I panted heavily, dropping my head back against the pillow. Jace had just collapsed next to me, and both of our breathing was extremely labored. I can't believe that just happened. I never knew it could feel like that. Why had I been holding out again? Oh, right, we were complete stranger, who just met each other, and we had no feelings whatsoever for each other.
"Was that better than the first time?" Jace asked, glancing over at me. I had told Jace about what had been going through my head that night recently. It wasn’t that our first time was awful. It just hurt, and I was overwhelmed with nerves. That day in general was a nightmare for me, so when I had to consummate my marriage with Jace, I already felt terrible.
"Yes." I nodded, closing my eyes lightly. All I wanted to do right now is sleep, but I could tell Jace wasn't going to let me do that. He seemed wide awake, which I found a little annoying. I’m so exhausted.
"Good." He huffed, propping his hands behind his head to stretch his torso. We sat in silence for a few minutes, but he looked over at me, trying to keep me from sleeping. "What was your response to my father's proposition?" He asked, rolling onto his side. Right to business. Great.
"I don't know." I ran my hand over my face and into my hair, not wanting to get into this right now.
"Do you want to become a prisoner here?" He murmured, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear.
"No, but if you guys lose, you have no idea what my brother would do to me. He barely holds himself back from beating me." I sighed, holding the blanket to my chin. Just talking about him makes me feel vulnerable, and suddenly I wanted to cover myself up.
"We won't lose with you at our side. I can give you the world, but if you don't help us, all you will be is a girl who bore my son." He seemed like he genuinely wanted to give me everything. He didn’t want me to just be known as the mother of his child. He wanted me to be a figure with him.
"Why do you want me to help you so bad?" I questioned lightly, turning over to look at his eyes.
"You are my wife. I do care about you." He pursed his lips, feeling slightly embarrassed about his confession. "Did my father tell you why we were revolting against your brother?" He spoke up a little more distancing himself from his little admission. I shook my head, holding the blanket closer to me. I felt like this was going to be a rough story. "Our family traveled to your city for peace negotiations, and my youngest cousin swiped an apple. We were about to apologize for his behavior and pay for apple, but your brother grabbed him. He gave a speech about how terrible savages were, and then cut his head off for stealing." His voice was sober as he spoke. I could see the pained look in his face. "He was 9." His lip quivered slightly, just thinking about his little cousin.
"I'm sorry." I breathed, reaching my hand out, but he moved away from me. "What was his name?" I scooted a little closer, cupping his cheek lightly. I wouldn’t let him retreat from me because he connected me to my brother. I am nothing like him.
"Max." He closed his eyes, nuzzling into my hand. "My father tried to keep the alliance, but after Jonathan inherited the throne our food rations were cut in half. It was the last straw. Please, help us. We aren't going to lose. We fight dirty. Our warriors are faster." He explained.
"Ok" I breathed, locking my eyes with his. "I'll help." I kissed him lightly, committing myself to their cause. He pulled me over him, and I straddled his hips. I adjusted myself to sit comfortably on his lap, knowing that this was leading somewhere completely different than before. I bit my lip, as his hands soothed over my milky skin. "What are you doing?" I smiled, running my hands up his chest.
"What does it look like I'm doing?" His sad face had long disappeared, and was replaced with a more playful one.
"Something that requires a lot more energy from me then I have." I laughed, resting our foreheads together.
"Well, fine, I'll do all work." He flipped me onto my back, spreading his large hands down my thighs. I weaved my fingers into his hair, pulling him down for a deep kiss. My other hand felt up his thick arms, as his kissed moved lower and lower. I tried to move my hips upwards, feeling overwhelming hot, but Jace held them in place. I whimpered, as he looked up at me with a coy smile. "Your becoming a needy little thing, aren't you?" He teased, trailing his lips below my belly button.
Jace kept me in that tent with him for what felt like a week, but in reality it was only a day. I felt so gross, so we headed to the bath house. The tub was full of the amazing hot water, and I slipped into it. I sighed at the relief it gave me because I don't think I've ever been this sore before. I was sore in places I never thought possible. Jace got in behind me, releasing a large breath.
"What exactly is your plan against my brother because if it's just me you were relying on, I hate to break it to you, but I was mostly a figure head?" I reached for the rag rested on the side of the tub, beginning to scrub the sex sweat off of me. I felt like I was covered in ten layers of sweat, and all of it wasn’t mine.
"We weren't relying on you." He chuckled, propping his arms on the side of the tub. "We have weapons and men. Our plan A does heavily involve you, but we weren't going to force you to help us. Even then your job in our plan isn’t that difficult. We have a plan B." His eyes followed me, as I cleaned myself, making my cheeks blush. We may have been together a few times and have seen me naked, but I still get flustered when he sees me in a different settling.
"So what's plan A then?" I held my leg out of the water, scrubbing it thoroughly.
"We are going to visit your brother." He explained, getting noticeably distracted by my body. I on the other hand was not, so I quickly slipped my leg under the water.
"I don't think so." I deadpanned, not wanting to be near my dear brother when everything went down.
"Why not? Not only will our presence distract him, but we can let our army in to seize the castle. It's a perfect plan." He stated with a smile.
"No, it isn't. I don't want to be around my brother. Especially since you are having me turn against him. My brother has a strange connection to me. One that I'm not comfortable with, so if you want to attack him fine, but I don't want to break bread with him again. I will give you all the info I need. I refuse to see him again." I spoke harshly, trying to reach my back. I groaned in frustration at both Jace and my reach.
"Come here. I'll get your back." He gestured me over to him. I glided over to him, handing him the rag. "I'm not asking you to like the man. Just act pleasant. You don't have to spend time alone with him." He assured me, but I knew if we went, he would get me alone. One of his hands held me in place, while the other gently washed the flesh on my back.
"Jace, please don't ask me to go there." I whispered, keeping my eyes cast down.
"I'm sorry, but I'm asking. All of our other plans are more likely to fail. This one is more reliable." He said, rubbing the cloth over skin. I sighed quietly, closing my eyes.
"Well it sounds like you are telling me not asking me; therefore you aren’t giving me an option." I huffed, feeling like I was being backed into a corner. I've had it happen enough time I know when it's happening. It starts with something small, but slowly it becomes more until they are controlling your whole life.
"We won't force you into anything, but this plan is much safer for everyone else." He explained.
"Safer for you and your people, not me." I sighed, pursing my lips. He wasn’t getting this.
"Clary." He huffed, as I climbed out of the tub.
"I'm just going to go home." I murmured, reaching for the towel to dry me off. I couldn’t talk to him about this because he wasn’t listening. He wasn’t thinking about how I felt. He was thinking about himself and his people, which is great, but I obviously have to look out for myself. Going there does more harm for me then good.
"Don't go." He called after me. I rubbed my temples, as I turned around to face him.
"You don't get it." I shook my head, trying to think about how to describe how my brother makes me feel. "Jonathan makes me feel helpless. I know you don't think anything of it because you don't understand, but he has tortured me my whole life. He beat me. He harassed me. He is obsessed with me. I can't be around that again, and I'm not about to let you order me around. I've had that my whole life and I don’t want that in my life again." I stood back up, tossing the rag away from myself, and pulled my clothes on. "Please don't ask me again." I weaved my fingers into hair, pulling his lips up to mine. I knew I sounded harsher then I need to be, but I needed him to know I still cared about him.
"Ok." He breathed, sagging against the side of the tub.
"I'll see you at dinner. I'm going to talk to your father. He probably wants to speak with me." I pecked his lips again.
"I'm sorry." He called after me, sounding deflated. I rubbed my hands over my face, as I walked towards Stephen's tent, suddenly feeling drained. Just thinking about the way I used to live stresses me out, and thinking that it happening again fills me with dread. I approached Stephen's tent, still being followed by guards. I slipped under the flap to see Stephen pouring over documents.
"I will turn against my brother and assist you in a rebellion." I clasp my hands behind my back, still feeling guilty. This man treats me like his daughter, and I would have turned him over for pretty much nothing in return.
"That's my girl." He pushed himself up from his seat, approaching me calmly. He didn't look at me any differently anymore. I was back in his good graces, which I was thankful for.
"Jace told me of one of your plans, which involves me seeing my brother, and I don't want to do that." I informed him with a serious official tone to put my point across.
"Why not, little one?" He asked softly, obviously seeing through to my distress.
"I don't feel safe if he is anywhere near me." I inhaled deeply, looking up at my father figure.
"If I could ensure your safety, would you do it?" He questioned.
"You can't ensure my safety around him." I responded exasperatedly.
"I can have Alec and Izzy around you at all times. Jace will also accompany you everywhere, as your husband. If Jonathan touches you, we can file a charge with your court system, where he could lose his rights to the throne. You are my family, little one, and I will protect you." He assured me. "You have a week to decide if you want to come with Jace and I, but our chances of succeeding without you are much slimmer." His voice was gentle, which put me at ease. "Personally, I think you should come. Not just because it would make my job easier, but because you can prove to your brother that he didn't break you." Everything he said just made sense.
"You are so good with words. Jace did not inherit that." I teased, running my hand through my hair.
"No, he did not." He chuckled, shaking his head. "If he is ever out of line just let me know. He gets carried away when he's determined or angry, but I can typically soothe him." He told me kindly. "You will learn how to do that eventually. That's part of the reason I wanted him to get married. He needs someone to be there for him when I'm not here." He walked over to his desk, pouring a brown liquid into a goblet. "You want one?" He asked, holding it out towards me.
"Yeah." I nodded, processing what he just said. "You know my brother actually told me he wanted me to marry you. Just out if curiosity, why didn't you?"
"You are much too young for me. I already had an heir. There is no need for me to have a wife anymore, but could you honestly see yourself married to me?" He raised an eyebrow at me, seeming skeptical about my question.
"No, I couldn't." I shook my head, starring at the glass he handed me. He was much older than me and he acts like a good version of my father. I finally took a big gulp of the liquid. It burned my throat, but it was a welcomed sensation.
"Exactly. I couldn't image being married to a girl younger then my son. Maybe one day I can find another fair lady, but I'm not counting on it." He nursed his drink, staring at me.
"Did you love your wife?" I asked curiously, wondering if it was arranged and loveless.
"Very much. We were together for 20 years, nearly half my life." He sighed, shaking his head. "I'm suddenly feeling very old." He laughed, running his hand through his mope of gold hair. I saw where Jace picked up the habit. "I haven't talked about her in a long time."
"Jace never mentions her." I glanced down, wondering what happened to her.
"He was very close with her. It really hurt him when she died. He has said a word about her since she died." He sighed, sipping his drink. "We should probably go to dinner." He slipped the glass from my hand, setting them on the table.