The party was ending; Alec, Kyle and a few other guys were dousing the flames on the bonfire while Clary, Izzy and Jem made their way around the pool, picking up trash left over from the party. Jace and William had stayed together, hanging around the deck in a comfortable silence.
Jace's eyes always seemed to follow his redhead, he watched as Jem would place his hand on her small back, leaning down to whisper in Clary's ear. Clary seemed to be enjoying Jem's company, laughing, dancing but never kissing him and Jace found that he enjoyed knowing that Jem did not get the same reaction out of Clary that he did.
"I know what you're thinking," William nudged Jace in the ribs standing next to him
"No you don't, you know nothing about me," Jace rolled his eyes, never once looking at William
"I think you know that I do, you think Jem doesn't have a chance with that fire cracker over there" William pointed toward the pair, Jem was whispering in Clary's ear, "but you see Jace my boy, Jem is a catch, Clary will come around, you mark my words"
Jace watched as Clary smiled up at Jem, maybe William was right, was Jace witnessing the start of a real relationship between the two of them, "How do you know William, about Jem I mean"
Jace turned his full attention toward William, watching as a look of sadness crossed William's face
"Maybe some other time, I'm not in the sharing mood," William shook his head slightly as he replied to Jace
"Ah now I get it," Jace's eyes widen, pointing at William he continued, "your friend Jem over there took your girl from you," shaking his head, watching William's reaction
William's eyes darkened, not with anger, jealousy, or rage like Jace had expected, William's eyes held nothing but regret and shame
"Jace, it wasn't like that," William's voice was quiet as he spoke, looking over toward Jem, "Jem is a good person, my best friend," looking back to Jace, William continued, "what happened was all on me, I broke us"
Jace was intrigued, there was no way he was like William, never would he be best friends with a guy that went after his girl, never, "There's not a chance in hell I'd be best friends with a guy like that," Jace's eyes were hard, staring over at Jem.
A small smile appeared on William's face, "Okay, Jace, you win," William pointed over to the steps on the deck, "let's me and you go have ourselves a little chat, shall we"
Jace nodded, following William over to the Lightwood's deck, the two boys sitting side by side; Jace glanced toward William, waiting for him to speak
Chuckling William smirked, "If I knew we were going to get this deep on our first date, I'd brought you flowers, chocolate or something"
Jace grinned, shaking his head Jace realized that he actually enjoyed being around William
Suddenly William's demeanor changed, his face hardened as did his eyes and when he began to speak, the lightness in his voice was gone, "There was this girl, Tessa Gray, she came to our high school when Jem and I were in tenth grade, she was something that Tessa," William's eyes sparkled as he said Tessa's name, "Not only was she beautiful and kind but that girl could hold her own, never did she put up with me being an ass," William sighed, running a shaky hand through his jet black hair, "Tessa, Jem and I were like the three musketeers you could say, where one was the others followed but there was this one night our senior year, that night changed everything"
William's voice was barely a whisper as he finished the sentence, he took a deep breath before continuing, "See Jem was one of those guys that never went after what he wanted, me I took what I wanted at the time, always knowing that once I had it I wouldn't want it anymore, until her," William's eyes shot up, staring into Jace's, "there was this night when the three of us weren't together, Jem was volunteering with some goody too shoes group, leaving me and Tessa alone, we had never been alone, without Jem yes but never just the two of us, we always had someone there with us, keeping us grounded but not that night"
Jace swallowed hard, William's eyes had filled with tears as he continued to recall that night's events
"Tessa found me at our usual place, it's this old abandoned barn; I was drinking of course, not that I was drunk. She walked in the barn looking at me with those damn eyes of hers, making me feel things that I didn't want to feel, that I shouldn't feel. I tried not to notice how she looked but I couldn't help it, Tessa was always beautiful, everyone knew it but her, that night though she was breathtaking," William took a deep breath, closing his eyes as a small tear rolled down his grief stricken face, "I tried to be assy but it just felt wrong, so I told her the truth, how beautiful she was and then before I realized what was happening, I kissed her. It was like nothing I had ever felt before, kissing her was like flying, I half expected her to slap me but she didn't, Tessa kissed me back with just as much force. Before I could stop myself, I was removing the dress she was wearing; she took her cue from me and began to undress me. We didn't stop either, it was as if we had been starving for each other and here we were finally getting to have one another. Neither of us spoke until I was laying on top of her, both of us fully unclothed, that's when I finally found my voice, I asked her if she was sure"
Jace watched as several tears slipped for William's closed eyes, William's voice was shaking as he whispered, "Tessa, she smiled at me, told me she had loved me ever since she first met me, that she wanted nothing more than to give herself to me," William took his hand wiping the tears from his face.
Opening his eyes, William's voice began to change, laced with self-hatred as he spoke, "and what did I do in return, I took her, all of her without caring what the consequences would be, never once telling her that I loved her in return, never telling her that I would secretly watch her, needing to her smile before starting my day, how her beauty always took my breath away. The entire time I was inside of her, I never once whispered any of that, while Tessa, god even with tears streaming down her face, she kept saying she loved me over and over again"
William abruptly stood, glaring down at Jace, "You wanna know what I did when we finished, I pulled myself out of her, tossed her dressed to her and left, said nothing, not one damn thing, no thank you, no nothing, went home as if nothing happened; the next day Jem showed up at my door," a chuckle escaped William's mouth, "Jem broke my nose that morning, yelling about how I not only stole Tessa's innocence from her but how I took her from him too"
Jace shook his head in silence, trying desperately to understand everything William was telling him, "So Jem was dating Tessa"
William sighed, sitting back down, "No, I had no clue about Jem's feelings for Tess and in case you're wondering no, I didn't know she was a virgin either, I would like to think if I knew that she was, I never would have done that to her, but truth is I probably would have, I had never needed someone like I needed her that night, it scared me, I let that fear control me, afraid if I let Tessa know how I felt, she'd hurt me, so instead I said nothing, did nothing, hurting us both in return"
Jace's eyes widen, "you're telling me that you haven't talked to her since that night"
William nodded silently before answering, "things were never the same, Jem forgave me after a while but Tess, she avoided me like the plague, acting as if nothing had happened that night, so I did the same, a few months after Jem let me know that he had asked Tessa out, he knew how I felt about her but he also knew that I was too selfish to tell her, so Jem decided he would try to win Tessa's love, I watched as my best friend and the love of my life started dating, there was a time I thought they would actually make it, I hated it of course but I had no right to intervene, Tessa was too good for me she deserved someone that would treat her better, someone like Jem" William nodded in Jem's direction
Jace turned to follow William's gaze finding Clary, Jem and Izzy, the three of them were sitting by the pool, their feet resting in the water as they laughed with each other
Jace turned away, not wanting to witness the scene any longer, looking back at William, "So Jem and Tessa"
William eyes returned to Jace before answering, "They dated for a few months but right before graduation Tessa ended it, she told him that she couldn't keep hurting him, that she needed time to sort things out on her own, broke Jem's heart, the poor bastard"
"Why haven't you called her, told her how you feel," Jace couldn't explain it, there was this need, a need to know why William would let the love of his life just walk away like that, why didn't he fight for her
"I don't know Jace, I'd like to say I was trying to do the right thing, I'm no good for her, really though, I think I let her go because I was too scared, scared that she might reject me, not that she wouldn't have every right to do so but still I love her, the thought of her not loving me in return is just too much," William answered while running his hands down his face
"Where is she now"
William shrugged, "I'm not sure, the three of us always planned to go to Alabama together, now I don't know what her plans are"
Jace's eyes traveled over to the pool area once more, his golden eyes finding Clary immediately; Jace could not help but wonder if William was right, were they more alike than he cared to realize, would he hurt Clary if he told her his true feelings for her, more importantly was Jace selfless enough to watch his redhead go off and live happily ever after with another man, a better man, someone like Jem.