City of lost souls, p.24
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       City of Lost Souls, p.24
 

         Part #5 of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
Page 24

 

  "Im going to the station to be with Luke," she said. "Simon, I expect reports from you every twenty-four hours that my daughter is all right. If I dont hear from you every night, Im going to the Clave. "

  And she stalked out of the apartment, slamming the door behind her so hard that a long crack appeared in the plaster beside it.

  Isabelle sat back down, this time beside Simon. He said nothing to her but held out his hand, and she took it, slipping her fingers between his.

  "So," Magnus said finally, breaking the silence. "Whos up for raising Azazel? Because were going to need a whole lot of candles. "

  Jace and Clary spent the day wandering-through mazelike tiny streets than ran along canals whose water ranged from deep green to murky blue. They made their way among the tourists in Saint Marks Square, and over the Bridge of Sighs, and drank small, powerful cups of espresso at Caffe Florian. The disorienting maze of streets reminded Clary a bit of Alicante, though Alicante lacked Venices feeling of elegant decay. There were no roads here, no cars, only twisting little alleys, and bridges arching over canals whose water was as green as malachite. As the sky overhead darkened to the deep blue of late autumn twilight, lights began to go on-in tiny boutiques, in bars and restaurants that seemed to appear out of nowhere and disappear again into shadow as she and Jace passed, leaving light and laughter behind.

  When Jace asked Clary if she was ready for dinner, she nodded firmly, yes. She had begun to feel guilty that she had gotten no information out of him and that she was, actually, enjoying herself. As they crossed over a bridge to the Dorsoduro, one of the quieter sections of the city, away from the tourist throng, she determined that she would get something out of him that night, something worth relaying to Simon.

  Jace held her hand firmly as they went over a final bridge and the street opened out into a great square on the side of an enormous canal the size of a river. The basilica of a domed church rose on their right. Across the canal more of the city lit the evening, throwing illumination onto the water, which shifted and glimmered with light. Clarys hands itched for chalk and pencils, to draw the light as it faded out of the sky, the darkening water, the jagged outlines of the buildings, their reflections slowly dimming in the canal. Everything seemed washed with a steely blueness. Somewhere church bells were chiming.

  She tightened her hand on Jaces. She felt very far away here from everything in her life, distant in a way that she had not felt in Idris. Venice shared with Alicante the sense of being a place out of time, torn from the past, as if she had stepped into a painting or the pages of a book. But it was also a real place, one she had grown up knowing about, wanting to visit. She looked sidelong at Jace, who was gazing down the canal. The steely blue light was on him, too, darkening his eyes, the shadows under his cheekbones, the lines of his mouth. When he caught her gaze on him, he looked over and smiled.

  He led her around the church and down a flight of mossy steps to a path along the canal. Everything smelled of wet stone and water and dampness and years. As the sky darkened, something broke the surface of the canal water a few feet from Clary. She heard the splash and looked in time to see a green-haired woman rise from the water and grin at her; she had a beautiful face but sharklike teeth and a fishs yellow eyes. Pearls were wound through her hair. She sank again below the water, without a ripple.

  "Mermaid," said Jace. "There are old families of them that have lived here in Venice a long, long time. Theyre a little odd. They do better in clean water, far out to sea, living on fish instead of garbage. " He looked toward the sunset. "The whole city is sinking," he said. "Itll all be under water in a hundred years. Imagine swimming down into the ocean and touching the top of Saint Marks Basilica. " He pointed across the water.

  Clary felt a flicker of sadness at the thought of all this beauty being lost. "Isnt there anything they can do?"

  "To raise a whole city? Or hold back the ocean? Not much," Jace said. They had come to a set of stairs leading up. The wind came off the water and lifted his dark gold hair off his forehead, his neck. "All things tend toward entropy. The whole universe is moving outward, the stars pulling away from one another, God knows what falling through the cracks between them. " He paused. "Okay, that sounded a little crazy. "

  "Maybe it was all the wine at lunch. "

  "I can hold my liquor. " They turned a corner, and a fairyland of lights gleamed out at them. Clary blinked, her eyes adjusting. It was a small restaurant with tables set outside and inside, heat lamps wound with Christmas lights like a forest of magical trees between the tables. Jace detached himself from her long enough to get them a table, and soon they were sitting by the side of the canal, listening to the splash of water against stone and the sound of small boats bobbing up and down with the tide.

  Tiredness was beginning to wash over Clary in waves, like the lap of water against the sides of the canal. She told Jace what she wanted and let him order in Italian, relieved when the waiter went away so she could lean forward and rest her elbows on the table, her head on her hands.

  "I think I have jet lag," she said. "Interdimensional jet lag. "

  "You know, time is a dimension," Jace said.

  "Pedant. " She flicked a bread crumb from the basket on the table at him.

  He grinned. "I was trying to remember all the deadly sins the other day," he said. "Greed, envy, gluttony, irony, pedantry. . . "

  "Im pretty sure irony isnt a deadly sin. "

  "Im pretty sure it is. "

  "Lust," she said. "Lust is a deadly sin. "

  "And spanking. "

  "I think that falls under lust. "

  "I think it should have its own category," said Jace. "Greed, envy, gluttony, irony, pedantry, lust, and spanking. " The white Christmas lights were reflected in his eyes. He looked more beautiful than he ever had, Clary thought, and correspondingly more distant, more hard to touch. She thought of what he had said about the city sinking, and the spaces between the stars, and remembered the lines of a Leonard Cohen song that Simons band used to cover, not very well. "There is a crack in everything/Thats how the light gets in. " There had to be a crack in Jaces calm, some way she could reach through to the real him she believed was still in there.

  Jaces amber eyes studied her. He reached out to touch her hand, and it was only after a moment that Clary realized that his fingers were on her gold ring. "Whats that?" he said. "I dont remember you having a faerie-work ring. "

  His tone was neutral, but her heart skipped a beat. Lying straight to Jaces face wasnt something she had a lot of practice with. "It was Isabelles," she said with a shrug. "She was throwing out all the stuff that faerie ex-boyfriend of hers gave her-Meliorn-and I thought this was pretty, so she said I could have it. "

  "And the Morgenstern ring?"

  This seemed like a place to tell the truth. "I gave it to Magnus so he could try to track you with it. "

  "Magnus. " Jace said the name as if it were a strangers, and exhaled a breath. "Do you still feel like you made the right decision? Coming with me here?"

  "Yes. Im happy to be with you. And-well, I always wanted to see Italy. Ive never traveled much. Never been out of the country-"

  "You were in Alicante," he reminded her.

  "Okay, other than visiting magical lands no one else can see, I havent traveled much. Simon and I had plans. We were going to go backpacking around Europe after we graduated high school. . . " Clarys voice trailed off. "It sounds silly now. "

  "No, it doesnt. " He reached out and pushed a strand of hair behind her ear. "Stay with me. We can see the whole world. "

  "I am with you. Im not going anywhere. "

  "Is there anything special you want to see? Paris? Budapest? The Leaning Tower of Pisa?"

  Only if it falls on Sebastians head, she thought. "Can we travel to Idris? I mean, I guess, can the apartment travel there?"

  "It cant get past the wards. " His hand traced a path down her cheek. "You know, I really missed you.
"

  "You mean you havent been going on romantic dates with Sebastian while youve been away from me?"

  "I tried," Jace said, "but no matter how liquored up you get him, he just wont put out. "

  Clary reached for her glass of wine. She was starting to get used to the taste of it. She could feel it burning a path down her throat, heating her veins, adding a dreamlike quality to the night. She was in Italy, with her beautiful boyfriend, on a beautiful night, eating delicious food that melted in her mouth. These were the kinds of moments that you remembered all your life. But it felt like touching only the edge of happiness; every time she looked at Jace, happiness slipped away from her. How could he be Jace and not-Jace, all at once? How could you be heartbroken and happy at the same time?

  They lay in the narrow twin bed that was meant for only one person, wrapped together tightly under Jordans flannel sheet. Maia lay with her head in the crook of his arm, the sun from the window warming her face and shoulders. Jordan was propped on his arm, leaning over her, his free hand running through her hair, pulling her curls out to their full length and letting them slide back through his fingers.

  "I missed your hair," he said, and dropped a kiss onto her forehead.

  Laughter bubbled up from somewhere deep inside her, that sort of laughter that came with the giddiness of infatuation. "Just my hair?"

  "No. " He was grinning, his hazel eyes lit with green, his brown hair thoroughly rumpled. "Your eyes. " He kissed them, one after another. "Your mouth. " He kissed that, too, and she hooked her fingers through the chain against his bare chest that held the Praetor Lupus pendant. "Everything about you. "

  She twisted the chain around her fingers. "Jordan. . . Im sorry about before. About snapping at you about the money, and Stanford. It was just a lot to take in. "

  His eyes darkened, and he ducked his head. "Its not like I dont know how independent you are. I just. . . I wanted to do something nice for you. "

  "I know," she whispered. "I know you worry about me needing you, but I shouldnt be with you because I need you. I should be with you because I love you. "

  His eyes lit up-incredulous, hopeful. "You-I mean, you think its possible you could feel that way about me again?"

  "I never stopped loving you, Jordan," she said, and he caught her against him with a kiss so intense it was bruising. She moved closer to him, and things might have proceeded as they had in the shower if a sharp knock hadnt come at the door.

  "Praetor Kyle!" a voice shouted through the door. "Wake up! Praetor Scott wishes to see you downstairs in his office. "

  Jordan, his arms around Maia, swore softly. Laughing, Maia ran her hand slowly up his back, tangling her fingers in his hair. "You think Praetor Scott can wait?" she whispered.

  "I think he has a key to this room and hell use it if he feels like it. "

  "Thats all right," she said, brushing her lips against his ear. "We have lots of time, right? All the time well ever need. "

  Chairman Meow lay on the table in front of Simon, completely asleep, his four legs sticking straight into the air. This, Simon felt, was something of an achievement. Since he had become a vampire, animals tended not to like him; they avoided him if they could, and hissed or barked if he came too close. For Simon, who had always been an animal lover, it was a hard loss. But he supposed if you were already the pet of a warlock, perhaps youd learned to accept weird creatures in your life.

  Magnus, as it turned out, hadnt been joking about the candles. Simon was taking a moment to rest and drink some coffee; it stayed down well, and the caffeine took the edge off the beginning prickles of hunger. All afternoon, they had been helping Magnus set the scene for raising Azazel. They had raided local bodegas for tea lights and prayer candles, which they had placed in a careful circle. Isabelle and Alec were scattering the floorboards outside the circle with a mixture of salt and dried belladonna as Magnus instructed them, reading aloud from Forbidden Rites, A Necromancers Manual of the Fifteenth Century.

  "What have you done to my cat?" Magnus demanded, returning to the living room carrying a pot of coffee, with a circle of mugs floating around his head like a model of the planets rotating around the sun. "You drank his blood, didnt you? You said you werent hungry!"

  Simon was indignant. "I did not drink his blood. Hes fine!" He poked the Chairman in the stomach. The cat yawned. "Second, you asked me if I was hungry when you were ordering pizza, so I said no, because I cant eat pizza. I was being polite. "

  "That doesnt give you the right to eat my cat. "

  "Your cat is fine!" Simon reached to pick up the tabby, who jumped indignantly to his feet and stalked off the table. "See?"

  "Whatever. " Magnus threw himself down in the seat at the head of the table; the mugs banged into place as Alec and Izzy straightened up, done with their task. Magnus clapped his hands. "Everyone! Gather around. Its time for a meeting. Im going to teach you how to summon a demon. "

  Praetor Scott was waiting for them in the library, still in the same swivel chair, a small bronze box on the desk between them. Maia and Jordan sat down across from him, and Maia couldnt help wondering if it was written all over her face, what she and Jordan had been doing. Not that the Praetor was looking at them with much interest.

  He pushed the box toward Jordan. "Its a salve," he said. "If applied to Garroways wound, it should filter the poison from his blood and allow the demon steel to work its way free. He should heal in a few days. "

  Maias heart leaped-finally some good news. She reached for the box before Jordan could, and opened it. It was indeed filled with a dark waxy salve that smelled sharply herbal, like crushed bay leaves.

 
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