The moon's beams- slanting down from the gap between the curtains- fell on white sheets, barely an inch from a head of red hair. The girl lying in the bed stared at the patch of the moon's glow. She had been watching the light for an hour, as it slowly crept towards her face. She thought about that glow, the same glow in the greenhouse earlier that night. The way it shone down through the roof— How it bleach out the color in his hair…
She jolted upright in bed. Scowling at herself for letting her mind drift in that direction, she swung out of bed, grabbed her pencils and sketchbook, and walked out into the hall. Just outside her door, she slid down the wall and drew her knees into her chest. With her sketchbook on her knees and eyes closed, she envisioned the greenhouse again. From the dark canvas of the back of her eyelids, emerged the steel rafters that held sheets of glass. Slowly, it seemed, the late night bloomer that Jace had shown her appeared. In the background, she saw the rows of exotic plants and the random branches that reached to the ground. With the image in her grasp, she drew.
An hour later, she wrote 'Happy Birthday, Clarissa Fray' across the finished page. She pulled back her work and looked it over. As if on cue, she heard a familiar voice, "Clary?"
At the sound of Jace's voice, Clary fumbled with the pages of her sketchbook, trying to hide the picture from his view. Hoping that Jace would not notice her flustered movements, she stood rather awkwardly, clutching the sketchbook to her chest. Jace's form emerged from the dark hallway. As he walked closer, his features became clear. His normal arrogant expression was in place, and the next witty remark was ready at the tip of his tongue.
"I'm just on my way to the kitchen, don't worry about me. You can return to drawing Simon's hot bod. Although I am curious— were you portraying him as a rat or as four-eyed mundane? If you ask me, Simon as a rat is much more—"
Realizing he was still angry from earlier, Clary didn't bother to make amends. "He left, okay! And I didn't ask your opinion, so just keep to yourself!"
Jace blinked, twice. "Oh. Well, what were you drawing then?"
"Nothing that concerns you." She realized then that something was off. "Besides, what are you even doing by my room? My room isn't by the kitchen." In fact, it was on the completely opposite side of the Institute as Jace's room and the kitchen.
"I was just wandering. Can a man not walk around his own abode without being questioned?" He grinned, flashing his chipped tooth. Clary, however, was in no mood for sarcasm. Rolling her eyes, she made a step towards her bedroom door.
Jace was there in a flash, blocking her way. He plucked the sketchbook out of her arms and dropped it to the floor. He grabbed her arm, gently, and slid his hand down to hers. "Hey," he whispered, dropping his eyes to her hand where he was playing with her fingers. "If I ask you a question, would you answer me?"
"Depends. What do you want to know?"
He flashed his eyes to her face, staring into her eyes for a moment. Watching her carefully, he whispered, "Do you love Simon?"
His question took her by surprise. She answered, slowly, "As family, as a brother, yes. But I'm not in love with him."
"But he's in love with you, or he thinks he is, anyway." His voice sounded more confident, and some of the tension seemed to come off his shoulders.
Clary let out a sigh and dropped her head. "I know." She knew that Simon was in love with her— after tonight, how could she not know? She knew how much strain this was putting on her relationship with her best friend. She didn't love him like that, and he knew that. She didn't know what to do now, what to say to him, or what there was left to say.
Jace's hand came up to her jaw, and lightly cupping her check, he raised her head up. "I didn't mean anything by that. I wasn't trying to—"
"It's okay. He told me tonight. He told me he loved me."
Jace kept his face impassive, like always, but Clary could see the apprehension that hid behind his eyes. "And what did you say?"
"Nothing. I didn't say anything. What was there to say? God, I couldn't even—"
Jace cut her off, abruptly, by covering her mouth with his. Clary tensed, surprised. After a moment, she relaxed and gave into his kiss. His hand on her check slid down to her shoulder and then down to her waist; His other hand captured the back of her neck. Clary moved her hands up his chest, about to run them through his hair, when his earlier words rang inside her head.
She shoved him away, gently. Jace left his hands where they were, but drew his head back. Answering the unspoken question in his eyes, Clary whispered, "What you said, earlier with Simon— about our kiss. Did you mean it?"
Jace gave a soft chuckle. Stepping even closer to Clary, he leaned his forehead against hers. "Clary, I was just mad. You're different. You're different from every other girl I've been with, or talked to, or even seen, for that matter. There's just something about you, something I can't resist. I thought, maybe, you felt that, too. But then Simon came out, and what else would he be doing in you room at that hour. I just— I don't know—"
It was Clary's turn to cut him off. She reached up on her tiptoes, and pulled his mouth to hers, kissing him with slight fierceness. Jace responded to her kiss by walking her back against the wall. He pressed his body to hers; every part of their bodies was twined together. This kiss was different from the others. Jace wasn't as gentle or hesitant as before. He didn't hold back this time and neither did Clary.
After a moment, Jace moved his mouth down to her neck and collarbone. At the same time, Clary slid her hands under the hem of his shirt. She explored the strip of abdomen right above his waist line. Jace shuddered under her touch and returned to her mouth.
Clary pulled away. Panting slightly, She said, "I do. Feel that way about you, too, I mean."
"Good," was all Jace replied back with, and he covered her mouth once again.