Clary stared at herself in the mirror, reflecting on the past four years of her life. It was almost impossible to remember the time before she knew of the Shadow World. Before she knew Jace. The last few months of 2007 seemed to be a blur, but oddly every detail remained crisp and defined in her minds eye. She remembered killing her very first demon—the Ravener in her mother’s loft—and when she first kissed Jace. She recalled seeing the glass towers of Alicante for the first time, discovering her immense Rune ability, the faerie queen's quick cunning, the Dark War… she remembered Sebastian.
With a quick shake of her head, Clary snapped back to the present, not allowing herself to recall more memories of her brother.
'Enough,' she told herself. 'No need to torture yourself quite so early in the day.'
As a distraction, she stared at herself in the mirror, looking through her artist’s eye. She noted the most drastic changes to her body. There were runes and scars scrawled all over her leg and arms, neck and torso in a matrix of crisscrossing lines. Each one telling a story uniquely their own. Every mark made with a purpose. And then she noticed more subtle changes, too—how her arms and shoulders carried what Jace called “ass-kicking” muscle definition, how her bright orange curls seemed tamer these days, how she had actual womanly curves. Clary stared appreciatively at these changes, relishing the inward curve of her waist and the smooth roundness of her hips. Even in sleep shorts and a sports bra, Clary had never felt more like a woman. And even despite the new-found confidence in herself, she knew that no matter what Jace still found her as blindingly beautiful as the first time her saw her. And her heart swelled with more happiness than she could take.
Moving away from the mirror and blinking away the tears of happiness that had crept up on her, Clary glanced around her room. In the corner by the window sat Clary’s drawing desk. When she first moved into her uptown loft, she had hardly any furniture, and Luke was kind enough to make her a drawing desk for her birthday. He had taken up wood-working at his country house, and to Clary’s surprise was quite talented.
She loved her desk. While drawing, she often found herself becoming distracted by the high level of craftsmanship that Luke had developed. She wondered how much time and love he had put into creating this masterpiece. And, as a final touch, her mother had contributed to the desk, too. Jocelyn had painted beautifully colored runes on the four corners of the desk. Runes speaking of concentration and creation, life and energy.
On the adjacent wall, she saw sitting atop her dresser were framed pictures of the people she loved most in the world. A moment of her and Jace sitting on the institute steps, Clary looking over his shoulder, Jace genuinely smiling. Her and Simon hugging when they were no older than seven, facing the camera cheek-to-cheek, smiling gap-toothed smiles. Her mother and Luke on their wedding day, Clary and Jace on either side of the happy couple. A snapshot of Izzy and Simon, Alec and Magnus, Clary and Jace after playing a rather dirty game of kickball, all their bodies covered in dirt and grass stains from the excessive illegal tackling. Clary was nearly overwhelmed by how much her life—and her heart—had grown the past four years, and she couldn’t remember the last time she felt happier.
Shifting her gaze again, trying to blink away more tears, Clary looked across the room at her bed, a wood-carved trunk at the foot of it—another gift from Luke. On top of her bed lay Jace, white sheets rumpled, an arm thrown hap-hazardously across his face. His golden-blonde hair splayed around his head in need of a haircut. Clary threw on her bath robe (using the edges of her sleeves to dab away the rest of the tears) and crossed the room to sit gently on the bed’s edge. Jace stirred slightly and Clary lightly placed a hand over his heart, his body heat emanating from his bare chest, up through her arm, and into her heart. The slow and steady pulse under her hand was comforting and more familiar than her own heartbeat.
“Jace. Jace, it’s time to wake up,” Clary whispered. She felt his heartbeat quicken slightly as he started to gain consciousness. “Jace, wake up.”
“Fivemoeminutes,” Jace mumbled into his arm.
Clary lightly laughed and bent down to kiss him on his forehead, moving his arm from his face in the process. “Sorry, no can do. We have to meet my mom and Luke for breakfast, remember?”
At this, Jace opened one eye to a slit. His golden eye stared at her, grogginess still clinging to him. “Are you sure we have to go?” Jace inquired half-heartedly, already knowing the answer. Before Clary could say anything in reply, he opened both his eyes lazily and answered himself. “I know, I know, we have to. Saturday morning family breakfasts, yada, yada, yada.”
Clary paused for a moment, teasing, “Well, Mr. Herondale, what would you rather be doing instead?” She knew that right now probably wasn’t the right time to provoke Jace, but her over-whelming happiness from the morning won over her sense of duty to visit with her mother and Luke for breakfast.
Jace, clearly catching her drift, immediately propped himself up on his elbows. In response to her question, he reached a hand up to her and brought her lips to his, parting them in a familiar way. Warm, slow, and loving. He pulled away and drew in a deep breath. “I’d rather stay in bed with you all day. Screw breakfast, screw our double date with Simon and Izzy…” He drifted off and chuckled low under his breath. “But there is someone I’d actually like to screw.”
Clary gasped in mock-horror. “I knew it! You have been having an affair with Raphael!” Jace’s face was blank, un-readable. Clary smiled to herself, thinking she had won this round of wits due to his grogginess. But before she could even blink, she was on her back, head on a pillow, shock knocking the breath out of her. Jace pinned her, one hand bracing himself on the outside of her shoulder, the other hand closed around both of her wrists, just above her head.
“Jace!” Clary breathed, more in surprise than anything else. He released one hand, but continued grasping her right hand, a coy smile playing at the edges of his lips.
“You’re right. I definitely forgot to mention how in love I am with Raphael,” Jace’s voice dripped sarcasm. He spoke the words against her collarbone, kissing along it until he reached her neck. “So, I guess now you know…” He kissed slowly up her neck, pausing at her jaw line. “Does that mean we can ask the bloodsucker for a ménage à trois?” He kissed her lightly along her jaw, ignoring Clary who was shaking with laughter, because he was playing along.
“Of course, darling,” Clary replied. “If it makes you happy.” She felt him smile against her cheek as she spoke, still kissing her. If there was one pet name Jace couldn’t stand, it was ‘darling.’ They both tended to stay away from over-the-top pet names, unlike Simon and Izzy who often called the other ‘baby,’ ‘sweet cheeks,’ and even worse ‘shnookums.’
“Oh, it would,” Jace answered, the sarcasm practically dripping from every syllable. He kissed along her cheek bone, barely controlling the smile spreading his face.
In reply, Clary turned her head to kiss him. All slowness and silliness gone; now they were all fire and passion. Twisting her free hand in his hair, she pulled him closer to her, so no space separated their bodies. Clary felt herself start to succumb to the desire that was Jace, and she had to force herself to hit the brakes. “Wait, wait,” she cautioned before she passed the point of no return. “We should go to breakfast today.” Jace pulled away slightly and started to mock-scowl down at her.
“But what about Raphael?” Jace teased, though the look in his eyes told Clary just how much he wanted her—no, needed her—too.
“I guess he’ll have to wait,” Clary sighed as she removed her other wrist from his hand and lightly pushed Jace off her. “I just have this feeling that we should be there today, you know? Plus, I definitely don’t want my mom freaking out when she realizes you stayed with me last night instead of going home to the Institute. You know… walk of shame clothes are something my mom can smell from a mile away.” Clary kissed Jace lightly on the cheek.
Jace shuddered. “You’re right… I definitely don’t want the wrath of Jocelyn on me today.” He drew himself up, stretched with his hands over his head, and rolled out of bed. “I’ll run home to change and shower then. See you at nine?” Clary sat on the edge of the bed and shook her head in conformation. She watched him pull on his jeans and T-shirt from the night before. Even to this day, the beauty and gracefulness of Jace’s body stunned her. She loved watching him move, transfixed by how his muscles extended under his skin, how his permanent runes and scars stretched as he twisted and turned. He noticed her watching him, studying his movements, and shot her a quick grin. She noticed the chip in his tooth, one of her favorite parts of Jace’s smile. He reached down to the floor, as if picking up something off the ground. He presented her with an empty hand. “Here, I think you dropped you jaw, Morgenstern.”
Clary smacked his hand out of the way playfully and abruptly stood up to kiss him. She felt him tense in surprise, then relax into her body as she kissed him, hard. He held her gently, though, and she pulled away from him after a few moments. “I love you,” Clary whispered.
“You’re my everything,” Jace responded. “I’ll see you in a couple of hours as Taki’s.”