Please read A/N at the end! It would help me tremendously.
Disclaimer: Character names belong to Cassandra Clare. All characterizations, plot lines, and backgrounds belong to me. No copying or reproduction of this work is permitted without written authorization.
Jace Wayland sat uncomfortably in the fake leather chair in the lobby of Herondale Divorce Firm. He shifted uneasily in the blue Calvin Klein suit, pulling on the tie that was suffocating him.
Well, either it was the tie that made it hard to breathe, or Clarissa Fray's infuriating glare.
He glanced up at her through his eyelashes. She looked good, but that wasn't a surprise. She had always looked good, a fact that pissed him off. She had no right to be so hot. None at all.
Now, with the whole smoky eye thing going on, he found it hard to think of anything else except how hot her legs were.
Not that that was enough to make him forget everything she'd done to break his heart.
He returned to the Herondale Divorce Firm brochure, now clenched in his fist. Smoothing it out, he managed to decipher the fancy cursive, despite the many wrinkles.
Let the road to divorce be as happy as the road to marriage!
He glanced first at the clock and then cast an irritated scowl at the door to the lawyer's office.
12:57. They were now exactly twelve minutes late for their scheduled meeting. Whatever going on inside the office was taking forever.
"Tell me again," Clary's cold, accusing tone drifted from across the room, "Why couldn't we just have filed some papers? This is obviously a waste a time. You probably could have taken someone's v-card in this amount of time."
The implication made his blood boil. "I told you, I didn't decide on this. Isabelle signed us up. And no, you're wrong. I could have taken two v-cards by now."
Clary glared, her mouth opening to snap another insult, when the door finally opened. Both turned in surprise to see a middle-aged couple walk out, hugging and embracing. The man used a tissue to wipe the woman's tears.
Behind them stood a tall man whose height rivaled Jace's. He had receding dark brown hair, and when he smiled, his eyes crinkled and almost disappeared in his face.
"Sorry about the holdup," he said, motioning for them to come in. "I'm Stephen Herondale."
"Oh, it was no problem," Clary said, plastering on a charming smile.
Jace rolled his eyes. And who had been complaining a mere few seconds ago?
Nevertheless, he followed his wife into the room and balked. Two chairs sat side by side in front of a plain, brown desk. Herondale sat behind the desk, motioning once more for them to sit.
Jace tugged the chair closest to him and noticed Clary doing the same. Nothing happened.
Herondale laughed. "Those are glued down. Sorry. But please, take a seat."
Grumbling, Clary sat down, squishing herself to one side, as far away from the other chair as possible. Jace gingerly lowered himself into the chair, careful not to make contact.
No use. Their arms brushed and both tensed involuntarily.
Herondale actually chuckled. Jace imagined the asshole's head thrown back in agony as blood splurted from his nose.
"What's so funny?" Clary snapped, apparently dropping the nice façade.
"Yes," Jace said tightly. "Please, enlighten us on the hilarity of this situation." From the corner of his eye, he saw Clary shoot him a furious glare for agreeing.
"Sorry, sorry," the lawyer said, muffling another chuckle. "It's just that the other couple – the one you saw walking out – started just like how you two are behaving right now."
"Well," Jace drawled, just to further infuriate Clary, "I'm sure the ending for us will be quite different."
He smirked as Clary's hands clenched the chair so hard the knuckles turned white.
"Well," said Herondale lightly. "We'll see. So, tell me why you guys have decided to call it the quits."
"Irreconcilable difference," Jace said, just as Clary said, "He's a pretentious douchebag."
Jace arched an eyebrow. "'Pretentious douchebag?' What are we, sixteen?"
"Just saying it like it is," his wife shot back. "And even back then you were one."
"Whoa, whoa." Herondale leaned forward. "How long have you guys known each other? You're only, what, thirty, right?"
"Twenty-eight." Jace glared. "Not nearly that old."
Clary scoffed. "Well, you certainly do look old. With the whole crow's feet and sagging double chin going on."
Jace immediately bristled. "I do not have a double chin! Or crow's feet! These impeccable looks have made even teenage girls swoon."
At the look on Clary's face, he knew he would regret those words. She snickered. "That's not really something to brag about. Maybe we should also file for pedophiling?"
"You – "
"Now, now," Herondale said calmly. "Let's not try to claw each other's eyeballs out. Tell me how you met."
Jace eyed him warily. "I wasn't aware that your job included snooping into others' private lives."
The lawyer remained undaunted. "This is part of the process. Would you like to go first?"
Jace felt his fists clench in fury. Stephen Herondale sucked shit, and he was going to torture Isabelle nonstop once he got home.
"Sure," he said peevishly. "Why not."
"The real version." Herondale gave him a meaningful stare. "Not the evil twisted version you're already making up in your head. And I mean it. If you want this to work, you're going to have to be upfront and honest about everything.
Jace gaped. How had this dude known his exact thoughts? Sighing, he shook his head, knowing it would be pointless to fight back.
"Fine," he agreed stiffly. "This is how it all began…"
To third graders, getting a girl's attention required two things. One, good looks.
Check. I excelled in that department.
And two, making fun of her.
But for me, I rarely needed to grovel for attention. Instead, I received incessant admiring glances, both overt and surreptitious. Girls loved me. And I, for the most part, ignored them. Sports and bugs held so much more interest.
Halfway through third grade, however, all that changed.
It was a Monday, and I sat near the window, staring out at the playground, thinking of recess and counting down the minutes until the bell. The teacher, Ms. Fairchild, was attempting, and failing, to teach multiplication, when the door swung open.
In walked a small girl with a huge mass of red curls combed into two short braids.
"Class," Ms. Fairchild said. "We have a new student. This is Clarissa Fray. Tell us a bit about yourself, Clarissa."
"It's Clary," Clarissa said quietly. She looked around the room shyly. "And I, um, like to draw."
"Isn't that something," Ms. Fairchild smiled. "Well, there's an empty seat right in front of Jace. Jace, why don't you raise your hand?"
I did so obediently, and Clary's eyes locked on mine. For a second, we stared at each other and my heart jumped queerly in my chest. I froze. My father had died of a heart attack, so maybe that was a symptom?
Clary sat down in front of me, her two braids swinging. For a minute, I stared at the back of her head. Why wasn't she turning around to talk to me? How could she sit there like she hadn't even noticed me?
I had to know her. I had to talk to her. I just had to.
Ignoring the queer thumping of my heart, I leaned forward and tugged on one braid. She whipped around, nearly catching me with a mouthful of hair. Again, those green eyes pierced me and held me in place, unable to think, to move, to talk.
"What?" She asked.
You know how I said the second way to make conversation with a girl was to tease her? Well, that's exactly what I did.
I felt my mouth pull up into a smile. "Hey, Carrot."
Immediately, whatever warmth she'd previously shown disappeared, and before I even knew what was happening, her hand whipped out lightning quick and slapped me across my face. The loud crack reverberated throughout the classroom and Ms. Fairchild spun around, alarmed. She took in my red cheek and Clary's stormy expression, and her own face turned frosty.
"Clarissa," she said through gritted teeth. "That was unacceptable."
Clary's eyes grew as round as pearls. "But Jace – "
"It doesn't matter. Violence is never the answer. Go sit outside until I can come talk to you."
Clary's face flushed a deep red, almost as red as her hair. As she passed my desk, she narrowed her eyes. "I hate you."
I think my heart literally started breaking form that moment.
For the rest of class, I stared out the window. Those burning eyes kept flashing back to me.
She hated me, all because I like her.
"Fantastic," Clary said, rolling her eyes. "Now that you've made me sound like a completely heartless bitch, can I explain my side?"
Jace smiled cockily. "I'm sure more than half of it will be comprised of 'Jace is so hot.'"
"We were nine then," she said dryly. "I don't think I knew the second definition of hot."
"Well, you certainly appreciated my good looks then, didn't you."
She sent him a death glare. Just because hearing his first impression of her had made her feel slightly warm and fuzzy inside didn't mean that she didn't remember the thing that had led to their divorcing.
"Jace, you did very well," Stephen Herondale said generously. Clary snorted. "Now, Clary, why don't you recount that fateful day."
I hated new schools. As soon as you walked through the doors, fifty pairs of suspicious eyes would turn to stare at you, as if you were an alien with five heads and seventeen eyes.
That's exactly what happened when I walked into Ms. Fairchild's third grade classroom. Heads swiveled from staring at the whiteboard to me.
Ms. Fairchild smiled kindly. "Class, this is Clarissa. Tell us something about yourself."
I froze momentarily. I hated attention, and being up there in front of everyone made me nervous. "It's Clary," I said, my voice sounding small, even to my own ears. "And I like to draw."
Then suddenly, a boy was raising his hand. His head was ringed by a halo of golden locks and his eyes, locked on mine were the same melting color. I felt my breath catch.
The teacher nudged me forward, and I realized I was supposed to sit near him. My whole body buzzed with nervousness. How was I supposed to concentrate when there was some god-like creature sitting directly behind me?
And then he pulled by hair.
See, I've always been sort of self-conscious of my hair. While some people pined for red hair and went so far as to dye their hair, I found the color disconcerting. It drew extra attention to me – attention I didn't need. And it wasn't even the pretty auburn red. My hair was red, even verging a bit on orange.
That was when I exploded. I didn't care how cute he was. My hair was a sensitive topic, and he had just broached the line. There was a loud crack in the room as my hand made contact with his cheek.
The next thing I knew, I was being escorted from the room by a very pissed Ms. Fairchild.
The rest of the school day was a blur, but one thing remained clear: Jace Wayland would never get away with this.
"How dramatic," Jace rolled his eyes. "Maybe you should go audition for a soap opera or something."
Clary glared. "I'm just trying to be as honest as possible. Besides, you got me in trouble on my first day of school. Ms. Fairchild bitched me out in the hallway and treated me like shit for the rest of the year. You had to pay."
Jace laughed. "By the way, I think I heard you call me hot in your story."
"I did not," Clary cried indignantly.
"Right. It was even better. You called me a god." He smirked.
"Yes, well, judging from your egotistical version, you already knew you were hot."
The lawyer smiled. "So then what happened?"
"Then," Clary said gravely. "I met Isabelle."
After Ms. Fairchild's totally unfair tirade, I was too angry to try to make friends and found myself sitting alone at lunch. Mom had packed me a sandwich with pickles, and I spent a better half of lunch trying to pluck them out. I had just taken a big bite when a shadow fell over me.
A tall girl with jet black hair and matching dark eyes stood before me. I felt my jaw slacken.
Had I seen her somewhere? A Macy's magazine maybe? She was so gorgeous.
"Isabelle Lightwood," she said, sticking out her hand.
"Clary Fray," I said.
"I know," Isabelle said, sitting down next to me. "I'm in your class. I have to say, I'm very impressed by what you did to my brother."
"Your brother? Oh. You mean Jace." My stomach dropped. This was great. The only girl who was nice enough to talk to me would now be bitching me out.
"Don't bother. He gets on my nerves all the time. I beat him up regularly at home. Or at least when Mom and Dad are out."
I felt my eyes widen. Wow. Isabelle Lightwood was seriously amazing. "You guys don't look alike."
"Nope," she said lightly. "He was adopted."
I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out. I'd never met anyone adopted before.
"I've been told the resemblance is striking." Isabelle's mouth quirked up in a smile.
I felt my face stretching into a grin. "I think I'm going to like you a lot, Isabelle."
Clary finished recounting her first encounter with Isabelle with a wistful smile on her face. It started Jace; he'd almost forgotten how she'd looked besides the constant scowl she had on around him.
But that was a lie. You could never forget someone's face – some you had known and had loved for nineteen years. You had that person's every expression, every detail, every curve and shape of their body memorized to heart and seared in your brain.
He just chose to try not to remember.
"So that's how you guys became good friends," he said. "By trashtalking me."
"It gave us common ground," Clary stated, unabashed.
"And did I hear you say 'bitching'? Ugh, even as a third grader, you were terrible. I should have known."
Jace knew he'd hit the mark then. Clary looked like she wanted to leap out of the chair and strangle him. Luckily, Herondale chose to butt in at that moment.
"And through her you two became good friends as well?" He questioned.
"Nope," Jace said, popping the "p."
"He kept pulling my hair," Clary accused.
"Hey! You can't blame a guy for trying. I only wanted an excuse to talk to you."
"And you decided that by continuing to make fun of my hair, I would suddenly be nice to you?"
"Well," Jace said darkly. "That was before you started calling me Goldilocks."
Clary snickered, and even the bastard Herondale smiled. "Oh, right. Can't believe I forget that one."
"I assume this animosity eventually went away though?" Herondale mused. "Considering the fact that you two are now married."
That snapped both of them back to reality. A palpable coldness, almost like a winter draft, settled in the room. Jace and Clary glared at each other.
"Not really," Clary said finally. "Not until high school."
"Ah," Herondale said. "We'll save that for the next session. I believe we're over time." He smiled. "Maybe the next guy out there has already taken three girls' v-cards already, eh?"
Clary and Jace both glanced up at the clock, astonished to see it read 1:25. They were more than thirty minutes over.
"Oh, God," Clary apologized. "We're terribly sorry. I'm so sorry."
Herondale waved them off good-naturedly. "See you guys next week."
Outside, Jace casted a sideways look at his wife. "Taking v-cards, huh?"
She huffed. "Don't start."
They reached the lobby door and stood there awkwardly.
"Well," he said, running a hand through his hair for lack of better things to do. "I'll see you next week, I guess."
Clary looked like she was about to say something, but in the end, all she gave was a stiff nod before turning and walking away from him.
Just like always.
Whew. That took a long time to write, so please, for the love of God, review. You have no idea how long that took me.
IMPORTANT FEEDBACK NEEDED:
- Is it easy to understand whose perspectives the first person portions are? Or do you guys prefer for JPOV and CPOV to be specified
- Longer chapters, but longer waits? its pretty hard to break chapters like these up, so if they're short chapters, each chapter will end awkwardly and begin awkwardly. I want this story to provide the best reading experience possible, so I'm hoping to not split them up, but what do you guys think? Longer chapters or shorter?
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