AN: Hi everyone! Here is one more chapter for this lovely story. I hope you like it and please tell me what you think about it!
Also, I just wanted to jump in here really quickly to provide an update about what is going on with all of my stories:
-This story I will keep updating regularly, probably about once a week or so.
-The Last Hope (Clary x Alec AU) is still on hiatus, indefinitely. I don't really have a lot of inspiration for that story right now, so I am not forcing it.
-I am contemplating also putting I'll Always Find my Way Back to You (Percy Jackson x Malec crossover) on hiatus, temporarily. I started writing that story more than 7 years ago, and while I have a lot of ideas to continue writing it, I am struggling with my previous writing style. I feel like the new chapters I've been posting have a completely different tone from the chapters from 7 years ago. Some of the things that I wrote back then just seem really childish to me, but I don't want to completely change the tone of the story because it will seem almost like two different people wrote it. I'll eventually come back to that story, I guess.
-I started writing a new Star Wars story (Obi-Wan x Anakin AU) that I will also be updating weekly. I will probably alternate between updating this story and that one, so stay tuned.
I guess that's all. Enjoy this chapter and please consider leaving me a review if you like it, or if you have any suggestions. Thank you to all my readers!
Alec was bored out of his mind.
A few months ago, when he had been promoted, he had been really happy about the salary bump. Now, though, he would have gladly given up a week's pay to go back to his previous job.
Since arriving in New York, Alec had worked for a huge language services company. His job had mostly consisted of translating all kinds of written documents from French or German to English. More often than not, he would get poetry, instruction manuals, interviews and even novels, amongst other interesting things.
After being promoted, the only thing he ever translated were legal documents, which were incredibly boring, to say the least. By Friday, he was often so tired of non-disclosure agreements and immigration documents that he wanted to throw himself out the window.
Is today the longest day in history?, he texted Magnus. He knew for a fact that Magnus was in a meeting, and it was unlikely that he would read his text until much later, but he needed a little distraction, even if their texting was one-sided.
He only had a little bit more than an hour to kill before lunch and, despite his obvious dislike for boring legal documents, he was actually ahead of schedule on his assignments, so he didn't really have much to do. He was reading a company newsletter when he noticed his friend Simon Lewis walking towards his desk twenty minutes later.
"Hey Lightwood." Simon greeted him.
"Hey Lewis. Are you going out for lunch?"
"Nah, I asked for the afternoon off. I have a Jewish thing." He explained.
"Oh, good luck, I guess." Alec replied. Given his conservative upbringing, Alec really wasn't a fan of discussing religion or traditions.
"Alright, I'll see you Monday, light of the wood. Don't forget it's Jordan's turn to pay for lunch, so don't bring any food." With a light slap to Alec's shoulder, Simon left.
Alec grimaced slightly at Simon's use of the stupid nickname he had come up with, but he had to admit that, in that moment, he was a little bit jealous of Simon for being able to leave early. He was, in fact, looking forward to Monday. Alec, Simon and their little group of friends at the office always took turns buying lunch from a surprise restaurant. Last week had been Maia's turn, and she had ordered from an unsanitary-looking old Chinese restaurant that turned out to be the most delicious Chinese food Alec had ever tried.
Monday was still two days away, though. Alec knew that the weekend was going to go by rather quickly, given the fact that he was going to spend it with Magnus. Last week, they had made plans to stay inside Magnus's apartment and watch TV, and Alec was hoping he could get Magnus interested in board games. The problem at hand was not the weekend, but rather how to make it through the remainder of Friday without dying of boredom.
When it was finally time for Alec to take his lunch hour, he decided to go to the bookstore. It had been a while since he had stocked up on new books to read, and he figured he could read a little while waiting for his shift to end.
Alec rarely went to big-chain bookstores. There was something about the bright lights and the large number of people that bothered him. Instead, he normally visited a small shop that was walking distance from his office. Eventually he had discovered that the place was actually owned by Clary's dad. Alec was not exactly a chatty person, but he liked the personal touch of Luke engaging in small talk and recommending new books every time Alec visited the store.
On this occasion, though, Alec was surprised to see that Luke was not there. When he glanced at the register through the window, he saw a short woman with red hair. Her face was away from him so, just by looking at her back, Alec could not really tell if the woman was actually Clary or her mother. They looked so much alike that Alec guessed people must have confused them all the time.
When he entered the store, a little bell by the door chimed and the woman turned around in his direction, revealing herself as Clary.
"Hey Alec. Nice seeing you here." Clary said with a smile.
Just a few months back, Alec would have resisted the urge to roll his eyes at her enthusiasm. He had disliked Clary so much upon meeting her, but he had to admit that she had grown on him. He guessed that if he had met Clary under different circumstances –at work, for example-, he would have been inclined to hang out with her. She was never mean or unkind, and she was funny in an unconventional kind of way. After all, those were the same qualities that had motivated him to hang out with Simon. The fact that he and Clary had been hanging out together since childhood meant that they had incredibly similar personalities.
"Hi. Where's Luke?" Alec replied, doing his best to return her smile.
"Business meeting. He and my mom are buying a Chinese restaurant. Have you ever tried the Jade Wolf?" Alec did, in fact, recognize the name. It was the place where Maia had bought last week's lunch.
"Yeah, one of my coworkers introduced me to it. So, Luke's buying it?" He asked.
"It's like his childhood dream or something. I'll probably take care of the bookstore for a bit, while he gets used to running the restaurant." She smiled at her own words, proud of her accomplishment. "So, what were you looking for? I have been reorganizing this past week and trying to learn everything about every book we sell." She giggled.
"Well, I wanted something to read at the office. I'm having a super slow day." Alec complained.
"Oh, we just got this last week!" Clary exclaimed happily, reaching for a display just besides the counter. "It's a new crime novel. I don't know if you're into that but it's really good."
"That sounds nice. I'll take it. And this one, too." He said, grabbing a health and fitness book from a nearby shelf.
"Hey, speaking of your office, have you seen Simon lately?" Clary asked him.
"I just saw him. He came to say goodbye because he was leaving early. He said he had a Jewish thing." Clary put his new books in a paper bag after he handed her a twenty-dollar bill.
"I forgot about that. I haven't spoken to him much these past few weeks. He and his girlfriend broke up, and he has been dodging my calls." Clary sighed, looking sad.
"I didn't even know he had a girlfriend." Alec said, surprised. He and Simon didn't exactly talk about a lot of personal things, but they were good friends.
"She works at your office, too. She's one of the accountants. Maia something-or-other. I want to say Reynolds?" Clary added, tentatively.
Alec was very surprised at that. He had seen Simon and Maia together, but never in a million years would he have thought they were a couple. They seemed like really good friends, and that hadn't changed in the last couple weeks. If they had been together and then broken up without Alec even noticing, he guessed their split had been very amicable. Besides, Maia was always hovering over Jordan, who was also part of their little group.
"Maia Roberts? I didn't know that, but I guess I just don't pay a lot of attention to that kind of stuff." He shrugged.
"Could you please ask him to call me the next time you see him at the office. I feel like he has been avoiding me since then. If it's not too much to ask, of course." She pleaded.
"Sure." Alec replied, grabbing the change Clary had laid down on the counter.
"Listen, Alec, before you go, I had been meaning to talk to you." She said nervously.
"What did Jace do?" Alec asked, letting out an annoyed sigh. Jace had a huge talent for getting into trouble whenever he wasn't around to keep him in check. It would not have been the first time Jace had asked Clary to inform Alec about one of his screw-ups so that Alec wouldn't scream at him directly. One time he had gotten arrested for being rude to an officer, and he had communicated exclusively through Clary for more than a week to avoid a lecture.
"Nothing. I actually wanted to talk about you. But I wanted to talk to you alone, without Jace." She clarified.
"Hmm?" Alec raised an eyebrow. What would Clary want to talk to him about?
"Listen, please don't take this the wrong way, you know I have never wanted to intrude in your personal life or anything but... I'm kind of worried about you."
"Worried about me?" Alec asked in a dry tone.
"Like I said, I don't mean to pry or anything, but I have noticed that you pretty much sneak off every weekend. Jace has noticed too. He doesn't want to say anything because he doesn't want to be nosy. Honestly, he probably thinks you go out with friends to smoke weed or something, but I don't think that's the case. I think you're probably seeing someone..."
"I'm not seeing anyone." Alec interrupted her automatically. It was unlikely that she knew about Magnus, and he wasn't going to give her any more reason to suspect it.
"Look, what I'm trying to say, I guess, is that I wouldn't judge you, and Jace wouldn't judge you if you were, you know, seeing a guy." She let that last bit sink in, looking directly at Alec to gauge his reaction.
"WHAT?" He almost screamed. He had never told anyone, especially not Clary. Was it possible that she had seen something? Maybe that night that he and Magnus had met, leaving the club together? But they hadn't really been doing anything, just talking and walking side by side.
Calm down, Alec. She can't know. There's no way she knows, he said to himself.
"It's okay if you are, Alec. Gay, I mean. People in New York are very liberal. I would support you, you know. And Jace would, too." She reached for his hand and gave it a little squeeze, but Alec pulled away.
"I'm not gay." He insisted.
"I'm just saying that if that were the case, we wouldn't judge you. And I wouldn't tell anyone. To be fair, Jace is a lot more caring and understanding that you give him credit for. He just doesn't want to bother you by asking, but I know he's been worried about you."
"There's nothing going on with me, maybe I just don't want to be around you too acting all couply and shit." He snapped. He didn't curse often, but he was running out of things to say to make Clary believe his lie.
"Then how about this? I'll cover for you this weekend. I'll tell Jace I asked you to check on Simon because of the Maia thing, and you can spend all weekend away. I can help Jace do the shopping and everything. You don't have to worry about anything, you can go smoke weed," at this, Clary used air quotations. "or whatever it is you are or aren't doing. Maybe, after that, you'll realize you can trust me." The expression on her face was smug, but Alec could tell that she was also a little annoyed.
Alec sighed. There really wasn't much point in trying to hide his secret from Clary. He could try to deny it over and over again, but in reality, she already knew. Somehow, she had figured it out. To what extent, Alec didn't know. Alec didn't think that she knew about his infatuation with Jace, because she probably wouldn't be so calm about it. If she somehow knew, that would have been really embarrassing for him.
"Fine, Clary. Thank you." He grunted, walking away. He left the store before she even had the chance to respond.
As he walked back towards his office, his stomach grumbled. He decided to just buy a ready-to-go sandwich from the nearby deli. While he was waiting in line, he took out his phone. Magnus had not yet replied to his earlier texts, so he was probably still busy.
At what time are you picking me up today?, he wrote. If Clary was providing him with an opportunity to spend the weekend with Magnus, completely undisturbed by Jace and his foolery, he was going to take it.
By the way, I don't own any of this characters. I don't even own a bookstore or a chinese restaurant like Luke does. I would love to have Clary's red hair, but I don't. I just make do with what I have, and that is this story lol