Reckless Flames

chapter 16

I ran down the halls with Izzy, going straight into Stephen's room, where he and Jace were. I shut the door quickly, leaning against it. I felt so out of breath because of the running and shock. "You ok there?" Jace chuckled, pushing off from the desk he was leaning on.

"No, Jonathan thinks we are up to something. He says I'm more defiant then normal, and that he thinks it suspicious. What do we do?" I spoke quickly, as my eyes widened. Why was no one else freaking out?!

"Deep breath." Jace came over to me, rubbing my arms to sooth me. I closed my eyes, doing what he said. I shook my head, inhaling another breath because the first one didn’t calm me. "Look at me." He tipped my chin upwards, connecting our eyes. "What happened?" He spoke soothingly.

"We overheard Jonathan talking to Sebastian about how he thinks I'm hiding something. He's sending Sebastian to do something, and I didn't hear the rest." I rambled, feeling my face get hot.

"Ok, how about you take a nap and we'll work out on plan? I'll let you know later today." He suggested, pressing his mouth to my forehead gently.

"Yeah, ok." I blinked up at him, seeing the worry in his expression. He is forcing back his fear to calm me either, and I really appreciated it. I felt like he always knows what to do.

"Maybe get some food too." His thumb stroked my jaw lightly, looking very concerned about me.

"Alright." I breathed, smiling faintly; as he leaned down to peck my lips.

"Everything is going to be fine. I promise." He circled his thumbs along my cheeks, and I believed him.

"Ok." I bit my lip, gazing up at him.

"Ok." He grinned brightly at me, as he kissed me gently. I backed away from him, following Izzy out the door. After Jace spoke to me, my heart rate steadied and everything felt ok. I stepped into my room, changing into a soft nightgown, and I laid down.

I woke up when I felt the bed shifting beneath me. I grunted quietly, fluttering my eyes open. A golden halo sat over me, gently combing hair away from my face.

"Hi." I stretched my arms, gazing up at him.

"Hey." He grinned faintly, twirling one of my curls around his fingers.

"Got a plan?" I pushed myself upwards into a sitting position, keeping my eyes locked with his. I felt my heart warm up in my chest, as he tenderly weaved out lips together. I whimpered quietly against his lips, mingling my fingers into his locks. I felt his mouth curl up into a grin against me. I pulled him over me, feeling my stomach flutter violently. He broke away from me, propping himself above me. I felt a little colder without his tender touch.

"This isn't what I came in here for. I have a feeling you’re going to want to know the plan before we do anything else." He sighed, nuzzling his nose against mine.

"What is the plan?" I adjusted myself against the headboard, starring into his eyes.

"I need you to be passive. I know you want to be strong against him. I know that and I will let you kill him if that's what you want, but you need to dress the way he wants you to. You need to sit next to him at dinner. I love you being sassy and strong, I do, but we can't have them suspect us. We are so close." He informed me, trailing circles on my arm.

"Jace, I can't just pretend nothing has changed." I exclaimed, running my hand through my hair.

"You can." His hand cupped my cheek, and I saw his eyes. They looked so encouraging and caring. He knew I could do this.

"I don't want to. He destroyed me, and I felt like I just got put back together. I can't compromise who I am now." My lip quivered at the thought of appeasing my brother.

"I know. I'm so sorry." He brushed out lips together. "I fought with my father about it for a while, but he's right. You know him. You can divert him." He took a deep breath, putting our foreheads together.

"I don't know if I can do that." I flicked my eyes down from him, feeling my stomach churn.

"You can. I know you can." He held both of my cheeks, turning my face over to his. "Listen to me ok." He murmured, keeping our eyes glued together. "You are one of the strongest women I know. Jonathan is a coward. You are my queen. Can you do this?" He circled his thumbs around my cheeks, boring his eyes into mine.

"I'll try." I huffed, lying on my back.

"Thank you." He hugged me to his chest. I snuggled my head into his neck, inhaling his musky sent. He adjusted us, so that we could lie down. I curled against his side, tangling our legs together.

"Your queen?" My voice croaked, as I looked up at him. I like how that sounded.

"Yeah." He stroked my hair, smiling happily at me.

"I have been feeling so content being with you lately." I slipped my hand under the leather vest he was wearing, so I could feel the muscles underneath. Hard and smooth.

"So have I." His hand rubbed my back steadily, kissing my temple.

"I hate to say it, but I find myself really liking all this." I teased, gesturing to him. He chuckled heavily, closing his eyes for a second to catch his breath.

"You do?" He smirked, blinking his eyes back open.

"Yeah." I giggled, as he gazed down at me.

"I really like you too." He kissed me soothingly, mingling our fingers tightly together.

"Good." I bit my lip, forcing back a brilliant smile.

"Let's go to sleep." He yawned, pulling the blanket up to our necks. I draped my arm over his waist, feeling my eyes drift shut again.

It was an hour before dinner, and Imogen had shuffled Jace out of the room. I stood in the mirror, as she tugged the heavy material along my body. I sighed, feeling trapped again. My hand rested on the corset part, flicking my eyes along the lavender material. My brother had this dress made for me. I felt stiff and uncomfortable, but I knew I would be ok. All I wanted to do was scream, but Jace was depending on me. Jace believed in me, and I could do this for him. He has been so good me these past few weeks. I couldn’t leave him hanging.

"You look lovely." Imogen mused, correcting the way the train flowed along my legs.

"Thank you." I plastered a smile to my face, slowly walking down the halls. I entered the less formal dining chambers where Jace, Stephen, and Jonathan were sipping wine and chatting. I could see the sinister smile stretch across my brother’s face. I grinned faintly at him, glancing over at Jace. He looked in awe of me, which made me smile. He had never seen me like this, and I think he liked it. I sat in the place between the two, resting my hand on Jace's thigh. I squeezed it tightly, trying to calm my nerves. He eased his hand over mine, tracing shapes along my skin. I felt the tension in my shoulders drop. I picked up my wine, drinking a healthy amount.

"You look beautiful." Jace whispered in my ear. I felt my cheeks redden, as I glanced around the table.

"Anyways, as I was saying..." Jonathan was telling some story of his amazing strength. I zoned out. I probably already know the story.

I felt so overwhelmed by the dress and my brother gaze the whole meal. I never understood that look on my brother’s face until now, and it scared me. He wants me. He wants me in a way that my brother should not, which makes me wonder why Jonathan married me off the first place. I don't understand why he didn't just take me to begin with.

"Clarissa, walk with me?" Jonathan stood up from his seat after dinner.

"Of course." My very practiced forced smile entered on my face. "I'll see you later." I kissed Jace lightly, as I stood from me seat. Jace squeezed my hand, a silent way of saying you don't need to do this. "I'll be ok." I breathed in his ear, pecking his temple. I held onto my brother’s arm, as we walked around the garden.

"I'm happy to see you dressed like this. I was afraid I had lost you completely." He gazed down at me, slipping his free hand over mine. I felt nauseous being this close to him, but it was only for a little while.

"I will admit being a part of their culture has its perks, but I would never choose it over this." I looked around the garden, feeling the lies seep out of me.

"I'm glad to hear that." He breathed, squeezing my hand affectionately. "What are they planning? Do you know?" He asked curiously.

"No. I know it's something though. They don't let me in on their plans though; I am only a woman, as you remind me very often." I forced the bitterness from my voice, but the words still spilled out.

"You are." He sighed, shaking his head. "Forget about that. I'm taking care of it." He assured me. What is he doing? How is he taking care of it? Thoughts of his plans seeped through my thoughts, as we walked. We were silent for a few minutes, before my brother gestured for me to sit. I furrowed my brow, looking up at him. He crouched down in front of me, resting his hands on my knees.

"What is it?" I questioned, feeling my heart beat erratically in my chest. What is he doing?

"I'm sorry for the way I've treated you. I know it's been poor. I've missed you so much. I like the way you challenge me. Everyone is a yes man around here, and you never were, which was actually helpful. I never should have sent you away. I was frustrated and still mourning for mother and father. I'm sorry." He spoke softly with kind eyes. This can’t be real. Can it?

"Jon." I breathed, feeling completely shocked. What was I supposed to do? I never suspected that he would apologize to me.

"Clare, I love you." His hands cupped my cheeks, and all I could think was that these weren't Jace's hands. Now this part can’t be real. There is no way he could be in love with me. "I love you, and when you get back to me fully. I want you to marry me." He breathed, as I realized he was kneeling on one knee. My words caught in my throat. My brother was actually asking me to marry him. My entire body felt chilled, as my brothers dark eyes looked up at me. I could never be with him the way I am with Jace. He scares me too much. I used to pity the poor girl Jonathan would marry, and I might actually be that woman.

I never should have come with them. I should have stayed home, where it was safe. This isn't safe. At first I thought it was pure lust, but he loves me.

I need Jace.

"I- I- Jon you..." I didn't even know what to say to him. What was I supposed to say? The worst part was that he looked genuine and hopeful. Was he asking me? Or demanding me?

"I won't force you. I promised you that before you left, but please think about it." He pushed himself up in a standing position, holding his hand out to me. I took it, letting him pull me to my feet. I shuffled aimlessly down the halls with my brother, not knowing what to do with myself. All I wanted to do was scream, but I couldn't do that right now. That would blow my cover. I finally made it to my bedroom door. Jonathan kissed my hand, turning around to leave. I felt frozen in pure horror I stumbled into the bedroom, and collapsed against the door. I couldn't breathe.

"Clary?" Jace's voice echoed in my ears, making me feel dizzy. I clutched at my chest, as a sob escaped my throat. "What happened?" I felt his arms around me, and I slumped into him.

"He wants..." I hiccupped, biting my lip. "He asked me to..." Tears pour from my eyes, as I thought about him. I cried heavily into his arms. "He asked me to marry him once this is all over." I turned into his warm embrace, burying my head into his chest.

"Everything is going to be ok." His hands stroked my hair, hugging me tightly. “I won’t let him take you from me. I’ll protect you.” He murmured into my ear, resting his lip against ear.

"I can't marry him. I can't. I love you. I can't be with him." The words forming in my mind slipped out of my mouth, as I held onto him for dear life.

"I- I love you too." He took an unsteady breath, holding my tighter.

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