Fans of THE INFERNAL DEVICES and THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS have seen only glimpses so of Tessa and Jem’s reunion in the modern era so far, but now author Cassandra Clare is filling in the blanks with a new short story entitled AFTER THE BRIDGE!
Cassandra Clare will be releasing the short story on her tumblr in several parts, Part One of which you can read below!
AFTER THE BRIDGE
Now is the time of our comfort and plenty
These are the days we’ve been working for
Nothing can touch us and nothing can harm us
And nothing goes wrong anymore
As it turned out, Tessa had a flat she owned in London. It was the second floor of a pale white townhouse in Kensington, and as she let them both inside — her hand only shaking very slightly as she turned the keys — she explained to Jem that Magnus had taught her how warlocks could finagle their way into owning homes over many centuries by willing the properties to themselves.
“After a while I just started picking silly names for myself,” she said, shutting the door behind them. “I think I own this place under the pseudonym Bedelia Codfish.”
Jem laughed, though his mind was only partly on her words. He was gazing around the flat — the walls were painted in bright colors: a lilac living room, scattered with white couches, an avocado-green kitchen. When had Tessa bought the flat, he wondered, and why? She had traveled so much, why make a home base in London?
The question dried up in his throat when he turned and realized that through a partly open door, he could glimpse the blue walls of what was likely a bedroom.
He swallowed at that, his mouth gone suddenly dry. Tessa’s bed. That she slept in.
She narrowed her eyes at him. “Are you all right?”
She took him by the wrist and he felt his pulse jump under her touch. Until he had become a Silent Brother, it always had. He’d wondered during his time in Idris, after the heavenly fire had cured him, if it would still be like that with them: if his human feelings would return to him. He had been able to touch her and be near her as a Silent Brother without wanting her as he had when he was a mortal. He had still loved her, but it had been a love of the spirit, not the body. He had wondered — feared, even, that the physical feelings and responses would not come back the way they had. He had told himself that even if Silent Brotherhood had killed the ability of his feelings to manifest themselves physically, he would not be disappointed. He had told himself to expect it.
He shouldn’t have worried.
The moment he had seen her on the bridge, coming toward him through the crowd in her modern jeans and Liberty scarf, her hair flying out behind her, he had felt his breath catch in his throat.
And when she had drawn the jade pendant he had given her out from around her neck and shyly proffered it to him, his blood had roared to life in his veins like a river undammed.
And when she had said, I love you. I always have, and I always will, it had taken everything he had not to kiss her in that moment. To do more than kiss her.
But if the Brotherhood had taught him anything, it was control. He looked at her now and fought his voice to steadiness. “A little tired,” he said. “And thirsty — I forget sometimes I need to eat and drink now.”
She dropped her keys on a small rosewood side table and turned to smile at him. “Tea,” she said, moving toward the avocado-green kitchen. “I haven’t got much food here, I don’t usually stay long, but I have got tea. And biscuits. Go into the drawing room; I’ll be right there.”
He had to smile at that; even he knew no one said drawing room any more. Perhaps she was as nervous as he was, then? He could only hope.
* * *
Tessa cursed silently for the fourth time as she bent to retrieve the box of sugar cubes from the floor. She had already put the kettle on without water in it, mixed up the tea bags, knocked over the milk, and now this. She dropped a cube of sugar into both teacups and told herself to count to ten, watching the cubes dissolve.
She knew her hands were shaking. Her heart raced. James Carstairs was in her flat. In her living room. Waiting for tea. Part of her mind screamed that it was just Jem, while the other part cried just as loudly that just Jem was someone she hadn’t seen in a hundred and thirty five years.
He had been Brother Zachariah for so long. And of course he had always been Jem at the heart of it all, with Jem’s wit and unfailing kindness. He had never failed in his love for her or his love for Will. But Silent Brothers — they did not feel things the way ordinary people did.
It was something she had thought of, sometimes, in later years, many decades after Will’s death. She had never wanted anyone else, never anyone but Will and Jem, and they were both gone from her, even though Jem still lived. She had wondered sometimes what they would have done if it had merely been forbidden for Silent Brothers to marry or love; but it was more than that: he could not desire her. He didn’t have those feelings. She’d felt like Pygmalion, yearning for the touch of a marble statue. Silent Brothers didn’t have physical desires for touch, any more than they had a need for food or water.
But now …
I forget sometimes I need to eat and drink now.
She picked up the tea mugs with still-shaking hands and walked into the living room.
(To be continued.)