Wow. Hello. So on the 19th July 2013, I returned to fanfiction after four years and uploaded a chapter called 'Trying not to kill Jonathan' for a fic called Battle of the Bands. I was nervous beyond belief and didn't know what to expect. All I could hope for at the time was that someone out there would give it a try. Even just one person. Now, a whole year and half a million views later, BotB has become the biggest project I've ever completed. I could never thank the people who helped me get there enough and now, this fic is dedicated to you all.

'A Tale of Two' is essentially a crossover between The Mortal Instruments and my personal favourites, The Infernal Devices, but for now I'm going to post it under TMI since most of you said you check that more often, and then I'll change it a bit later. It follows Tessa and Clary as they battle (there's always got to be a battle, right?) between love, loyalty and the craziest circumstances I can throw at them. There will be twists and drama and all the good stuff too, but I've got it even more meticulously planned out than BotB was, so there'll be random hints and things to consider later dotted throughout. Another thing to consider is that though this fic is T-rated, it will be pushing the boundaries more than my other stuff. All of the characters are either in university or have already graduated. Since the drinking age in the UK is 18, that means they're all legal, whether or not they choose to drink. Just thought I'd clear that up.

Thank you to those of you who have stuck with me so far and if you're new, first of all - WELCOME. Second of all, fasten your seatbelts. I hope you enjoy this as much (if not more) than my previous work. I also thought I'd mention that a lot of the events in this fic have been inspired by true events. I'll mention them as we go. Let's go.

Disclaimer: I do not own TMI, TID or any of their characters. But if I could buy one, it'd be Will.

A Tale Of Two…


14th January

Tessa didn't consider herself a prude.

In fact, she rather detested the word. She didn't understand why having a 'two-week rule' or resisting until she knew her respective partner well enough was necessarily a bad thing.

After all, hand-holding was a serious affair. Hand-holding indicated affection; it indicated intimacy; it indicated commitment. So why should she be chastised for withholding such an act until she was absolutely convinced that she wanted to be with someone?

No, she didn't consider herself a prude.

She considered herself a lady.

A lady who should be treated with the utmost respect and would behave so as to earn that. Boundaries were healthy. Boundaries helped keep order. And there were few things Tessa liked more than order.

Unfortunately, not everyone saw it her way.

She was tall and pretty and carried the air of mystery that would attract most boys to the chase, but it was never enough to keep them running. She'd had more first dates than she could count on her fingers, but in the four years since she'd become open to relationships, only two in total had made it past the fortnight mark.

The first was Axel Mortmain.

She'd met him in her first year of university, the brown-haired boy whose dorm room was opposite hers in the hall. He was a second year himself and was more than happy to offer her advice on picking her courses and helping her settle in to life away from home.

Of course, she'd been fairly independent already. Having lived with her maternal great-grandfather - Aloysius Starkweather - in his lonely Yorkshire mansion since she was ten, she was well used to entertaining herself. He was a pale, archaic man who looked like he'd seen too many centuries, but he was proud and took it upon himself to instil the same values in Tessa that his parents had taught him.

When Tessa had politely declined Axel's further romantic advances, it was these values that he'd called into question.

"You're not a ninety-year old man," he'd huffed at her, finally breaking it off. Their relationship had lasted all of fifteen days. Once he'd realised her two-week rule really wasn't for what he'd expected, he'd bailed. "And just so you know, Queen Victoria isn't on the throne anymore. It's Elizabeth now. Elizabeth."

Their parting argument had taken place from their respective dorm rooms, so almost everyone living on their floor had gathered in the hall to watch the pair of them yelling across at each other.

"That's Her Majesty to you!" Tessa had screamed, her patriotism the only thing that could truly incite her to passion. That and literature.

"Oh, I do apologise!" Axel bowed sarcastically. "I guess I just got so used to waiting on you hand and foot that I forgot another monarch actually existed. The whole world might as well bow down to you instead of dear old Liz. Lose the Zimmer-frame Theresa and then maybe I'll let you have another shot at this." He gestured at himself then slammed the door.

More angered by his words about the monarchy – which she thought of as akin to treason – than his slating of her own character, Tessa never spoke to him again.

After that, it'd taken a while before she was comfortable enough to begin dating again. Rumours of her frigidity were running rampant in the student housing and almost every single guy wanted the chance to break her. In fact, it took her two whole years before she entered into her second, and most serious relationship.

James Carstairs was kind and sensitive. He was the sort of man you'd introduce to your family and they'd end up loving him even more than you. He didn't mind her working at Luke's bookstore in the afternoons, or staying later at campus to catch up on her dissertation. He didn't mind her rules and her conditions. In fact, he adored her so much that he'd probably have been content just to be in her company for a year before their first kiss. As it happened, he'd only had to wait two months. Jem understood that Tessa's upbringing was important to her and didn't demand to be anything other than what she could give him.

After three months together, Tessa even thought she might have loved him.

So when he paced back and forth in front of her that day, running nervous hands through his tousled silver hair, her heart stopped. He was always so calm, always smiling. This jittery, tense man didn't remind her of the carefree boy she'd met at the Classical music society all that time ago.

She knew that look on his face.

So many people had looked at her that way before. Usually, it wouldn't take them three months to get to it, but now her Jem wore it all the same. Still, she didn't allow herself to believe it. Maybe this time it would be different. Jem was different. He didn't want what most boys wanted. He cared for Tessa. For her and not what she could do for him.

"Tessa, I'm leaving," he said, and the brief glimmer of hope submerged itself.

"L-Leaving?" She stuttered, trying to stay calm. Leaving could mean any number of things. Perhaps he was going to visit his uncle for the weekend? Or, just leaving to do some last minute food shopping?

He'd been at rehearsals all day, after all. It was perfectly plausible.

"Yes," he nodded. He eyed her cautiously. "For a few months."

"Months?" Her voice rose a couple of octaves.

Maybe he was going shopping in Nepal?

On foot.

She gripped her hands behind her back.

"You see, there's someone else."


Not Nepal, then.

Tessa felt as if someone had just shot an arrow into the back of her knee. He might as well have declared himself in favour of a republic.

"I'm sorry, Tessa. I'm so sorry. I tried holding back for so long, hoping to take a different direction in life, but like a sweet siren, she called to me and I was lost. I can't stop thinking about her," Jem gazed into the air wistfully. "Her smooth curves. Her tender voice. The way she fits to me so perfectly."

Tessa didn't know what to say.

She was mortified.

Had Jem already cheated on her?

Jem, the boy who still asked permission before every kiss. It was so unlike him.

Yes, it's possible he'd found someone else. There'd always be someone with browner hair, or bluer eyes. Whiter teeth or plumper lips. Someone who didn't spend half the day with their nose in a book. Someone better.

But she was sure he'd never deliberately hurt her like that.

How could someone so gentle be so callous?

"And that's why I'm leaving," he continued. "I'm joining the orchestra so I can fully devote myself to her."

"What?!" Tessa yelled, unable to keep herself composed any longer. Aloysius would have been shocked at her outburst, but she couldn't think of anything but the growing red haze behind her eyes. "Is that where you met her?"

"No, of course not." Jem seemed slightly taken aback by the aggression in her tone. "My parents introduced her to me, you know that. The orchestra just introduced me to so many others like her."

Tessa's head was spinning.

"How many of them are there?!"

"I'm not sure, ten. Maybe, eleven."

"Eleven?" She breathed, her legs finally giving in as she collapsed to the floor.

"It's a decent-sized orchestra. Not like the one they have at university."

Tessa couldn't help it. Though showing emotional weakness was the one thing she despised the most, she started to cry.

"Tessa?" Jem looked down with concern. "Tessa, why are you so upset? I thought you knew how much I loved her?"

"I don't even know who she is!" Tessa gasped between sobs. This had to be some sort of nightmare. There was no way this could be real. James Carstairs could not be leaving her for some harem of orchestral girls.

"Of course you do!" Jem's eyes widened. "You've seen her so many times!"


"Jade!" He cried, now looking rather distraught himself. "Are you telling me you don't remember Jade?"

"No, I don't bloody remember..." Tessa looked up suddenly. A part of her was appalled at her use of obscenities, but the rest of her just really couldn't give a shit. "Jade? As in..." No, surely not. "Your violin, Jade?"

"Yes, my violin!" Jem threw his hands up. "Jade! The one my parents gave me."

Tessa didn't know what to think.

"So let me get this straight, you're leaving me...for a violin?"

"Why else did you think I was joining the orchestra?"

"I thought..." She shook her head, trying to make sense of it all. This did seem more plausible than him being some sort of orchestral pimp, but that didn't mean it was rational either. "I don't know what I thought."

"Did you think there was literally someone else?"

"Maybe," Tessa admitted. "But in my defence, you didn't exactly make it very clear!"

"I told you I was joining the orchestra!" Jem insisted, definitely a little upset now.

Tessa let out a small laugh, despite herself. Sweet, harmless Jem. Of course it couldn't have occurred to him how she might take it the wrong way. He loved his violin more than anything. She'd known she would always play second fiddle to Jade.

But that he would actually leave her for it...

"Look, Tessa," Jem kneeled down to sit beside her. His deep grey eyes were sincere as he took her hands in his own. In this light, they almost looked silver. "You know I wouldn't do this if I didn't think I absolutely had to. The orchestra leaves tomorrow for their national tour and if I don't go with them, I may have missed my chance for good. I really like you, Tessa, this doesn't change that. But I'm not going to ask you to wait for me."

"But I will!" Tessa shifted their clasped hands so she could twine her fingers through his, that small spark of hope taking hold again. Maybe she didn't have to lose him. Not this time. "I will wait as long as it takes! I don't want anyone but you, Jem."

"I appreciate that," Jem smiled. "But I wasn't lying, I'm really not going to ask you to wait. I don't want you to wait. You see, I can't divide myself in two either. Jade and the Silent Brothers require my whole attention. I won't be with any other girl, but I can't be with you either. The arch of Jade's mahogany back is the only one that interests me at the moment."

"God, Jem..." Tessa groaned, shuddering internally at the implication. She wouldn't be surprised if his relationship with his violin was romantic after all, considering the way he always spoke of it. It certainly seemed more intimate than their own.

"So you understand," Jem nodded, clearly misunderstanding. "That's good. I'm glad we could part on amicable terms."

Tessa wasn't glad. She wasn't glad at all. In fact, it felt like some secondary school student had ripped her heart of out her chest and used it in some crude biology experiment, but as Jem proceeded to whip out Jade and play a farewell tune for her, she felt more resigned than anything else.


Clary was sure she was ready.

As she carefully arranged the candles around the living room, she imagined how the evening would proceed.

Raphael Santiago, her hot, foreign, second-year boyfriend would saunter in through the door, his shirt almost entirely unbuttoned. His eyes would light up as they fell on Clary's tight-fitting black dress and he'd pull her up against him and kiss her like they hadn't seen each other in a month.

Except, that part was sort of true.

They literally hadn't seen each other in a month.

They'd been flirting back and forth for a few weeks before the end of the Christmas term, but it was only in that last week that he'd finally asked her out. They only had five days together since he was going back to Spain for the holidays, but they were five of the most exciting days of Clary's life.

You see, since the moment she'd started university last October, all she'd wanted was a boyfriend.

She was finally living on her own and out from the clutches of her parents, and most importantly, her brother.

Jonathan never particularly cared for what Clary got up to, but unfortunately, she couldn't quite pull herself away from his shadow. It was silly and childish and she couldn't understand why people even believed it anymore, but since the French exchange student Sebastian Verlac had been caught arguing with him and was never seen again, the entire town had been convinced that Jonathan had something to do with his disappearance.

What they didn't consider was the obvious. He'd simply returned to France.

But no, the minds of teenagers were crazy and complex and the fact that she'd unwittingly gotten caught up in the whole situation hadn't helped. Before Sebastian had left, he'd asked her for some help with his art homework and as she'd finished, he'd given her a peck on both of her cheeks. Clary had no problem with it. After all, she knew her European neighbours were far more affectionate and besides, Sebastian was rather good looking. The only issue was that he'd done it in the canteen, with half the school looking on.

Most of the students were completely unaware of the fact that Sebastian knew Jonathan outside of school. In fact, the Fray-Morgensterns were his host family. It's just that Jonathan was so embarrassed by the whole prospect that he'd taken to walking to school instead of travelling with Sebastian, so no one could have known that the real reason they were arguing that day is because Sebastian had accidentally worn a pair of Jonathan's boxers.

Instead, they'd jumped to the conclusion that he was furious at the other boy for touching his little sister and since Jonathan didn't feel the need to clarify the situation, he hadn't contested it.

After that, the rumours had spread like wildfire. Every person she spoke to had a different theory about what Jonathan had done to the poor boy. Some claimed he'd sacrificed him as part of some sort of demonic ritual, while others said he'd forced Sebastian to get plastic surgery so he looked exactly like Jonathan – thereby removing any prospect of a relationship with Clary – and that he sent him in to school sometimes in his place. Each week a new and even wackier rumour would surface and Clary suspected that some of them may even have been planted by Jonathan himself.

In fact, he was getting quite the kick out of it all. He was notorious and that was just the way he liked it. Girls loved bad boys and everyone else just feared him.

It was Clary who lost out.

People had become so afraid of Jonathan that despite how interested Clary may have been, no boy would dare to return her affections lest they suffer the same fate as the Verlac kid.

And so she'd spent the majority of her teenage years miserably alone, just waiting for the sweet release of higher education. She'd even gone a step further and changed her name, just in case people still associated her with Jonathan. It wasn't anything drastic, mind, but enough so that people wouldn't think they were related.

She'd always thought her double-barrelled surname sounded pretentious, so she actually preferred being known as just Clary Fray, rather than Fray-Morgenstern. It worked even more in her favour that Jonathan had done the same, but he'd kept the Morgenstern part.

Short, ginger Clary Fray and tall, white-blonde Jonathan Morgenstern.

Who would even suspect they shared the same blood?

As long as her parents didn't find out, it was the perfect move.

And now, it was time to reap her reward.

Tonight, Clary would finally lose her virginity.

She almost dropped one of the candles as her doorbell rang. Tessa would kill her if she found out she was wielding open flames in the flat, but she was at Jem's and Clary hoped that she'd stay there. This was her window.

She smoothed down her dress as she pressed on the intercom.


"Clary?" Raphael's voice sounded from the other end. "It's me."

"Oh, Raphael!" She laughed, trying to sound nonchalant. "Is it nine already? I completely lost track of the time."

Of course, she wouldn't tell him that she'd been checking her watch every two minutes since the clock had struck twelve.

"So, err…it's pretty cold out here."

"Ah yes! Sorry, how forgetful of me. I'll buzz you in."

She moved back from the intercom and ran into the bathroom to check that her hair was still in place. Her curls fell loosely about her shoulders, but she'd managed to somewhat tame them with anti-frizz.

There was a knock at the door.

He was here.

"Coming!" She squeaked, moving to hide the wax strips she'd left by the sink. "Oh no!"

Clary ran into the bedroom and grabbed her pair of heels, forcing herself into them as she hopped over to the front door. She took a deep breath as she straightened up and pulled the door open.

"Clarissa," Raphael smiled, then his eyes widened as they travelled down the length of her body. She shivered, though if it was from the way his tongue rolled when he said her name or the way he was looking at her now, she couldn't tell. Maybe a bit of both.

"Raphael," she smirked, letting him appreciate her hard work before she forced his gaze upward. "I've missed you."

She moved in for a hug, now almost his height in her six-inch heels.

"Uh, yes," he mumbled, wrapping his arms around her waist. "Look, Clary…"

"I made dinner!" She exclaimed, pulling him towards the kitchen. "Pizza. You like pizza, right? Oh, what am I saying? Of course you like pizza! Who doesn't like pizza?!" She knew she was rambling but the full extent of the situation was beginning to dawn on her. She'd waited for so long and now tonight…tonight everything would change. "Or would you like to sit down first?" Clary froze in her tracks and began to nudge him towards the living room instead. "You must be so tired, yes. And we have a lot to catch up on."


"How about a drink?"

"Yeah," he nodded slowly. "Okay. I could use a drink."

"Right, good! That's good. You go and make yourself comfortable and I'll come straight back." She grinned at him and let him walk into the living room before she ran back to the kitchen.

"Breathe, Clary," she told herself, gripping the counter. She forced herself to take slow, steady breaths as she began to calm down.

She was prepared. Ready. There was no need to panic.

It had been a while since she'd seen him and things seemed a little awkward, yes, but they'd warm up again in no time. They'd made out plenty of times before the holidays. Intimacy wasn't a problem.

This was what she wanted.

"This is what I want," she said, resolutely. "Snap out of it, woman. You have an incredibly gorgeous, funny guy sitting over there waiting for you. He wants a drink. Just get him a drink."

She steeled herself and grabbed a bottle of wine from the fridge. Taking out two glasses, she poured herself a little first, downed it, then prepared Raphael's. Filling up one more in case she needed a confidence booster later, she grabbed the two glasses and carried them to the living room.

She smiled at herself as she noticed that her hands weren't even shaking.

Raphael was sprawled across the sofa, looking very much at home. He looked up lazily as she entered the room and took the glass from her.

"So," Clary said, taking a seat next to him. "How was…"

"Actually," he interrupted her. "Can I go first?"

"Sure," she nodded, trying to hide her relief. She was sure he was far more experienced than her. In fact, any experience at all would count for more than the sketchy knowledge she'd picked up from YA novels and fanfiction.

"Clarissa," he said, rolling the 'r' the way she liked it. "We've had some fun together, haven't we?"

"Well, yes. Lots of fun, I think."

"And those jokes you texted me over the break," he hesitated. "They were good."

"Oh, I can't take credit for those!" She blushed. "Simon sent them to me so I just passed them on to you and…"

"Yes, I gathered," he interrupted her again. He took a sip of his drink before he continued. "And what about the texts I sent you?"

"The pictures?" Clary reached absentmindedly for her phone, before realising she'd left it in the kitchen. Raphael had sent her various shots from the sunny shores of Spain. "They were wonderful. I'd love to visit Spain someday. Ooh, maybe you could take me?"

"Err…sure." Raphael suddenly looked very uncomfortable. "But the thought they were okay?"

"Why wouldn't they be?"

"I wasn't always alone."

"Well, it's a beach, silly! I wouldn't expect you to be alone," she rolled her eyes. "That would just be sad."

"Right," he looked about himself. Anywhere but at her. "So you didn't mind that I was there with other girls?"

"Of course not! One of my best friends is a guy," Clary chuckled, nudging Raphael playfully. "I'm the last person who wouldn't understand you can have platonic friendships with the opposite sex."

"So you assumed they were my friends?"

"Oh, were they strangers? That's fine too. I'm always taking selfies with people I've just met."

"Okay, I'm just going to have to spit this out it seems." He rose to his feet, causing Clary to do the same.

"What's wrong, Raph?"

"Clary," he inhaled deeply. "I'm breaking up with you."

"What?" She laughed once. A breathless, disbelieving laugh. "Is this is a joke?"

"No, it's not a joke." He took a step back, putting his wine down. "I thought maybe we had a good thing going, and we did, for a while. But then I met up with some of the girls I used to date back home and I realised…"

"They were your exes?!" Clary gasped, bringing her free hand up to her mouth. The other still clutched her own wine glass. She had noticed how close he'd been to the girls in the pictures, but she'd been so unwilling to believe he'd ever cheat on her that she'd passed them off as friends.

"…that being with you wasn't the same. You're a nice girl, Clary. But you're not my type."

"Not your type?" Her mouth dropped open. The initial shock was beginning to wear off. Now she was just mad. She'd been sitting here just waiting for him, while he'd been off canoodling with tall, dark-haired beauties with breasts the size of small countries. If that was his type then what had he been playing at even glancing at Clary? She was the complete opposite. "So what was I? Just some sort of hobby to keep you busy away from home? The Pitiful Ginger society?"

"Of course not," he said, but he backed up even more. He was almost at the doorway to the hall now. "I loved talking to you at first."

"At first?"

"You were wild, exciting. Like nothing I've ever seen before."

"I can see that…" She snapped, thinking back to the photos he'd sent her.

"We were doing fine until I realised-"

"What?" She shouted before he could finish his sentence. "You realised what?"

"You're just a little…mild salsa. That's all."

"Mild salsa?!" She yelled, completely aghast. Coming from him, she knew what an insult that was.

"Exactly," he nodded. "Not for me, personally, but I'm sure you'd do just fine with people of blander taste."

"Mild salsa," Clary repeated again to herself. The wine glass shook in her hands. "Fine, you want mild salsa? I'll give you mild salsa!"

Then she threw the contents of her glass all over him.

Raphael reacted just a second too late and watched in horror as the red wine soaked through his white shirt.

"Clary, what the hell?"

"What's wrong, Raph? Was that not mild enough for you?"

Then she reached behind herself to pick up the glass he'd put down, and before Raphael could make it to the front door, she propelled the liquid all over him. He yelped again and fumbled with the handle.

"Crazy," he mumbled. "Crazy Fray."

"What was that? I didn't quite hear you." Clary laughed, realising he hadn't thought to open the deadlock first. She moved back to the kitchen as he groaned in frustration. "Hey, Raphael. Are you sure you don't want to stay for pizza?"

He ignored her.

"Too bad, because pizza definitely wants to stay for you." Then she came up behind him just as he figured out he had to undo the deadlock. With deadly precision she lobbed a slice at him and smiled in triumph as it smeared down his back, just as he managed to pry the door open.

"CRAZY FRAY!" Raphael shrieked, clutching at his hair. He ducked through the door as she prepared to throw another slice and began to run down the stairs. "CRAZY FRAY!"

"ADIEU, MY LOVE!" Clary bellowed, managing to land the final slice on his head as he turned towards the next set of stairs. Living on the top floor had its perks sometimes.

Then she slammed the door shut and slumped to the floor against it, not caring that the wine was beginning to seep through her own dress. "Adieu, my love."


An hour later, that's where Tessa found her.

She'd been trying to get through the door, before realising that something was blocking it.

"Clary?" She tried to fit her head through the gap she'd managed to create. "Clary?"

"It's Crazy, now," the girl below her replied. "Crazy Fray."

Tessa noticed with concern how Clary was leaning against the door, her eyes focussed straight ahead and streaks of black mascara running down her face.

"Don't be silly," she rolled her eyes. "Let me in, Clarissa."

"I'm not being silly," Clary laughed. A creepy, detached laugh. "I'm being crazy. Crazy Fray."

Tessa was almost scared. At least, if she didn't know of Clary's love for dramatics, she would have been.

"Okay, Clary. I'm going to come in now. Just stay right there." She stopped herself at the ridiculousness of what she'd just said, before sliding the door open slowly. Clary weighed little so she didn't put up much resistance as Tessa let herself in. She kneeled down in front of her so she couldn't look away.

"What happened?"

"Raphael called me crazy." She didn't sound quite as lifeless as she'd done a second ago. Now that Tessa was here, it was as if she were fighting back tears. "Oh, and he broke up with me."

"Oh, Clary." Tessa opened up her arms and let Clary collapse into them, the tears coming hard and fast. "If he can't see how amazing you are, then he's the crazy one. Someone better will come along. Someone who deserves you. You're better off without him."

"That's easy for you to say," Clary choked out between sobs. "You have Jem. He'd never say you were mild salsa."

"Well, actually," Tessa gulped.

"What?" Clary looked up at once. "Jem called you mild salsa too?"

"Not exactly," Tessa looked away. "In fact, I'm not sure I know quite what that means. But…I don't have him anymore."

"You broke up with him?" Clary's green eyes were wide with horror. "I thought you loved Jem!"

"I…don't know. I don't know if I loved him. But it doesn't matter, because he's the one who broke up with me." Tessa finished the rest in a hurry before Clary could interrupt again. "He said he wanted to join the Silent Brothers orchestra and that he couldn't devote himself to the both of us. So he left. They go on tour tomorrow."

"I'm so sorry, Tessa," she breathed. "I can't believe he'd do that to you."

"It's okay, I understand."

"But you shouldn't have to!" Now Clary was angry again. She rose to her feet and pulled Tessa up with her. Despite the fact that she hadn't taken off her heels, Clary was still shorter than Tessa in her flats. "It's not fair. We're always the ones that get hurt. Always! We're the ones they never like back in the first place or leave for someone better. They shouldn't be allowed to do this to us."

"It's not anyone's fault," Tessa tried to reason weakly, still sullen. "It's just one of those things. That's life."

"Well, I don't like it!" Clary moved past her to the living room and began to gather up the candles.

"Clary what are you…" Tessa stopped as she entered the living room. "Candles?! Clary you know we're not allowed open flames in the flat."

"This is important," she said, sorting them into a circle shape on the coffee table. "Sit down."


"Just sit down." Clary gestured for her to sit on the opposite side of the table. Tessa made sure to take off her shoes before she sat down on the fluffy, white carpet. "What is this?"

"We're going to make a pact. I'm tired of being let down by men. Absolutely exhausted. We both hoped next month would be our first Valentine's with a boyfriend. A real boyfriend. But why? Why do we need a guy to make ourselves feel better? Why can't we enjoy Valentine's on our own? Or even better, together?"

"What are you saying?" Tessa sounded apprehensive.

"No more men. No more dates. For the next month, we're going to stay one hundred percent single. No disappointment. No more."

Then Clary laid her hands out on either side of the circle of candles, as if the ritual would solidify their pact.

"So tell me, Theresa Gray. Will you be my Valentine?"

Tessa hesitated, but it was more because of the idea of being in such close proximity with fire. She was hurt over Jem and she was sure she'd feel that way for a while, but it was good to know there were some people you couldn't lose. Men were unpredictable. So was Clary, but not in the same way. She'd never let her down. Never let her feel unimportant. A girl's night out with her sounded…well, perfect.

Finally, she straightened up and nodded, taking Clary's hands.

"Yes, Clarissa Fray. I'll be your Valentine."

Of course, it was never going to be that easy.

Next chapter, cue their new neighbours...

Just to clarify, a flat is what we call an apartment in the UK and probably other places too. I know some people got confused a while ago when I was talking about my flatmates. They're like housemates, but living in a flat. Because we poor students can't afford houses in London :P

So, what did you all think!? If you have the time to leave me a review, I'd really appreciate it. Seeing the hits go up is great, but you can't always gauge how people are reacting to your work that way. Especially in the beginning. So yeah, please let me know. I'm still getting through replies to my other stories so if I haven't gotten back to some of you yet, I'm getting there. Promise.

I haven't got a set schedule for updating just yet, but I'm going to be aiming at about once a week. I'll give you more info as and when I have it.

Thanks for reading guys! It's good to be back.

Till the next time...

smim xx