Reckless Flames

Chapter 14

My stomach was twisted in knots, as our company rode into the capital that surrounded my brother’s castle. Stephen was telling everyone to keep close. I guess he didn't want a repeat of last time, which was the death of his nephew. For so long all wanted to do was come back here, but now that I have returned, I have no idea why I wanted to be here. I felt so alone the whole time. Everyone was superficial and fake, which made me feel empty inside. I could see all the people eyes on me. Everyone knew who I was, seeing me like this was probably a shock. I’m so different then I used to be.

"Breath, Clary, your face is turning purple." Jace spoke up beside me, breaking me from my spiraling thoughts. I inhaled a deep breath, and released it uneasily. "Everything is going to be fine." He assured me. I looked over at him, as he rode close enough to me to peck my lips. Normally, it would have calmed me down, but right now I was too nervous. I gulped when we finally entered the castle walls. Everyone started jumping off their horses, but I was hesitant. I didn't want to see him again. "Come here." Jace held his arms out for me, urging me off. I slipped into his arms, letting him hug me to his chest. "I will be with you the whole time. He can't do anything to you." He breathed, kissing my temple. I drew out of his arms, walking numbly into the castle a step behind Jace.

I belong to Jace now. Jonathan can't do anything to me. I repeated those words over and over in my mind, trying to reassure myself that I was ok, but it didn’t help. We entered the throne room where my brother was sitting with his signature smirk stretched across his face.

"Stephen wonderful to see you again!" He pushed himself to his feet, sauntering down to us.

"Clarissa, dear sister, where are you?" He peeked over the people, before I stepped out from behind Jace. I really didn’t want to do this.

"So you did come?" He grinned slyly, glancing me up and down. Obviously taking an interest in the leather clothing I was wearing.

"Why wouldn't I?" I countered harshly, crossing my arms.

"Who knows?" He shrugged his shoulders, snapping his fingers at his servants to assist us.

"Now that this little reunion is over, we are all famished. Could you have your cooks make some food for us, while we settle in?" Stephen cut into whatever Jonathan was about to do because he was about to do something. He's always about to do something.

"Yes, of course, I'll see you guys at dinner. I'll have one of my servants come and get you." He dismissed us. "Clarissa if you could stay behind, so we can catch up that would be great.” Jonathan smiled at me with his scheming grin, as people began filing out. Jace stayed by my side, which left us alone with him.

"You much be Jonathan." He held his hand out towards Jace.

"Jace actually." Jace corrected, shaking his hand firmly. I have never been more thankful the Jace went by Jace in my life. It gave me a distinct difference between the two, even though they shared the same name and had similar features.

"Could I speak to her alone? I just-"

"Why do you want to talk to her alone?" Jace questioned with a furrowed brow. He did a good job at playing dumb. My brother probably wanted to speak to me about what they had been preparing for or something like that.

"I just wanted to see how she was doing?" Jonathan gritted her teeth, glaring daggers at Jace.

"I'm great." I smiled, as Jace slipped a possessive arm around me.

"That's good." Jonathan looked like he was about to spontaneously combust.

"We're going to go settle in. See you at dinner." Jace nodded at the king, leading me out of the throne room.

"Wow, you were right. He is creepy." He shuddered with a chuckle.

"Don't make fun of me." I punched him in the arm, moving away from his grasp.

"I'm not. I’m making fun of him. Did you see how red his face was?" He laughed, following me where ever I was heading. I was going to my old room, which I assume has been left the same, but then I realized I only had a twin bed. That isn't enough room for us, so we are going to be put somewhere else. I paused in my steps, wondering where my old handmaiden was. I just decided to wonder now. I knew this castle like the back of my hand. After about 15 minutes Jace finally asked where we were going.

"I have no idea. I've been drifting. I thought we would stay in my room at first, but then I remembered my bed wouldn't be big enough. I was hoping me would run into someone." I shrugged, trailing my fingers along the walls stone walls.

"How is that working out?" He chuckled, walking a few steps behind me.

"Not very well." I laughed, pausing in my tracks. "Maybe we should head towards the kitchen?" I hummed, turning around to face him.

"sounds like a plan." He agreed, smiling widely.

"This way." I held his hand, tugging him towards another hallway.

"This place is so big. How did you live here?" Jace gaped, as we entered a ballroom.

"I lived like a fly on the wall. No one paid attention to me. The amount of dirt I have on people is insane." I sang jokingly, as I played with his hand.

"You seem different here." Jace breathed, pulling me up against him. I smiled brightly at him, as he held my waist against his.

"I do?" I giggled, swaying lazily with him.

"You seemed tense earlier, but now it's different." He brushed my hair behind my ear, spinning us in slow circles.

"Different good or bad?" I furrowed my brow at him, resting my hand on his bicep.

"I don't know." He breathed, leaning down to kiss me. I heard someone clear their throat, which made me pull away from Jace.

"Sebastian, hi." I smiled, drawing away from Jace's hold.

"Your brother sent me to check up on you, since you never showed up at your room." Sebastian paused in front of us, shifting awkwardly.

"Yes, we were looking for someone to point us in that direction." I kept my fingers laced with Jace's, as I approached Sebastian. "Lead the way."

We followed Sebastian to a room that was near mine. I could see the curious looks Jace was giving Sebastian, which was kind of baffling me. Why was he looking at him like the enemy?

Wait.

He is the enemy.

I closed my eyes, feeling a sense of dread wash over me. This wasn't a friendly visit this was a takeover.

I had the door open for Jace, and leaned against it once it closed, taking a calming breath. "You ok? You look like you might pass out." Jace slung his vest off, tossing it over one of the many chairs in the room.

"Just the fact that I'm betraying all of these people just slapped me across the face." I exhaled, making my heart tighten in my chest. I ran my fingers through my hair, feeling my shoulders tighten.

"Everything is going to be ok." Jace walked over to me, rubbing my arms kindly.

"You don't know that." I sighed, leaning against his chest.

"Have a little faith." He kissed my head, mingling our fingers together.

"Jace." I sighed, closing my eyes. "I grew up with most of the servants and Knights here. It's just hard to think that I'm going to turn against them." I breathed, playing with his fingers. He didn't know what to say to that, which didn't make me feel better. He leaned down, ghosting his lips over mine. I inhaled deeply, pressing our lips firmly together, as he wrapped his arms around my back. There was a solid knock on the door, causing us to draw apart from each other. "Later." I sighed, reaching for the door handle. I opened the door, seeing my old handmaiden.

"I thought I would never see you again." I smiled, hugging the older woman tightly.

"I'm right here sweetheart." The woman smiled. "Jonathan sent me. He requested you wear something more... Civilized." She drew a gown out from behind her, and it was beautiful.

"Wow." I slid my fingers over the silken material, but I couldn't bring myself to wear it. That wasn't who I was anymore. "I can't. I have my own things to wear, but I would love you for you to do my hair."

"Who is this?" She glanced over at Jace, and I realized I hadn't introduced them. "Imogen this is Jace, my husband, and Jace this is Imogen, my old handmaiden."

"It's nice to meet you." Jace shook her hand with a smile. "I'm going to find my dad. I'll see you at dinner." He pecked my cheek, heading towards the door.

"Ok." I bit back a grin, as he walked out the door.

"You two seem happy." Imogen smirked at me, as I went to sit in front of the vanity.

"We are... mostly." A faint blush crept along my cheeks.

"Mostly? What's not ok?" She asked kindly, beginning to brush my hair.

"Jace does like talking about feelings. I don't know what he's thinking. He told me to give him time, which I'm doing, but it's frustrating." I sighed, starring at myself in the mirror.

"Men are bad about that kind of thing." She scoffed, beginning to pull my hair into a complex up do.

"I know. We've also gotten into a few bad fights and it's just stressful sometimes. Right now though, we are great." I was rambling.

"Are you two being intimate with one another?" The personal questioned poured from her mouth, making me turn 10 shades darker.

"I mean-" I paused, gulping visibly. Why do people keep asking me these questions. First Isabelle and now Imogen.

"That's a yes." She teased, continuing to fiddle with my locks. "You'll probably be with child soon." She smiled kindly.

"Possibly." I murmured, feeling a little nervous about that. "I haven't really thought about that." I bit my lip, playing with my nails.

"You would have a beautiful baby." She mused, as she finished off my hair. "You should head to dinner." She hummed.

"Yes, I should. Thank you." I hugged her. "I want to see you again before I leave." I grinned at her, as we walked out the door. I was the last one to arrive to dinner which didn't surprise me. There was only one chair left, and it was next to my brother and some random person. I rolled my eyes walking over to the chair. Jace and his father were on the other end of the table, and I refuse to sit next to my brother, so I grabbed the chair, grinning deviously at my brother, as I began dragging it down the long table towards my husband and father-in-law. He scowled at me, which just made me feel even better about doing this. I set the chair down at the corner next to Jace. "Would you guys mind scooting your chairs down?" I asked the people kindly. They obliged, and the room was filled with wood scrapping stone, as the entire row of people scooted over. "Thanks." I climbed into my seat next to Jace, who was forcing back laughter. The servants started scurrying around to give us food, which caused everyone to begin talking again.

"That was brilliant." Jace finally busted. He tried to stifle his laughter with his hand, but it didn’t work. I giggled; nibbling on the fruit I was given. "How did that feel?" He chuckled, kissing my cheek.

"It felt amazing." I sighed happily.

"He looks tick." Jace gestured at Jonathan, who was stabbing his food.

"I have a feeling this is going to be more fun than I thought." I snickered, grinning sly over at Jace.

"Yes, it is." Jace bit his lip, resting his hand on my knee.


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