Reckless Flames

Chapter 4

I pushed the flap back, as I entered the tent. There was a pitcher full of water and a bowl, so I poured the water into the bowl, dipping a rag in the liquid. I felt gross after spending my day out in the heat. I was sweaty and covered in sticky paint. I gently glided the rag over my painted on skin, scrubbing it roughly when the paint refused to come off. I ended up moving slowly between each body part, taking my time for each section. I didn't know how soon Jonathan would be here, so I tried to clean my skin quickly. There was a silk robe on bed for me to slip on after I undressed. I gulped, as I slipped my skirt off. It gathered around my ankles, while I untied my top. I carefully removed it, dropping it onto the floor. I felt a little bad for making a mess in his room, but I didn’t know where else to put it. I quickly put on the smooth robe, enjoying the feeling of the fabric along my skin. I tugged the tie taught against my torso, as I sat on the edge of the bed, waiting for my fate.

I was curious if Jonathan would force himself on me. I didn't know what he was capable of because he's a stranger to me. I knew if he wanted to he could take me. He's a trained warrior. If he wants a woman, he might take her. I twirled a strand of my hair, considering my options, and all of them ended the same way. We would be one, even if I didn't want it.

I could be hopeful and say that he will be a gentleman, but I know how these things end. It's expected of me. Nerves and sadness washed over me. I don't want to give my virtue over to a savage. I want to give it to a man I love, a man who is respectful and cares about me.

When Jonathan walked in, I gulped visibly. He tossed his leather uniform into the corner, which left him in loose cotton pants. I took a deep breath, adjusting uncomfortably, as I watched him walk over to me. His tribal tattoos stretched all along his torso, while some of them poked down into his trousers. They were probably all over his body, which I did find interesting. I have never seen men with tattoos on a man. Well I’ve never seen a man without a shirt, so this entire thing was new. I looked up at him, feeling extremely intimidated by his height. Has he always been this tall? His thumbs circled my cheeks lightly; before he leaned down to connect our lips. I've never kissed a man before. It was interesting. I felt something wet and plump against my lips, making me flinch away from him. It was his tongue. I pursed my lips, keeping my eyes on his chest. I felt extremely uncomfortable with the idea of him poking things into me at the moment, so I was not giving him access quite yet. I was worried about how this would feel physically. He adjusted me onto my back and against the pillows, and I starred up at the ceiling. My breathing swallowed when he climbed over me. He adjusted his hips and I felt him against me. I squeezed my eyes shut, as he kissed me slowly. I don't want this. I don't want it now. If I could just wait a little bit longer, I would be ok, but I'm not ready for this. My eyes stung with tears, as they seeped down my cheeks.

"Please don't..." I sniffled, feeling my lip quiver.

"We have to." Jonathan wiped my tears away, kissing my forehead tenderly.

"What?" My voice choked out.

"It was part of the alliance. We have to consummate the marriage." His hands moved to my thighs gently, making my breath catch. "People can't question our marriage. I would look weak for not having you. Please let me do this just once, and I won't touch again you want me to." He assured me. I sniffed in a breath, running my hand through my hair.

"How would anyone know?" I murmured, looking away from him. To see him like this, above me, made me uneasy.

"They might check you, and if you’re still a virgin then our alliance would fall through." He explained.

"Ok." I took a deep breath calming myself. His eyes scanned my face, as his finger stroked along my cheek bone. I quickly flushed, realizing that's where my brother hit me. My tears must have washed the makeup away.

"What happened here?" His thumb moved along my jaw, making me shiver. I hate that my brother marked my face before I came. It makes me imperfect.

"My brother. I angered him after he told me of the arrangements." I exhaled a shaky breath, feeling self-conscious about it. I hoped it will heal soon.

"You brother struck you?" He raised his eyebrows in surprise.

"He had a very short fuse." I huffed. "I don't want to talk about him, Jonathan." I turned my attention back to him.

"Please call me Jace. The only person who calls me Jonathan is my father, and considering the intimate position we are about to be in, I would prefer you to call me Jace." He put our foreheads together, rubbing my arms gently.

"Call me Clary." I said quickly, as he started to untie my robe. I hated the name Clarissa, and every at home insisted on calling me that. I can change that now.

"Clary." He breathed, testing the name on his lips.

"Could I keep the robe on?" I asked, placing my hands over his to stop him.

"If that's what you want." He removed his hands from the robe, as he brushed our mouths together again. He eased the rim of the robe to my hips, and I closed my eyes, preparing myself for what was to come.

After our highs had worn off, I was sore and tired. My shoulders were in knots, but I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep at all because I was too wound up. Jace was sprawled on his back, watching me. In the beginning it had really hurt, but it slowly faded into something that wasn't horrible. I have never felt something like that before, and it made all my muscles coil up on each other. I rubbed at my shoulders, feeling the tension that had built up in them.

"Neck hurt?" He questioned softly from behind me. I nodded silently, dropping my hand into my lap. He crawled up behind me, and his big hands embraced my shoulders. I closed my eyes, as he started to knead the flesh around my shoulders. I sucked in a breath, hating how much I was enjoying this. The way he worked his hands was much more tender than I thought it would be. I whimpered when he hit one specific spot. He circled that area a few more times, causing a couple other strange noises to come out of my mouth. I heard him chuckle quietly, as he rolled his thumbs into the skin around my neck.

"Where did you learn to do this?" I asked quietly, glancing back at him. Most men wouldn’t know how to give a decent massage.

"I strained my neck last year in a battle. Our healer, Magnus, taught me how to take care of it." He explained, beginning to squeeze my arms lightly.

"I met Magnus this morning." I picked at my nails. "You are a very skilled fighter. I was quite impressed yesterday. I watched my brother and father for years, and they never could have done what you did blindfolded." I complimented him, turning my gaze back forward.

"Thank you." He sounded surprised. He slipped his finders under the neckline, putting his bare hands on my shoulders to knead the flesh a little more. He finished his massage, collapsed back down. I laid next to him, and we faced each other. It was odd to think that I could be waking up next to him for the rest of my life.

"Did you want to get married?" I asked, playing with my hair.

"No." He shook his head, sighing heavily.

"I didn't even realize my brother had picked my husband until two days ago." I bit my lip, feeling a blush creep along my cheeks.

"I knew a few weeks ago, but it didn't make things any better. Don't get me wrong you are beautiful and probably a great person, but I never wanted to get married." He explained.

"Neither did I." I huffed, brushing my nose with my hand.

"I want to be a good leader for my people, but I want to do it my way. I have all these obligations I have to follow, and I just don't want to. When I told my father I wouldn't get married, he threatened to take a way my inheritance and give it to my cousin. He told me I looked unstable by not having a wife, and that's it's expected for a ruler to have one." He nuzzled his hand under his cheek, starring into my eyes.

"My brother doesn't have a wife, and he rules most of this land." I pondered the idea of my brother getting married, and I suddenly felt pity for the woman stuck with him.

"But he will marry eventually." Jace informed me.

"I guess that's true. He needs an heir." I nodded in agreement.

"I need one too." He pursed his lips, knowing that this was going to be a touchy subject.

"I will give you one." I gulped, feeling my face heat up. I was nowhere near ready to have regular relations with him yet. "I just need more time. I want to feel something other than indifference for you." I murmured, unable to meet his eyes.

"I can wait." He rolled onto his back, starring at the roof.

"Thank you." I breathed, starring into his eyes.

“Tomorrow we have to give each other our marriage runes.” Jace murmured, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear.

“Runes?” I questioned, furrowing my brow.

“See these mark.” He pointed to the tattoos spread across his torso.

“I have to get one of those?” I exclaimed, widening my eyes.

“It’s tradition.” He smiled faintly at my distress. “I think they are quite beautiful. They symbolize our vows to the angels who watch us.” He whispered, explaining his belief about them.

“So you guys worship angels?” I asked curiously. He rolled his eyes at my question.

“Do you think that I could just be exempt from this whole rune thing. I mean it’s an arranged marriage. I followed your wedding, so you can follow my vows. We could wear rings.” I suggested innocently.

“Do you think my father will go for that?” He snickered, raising an eyebrow.

“No.” I sighed, pursing my lips.

“Exactly.” He nodded. “They aren’t that bad.” He shrugged his shoulders, gliding his fingers over the marks.

“I always imaged my wedding in a church with prince. I would be wearing white, and all my people would be there to watch.” I mumbled, seeing his expression fall. “But somehow our wedding was beautiful.” I breathed, seeing a strange look across his face. It passed quickly, as he stroked my cheek gently.

“Sleep. You don’t want to be tired in the morning.” He spoke softly.

“Good night.” I turned away from him, still feeling his presence behind me, and for the first time I didn't wish he was gone. We maybe strangers, but we have an understanding of one another, which I think is a good start.

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