Reckless Flames

Chapter 17

I rubbed my eyes, feeling the dried tear stains on my cheeks. I sighed, drawing out of Jace's embrace. There was something much more intimate about the say we slept last night, the way he was holding me, it was different. We were glued to each other's chest, as our legs tangled together. I pulled myself up into a sitting position, looking down on him. He was fast asleep. That man could sleep through just about anything. I pushed golden locks away from Jace's forehead, seeing his face clearly. He seemed vulnerable, almost childlike.

Then the memories hit me.

I told him that I love him and he said it back to me.

I covered my mouth in shock. I can't believe I told him that. Do I really feel that way? I can't believe he said it back to me!

I laid down on my side, facing Jace. My stomach did a flip in my gut when I realized that I was in love with this man. I leaned across from him, brushing my lips against his. I heard his intake of breath, as his eyes blinked at me.

"This is a nice way to wake up." He hummed, stretching his arms.

"Shut up." I bit my lip, scanning his face. "I'm sorry about my freak out last night." I huffed, feeling slightly embarrassed about how hard I had cried. I looked weak, which isn’t something I’m used to doing.

"It's ok." He stroked my cheek, kissing me gently. "I don't mind." He smiled so bright I felt my heart hum in my chest. "Do you know what you are going to say to him?" He asked, as his grin disappeared. I shook my head, glancing away from him. "I need to talk with my father. This new development is too dangerous." He breathed, playing with my hair.

"What do I need to do?" I asked, turning my gaze back to his.

"Get on your brothers good side. Go on walks with Izzy count how many guards are by each entrance. Play along with your brothers schemes. I mean that was the plan to start with. It might change." He explained, running his hands along my waist. "I love you." He breathed, leaning down to brush our mouths together. I whimpered against him, as his body washed over mine. His hands eased underneath my night gown, making my stomach flip.

"I didn't even realize I said that until this morning." I stroked his hair, gazing into his amber eyes.

"Is that your way of taking it back?" His face dropped a little bit, but he was giving me a way out. He always gives me a way out, which I am thankful for.

"No, I just didn't realize I felt that way until last night." I exhaled, trailing my finger over his sharp cheek bone. "I know it now." I cupped the back of his neck, wanting him to kiss me again.

"Then can you say it now." His breath washed over my lips, sending a jolt of heat down my spine.

"I love you." I pushed myself up, sliding my mouth against his. He followed me down to the bed, easing his hands further up my nightgown. I squeaked when his fingers gripped the skin on my butt. He laughed, peppering kisses down my neck. He gathered the material of my nightgown in his large hand, dragging it over my head. I gasped at the coolness of the air against my skin. He kissed down my chest, laving his tongue over my breast. I moaned, arching my back away from the bed. My entire body felt like it was pulsing with electricity, as he touched me everywhere at once. There was a knock on the door, which made me groan in disappointment. "Who could that possibly be?" I whined, wanting Jace to relieve the tension that had grown in my belly.

"I don't know." He sighed, starting to get up.

"No, please, I'm begging you." I plead for him to keep going because I'm feeling so high strung that I might snap.

"I'm just going to see who it is and shoe them away." He slung his vest off, as he approached the door.

"Good." I panted heavily, closing my eyes. deep calming breaths. I can wait. I’m ok.

"Dad? What's going on? You don't normally disturb my mornings." He clutched the back of his neck, looking very flustered.

"We had a meeting this morning with Jonathan, and you didn't show." I could hear Stephen's voice, but I couldn’t see his face. Jace was blocking me with the door.

"Sorry, some stuff came up last night and I over slept. Umm... You probably should know about that, but um... Clary isn't dressed in anything." Jace gritted his teeth, glancing back at me.

"Shut the door real quick." I sighed, climbing out of bed. I quickly grabbed a robe, and had Stephen come into the room with us. "Jonathan asked me to marry him." Just saying it made me stutter.

"He what?" Stephen widened his eyes, seeming completely shocked.

"He told me that he loves me. I don't think he's going to wait for evidence much longer. He already has a plan in motion." I explained, crossing my arms conservatively across my stomach.

"We are moving our time table up. I'm sending word to Alec. They should be here in two days and we attack. We discovered most of their weak spots, so just don't do anything to arouse suspicion. You can get back to your naked love dance." He backed out of the door, shutting it behind him. I busted out laughed, collapsing into my back.

"Naked love dance?!" I exclaimed with loud giggles.

"He's got a creative imagination." Jace snickered, shaking his head. He plopped down next to me, holding his hand out for me to hold. I weaved our fingers together, squeezing my hand tightly.

I decided to go along my brother’s engagement. In two days we are taking over anyways, so I don't see the harm in playing along. He can't actually do anything to me because I'm still married to Jace. I still hadn't seen him though. I spent most of my day in Jace's delicious embrace, so I had little energy to deal with my family drama. I arrived at dinner, sitting in the same place I sat yesterday, feeling the same level of nerves boiling under my skin from the other night.

I know Jace keeps reassuring me that we will win, but what if we don't. I would end up marrying my brother, and being trapped here forever. If we lost, I don't think Jonathan would even give me a choice anymore because I'm betraying him. He loves me, and I'm stabbing him in the back. I don't think he would give me a second thought if he was in my place. I can do this. I can fake care. I can fake affection. I have been doing it most of my life anyways.

"You look lost." Jace trailed the backs of his fingers along my cheek.

"What?" I raised my eyebrows, looking over at him. My depressing thoughts were interrupted.

"She does this a lot if you haven't noticed yet. Taking trips though her mind." Jonathan chimed in, making me draw away from Jace hand.

"Actually, I haven't." Jace pursed his lips, still keeping his eyes on me. I continued nibbling on my food in silence, letting the men talk to one another. We finished eating, but we all continued to drink. Jace's hand eased onto my thigh for comfort. I sighed in relief, settling back against the seat. His thumbs traced circles over the thick material covering my legs. I wished that I had one of my leather skirts on. He would have moved the material from my knee and placed his hand there. There is something about skin on skin contact that was comforting. It feels so much more soothing and warm. I love him so much, and I wish I didn't have to deal with all of this. I wish we could just be happy together. "Clary?" Jace drew me out of my haze again. "I'm going to go to bed. Want to come with me?" His eyes looked over at my brother. He didn't know what I was planning on doing yet, so he was trying to figure out what I was going to do.

"No, I'm going to stay here a little while." I whispered, kissing him half-heartily.

"Try not to wake me when you come in." He gulped visibly, as he slid out of the chair. He was soon followed by Stephen, and I felt the need for some liquid courage. I downed the last of wine, which made my mind feel a little fuzzy.

"How has that oaf been treating you?" Jonathan raised his glass to his lips, sipping it casually.

"Good, he's not a bad man. Just miss guided." I defended Jace without completely siding with him.

"He's a savage, but I bet you know that. Don't you little sister." I knew he was suggesting that he was rough in bed with me, but I couldn't respond to that. I couldn’t bring myself to talk about that because I know it will be more tender and loving then anything Jonathan could give me. "That's what I thought." He adjusted himself in the chair so he was leaning against the table. He circled his goblet around in his hand, keeping his eyes on me. I felt like I was under interrogation, but he doesn't know that I have done anything wrong. He loves me, which is a weakness. Love is blind. It will destroy him in the end. "Have you given any thought to what I asked you last night?" He scratched at his jaw, seeming calm and collect. Is it possible that he had changed since I left? I'm so used to a wired Jonathan. I know he threatened me when we first got here, but this, in front of me, isn't my brother. What was he playing at?

"Yes, I have." I shifted uncomfortably in my seat.

"Then what is your answer?" He inquired, leaning back in his chair. His stark blonde hair slipped into his coal eyes, as they watched me intently.

"I'll marry you, if you give me rights over sending the rations across our lands. I find some groups have been poorly mistreated. Also I understand what is expected of a wife, but I would like a mourning period. Jace maybe a traitor, but I feel for him. After all I have spent these past few months becoming very intimate with him." I stated my conditions. My brother would be suspicious if I just agreed right off the bat. He would wonder why I didn't put up a fight for anything.

"Fair enough." He poured wine into both of our glasses. "Anything else?"

"I want to dress the way I please, want my own room as always, and I have the right to refuse you." I gritted my teeth, knowing I was pushing it. Jonathan didn't respond well to not getting what he wanted.

"Well..." He clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth, as he thought about these last additions. "You have the right to refuse after you beat a son and while you are with child?" He suggested, quirking an eyebrow.

"No, always." I countered immediately.

"Then you could refuse me all the time. That wouldn't get me an heir. Now would it?" He cocked his head to the side challenging me to argue with him, but I couldn't. There was nothing I could counteract that with.

"Fine, after I have an heir and when I'm with child." I swallowed a large gulp of wine. No matter how much I hate him. I know it's a good deal for me. It could be worse because he could have forced me to be with him, or he could beat me, or he could throw me in prison, but he is offering me this chance to have more freedom. He always upholds his word. That is probably the only honorable thing about the man sitting in front of me. I'm going to have to tell Jace that I can't be involved in the actual plan until we know that we have won. I need this back up plan.

"Good." He stood up, holding his hand out to me. I bit my lip, tangling our hands together. It felt so wrong. I felt nauseous, but I went along with it. Only two more days I chanted in my mind. His nimble fingers came up to move the hair away from my face. His eyes flicked down to my lips, which made me immediately release it. He was going to kiss me. I tried not to panic on the outside, but on the inside I was screaming for an escape. "Seal it with a kiss?" His breath washed over my mouth, making me cringe internally. I looked up at him through my lashes, debating about how I should go about this. Hesitantly, I reached my hand up, easing into his hair. I rose onto my toes, lightly pressing our mouths together. His lips felt cold and stiff against mine. His hand gripped my hip, pulling my body flush with his. My body tensed, but I forced myself through it, as he slid his rough mouth against mine. He pushed me back, and I dropped onto my feet. "Go to your husband." He traced his thumb over my jaw, flicking his eyes across my face. I choked back a sob and forced back tears, as I turned away from him.

Once I exited the dining hall, I sprinted back to my room. A few tear slipped down my cheeks, as I crashed into Jace's chest.

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