Your eyes are not deceiving you, this is indeed a new chapter! Why don't we get straight to the story, shall we? Please take a moment to read the (short) author's note at the end. As always, thank you so, so much for reading, reviewing, following, and favoriting. Please read, enjoy, and review :)

Disclaimer: I do not own anything regarding The Mortal Instruments series.


-Clary-

There are certain moments in our lives that define who we are.

These moments force us to make decisions that outline for us where we stand and what we're made of. Do we react badly to the situation put in front of us? Do we rise to the occasion? Those kinds of decisions define us. So I think it's pretty safe to say they're pretty important.

I like to think that in one of those moments I'd know exactly how to act. It'd be somewhere important, somewhere where I can feel the right answer beckoning me.

I'm totally ready for one of those moments, honestly.

I just wish one of those damn moments wasn't occurring in a high school cafeteria in front of the entire senior class.

I really wish that wasn't the case.


"I called you a prude Clary," Kaelie says mockingly, as if I don't understand the word. I feel Jace's hand tighten almost impossibly so around mine, almost as if he alone can ground me in this moment. Not hold me back, but remind me that he's here. That he's with me.

"Please tell me you at least know what that means," Kaelie coos as if I'm a child, "I mean, this whole innocent act you put on can't possibly be that true, can it? I mean, are you that stupidly naïve?"

I can feel my face flush as everyone surrounding us continues to drone on in whispers undoubtedly about what is occurring right in front of them. I know they're talking about me. What normal high school student wouldn't gossip about the drama unfolding before their very eyes? But really, must they be here? Must they have to listen to Kaelie call me out on things that are my own business? Because I can feel the anger and frustration flowing like waves through me, and I really don't want to give them even more of a show by reacting.

But the need to walk right over to her and smack her across the face is almost too tempting to deny. It's like she purposely tried to replicate my emotions from the night of the dance, like she's trying to goad me on.

Jace's grip doesn't lessen on my hand as I continue to glare at her, realizing I should probably say something to shut her up. "I'm about a thousand percent positive that that is none of your goddamn business Kaelie," I grit through my teeth, trying to keep my temper in check. But it's hard. It's so, so hard to do when you know everyone is talking about you and waiting for you to explode or fall or just combust into tears, none of which fit into beating Kaelie at her own game.

And that's just it. It's a game to her. A game to make me finally snap, or give up, or just completely break down in the most public way possible. For whatever reason, and if I had to guess, it involves Jace, Kaelie hates me so much that she wants me to crash and burn.

But I will not give her the satisfaction of humiliating me in front of my classmates.

Kaelie's eyes gleam with anger as she glances down at Jace's and my joined hands. "You will never be able to keep up with what he's had Clary and you know it. Think about it," she drawls, "you have what? Kissed a boy?" At this she laughs as if she's the only one in on a funny joke. It makes my blood run cold. Those same awful feelings Sebastian had drawn out just yesterday start creeping back into my mind.

Inadequate. Tiny. Scrawny. Plain. Pale.

Kaelie continues on when I say nothing. I can feel my muscles tensing and I only realize the death grip I have on Jace's hand when I feel him pump my hand twice. I look up to see his golden eyes full of concern and worry for me.

For me.

Not pity. Not disgust.

But maybe a little fear.

He looks almost as if he's expecting to see pity and disgust written across my face instead of the other way around.

It's then that I finally have that moment of clarity. That instant where I realize that this moment? This "defining moment" that's happening in a high school cafeteria in front of the entire senior class?

It's not worth it.

Kaelie Fae is not worth it and I am not going to play her game. I will not give her the satisfaction of humiliating me in front of my classmates. I will not stoop to her level for her own satisfaction. I will not take her bait.

She wants me to look at Jace with disgust.

She wants me to hate him.

God. If she only knew how he invades every single waking thought I have.

And so I think about how this very scenario played out yesterday with Sebastian making remarks that would shake my faith in Jace and crush me, and with that, I realize that I don't care what Jace's past has been. I just want him for who he is.

I want the boy who just yesterday made me feel safe and loved and, well, beautiful. He didn't make me feel like nothing.

He made me feel like everything.

Jace Lightwood may have been a player in the past, but the man who stands next to me has done everything in his power to earn my trust and forgiveness, and I'll be damned if I let Kaelie Fae be the one to take that away from me.

I'll be damned if I allow Kaelie Fae to affect any part of my life.

This is a discussion that I want to have with Jace. My boyfriend. Who I know would never push me to do anything I didn't want to do. He wants me just the way I am. And yes, I am embarrassed and I am hurt that people find a need to gossip about my personal life, but I will never let those whispers influence how I make my own decisions.

Because in the end? Kaelie Fae fits nowhere into my plans. My family? My friends? My boyfriend? They're what matter.

So instead of walking over to Kaelie and doing something I will regret or spitting back a comment that she'll undoubtedly have another remark for, I lift my hand still encased in Jace's, raising our joined hands to my mouth, and place a soft kiss to the back of his palm, smiling as he watches me with that look I've come to realize is reserved solely for me.

"Wanna get to class?" I ask him, just loud enough for Kaelie to hear. The smile that graces Jace's face is all the answer I need as he starts to pull me toward the cafeteria's exit while the rest of the gang turns to leave as well.

"Class?" Kaelie shouts as she watches us turn to leave, mouth gaping. "Um, in case you've missed it, I'm pretty sure we're in the middle of something right now you freak."

Everyone else seems to go silent as well, not really knowing how to react to the situation. Honestly, I wouldn't know how to react if I was in their shoes either.

But I'm not them. I'm me, Clary Fray. And I just want to go spend the rest of the day with my boyfriend and my friends, so I turn slightly to give Kaelie one last look and one last statement to mull over.

"I'm done with you Kaelie."

She keeps on sputtering nonsense as we walk away, and the spell that seemed to hold the student body's attention finally disbands and everyone starts walking away as well.

We walk out into the hallway as it starts to clear with the students heading into their respective classrooms. I feel Jace's hand squeeze mine twice again and I look up to see him smiling straight ahead, as if he can't possibly contain it from spreading across his face.

So I squeeze his hand back twice as well and ask, "What's with the smile?"

Those liquid gold eyes meet mine and I can see every feeling Jace has for me written like an open book in those eyes. "You know, you're kind of amazing."

A smile of my own spreads across my face, "Oh?" I play coy. "How so?"

He shakes his head a little before saying, "There were a thousand ways you could have handled that situation where Kaelie would have gotten exactly what she wanted-"

"You mean you?" I interrupt with a quirk of my head.

He chuckles a little, "No… I'm yours," he says without room for argument as he brings the back of my hand to his lips just as I had done, a blush spreading across my cheeks. "You could have easily swung your badass swinging arm or tossed more words around with her, but you stopped it. You put an end to it. I'm proud of you."

"Thanks for letting me handle it," I tell him, realizing that he didn't say a single word once Kaelie started her verbal attack. He kept me grounded, but he let me handle it.

He just shrugs his shoulders as we continue walking, "You can take care of yourself."

I stop us with a pull on our hands, and as he turns toward me, I hop up and place a quick kiss to his cheek and whisper, "thank you." That's the second time in two days he's said something like that. And truly, he will never understand how much it means to me that he believes in me like that.

And then, because Jace is who he is, he adds, "You also looked smoking hot asserting your control over the situation too." I snort in the most inelegant way possible and shove my shoulder into his as he starts to laugh too.

"Way to ruin the moment, jerk."

"Well you did look pretty great showing her up there Clary," Izzy says as we make our way toward Simon, Izzy, Aline, Jordan, and Maia. All of their faces show similar amounts of pride and respect.

"Yes! LET'S ALL APPLAUD CLARY FRAY!" Kaelie cries as she comes up behind us in the now empty hallway, clapping her hands slowly. "Because she is so perfect, right Clary?" I look at her, and for the first time, I actually feel bad for her. The shade of red color marring her face makes her look like she's about to explode. She looks a bit crazed.

Honestly, at this point, I planned on just walking away, because her attempts to get a rise out of me are futile.

But apparently Izzy has other plans.

"Kaelie, now you're just being pathetic. It's over. She's done with you," she says in a very slow, clear manner as she walks to stand between us and her.

The look Kaelie gives Izzy could kill. "You're one to talk, right Isabelle? I mean, you clearly know when to admit defeat and move on, right?"

I hold my breath, praying Izzy won't rise to the bait, but this is different from what Kaelie was taunting me with. This is attacking Izzy's character.

"And what pray tell, are you talking about?" Izzy spits out.

"Oh please Isabelle, we used to be friends. You think I don't notice when you're throwing yourself at someone?" Kaelie mocks. And for a moment, I feel like Kaelie and Izzy are solely communicating through the glares they give one another. But then Kaelie's attention snaps to the least likely person any of us would expect.

Simon.

"Why don't you just tell her you're not interested Four-eyes? Huh?" I think the rest of us don't know where to look. Simon's face that's draining of all color? Or Izzy's face that's turning an alarming shade of purple.

She takes another step toward Kaelie, and finally, after seemingly being frozen to the spot, Jace and Jordan leap forward to hold her back. "You shut your mouth you bleach-blonde bitch!" Izzy growls.

Finally, Kaelie seems to get something that she wants, because she starts smiling. "It's pathetic Isabelle. Let me spell it out in terms that you might understand. He. Doesn't. Want. You."

Izzy pauses for a moment, looking at the pure shock on all of our faces. The complete and utter confusion dawning Simon's.

And just as quickly as the fight in Izzy rose, it fades until she's no longer fighting Jace and Jordan's grip on her arms and her shoulders slump. My heart breaks as I see the confirmation to my own suspicions about Simon and Izzy reveal themselves right in front of me.

Only, Izzy doesn't know how Simon had reacted when confronted yesterday about this very topic. She has no idea how Simon feels.

Kaelie, seeing a win to her game in mere moments, goes in for the final blow. "You've really lowered your standards Isabelle. Meliorn I could see, but even that lasted, what? A week? But this? Your complete and obvious infatuation with that," and she gestures to Simon, making my blood boil all over again, "is just pitiable."

This time I can't hold back the retort on my tongue. I refuse to allow anyone to speak to Simon or Izzy like that, but before I can get the words out on a breath, Izzy is yanking away from the boys' arms and storming down the hallway away from us, never looking back.

Kaelie gives us a self-satisfied smirk before strutting off.

The rest of us are left speechless.

"What just happened?" Maia is the first to speak after a moment.

We all look to Simon, whose mouth just keeps opening and closing helplessly. I sigh, turning my head toward the direction where Izzy had stormed off. "Um," I say, catching everyone's attention and gesturing down the hallway, "I'm going to go see if she's okay."

I start walking away when Jace catches my hand. I look up to see his eyes reflecting the same pain I'm feeling. Pain for my best friend and his sister. "Please make sure she's okay?" He asks.

"Of course," I nod. My eyes flick toward Simon and Jace's gaze follows. "Keep an eye on him, okay?"

His hands come up to cradle my face and he grazes his lips across mine as he replies, "Of course."

And so before he can lean in any further to seal a kiss to my lips, I pull away and follow Izzy's trail.

Right now, she needs me more.


I walk down the end of the hallway and turn right, hoping Izzy went where I think she did. I keep walking and bear a left, arriving at the closest girl's bathroom to where that whole debacle just took place.

I open the door hesitantly, hoping my hunch on her location is right. "Iz?" I call softly.

"What." Is the croaked response I get from the last stall in the bathroom. I rush in, taking note that the rest of the stalls are empty, and head over to the stall where she had answered from. I push the door open tentatively, not even sure if she put the lock in place to keep it shut.

It swings open upon my touch.

And inside, trying to hold in her sobs, is Izzy. She turns to me, tears and makeup running down her cheeks, and it scares me how vulnerable she is in this moment. I have never seen Isabelle Lightwood in a state like this. She is always the calm and collected one, never allowing for herself to let her emotions get too out of check. Sure, she can be dramatic, but this? This is her trying not to fall apart.

"Oh Izzy," is all I can say before I open my arms and she throws herself into them, holding me tightly as she starts shaking with another round of sobs.

I rub her back as she continues to cry, knowing she just needs to let it out. It's crazy to think how similar we are in some aspects since we are so different in others. I may be temperamental and Izzy may be dramatic, but when it comes to pure, raw emotion, we hold it in and hide it from the world until we just can't any longer. So I let her get it all out, and after a little while, she starts to breathe more evenly again and she pulls away from my embrace.

"I hate letting people see me cry," she complains in a watery voice.

I give her an empathetic smile, because I completely understand where she's coming from. "Me too."

With that understanding in place, she gives me her best attempt of a smile and walks around me and out of the stall to go look in the mirror. "Oh my god I look awful," she declares. I follow her out.

"You're beautiful Iz," I say while shaking my head, "just ask any guy, or girl for that matter, in a fifty mile radius and you'll get the same answer."

"Just fifty?" She asks with a hint of teasing.

I smile. "Okay, maybe a hundred." This brings a genuine smile to her face. I meet her eyes before continuing, "Seriously though, are you okay?"

She grabs a paper towel and wets it in the sink, dabbing at her eyes before answering me. "Yeah, I'm okay."

"You want to talk about it?"

"Not really."

"Well…," I say as I hop up and sit on the edge of a sink, "too bad. Talking is healthy."

She rolls her eyes at me as she continues removing her ruined makeup, but then huffs out a 'fine' as I continue watching her expectantly.

"I like Simon," she announces timidly.

"You don't say," I tell her with a grin. She gives me an award winning scowl, so I raise my hands up in mock defense, "Okay, okay, sorry."

She takes a deep breath before turning to face me fully. "I really, really like Simon."

I think this is the first time she's admitted this to someone other than herself and I can't help but notice the gravity of this moment. I can feel my excitement starting to bubble into a sort of giddiness. But still, a thought nags me in the back of my mind. "What about Meliorn?" I ask abruptly, because I probably would have seen the signs earlier if Izzy hadn't been so engrossed with going with him to Pandemonium and talking about him for a week afterwards.

Izzy lets out an uncharacteristic snort. "Clary. Meliorn's gay."

And if any statement could have completely blindsided me, that would be it. "Wh- what?"

Izzy actually starts chuckling as she explains. "He came up to me a few weeks before the dance explaining that he was gay, but he wasn't ready for anybody to know yet. So he wanted to ask a girl to the dance, but he couldn't find someone who he was comfortable with," she pauses to make sure I'm fully listening. I nod for her to continue, "So he knew how hard of a time Alec had with the students when he came out, which I think is playing a factor in why Meliorn's afraid to, but he knew I would understand. I was kind of a crazy, overprotective sister when Alec was here," she admits with a proud smile.

"As you should have been," I commend her.

She nods her thanks. "So I told him I absolutely would go with him. And then when you asked Simon, I thought that would be my chance to spend some time with him. I knew Jace would sweep you away at some point," she says while giving me a pointed look.

"I didn't even like him then," I grumble, but Izzy just gives me an unconvincing 'mhm.'

"But," Izzy continues, "then he got sick, and you got punch thrown on you, and then you and Jace left, so then I ended up spending the entire night with Meliorn after screaming at Kaelie and texting Jace a thousand times making sure you were okay." She smiles remembering the night. "And we had a really great time," she tells me with a smile, but then she frowns again. "But I like Simon, and he clearly doesn't feel the same way. I kept bringing up Meliorn hoping he'd say something, but he never said a single comment about it."

The look in her eyes clearly declares defeat. "Iz, have you even asked him how he feels?" She shakes her head. "And you haven't told him how you feel?" Again, a shake of the head.

I can see her bottom lip start to wobble again. "I- I thought I was being pretty clear about it. I mean, obviously I was 'throwing myself at him,'" she ponders bitterly.

I shake my head trying to catch her attention, knowing that's completely not the case. "Izzy," I state authoritatively. She looks at me with those onyx eyes, so sad and lost. "You realize we're talking about Simon, right? The guy who fainted at the sight of a dead frog?"

"Blood makes him uncomfortable," she states matter-of-factly. The smile she reveals tells me all I need to know. I can see exactly how she feels about my best friend. That giddiness in me starts to bubble over upon realizing it's the same smile I've seen upon Simon's face when he's talking to her.

"Well as Simon's best friend, and knowing how oblivious he can be in these kinds of situations, I think you should talk to him."

She doesn't answer. She focuses on the bathroom mirror again, trying to get the last remnants of her makeup off. I give her a pointed look through the mirror and she looks down upon seeing it. "I'm afraid he won't want to talk to me. Did you see his face back in the hallway?"

"I did," I say to her. "Did you see the worry etched in his face as he watched you walk away?"

At that, she whips her head around to meet me face to face again. "He was?" She asks curiously. "I mean, he was worried?" I can hear the hope start to seep into her voice, washing away the remains of her watery tone.

"If you had just turned around, you would have seen for yourself," I tell her. "Talk to him, okay?" I walk over and give her another hug which she readily accepts. After she pulls away, she runs her hands through her hair and does a double check in the mirror.

"Okay, I'll be out in a few minutes," she tells me as she starts pulling some makeup out of her purse.

I give her one more smile before turning to leave.

"Hey Clary," she calls as I pull on the door handle. I turn to her with my eyebrows raised. "Thank you."

I shrug my shoulder. "What are best friends for, right?"


"Oof!"

I walk out the door, only to walk right into Simon.

He steadies me with his arms before glancing worriedly at the closed bathroom door. "Is- is she okay in there?" I can feel his anxiety running through him.

I step away, reaching out to rub my hands up and down his arms. It's only then that I notice Jace leaning against some lockers with his arms crossed behind Simon, watching us curiously. Simon's still staring at the door. "She's fine Simon." He looks down, searching for reassurance in my face. I nod my head confidently and tilt my head toward the closed door. He looks between the door and me with his eyebrows scrunched in confusion.

"Kaelie was lying. It's not that I don't want her, it's that I didn't know-"

"I know Simon," I say while nudging him toward the bathroom door. "Go talk to her."

He looks at me with horror. "You want me to go into the girl's bathroom?" I laugh at his fear over such a silly thing. You'd think that would be the easiest task with the conversation that is to come.

"Yes," I say while shoving him toward the door. "Nobody but Izzy is in there. You'll be fine."

"What if she doesn't want to talk to me?"

I roll my eyes at him. "Trust me Si, she does."

That seems to be the only encouragement he needs, because he nods his head once, and opens the door to walk inside. I see Izzy's wide eyes upon seeing Simon for about half a second before the door closes again.

Not seconds after, I feel strong, familiar arms wrap around my waist.

"And what do you think you're doing missy?" Jace whispers in my ear as he nuzzles the side of my neck.

"I'm throwing Simon head first at his girl," I tell him with a grin.

He turns me around and bends down to meet my eyes. "You sure she's okay? It takes a lot to get her that upset, trust me, I would know," he says with a half-hearted smirk. He may try to joke about it, but I can see the concern etched in his face.

"She'll be fine Jace," I assure him, "and I think she'll be much, much happier after whatever conversation goes on in there." His eyes follow my hand as I gesture toward the bathroom door.

"We kept guard to make sure no one came in," he reveals with a smirk. "Told them there'd been an unfortunate situation as a result of the toxic waste they call cafeteria food."

I laugh as I pull him closer until my head is resting on his chest. "Our knights in shining armor," I mumble into his shirt. His chest vibrates with his laugh. "Should we head to class?" I ask after a moment.

"Hmm, we've pretty much missed the last two periods of the day. You girls were in there for a really long time."

This news shocks me. Not just because there's no way it felt like two periods passed while I was with Izzy, but because, "Simon skipped class for Izzy?"

And because it's Simon, and because I know how important school is to him, the full realization about his feelings for Izzy hit me full force. It's the same realization Jace seems to have come to as well. "Yeah… I feel like we've both been picking up on things that didn't start clicking until today."

"Your sister, my best friend…"

Jace just shakes his head with a smirk on his face. The final bell for the day rings as we head toward the school exit, Jace holding me close with his arm wrapped around my shoulders.

"Quite the interesting first official day of dating, right?"


Jace and I walk back to the apartment, leaving his car in the school parking lot. And as soon as I close the door behind us and turn toward him, his lips collide with mine. I can feel his warm hands wrap around me and glide their way up my back as we continue to kiss, forgetting about the craziness of the day.

He pulls away for the briefest of moments to say, "I've been really, really wanting to do that all day."

I smirk up at him as I wrap my arms tightly around his neck.

"Then," I kiss the skin right above the collar of his t-shirt, "don't," I kiss the hollow of his neck and tentatively let my tongue run along his skin, earning a groan that rumbles against my lips, "stop."

With his hands still on my back, he guides me toward the couch in the living room and we flop down onto it quite unceremoniously. I start giggling as he rolls us so that he's hovering above me. My look is back in his eyes, and I love it so much I can't help but lift my face, beckoning his lips toward mine.

He doesn't waste a second before kissing me deeply, that same electricity buzzing in my veins. This kind of kiss is different than yesterday's. Yesterday, we were exploring each other, but this? I can't get enough.

Our breathing is ragged, but neither of us seems to want to be the one to pull away first. I move my hands to cradle his face and I can feel the warmth of his cheeks and the heat of his breath as we continue on and on and on.

His lips slide from mine and make their way to my neck, leaving open mouth kisses all the way.

And the heat.

Of his kisses, of his lips on my skin, of the slow, deliberate trail he makes down my neck.

There's so much feeling and energy and passion, and I just want more.

I want more.

But then reality hits me.

The heat is too much.

I have no clue what I'm doing, and I know I'm not ready for more than this yet.

So before I can even think I'm pulling Jace away from my neck, "Jace," I whisper breathlessly, trying to catch my breath. But I can feel it start to pick up for a completely other reason than Jace's kisses.

Because I have zero clue what I'm doing, and he already knows this thanks to Kaelie, as does every other student at Alicante High.

He looks down at me, and his eyes shift from the dark gold they were. "Hey, what's wrong?" He asks worriedly as he pulls me up into a sitting position on the couch, registering my change in mood.

I sit up fully, only to drop my head into my hands, and then to run my hands through my hair. I huff out in frustration. I suddenly feel anxiety settling deep in my stomach and I just can't seem to calm my breathing. I don't look up, but I can feel Jace rubbing soothing circles against my back.

"Clary, what's going on?"

I look up to see his own eyes swimming with anxiety.

Anxiety that I'm the source of.

I sit up and take a breath before starting to race through my words, "We need to talk about what Kaelie mentioned today in the cafeteria… because I know you've been with other girls… and obviously those other girls did more than just kiss you… and I totally don't judge you for that… but I think that you deserve to at least know that-"

I'm cut off when Jace's lips softly brush against mine, in complete contrast to the frenzy we were in only minutes ago. He pulls away and I can see full understanding in his eyes.

"Clary, we don't need to talk about this right now if you're not comfortable with it," he assures me as he reaches to take both of my hands in his. My face burns with an embarrassed flush.

"But-"

"But nothing," he interjects with a shake of our hands. "We don't need to rush anything, okay?"

"I know," I protest, "but Kaelie already announced it to the school anyways…"

He shakes his head with a smile on his face, "Yes, but that doesn't matter. If and when you want to talk about it, I'll be here to talk about it okay? And until then…," he brushes a chaste kiss to my cheek, "I am perfectly okay with just kissing you for the rest of my life."

His complete understanding only makes me blush harder. He lifts my chin, forcing me to meet his eyes. "We've been dating for," he checks the clock on the wall, "less than twenty-four hours Clary. Trust me, we have all the time in the world."

"But Kaelie-"

"But Kaelie nothing," he stops me with his finger to my lips, "you didn't confirm or deny anything. So when you're ready to talk, we'll talk. We'll take things as slow as you want."

With him looking at me with those golden eyes telling me everything I need to know and the full meaning of his words registering in my brain, I feel my chest release the tense breath I'd been holding. I let out a breathless chuckle and bury my face in his shoulder.

"You're kind of amazing, you know."

"You stealing my lines now?" He asks, but I can hear the smile in his voice.

"It's a good line," I murmur into his shoulder. He runs his free hand down my side in what I'm sure he thought was a tender gesture, but instead, I end up squirming away with a giggle.

Jace's eyes meet mine, and that look, that look flashing with mischief, gives me about a half a second warning before he leaps for me, tickling my sides.

All I can do is squeal and laugh as he continues tickling my sides relentlessly. "JACE!" I gasp on a laugh, "AHHHHHHAHAHA!"

My stomach starts to ache from laughing so hard and I can't stop the shrieks of laughter coming from my mouth. Between that and Jace's own laughter at my expense, it's no wonder we don't hear the front door open.

"CLARY!?"

Jace and I bolt apart as if we're struck by lightning, jumping to opposite ends of the couch as my mom and Luke come racing into the living room from the front entrance of the apartment, both looking at us with panic in their eyes.

"Oh my god Mom!" I yell while looking between them and trying to catch my breath from laughing so hard, "you scared me half to death!"

"I scared you!?" My mom questions on a relieved breath, bringing her hand to lie on her chest, which is rising and falling rapidly. "You were the one screaming!"

I look between her and Luke and finally register the panic that is just starting to fade from their eyes. Why the hell were they so scared?

"I was just laughing mom," I try to reassure her, "Jace was just making me laugh." At this, I gesture toward Jace, who looks at my parents with a whole different kind of panic.

The 'meeting your girlfriend's parents for the first time' kind of panic.

He doesn't even catch the confused look I give him.

In a very un-Jace-like moment, Jace pops up off the couch apologizing profusely for scaring them and stumbling over his words trying to explain himself. It's actually quite endearing.

"So…," Luke says as Jace walks over and introduces himself, "you're the boyfriend Clary mentioned last night?"

"Yes sir," Jace continues on rambling, "and I really, really didn't mean to scare you both like that. I can totally see why-"

Then Luke, in a very un-Luke-like manner, interjects in an authoritative voice, "I expect absolutely no funny business with my daughter, do you understand me?"

"Luke!" I yell, while trying not to laugh, because really, the whole scene is outright comical.

But Jace just keeps going on, "Absolutely sir, I completely understand," and he's still making apologies as he makes his way to the door at the front entrance. "Um, Clary, I'll see you tomorrow? No, I'll text you tonight?" I nod my head and smirk at his nervousness, which yes, is completely adorable.

He reaches for my parents' hands one more time, telling them it was nice to meet them before walking to the front door and shutting it behind him, leaving the room silent.

I stare at the direction of the door completely dumbfounded for a good minute before sputtering out, "You- you- Did you just scare my boyfriend off?"

My parents look at each other confused for a moment, before identical smirks stretch across their faces.

"Why," Luke says with a puff of his chest, "I believe we just did Jocy."

I throw my hands up in the air as they start laughing. "Guys! YOU JUST SCARED OFF MY BOYFRIEND!"

My mom walks over to me and pats me on the shoulder, "Oh honey, he'll be back by tomorrow. Give Luke the moment to brag about being an intimidating father."

Luke beams as he walks up and throws an arm around my mom's shoulders. "I was pretty assertive, wasn't I Jocy? Did I look good as the 'tough guy?'"

Oh my god. I cannot believe I'm hearing this right now.

The look I must have plastered on my face sets my parents off on another round of hysterical laughter. And hearing them laugh like this? Hearing them joke about something as normal as intimidating Jace? My parents? The un-intimidateable Jace Lightwood? It sets me off on my own round of laughter. Because really, what else can I do?

For the first time in a really long time, everything just feels so right. By parents are happy, I couldn't ask for better friends, my best friend might be falling in love, and I have a boyfriend who continuously seems to surprise me with something new.

I feel untouchable. Me and my family and my friends and Jace?

We're untouchable.


I would like to apologize for the extended hiatus, real life got in the way for a bit. I'd also like to thank all of you a thousand times over for sticking with me and this story. I hope you all decide to stick around with the TMI series complete and the announcement of a TV series in the works. I've still got a lot of story to tell :) I can't guarantee consistent updates at the moment, but I can guarantee that updates will be more frequent. So please, drop a review if you get a chance. And again, thank you!