[Spoilers!] “After the Bridge” Deel 5 / Part 5

Cassandra Clare heeft het vijfde en laatste deel van haar nieuwe korte verhaal After the Bridge (met Jem en Tessa) gedeeld, samen met een illustratie van Cassandra Jean (misschien niet helemaal geschikt voor werk/school)!
Spoilers voor Clockwork Princess.

Cassandra Clare has shared the fifth and last part of her new short story After the Bridge (with Jem and Tessa), together with an illustration by Cassandra Jean (perhaps not really safe for work/school)!
Spoilers for Clockwork Princess.

 

Part 5

“Jem?” she said. “Jem, you are a thousand miles away!” She had wrapped a folded gray throw from the couch around herself; she sat down beside him; the tears were gone and she was warm and smiling. “Honestly, if what we just did didn’t get your attention, I don’t know what would.”

 He stared at her. “But you were crying,” he said, finally.

She looked at him quizzically. “Because I am happy. Because that was wonderful.”

He expelled his breath in a rush of relief. “So it was — that was all right? I could get better, we could practice —“

He realized what he’d just said, and clamped his mouth shut.

A wicked grin spread over her face. “Oh, we will practice,” she said. “As soon as you’re ready.”

“I have no other appointments this evening,” he said gravely.

She blushed. “Your body may need time to — to recover.”

“No,” he said, and this time he allowed himself a small tinge of smugness. “No, I don’t think so.”

She blushed even harder. He loved making her blush; he always had. “Well, I need five minutes, at least!” she said. “And I need you to see this. Please?”

She held out a piece of paper to him. Her expression was surprisingly grave; it wiped his smugness away, and his desire to tease her, too. Not daring to speak, he took the paper from her and unfolded it.

She cleared her throat. “I may have been joking, earlier,” she said, “when I said I owned this flat under the name of Bedelia Codfish.”

He stared down at the deed to the flat on Queen’s Gate. It was made out in Tessa’s name, or something like it. Not Tessa Gray, however, or even Tessa Herondale. It was made out in the name of Tessa Herondale Carstairs.

“When I spoke to Magnus in Idris, after the Mortal War,” she said, “he told me that he’d dreamed that you were cured. You know how Magnus is. Sometimes his dreams are true. So I allowed myself to hope for the first time in a long time. I knew it was unlikely, if not impossible. I knew it might be many years. But you asked me to marry you, once, a long time ago. And in a way, this is our wedding night. A long-delayed consummation.” She smiled at him, biting her lip, clearly nervous. He fingers worked at the blanket she held around herself. “I shouldn’t have borrowed your name, perhaps, but I have always felt in my blood that we were family.”

“Tessa Herondale Carstairs,” he whispered. “You should never worry about borrowing my name when you know that you can have it to keep.”

He let the paper slip out of his hand and reached for her. She tipped into his lap and he held her hard, against the choking sensation in his own throat.

She had never given up on him. He remembered saying to Will once that he had given him faith, when Will had none in himself. He had always hoped for better for Will, even when Will did not hope for himself. And Tessa had done that for him. He had long ago despaired of a cure, but she — she had always hoped.

Mizpah, Tessa,” he whispered. “In truth, for surely God was looking out for us while we were parted from one another. And he has looked out for us while we both have been parted from Will and brought us back to each other.”

* * *

They slept, curled together, on the ruin of Tessa’s dress, and later moved to the couch. It was quite dark, and they drank cold tea and made love again, this time more gently and slowly until Tessa was clutching at Jem’s shoulders and begging him to go faster. “Dolcissimo, not appasionato,” he said with a smile of pure tormenting amusement.

“Oh?” She reached down and did something with her hand that he was clearly not prepared for. His whole body tensed. She giggled as his hands clawed suddenly at her waist, fingers digging in. His dark hair hung in his eyes; his skin shone with sweat. Earlier, she had closed her own eyes: this time she watched him, the change in his expression as his control broke, the shape of his mouth as he gasped her name.

“Tessa —

And this time, she forgot to bite on her hand to muffle the sounds she made. Oh, well. Damn the neighbors. She had been quiet for nearly a century.

 “Maybe that was more presto than I had intended,” he said with a laugh, when they were lying together afterward, wedged among the cushions. “But then, you cheated. You are more experienced than I am.”

“I like it.” Tessa kissed his fingers. “I am going to have a great deal of fun introducing you to everything. I can’t wait for you to hear rock and roll music, Jem Carstairs. And I want to see you use an iPhone. And a computer. And ride the Tube. Have you been in an airplane? I want to be in an airplane with you.”

Jem was still laughing. His hair was a terrific mess, and his eyes were dark and shining in the lamplight. He looked like the boy he had been, so many years ago, but different, too: this was a Jem Tessa had only just begun to know. A young, healthy Jem, not a dying boy or a Silent Brother. A Jem who could love her with all his strength as she would love him back.

“We’ll take an airplane,” he said. “Maybe to Los Angeles.”

She smiled. She knew why they had to be there.

“We have time to do everything,” he said, tracing one of his fingers down the side of her face. “We have forever.”

Not forever, Tessa thought. They had a long, long time. A lifetime. His lifetime. And she would lose him one day, as she had lost Will, and her heart would break, as it had broken before. And she would put herself back together and go on, because the memory of having had Jem would be better than never having had him at all.

She was wise enough to know that, now.

“What you said before,” she asked. “That Jace Herondale loves Clarissa Fairchild more than anyone you’ve ever known except someone — you never finished the sentence. Who was it?”

“I was going to say you and me and Will,” he said. “But — that’s rather a strange thing to say, isn’t it?”

“Not strange at all.”  She cuddled in close against his side. “Exactly right. Ever and always, exactly right.”

***

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The end and the beginning.

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