Camille grinned behind her hand as her boyfriend argued with his sister. She’d been watching them do this dance for the last twenty minutes-he’d try to coax her out of the car while she dug her heels in and refused.
“Clary. This is ridiculous. At least meet the poor bastard. Face it, he probably won’t even want to work with a fuck up like you anyway.”
Camille gasped and smacked his shoulder roughly as Clary threw herself back into the deep leather seats of the SUV.
“Jonathan! That was entirely uncalled for and you know it.” Camille pushed the car door mostly closed, gesturing through the slightly open window at the small girl inside.
Her thin arms wound around her torso as if to hold herself together-to keep herself from shattering at any moment. There was an uncharacteristic glassy sheen to her expressive green eyes. A loud sigh escaped Jon’s mouth and he raked a hand through his white blonde hair. His shoulders slumped downward as if a puppeteer had cut his strings and he had no incentive to hold himself up.
“Good fucking lord-I’m an asshole.”
His girlfriend snorted delicately as she wound her arms over his shoulders. She pushed herself up on her toes to place her lips gently on his cheek, careful not to leave a heavy lipstick mark in her wake. “Yes. You are most definitely an asshole. But you’re my asshole and more importantly, Clary’s. Go-talk to her. Fix this.”
Jon turned to face Camille, his large hands resting on her hips as he wrinkled his nose. “As long as you never refer to me as ‘your asshole’ again. That’s just…creepy.”
With a soft kiss to her forehead, his arms dropped and he reached for the door handle. Camille smiled as she turned to finally enter the studio, hoping and praying Clary would cooperate.
x . x . x . x . x
Jon was met with silence as he settled back into the leather seat. His sister hugged her arms tighter around herself and looked out the opposite window.
“Clary, please. I’m sorry, alright?”
Still she sat silently, her eyes steadily trained on something across the street. Jon scooted closer to her, his arm draping across the back of the seat, though he was extremely careful not to actually touch her. Any unwanted contact would only make things more difficult.
“Clary, please. We need to g-”
“Why do you even fucking care, Jonathan?!? Obviously I’m nothing but a fuck up to you. I’m sure Magnus would get you another position, so just get the fuck out and leave me alone.”
Anger bubbled through his veins as he turned to face Clary, roughly pulling her torso to face him. His hands went to her cheeks as he forced her head upwards.
“Clarissa Morgenstern. Get your fucking shit together. This is your job. We are going to get out of this car and walk into that studio where you will be your prickly albeit weirdly adorable self. Are we clear?”
Her green eyes met his identical ones and Jonathan cringed at the emotion hers contained. She was afraid. And he’d rarely ever seen her as anything but confident and aloof.
“But-I mean…what if-”
Her eyes dropped to her lap as she fidgeted, her fingers picking at a stray thread on the hem of her coat.
“Clary-” Jonathan put a single finger under her chin to lift her eyes back to his. “It will be fine. I promise.”
Clary searched her brothers eyes-but for what, he wasn’t quite sure. But Jonathan kept his eyes trained on hers, willing her to believe him.
After a few moments she nodded slowly and his face broke out into a huge grin. “Thank you Clare-Bear. Thank you.”
He tugged her towards him, enveloping her small body in his strong arms.
“Thank you for what?” Her voice was muffled as he squeezed her even more tightly to his chest. She huffed playfully and tried to push herself away, giggling when he refused to let go.
“For trusting me. I love you baby sister-never forget that.” They reveled in the silent camaraderie for a few moments before they were interrupted by a soft knock on the window.
“Ugh. Come on then. Let’s get this over with.”
Jonathan chuckled as Clary clamored over him, nearly tumbling out of the now open car door. This was going to be fun…or possibly a complete disaster.
x . x . x . x . x
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Jace glanced up from his violin case, his brow furrowed at the small girl standing before him with her hands on her hips. His eyes raked over her well developed, if vastly undersized, form appreciatively.
“Considering you’re over an hour late and I have somewhere to be, I’m packing up to leave. I’m Jace Herondale, nice to meet you, see you later.”
The sarcasm he oozed made her flush a delicious shade of red and he smirked to himself as he spun away. Only he was stopped by a large man with white blonde hair as he blocked the door.
“I’ve spoken to Magnus and he’s coming here since-” The man paused as his eyes shot over to the small redhead whose foot was tapping impatiently against the hardwood floor. “-Clary was slightly indisposed for a while.”
Jace scoffed as he stepped closer to the man. “Thanks for the info, but I’m still leaving. Obviously this whole collaboration and tour isn’t going to work. So thanks for your time, nice to meet you, but I’m gonna have to be going.”
He tried to step around the man, but his arm was suddenly caught in a gentle, yet still vice like grip.
“Hi, I’m Jonathan Morganstern. This is Clary. This collaboration will work because you both need it to.” He leaned closer to Jace, his voice lowered in a breathy sort of whisper. “Please man. I finally got her in here. Just-try? Please?”
Golden eyes met green ones as the two men scrutinized each other, oblivious to the girl huffing and rolling her eyes dramatically behind them. After a few tense moments, Jace nodded slowly as he took a measured step backwards.
He spun gracefully, his hand already outstretched toward Clary as he walked toward her.
“I’m Jace Herondale. Nice to meet you.”
She looked at his hand as if he carried some deadly infectious disease and sneered. “Great.” She leaned to the side, glaring at her brother who still stood blocking the door. “Seriously? I’m supposed to work with this asshole?!?”
Jace’s teeth clenched at her rudeness and he opened his mouth as he prepared to spit something equally rude and venomous-but he never got the chance.
“Yes, Clary. You’re supposed to work with this gorgeous man. Why in the world would you pass up such an opportunity?!?”
The musician watched in slightly horrified amusement as her ice queen facade melted, her face erupting into a glorious smile that nearly stole his breath. How she could morph from a bitch queen extraordinaire into this sweet ball of energy was making his brain hurt.
“Oh, my little hot mess. How you doin’ today dollface?” Magnus grinned as the small torpedo of energy launched herself at him, her legs wrapping tightly around his waist as she hugged him.
He set her down after a moment, ruffling her hair as she huffed in mock annoyance. Jace glanced to Jonathan with a befuddled look as a blonde girl slipped quietly through the still open door.
“Jace! Thanks so much for meeting us down here!” Magnus crossed the room in a few quick strides, his hand outstretched and a wide smile on his face.
Jace tentatively took the proffered hand, his teeth grinding from the sheer force of the other man’s grip.
“So, how exactly is this supposed to go? I’m not sure I’m entirely comfortable with this venture.”
Magnus’ face scrunched into a comic scowl as he glared over his shoulder at Clary, who had her hands on her hips. “Seriously, Peanut?! This kid is your chance to come back from all…this.” His hands flailed on his last word and Jace ducked out of the way.
“Come on, Clary. Just listen to what Magnus has to say.” The blonde woman stepped toward the small spitfire and took her elbow gently. She led her to the plush sofa in the corner and pushed Clary down before she took a seat next to her.
“Oh, I’m sorry. This is my girlfriend Camille. She’s Clary’s stylist when she’s on tour.” Jonathan smiled as he crossed the room to stand over the two women and Jace nodded a greeting.
“Okay, now that we’re all introduced. Let’s get this show on the road. Jace, maybe you could play the song you’ve composed? Give Clary a taste of what to expect.” Magnus nodded encouragingly and Jace grumbled an agreement as he turned to his violin case. “Now Clary, this song isn’t a sure thing. If it’s something you feel strongly about, we can work something out between the two of you-maybe do some writing in the next few weeks and come up with something together. Just…keep an open mind.”
She scoffed as she watched the musician fiddle with his instrument, her eyes roving over his extremely pleasing form. His long fingers plucked at strings as he tested…something. His Adam’s apple bobbed as he cleared his throat and took a deep breath. Her eyes narrowed as he glanced up to meet her gaze, a small smirk playing at his lips.
And then he began to play.