Hello, my Faithfuls! Okay, so I know it's been a long time, but life has been crazy for me. I am so sorry. I'll be honest, I lost inspiration and the drive to write this, but what gave me the push is that I now know exactly how it's going to end. And that end is (sadly) approaching. In other news, I'm hoping to publish a book of my poetry and short stories by the end of 2019, so wish me luck. Now let's go get 'em.


"You're kidding me, right?" I asked Isabelle, staring at her with what had to be a look of total dumbfounded disbelief. She rolled her eyes with a sigh.

"No, I'm not kidding you." She said slowly, like I wouldn't understand if she spoke faster. Normally, I would be slightly offended, but given the fact that we had gone through these same sentences three times, it was warranted. To be fair, so was my total bafflement. "I want you to look beautiful for your first date with your new boyfriend. Even if said boyfriend is my idiot brother." My mouth opened and closed, but I found myself nodding.

To be honest, it would probably be an enormous help. Though I would never tell Iz, I'd called Magnus about two hours before to see if I could use his expertise, but of course he was on a date with Alec. Granted, they were my real life OTP, but still.

At least now, I wouldn't be painting my face helplessly

I stepped to the side, and Isabelle walked in. As we made our way to my room, we were stopped by my parents, who sat at the kitchen table. That was when I realized that I hadn't told Isabelle that they didn't exactly know what I was doing. They just knew I was going out, but I trusted Isabelle to not spill the beans.

"Hi Luke. Hi Jocelyn." She waved to each of them respectively. They waved back, and I closed my eyes, praying this wouldn't screw everything up. "So how are you feeling about your little girl going on a date?"

Clearly, my prayers weren't answered.

I closed my eyes tighter and clenched my fists. There was no point in trying to play it off, because I already looked guilty as all hell. So I settled for bracing myself for the impending doom.

"She's not a little girl anymore." Luke spoke, and my eyes snapped open. Both he and my mother were staring at me with identical knowing looks. I blinked, not knowing what in the world to say to that. There was no way they could've known. No way at all. "We're not stupid." Luke said in response to my shock, "With the way you were acting, we assumed something was up."

I narrowed my eyes, because I loved my parents, but they weren't perceptive enough to figure it out this specifically. Yes, they probably suspected something, but they couldn't have deduced when my date was.

"Who told you?" I questioned, already planning Simon's slow death. He was weak when it came to parent interrogation, and there was simply no one else who would've let the cat out of the bag. There was no response, so I settled my gaze on Luke, who was admittedly the weaker link of the two. To my surprise, he held my stare steadily, not about to give Simon up for sure.

Finally, someone spoke, but it wasn't my mom or Luke.

"Jace asked them for permission." I whipped to face Isabelle at her words, probably looking even more surprised than I had when Iz told me she wanted to help me get ready for my date. I opened my mouth to say something-thoughI don't know what-but she simply turned and started walking toward my room, gesturing for me to follow. I looked at my parents, who waved me off with smiles, then made my way to my room in a state of confusion.

When I walked inside my room, I found Isabelle already leafing through my closet. I plopped down on my bed, knowing I just had to let her go through her process as she made various noises of approval and disapproval. She would obviously make me wear some nice dress she bought me and the monstrosities we call high heels, so I laid back, just waiting.

Suddenly, clothes hit me, and I sat up with a start. I huffed out a sigh, ready to see what I would be forced into, only to find that I was holding one of my slightly nicer shirts and a pair of slightly nicer jeans. Next, she tossed me my black Converse high tops.

Certainly, today was the day I would be shocked to death.

Not in the electricity sense. Just to clarify.

"You have to look like you." Isabelle said by way of explanation, and I nodded slowly. Mentally, I was screaming in relief-because yes, that is a thing-but there was a bit of a lag between my mind and my mouth, so it took me a second to express my gratitude. I did so by pushing the clothes and shoes off my lap and rocketing up to throw my arms around my best friend.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" I repeated, and Iz snorted but hugged be back anyways. After a minute of freaking out, I stepped back, then threw the clothes on. "Now makeup...?" I asked cautiously. Isabelle assessed me for a second, then beckoned me to the bathroom. I followed without protest.

She sat me down in front of the sink.

"All I'm doing is a little bit of blush and lipgloss." She told me, and this time, I was significantly less surprised. I got her logic. Jace liked the me I was every day, not just the me I was in a dress. Then again, that wasn't really me at all. "And I'm putting your hair up in a clip." I opened my mouth to tell her that Jace had said before that he likes my hair down, but she spoke before I could, "So he can take it down himself."

Isabelle was a lot smarter than I gave her credit for.

She finished faster than ever before, given the fact that she had to do next to nothing, then turned me to face the mirror. I smiled at my reflection, because it wasn't overdone. It was Clary 2.0.

"Voila!" Isabelle put her hands on the back of the chair, a proud look on her face. It was probably as hard for her to restrain herself from the usual routine as it was for me to go through the usual routine. I thanked her for that, and her grin widened at the acknowledgement.

And then it hit me.

I was going on a date with Jace.

I, Clarissa Adele Fray, was going on a date with Jonathan Christopher Lightwood.


"I'm going on a date with Jace." The obvious statement passed through my lips as I tried to keep myself calm. "I'm going on a date with Jace. Oh god, I'm going on a date with Jace."

Well, so much for keeping calm.

Isabelle marched up to me, setting her hands on my shoulders. I almost didn't notice because I was so caught up in my frantic thoughts, but she cleared her throat. At first, it did nothing, but when she did an exaggerated repeat, I forced myself out of my head.

"Clarissa, listen to me." She commanded. I nodded, but still couldn't speak. "You are going to be absolutely fine." My mouth opened, but the look she gave me told me to shut up. "Jace cares about you. He genuinely cares about you. I have never in all my years seen him act like a little love struck puppy. At least, not until now. You have absolutely nothing to worry about."

Then, without waiting for a response, she walked over to my bed and picked up Sergeant Cuddles.

"This," she emphasized the word, "is not something he would do for just anyone. He hasn't made anything close to this effort before. So calm your shit."

I cracked a smile at her extremely elegant closing. Deep down, I already knew all of that was true. I mean, I'd known Jace for practically all our lives, so I was able to draw that conclusion on my own. But it was different hearing someone else say it out loud. It was comforting.

That was when we glanced at the clock, and my jaw dropped.

Jace would be here in less than five-

"Clarissa!" My mother yelled, and I jumped out of my seat. "Your date is here!" I took a deep breath, trying to compose myself so I wouldn't run out there smiling like a maniac. Isabelle suddenly grabbed my hand, and I met her gaze.

"You've got this." She said, then ushered me out and to the living room.

When I first laid eyes on Jace, my heart must've been beating a thousand times a second. But I couldn't help the grin from spreading across my face. He hadn't noticed me yet, because he was caught up in talking to my mother, which was a sight to see considering her previous feelings about him. And they were both smiling, as in genuine smiles.

After a moment of waiting and not being noticed, Isabelle coughed deliberately, drawing the attention to us.

Well, to me.

And that was when Jace beamed at me like he never had before. I blushed, looking shyly down at my feet. Then, I reminded myself that it was Jace. We'd cuddled before, so there was absolutely no need to be nervous now. Of course, Luke had to ruin the moment by embarrassing the crap out of me.

"Remember what I said about being safe." There was a teasing glint in his eyes, but that didn't stop my cheeks from going from a light pink to fire engine red. It gave me a bit of comfort that Jace didn't look so good either. "I mean driving, of course." Luke clarified mockingly, which only made things worse.

I let out a slightly strangled noise of agreement.

A second later, I forced myself to shake it off. Jace seemed to do the same at that time, because he held out a hand.

"Are you ready?" That simple question held so much depth. Was I ready to risk my feelings? Was I ready to give him my affection? Was I ready to put my heart on my sleeve?

And then, I realized that I already had.

"Yes." I said meaningfully. "I'm ready."

I took his hand.


"Where are you going?" I jumped slightly, startled by the curious voice. I turned toward it. Max was standing in the doorway of my room, staring expectantly. After a second of trying to collect myself, I gave him a look. "Sorry." He rolled his eyes, not seeming sorry at all. At first, I wanted to smack him. Then, I remembered who taught him to have that attitude. He walked outside, knocking on the doorframe before walking in again.

"Hi, Max." I said patronizingly, just because I knew it would irritate him. What can I say? It was simply my duty as an older sibling. "What do you need?" He huffed, pouting with crossed arms. Without even knowing it, he was helping dissolve the nervousness in me. I couldn't help but smile. "I'm going out." I replied vaguely, not ready for Max's inevitable excitement.

"Please tell me it's not with Seelie." He wrinkled his nose, and that was when I realized that I hadn't yet told him about Clary and I being... well... going on a date. I forced myself not to put a label on it, because it was only the first date, so I couldn't have too high of expectations. So I just shook my head.

Max raised his eyebrows.

"How long ago?" He asked. I was about to fake confusion, but the look in his eyes told me he'd already figured it out. There was no use in denial. Damn perceptive little kids. "I'm not a little kid." Max said indignantly, alerting me to the fact that I'd said it out loud.

"Last weekend." I mumbled, staring at the floor and feeling a bit bad that I hadn't told him. I thought there was going to be at least a tiny outburst, but there was only silence. When I looked back up, there was no hurt on Max's face. Only a childlike glee in his eyes. Then, it came.

"Really? It's Clary? Oh, wow. I can't believe it. Well, I can believe it. I just thought you'd be to chicken to ask her-"

"Hey!" I exclaimed, cutting him off, "I am not a chicken, thank you very much." But I couldn't help that my grin began to spread across my face. I thought the excitement would freak me out. Instead, it made me feel good. Really good. Still, when I saw Max do a happy dance, I knew there was more to the story.

"Max..." I gave him a meaningful look. At first, it seemed like he was going to play dumb, but when I deepened the look, he sighed.

"I won another fifty bucks off of Alec." He admitted. I snorted, about to comment that I was actually pretty proud of him. Then, I caught another thing that was even more surprising.

"What do you mean by another?" I asked, curiosity evident in my tone. Max swallowed hard, as if he either didn't mean to say it or didn't think I would catch it. I crossed my arms, waiting for the moment he would crack. It only took about ten more seconds of a stare down for him to break.

"Alec and I had a bet on whether or not Clary had a crush on you." The words came out in a rush, but I heard them all the same. For a second, I couldn't speak out of shock. Did everyone know Clary had feelings for me except for me?

"Yes." The reply came almost immediately, "And if you don't want me to hear things, you probably shouldn't say them out loud." I narrowed my eyes, daring him to test me. He didn't even flinch, and I wondered just how much I'd influenced that child. "I won, by the way." He added. My lips twitched, and a part of me wanted to congratulate him. The other part of me wanted to smack him for not telling me.

"Where's Isabelle?" I changed the subject. Even though he didn't appear to, I knew Max probably caught it. Luckily, he had mercy on me.

"She's helping Clary get ready."

My eyebrows climbed past my hairline.

"Isabelle is helping Clary get ready for a date with me?"

"I guess she ships you guys now." Max shrugged. I resisted the urge to groan at the dreaded word, but at the same time, I was relieved that my sister wasn't against the relationship.

I decided not to comment, instead picking up my phone and checking the time. When I saw it, I swallowed hard. It was time to leave. And go on a date. An actual romantic date. With Clarissa Adele Fray.

I took a deep breath, and the walk to the front door was a blur. I came to when I was standing in front of it. I reached for the knob, but I was stopped by a voice.

"I'm proud of you." I whipped around when Mom spoke to find her and Dad standing there. They had identical soft smiles on their faces, and it may sound girly to say, but my heart swelled. My parents were proud of me, and that felt good.

"Go get her." Dad encouraged.

And that was what gave me the push I needed to turn around and open the door.

So the date isn't here quite yet, but I'm guessing you get the idea that it's coming up soon. I just wanted to give that feel of their emotions, because I think it's very important to understand. They aren't meant to be perfectly confident. Obviously, they're still nervous as all heck, because this is new territory, especially for Jace. Anyways. I'm actually excited for what's coming next!

Question of the Chapter: What is your hope for 2019?

With so much love to my Faithfuls,