The first step is to convince her older brothers, Alec and Jace, that she's dating Clary. Once they believe it, it's only a matter of time before one of them- probably Jace- accidentally mentions it to their parents. Neither Maryse nor Robert would be pleased, they never were with Izzy's dating life and a girl would be yet another affront, but they'd still invite her new lover to their next family gathering.
The trick is going to be letting them think they 'discovered' her and Clary dating. She couldn't treat Clary like her past lovers, parading her about in skimpy outfits and racking up ridiculous lunch bills- no matter how much Izzy would enjoy that. It would appear too disingenuous, too blatantly false. So instead, she decides to simply do what she'd do if they really were dating, and ignores her heart's pang at the thought. (It doesn't matter- Clary's straight and Izzy's seen that movie too many times to know it doesn't end well for the besotted bisexual.)
So they will be playing it casual, and Clary might be a little too vindictively pleased about helping. Not that Izzy blames her- Maryse had always been overly dismissive of Clary, daughter of a failed revolutionary and someone who escaped the political arena. (When Izzy was younger, she thought it might be jealousy- everything seemed simpler then.)
There's a knock, and Clary wanders into her room, hesitating by the doorway. “Movie night?”
Izzy nods, coming closer to quietly say, “You don't have to knock. In fact, you should probably start pretending to sneak into my room.”
“Okay,” Clary says, and then realization hits her a moment later, a light flush on her cheeks. “Oh.”
“Is that okay? You don't have to-”
“Izzy, it's fine,” Clary says, holding her hand. “Honest, let's go watch whatever Max picked.”
“Do you want a safe word or something? In case things get uncomfortable for you?”
Clary rolls her eyes, “Sure. It'll be, 'Isabelle, we're breaking up.'”
“Fine, point taken,” Izzy says, breath catching when Clary's thumb swipes over her cheek.
“Isabelle. There's nothing about this that would make me uncomfortable okay? Don't worry, just do what feels right.”
“Okay,” Izzy says, like Clary didn't just send her heart cartwheeling.
“To the basement!”
The Lightwood basement is where they usually hang out, devoid of parents and with a tv, couches, and a pool table. There's a small kitchenette that's almost entirely used for popcorn and beer, and her Dad keeps it stocked on the condition that they don't over do it or get drunk outside of the house.
“Finally,” Max says when they come down the stairs, and The Matrix is already queued up with a giant bowl of popcorn between the three couches. Neither Alec nor Jace blink at their clasped hands, and Izzy supposes her and Clary do hold hands fairly regularly. Jace and Max have the squishy red couch, Alec is stretched out on the green one, and the ugly but comfy orange loveseat is left for her and Clary.
“Sorry Max,” Clary says as they sit, and Izzy looks at the very familiar title screen.
“Didn't you watch this yesterday?”
Jace groans, and Max says, “No! Jace watched without me! The meany.”
“Hey, I got your kettle corn popcorn,” Jace defends, and Clary's eyes light up.
“I'm starting the movie now,” Alec warns, reaching up to hit the lights.
Izzy leans forward, grabbing a paper towel and a few handfuls of popcorn, placing the make shift plate in Clary's lap.
Clary nuzzles into her neck, murmuring a soft thanks that still earns them a short glare from Alec. Izzy wraps an arm around Clary, and for the next two hours, Izzy loses herself in the illusion.
Izzy might be pouting into her bowl of Lucky Charms. It's been a few days since Clary was at their weekly movie night, and while it wasn't unusual for her to show up, their level of cuddling had been.
Not one of her brothers has said a single word about it.
If they really were dating, it would be remarkable- but they're not, and her plan isn't going to get very far if they insist on being oblivious. It's a three part plan, and while only the first part really matters, Alec really needs to pick up on the idea of her dating Clary. Part one being that even if Alec doesn't come out of the closet himself, he at least entertains the notion of dating or getting laid before their mother tries to set him up with yet another nice young girl. (When Lydia came along, Izzy was never so happy to see Jace seduce someone. And when Jace and Lydia actually started dating, got along well, it threw her for a happy loop.)
The second part is to buy some time for herself. Now that Jace is going steady, and Alec is courting political opportunities, she can't be far from her mother's to-fix list. While Maryse hadn't approved of Meliorn at all- an independent Isabelle!- at least she hadn't tried to set her up with other people while they were dating. (Izzy can't blame him for taking the ambassador position over in Lebanon. But god, sometimes she wishes he hadn't been offered it.)
The third part is mostly spite-driven, a last bit of teenage rebellion before she has to become an adult. And okay, maybe she wants to make sure their mother is easier on Alec and Max. (She's always been easy on Jace, the perfect toy soldier, and Izzy's glad one of them got out easy.)
Izzy's touching up her purple lipstick when Clary comes in without knocking. She's about to say something positive about that, but then she catches Clary's frown through the mirror, and spins around in her chair.
“Jace saw me coming in- he didn't wink or make a joke. I don't get it. How do they not know?”
“Hmm, I could cook you something?”
Clary snorts, rapidly shaking her head. “No way, I love you but not that much.”
“Breaking my heart,” Izzy says with a flutter of her lashes.
“We could make out?”
Izzy chokes on nothing, and Clary blushes bright red.
“I mean, so they can find us downstairs? Then they'd definitely know.”
“Right, are you sure?” Izzy asks.
“I should be asking you that, it was my idea,” Clary says.
Izzy shrugs and applies a strawberry flavored lip gloss. (If her hand is shaking a bit more than usual, it's only because the tube is sticky and gross and she should go get a new one.)
Clary pretty much takes the lead, giggling as she brings Izzy down to the basement and puts on The Social Network.
Izzy raises an eyebrow, “Are you going to pretend I'm Andrew Garfield? Because-”
“Of course not!” Clary whisper-yells. “I figured one of them would come down faster with a movie playing.”
“-I can get into character.”
Clary playfully slaps her arm in response, and Izzy retaliates with tickles, going for Clary's stomach. Clary laughs loudly, trying to tickle Izzy back, but she's shaking too much, is far too breathless to be effective. Izzy only realizes she's pinned Clary when her hands go from tickling to gripping, and Clary kisses her, making her hands completely still.
Izzy's thought about kissing Clary before, much more often than she'd ever admit, yet somehow the possibility of Clary kissing her had never occurred to her. And god, Clary's good at it. One hand stays on her hip and the other winds into her hair, and she kisses like she wants to know every part of Isabelle.
It's staggering and mind-blowing, and Izzy's completely forgotten why they're even kissing when Clary breaks away with wide eyes. Refocusing, Izzy hears light footsteps running up the stairs, and she sits up, Clary following.
“Oh my god, was that-?”
“Max, the sneakiest little Lightwood,” Izzy says with a shallow laugh.
Clary looks horrified though, “Oh my god, we just made out in front of your kid brother!”
Izzy laughs, lighter, “It's fine. He's seen Jace and Lydia do worse, don't worry.”
“Somehow that doesn't make me feel any better,” Clary says, and Izzy fights down a flirty, and what would?
They end up restarting the movie because the opening scene is one of two that Clary really likes. (The other being the chicken cannibalism story.) By the end of it, it's already seven, and the scent of chicken parmesan floats down the stairs.
“Wanna stay for dinner?” Izzy asks, and as if on cue, Clary's stomach growls.
Izzy laughs, standing and lending her a hand. “That's a yes then?”
Clary nods, quickly checking her phone. “My mom's doing dinner with Luke tonight, so definitely. And if she wasn't I would so make excuses for your Dad's chicken parm.”
“I see how it is,” Izzy teases as they head upstairs, and Clary's hand slips into hers.
“Look who showed up for dinner,” her Dad says as they each grab a seat, and Jace snickers.
“Yeah, nice timing Izzy,” Alec says.
Max quickly stuffs the rest of his roll into his mouth before grabbing another one, and realization hits Izzy right when their mother joins them with a bottle of red.
“Mother, I thought you had a meeting with Justice Herondale?” Izzy asks.
“We had to reschedule, her case went over. Clarissa, I haven't seen you lately. Are you still working at the comic book store?”
Izzy bristles, but Clary's hand is suddenly on her thigh- and holy shit, Clary's hand is on her thigh.
“I am,” Clary says, and Izzy tries to school her face back to a normal state. Judging by Alec's eyebrow, she's pretty sure she failed. “I've gotten to meet with some small publishers, and it looks like Pandemonium is going to be printed.”
Maryse's smile turns forced, but Izzy isn't paying attention to that.
“You didn't tell me that- that's so wonderful! I'm so proud of you,” Izzy says.
Clary pushes a bit of chicken around her plate. “I was going to wait until it was a sure thing, just in case.”
“Sensible,” Maryse says.
“And she's dating Izzy!” Max pipes up.
Jace tries to muffle a startled laugh, Maryse looks like she sucked on a lemon, and Alec's expression doesn't shift an inch.
“You two are happy?” her Dad slowly asks, and Izzy relaxes with a grin.
Maryse doesn't say anything over the next few weeks to Izzy, and she interprets that as her parents had a talk together. The outcome was obviously in her favor, and she tries not to act too smug around her mother.
Parts two and three complete, Izzy decides it's time to focus on the first one, or: getting Alec laid so he might actually smile before he turns thirty. Sometime after the first week Izzy finds out that Alec and Jace had both suspected she and Clary were dating even before the ruse began, had agreed not to say anything to avoid jinxing it. It makes her heart swell, and Izzy forcibly reminds herself that Clary is straight.
(Clary kisses girls way too well, and Izzy still hasn't been able to get the kiss out of her head, avoids the orange couch at all costs.)
Jace is the one that suggests going out to a club opening, and it's more surprising that he wants to go out at all and that Alec agreed. Since Jace and Lydia started dating, they tended to stay in, and Izzy very purposefully did not give it any more thought. Alec had never been one for clubs- too many sloppy drunks- but the three of them hadn't hung out as much lately, which Izzy will absolutely use if necessary to get Alec to stay out late.
The Lair is already packed at eight pm, and the five of them- Izzy, Alec, Jace, Clary, and Lydia- are waiting in a line long enough that Lydia's already sorting through other nearby club yelp reviews on her phone.
“Alec! I didn't know you were coming by, come with me, you guys can all go right in,” Raj says, a hand on Alec's elbow. Izzy follows, narrowed eyes at the bouncer.
Clary squeezes her hand, “Hey. Everything okay?”
“Yeah,” Izzy exhales, dropping her voice. “I just don't trust him around Alec.”
“Well, he'll be outside anyways right?”
“Should be,” Izzy says, and then they enter The Lair, and the bass swallows up any other words she could add.
Lydia's eyes scan the club, and she yells over the music, “Dancing for an hour, and then we'll pick a table?”
Alec nods, and the group disperses at that. Lydia brings Jace across the dance floor, Alec is actually approaching a guy, and Izzy's just standing there a little stunned in the middle of a packed club. She was so sure a push was going to be required on her part, and she's feeling a little lost.
“C'mon,” Clary says in her ear. “Let's go dance.”
And Izzy's not about to turn down a chance to dance with Clary, ignores the warning voice in the back of her head.
It happens fifty minutes later. Clary's eccentric dancing turned into grinding suddenly, and Izzy's only saving grace is that she's sober.
“Your brother's looking,” Clary says into her ear, and before she can process that, Clary is kissing her. Clary tastes like cinnamon mouthwash, and tingles erupt over Izzy's spine. She knew that Clary usually only used mouthwash right before bed and dates and- and Izzy can't keep thinking, not with Clary's tongue sliding into her mouth.
Clary's arms are looped around her neck, pressing up, pressing herself even closer. Izzy finally moves her own hands, sliding down to the small of her back. Her shirt's damp, a reminder of where they are, and Izzy breaks the kiss with a ragged breath.
Clary just grins up at her, twisting her hips in a figure eight. It's one of the few dance moves Clary knows how to do, and it brings Izzy back to reality, giggling into her hair.
Izzy wakes up overly warm, nuzzling into the best smelling pillow.
There's a quiet chuckle, and Izzy's eyes blink open to see she's spooned around Clary. Clary spins around in her arms with a grin.
“Hey babe, how did you sleep?”
And Izzy's never felt so close to her breaking point, but god- this just wasn't fair. They've shared beds before, but there had never been post-wake up cuddling and soft questions. It felt like dating for real, and Izzy's sleepy mind didn't want to risk Clary getting up.
“Mmm, good. You?”
“Yeah,” Clary says, burrowing her head into Izzy's shoulder. “I'm going back to sleep now.”
“Alright,” Izzy says with a smile, petting her hair.
“Mmm, that's nice. Oh- remind me, Simon's band thingy is tonight. We should all go.”
“Two nights in a row?” Izzy teases, nails lightly scratching over Clary's head.
Izzy eventually drifts back to sleep, and when she wakes up, her bed is colder and empty. There's a note where Clary was, a sry forgot brunch with mom and luke. And below that is a sketch of Izzy sleeping.
Isabelle gulps, and carefully puts the drawing on her desk. It's gorgeous, like all of Clary's art, and Izzy's trying really hard not to make it romantic. Clary just woke up first again, wrote her a note and sketched her. It probably only took her like a minute. It's not like she was staring at her while she slept, thinking about their second kiss and drawing, that maybe they could just make it real-
Izzy needs to take a cold shower, right now.
Isabelle feels much more in control after her shower, and doesn't go near her desk for the rest of the day. In fact, she stays as far away from her room as possible, removing the temptation. She spends most of the afternoon doing Latin flashcards with Max, and gossiping with Jace about the gorgeous guy Alec had been dancing with last night. (He sadly hadn't joined their table, but at least Alec was putting himself out there.)
By the time Simon's concert rolls around, Izzy has to admit to herself that the dating ruse was a complete success. But Clary's holding her hand, softly singing along to the music, and Izzy tells herself they'll 'break up' in the morning. She just wants one more night of the happy fantasy.
Isabelle wakes up to the smell of freshly made pancakes and bacon, and Clary's holding a breakfast tray.
“I love you,” Izzy says without thinking, reaching, and Clary hands her the heavy tray, sitting next to her. “You didn't have to-” Izzy starts, stopping when she realizes there are words on her pancakes. In carefully placed chocolate chips it says: date? y n m.
Clary's biting her lip, fiddling with her hands. “Um, I was hoping we could maybe date for real.”
Izzy nods semi-seriously, a grin threatening to take over her face. “There are no check boxes, should I just eat the right letter?”
“Izzy-” Clary starts, exasperated, and Izzy leans over to drop a quick kiss on her lips.
“Cool,” Clary says, relaxing next to her. “You should really eat those before they get cold though.”
Izzy picks up the silverware, “Mhmm, want some?”
Clary grabs a piece of bacon, “I was eating while I cooked. By the way, the boys might burst in here soon.”
“Why?” Izzy asks, eating another delicious bite of pancake.
Clary rubs the back of her neck, “I um, might have promised Max and Jace we could go to the theme park if they let me use the rest of the chocolate chips?”
Izzy laughs, eating a little faster. “We'll have to make the most of our morning then.”
(Max finds them kissing, empty tray to the side, lets out a loud 'ew' and then proceeds to jump on Izzy's bed until they get up. Jace and Alec, the traitors, just stand laughing in her doorway.)