so incredibly perfect, so contagious and heartwarming she wanted to join in. But instead Clary just felt a smile stretch across her lips when Jace's arm wrapped around her waist pulling her closer into his body. "Don't worry, I'll protect you from whatever monsters or murderers come at you."
"Is that a promise?" she asked
Clary turned to look at him and she noticed there was something else in his gaze, some other unspoken promise, but they were already in the library and his eyes were too much for her so she looked away, pulling out of his arms while doing so and stepping into the dimly lit library.
Now the thing about this particular library is that nearly all the books are ancient. They've been sitting on these shelves since her grandfather founded the company nearly a century ago and more and more volumes have been added to the original collection of the corporation's records as the years passed and rules were updated. Making the once big collection huge and the seemingly simple task of looking through them all to find what you're looking for require a college degree and ample experience.
And now here she stood before shelf after shelf of books titled "The Economics of Money, Banking and Financial Markets Global Edition- volume I" trying to find a book that has what she needs… and she felt lost.
Clary let her head fall forward, hopelessness and despair taking over, yet, she also felt Jace's presence next to her, felt him move to stand before her as his finger lifted her face bringing their gazes into contact.
"Hey, don't you go giving up on me now." He said, the softness of his voice pushing away all the negative thoughts in her "I know it seems like a lot right now but we're not alone."
"Really, what did you do?" she asked rhetorically "hire a crew?"
Despite the bitterness in her voice, Jace smiled and answered anyway "no but we have each other and we still have a few months"
"I know, I just can't help it" she sighed "I keep on imagining myself walking down the aisle and actually marrying Raphael. It's creeping me out."
"That won't happen. I promise. Now let's get down to business, you can start looking through the books over there." Jace pointed to a shelf at the far right, stacked high with brown leather bound books "and I'll go over here." He aimed for the books to the left and they went their separate ways. In the meantime, Clary prayed with all her might that the horrid experience of looking through the dullest set of books would be as short-lived as possible.
He was watching her closely. Jace should've been looking through the shelves of economics and financial volumes but Clary proved to be far more interesting.
She was stretching her arms and standing on her tiptoes trying to reach one of the higher shelves, although said shelf was actually much closer to the ground than it seemed, and in doing so her blouse was rising slightly, showing small traces of pale skin. And he was entranced.
She was so beautiful. Her flaming red hair was beautiful, her green eyes were too and the curve of her behind, the cleavage of her blouse, the feminine sway of her hips… he was drowning in her, in everything about her, and the worst part was he wanted to punch Raphael and marry her instead.
It was a perfectly plausible option. There were no direct indications in the corporate rule book that banned any sort of marriage, no guidelines as to which people were most appropriate for the role of CEO, just orders that the CEO be wed. Which is understandable considering that a single chief executive loses credibility when running a family based corporation with no family to base it on.
Yet, he couldn't do that to Clary, take her out of one force fed marriage and bring her into yet another marriage when she was hardly twenty. And besides, he had bigger problems he'd have to face soon.
"Jace," she said, drawing his attention away from her body and back to the books before him as he pretended not to look at her. "I can feel you staring holes into my back you know."
"I wasn't trying to hide it." He had been, but she didn't need to know that.
Clary turned around and faced him "have you found anything?"
"No, although I think I saw something up on one of the higher shelves."
"just over your head…" he pointed at a random shelf just high enough so she'd have to tiptoe to reach it as she had earlier "that one!" and she reached to the random shelf with outstretched fingers as he watched her shirt climb mere centimeters up her back, giving him the slightest peek of dimples. His heart sped up.
"Which book Jace?" she looked over at him and he knew he had to stop being such a pervert but damn she was perfect, he couldn't keep his eyes off of her.
"Um, never mind, I read the title wrong."
"Don't do that!" she said
He blinked thinking he'd been caught perving on her, not that he would admit to it "do what?"
"Get my hopes up that way."
Shit, now he felt like an asshat and he had to walk up to her because he needed to make her feel better somehow, let her know that she wasn't alone, that he was here for her. "I'm sorry." He whispered.
He gently brushed his fingers over her cheek, the softness of her skin loosening something inside of him, breaking down a few walls, destroying a couple defenses he'd built—Clary coughed, bringing him out of his train of thought as he watched her move away from him.
"Yeah, well its fine, we'll find something eventually." She muttered as she moved to one of the stacks of books farther from him.
Jace understood that perhaps getting too close was a bad idea, there were no assurances that they'd find any kind of loophole, and he got that she was trying to keep her distance but if they didn't find a way out he wanted to know that above all things he had some time with her. So, he would not let her push him away.
He moved closer and she stumbled a few more steps away. "Is there some sort of archive?" he asked
"What do you mean?"
"You know, some online catalog of books or one of those old card catalogues."
She smiled, her smile was beautiful, Jace wondered if she would be mad if he kissed her while her lips were upturned like that, it would be like kissing her happiness… he should just give it a shot, what could be the worst thing that could happen—but Clary was already speaking and he needed to stop staring at her and listen.
"Yes, there's an online catalogue but most of the older volumes aren't documented." She stopped for a second and seemed like she was thinking "come to think of it, a book with rules should be there. It seems like an important thing to locate."
"Ok, so how the hell can we check through this catalogue?"
"We can't." she said "the computers are all turned off."
Well, this has been a productive night, Jace thought, yet he couldn't seem to summon up the frustration like he knew he should. "Then, what do we do now?"
"I don't know." she turned to him with round, questioning eyes "what do you want to do?"
Kiss you. Hold you. Other things… was what he wanted to say, but knowing it wasn't going to happen he answered "I actually have to go take care of some business." She seemed disappointed when he said that and Jace had the unmistakable urge to smile.
"Oh, that's fine then. Do you have your car?"
"I'm good. I've got my bike."
"Well I guess this is goodnight then." She said "you can go ahead, I want to check up on a few files I've got sitting around."
Jace agreed and was about to turn and walk out when he knew there was something he just had to do.
He walked back to her and leaned down to her level. "Goodnight." He whispered and kissed her cheek, keeping his lips on the soft skin for a few seconds too long. But, what could he do about it when he could feel her warm breath blowing past his face and he just knew that as soon as he pulled away there would be a pink tint on her skin. Yet, he pulled back unwillingly as he heard her breath catch. If he died tonight at least he still had this memory to carry him on.
He looked down at her and smiled as he realized he was right, she was indeed blushing.
With that in mind he turned and nearly speed walked out of the library before he had a chance to place his kiss on her lips instead of on her cheek.
A/n: Ok, so it's the same as last time for the reviews. If you review I'll PM you a snippet of the next chapter but you must be signed in.
Till next time!