Once again a bit of a wait. For that I apologize, but I also say two things: "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" and "The best gratification is delayed gratification."
Any who, here is chapter 26! I hope you enjoy!
The sun was bright.
Or it must be 'cause there was no other reason I could be feeling so warm. Behind the shield of my lids I warily contemplated opening them. It didn't seem worth it. But when I heard a soft sigh near my ear they flew open in surprise.
She was still there. Clary's face was so close to mine I could practically count her eyelashes. I stayed perfectly still, not wanting to wake her. In sleep she looked much younger. Her freckles became charmingly apparent against her pale skin while a soft smile the lined her face in sleep made a small dimple I'd never noticed play at her left cheek. I wanted so badly to touch it. Feel the small dip on with the pad of my thumb.
After a moment I understood why I was so warm—but not uncomfortably so. Clary was wrapped around me like a vine. Her small hand was gripped onto the hip of my sweatpants as if holding me still, while her other hand was innocently pressed against my bare chest right above where my heart lay beating. Her one leg was hooked around mine and the other was invisible where it lay under the blanket which had mostly been kicked off the bed.
I have never been more comfortable in my life. Part of me wished I could stay like this forever. After a few moments, as if sensing my steady gaze, Clary slowly opened her eyes one at a time and I was once again treated to more of her natural beauty.
"Hi," she murmured sleepily, cuddling impossibly closer to me. Her forehead now touched my chin. With it so close I took the opportunity to kiss it gently. She purred beneath me, letting out another soft sigh.
"Hi yourself," I whispered against her skin. When she looked up at me this time, her gaze altered. As if pulling me, I was tethered to her. My arm came up and gently brushed her hair from her cheek while our gazes stayed locked. My hand slowly travelled down her neck to her shoulder, then proceeded down to her waist where I massaged the flesh that was exposed above her sweat pants with my thumb. My sweatpants.
"I love you," Clary whispered so softly I almost didn't hear her. I could practically feel my heartbeat stutter at her words. With her palm still placed firmly above my heart, I knew she felt it too. Her smile was slow and warm. Her hand that was gripped against my hip tugged me closer. "Kiss me, Jace."
Moving closer I kissed her nose. Then I slowly moved my lips to her temple. Then her cheek. I kept kissing her face, moving my lips over every surface but her lips. I smiled when I felt her hand move from my hip to my hair. Opening my eyes I looked into hers. She shook her head at me and released my hair for a moment to tap a finger tip against her lips.
All too willing to oblige, I leaned in and pressed my lips softly to hers. Sighing into my mouth, Clary's grip went back to my hair. Her leg that was still over mine hooked and pulled me closer. The kiss was soft, searching almost. There was still so much to learn about each other. But still already so much we did know. I felt more at home with Clary than I ever had with anyone or anywhere. It was a revelation that had me deepening the kiss and gripping her waist a little tighter.
Clary didn't object. Parting her lips she allowed my tongue access. After a moment, before I knew it, she was rolling over me until her front was firmly pressed against mine. When she needed to breathe, she drew back and rose above me, smile playing at her lips. I gazed up at her, smiling myself.
"I like waking up to you," she said, brushing her fingers lightly against the stubble that was on my cheek.
I pressed my own hand against hers then kissed her palm. "Me too," I murmured with my lips still pressed against her flesh. I smiled when a small shiver ran through her body. Bringing my free hand up, I tucked it behind her neck and pulled her back down to me. Tucking her head below my chin, I kissed her crown and wrapped both my arms around her.
"I don't want to leave," Clary sighed, nuzzling her nose into my neck and breathing in.
I sighed as I began running me hand slowly up and down the curve of her spine. "Then don't."
I felt her head shake. "I don't have that luxury like you do Jace." She lifted her head, her eyes holding mine. "You even admitted it. We come from two different worlds." She brushed my cheek once more with her hand. "If I want a future I have to work hard for it, I didn't have the kind of money and power your family does." She pressed her finger against my lip when I tried to speak. "Not that I fault you for that. Your independence is one of the things I live about you Jace." She kissed me lightly, lips lingering for a moment before she pulled back. "A big part of me wishes I could just stay here with you forever, escape and stay in our little bubble."
"I don't want you to leave," I whispered. I knew once she left and I was alone in this place that the reality of my life would sucker punch me and knock me flat on my ass. Was I being selfish? Probably. "I love you Clary Fray."
Her smile was slow, but was so bright I felt myself mimicking her. When she leaned down to kiss me again, a large banging knock echoed through the wide open space of the loft. Then another and another. Pausing, I saw the frown on Clary's face appear. I felt my own as I leaned up, still holding her on my lap.
"Maybe it's the landlord?" she suggested, eyes turning towards the direction of the knocking.
"Why wouldn't she just call?" I muttered, reluctantly setting Clary down beside me on the bed. Rising I pulled my pants up and moved toward the stairs. "Stay here," I said to her as I headed down towards the door. "Hold your horses, I'm coming," I muttered at the ceaseless banging. When I yanked the door open on a curse, I was stunned then slightly annoyed by what I found behind it.
"Don't look so happy to see us!" Alec said as he moved past me into the room. Isabelle took her time coming in, eyeing me up and down. I wished I put on a shirt.
"Hi Jace." She practically purred my name as she moved past me, purposely brushing her shoulder against my chest. I rolled my eyes.
"What are you two doing here?" I asked, tone tense. I looked up from where I stood, but I couldn't see Clary. I frowned and turned my gaze back to brother and sister.
"Thanks for the warm welcome," Alec responded back, though he was smiling as he looked around. "This place is sick." He whistled before he looked at me. "You never would have guessed by the way it looks out side." he shook his head as if the image he saw disturbed him deeply. He moved around the space. "Jace Wayland, slumming in Queens. Who woulda guessed?"
I shrugged. "It's better than me crashing on your couch every night." And I smirked at him. "Plus I am not 'slumming'."
"Potato Potato," Alec murmured absently. He headed over to the kitchen and opened the fridge. "Dude, you really need to get some food up in here!" He proceeded to open surrounding cupboards In hope to find some form of sustenance.
Isabelle was wandering around the living room, she paused after a moment to speculatively eye the empty paint cans and the minor paint marks on the floor. I felt a smile tug at my lips when I recalled Clary's and my little wrestling match. I think I could call that an even tie.
"I didn't know you knew how to paint." It wasn't a question but I opened my mouth to answer anyways. A voice behind me spoke instead.
"He doesn't, I had to do most of it," Clary said. I turned instantly to look at her, as did the other two pairs of eyes in the room. She had gotten changed into her own shirt, but I found myself grinning when I noted she was still wearing my sweatpants. She blushed slightly when she caught my gaze.
"Who are you, the help or something?" Isabelle asked, tone slightly piqued.
Clary reddened further. I turned and narrowed my eyes at Isabelle. "Really?" Was all I said.
Understanding fully, She merely shrugged and eyed Clary with blatant dislike. As a response I held my hand out to Clary and kept my eyes on her face until she crossed the room and placed her grasp firmly in mine. I squeezed once in hopeful reassurance. "I would like you both to meet, Clary Fray."
I could feel Isabelle eye us both, gazing moving back and forth. I ignored it, though I could feel Clary growing more and more tense. I leaned in and kissed her cheek, then quietly whispered, "Ignore her." Clary looked up at me and nodded slightly before moving slightly closer to me.
I turned towards Alec, finding it odd that he had remained quiet during the exchange. Instead of staring at Clary with confusion like I'd expected, he was staring at me in a sort of wide astonishment that border-lined amazement. When he noted my curious gaze his face fell and hardened into unreadable lines. His lips pursed.
"Seems we interrupted something," he said curtly. His tone had my eyebrows rising. If he noticed he didn't show it. "Come Isabelle, best we get going, maybe we can make it to school on time." His eyes turned to mine briefly, turning colder, then he promptly went through the door, not waiting to see if Isobelle was following. She did, after a second of blatant confusion. She left with a glare at Clary and an overly suggestive smile for me. Then the door was closed and the loft was quite, save Clary's and my breathing.
"That was...uh, awkward," Clary supplied as she tightened her arm around my waist, breaking the silence.
It took me a moment to answer, as my eyes were still glued to the door where Alec had exited so suddenly. Then I turned down to look at her patient gaze.
"Sorry about all that, I honestly don't know what that was about." I frowned, eyes drawn back to the door. After a moment I shook my head. "So what would you like for breakfast?"
Clary let out a laugh, body relaxing almost instantly in my arms. "Jace, we both know there is nothing in that fridge of yours. You really need to go grocery shopping." She snorted when she noted the expression on my face. "You've never been in a grocery store before, have you?"
I shrugged, giving her a sheepish smile. "I never had to." I felt lame saying it. But it was the truth.
Shaking her head in mock disgust, Clary moved towards the couch grabbing her purse.
"What are you doing?" I asked, stomach falling as I figured she was going to leave.
"I'm not doing anything. We're going grocery shopping."At my horrified expression, Clary merely tossed me my jacket and moved towards the door. "Come on Jace. If you want to live and survive in Queens, I'm gunna have to teach you a thing or two." Her smile was quick and beautiful. "Welcome to my world Mr. Wayland."
Alright! That's all you guys get for now! I am tired for once and am going to take advantage of it! Hope you enjoyed it and don't fret, there is more where that came from (though it is often slowly produced). Ta-ta for now, and review to let me know what you think!
Ps. for those who are always willing to discover something new and enlightening, Read "The Hollow Men" by T.S. Eliot. It is truly a beautiful piece of work.