Okay, so this is the other half of The Morgenstern Ring, which was originally a one-shot...but since you guys wanted to read Jace's POV, here it is. (btw, this story makes more sense if you've read The Morgenstern Ring.) Thank you to all who reviewed ^_^ Much appreciated.
The sky was already the color of burning embers when he sat down at the house on the corner of a street a few blocks away from his apartment. It wasn't the first time he'd been there, and it definitely wasn't going to be the last. He'd been coming there at night ever since the day she'd walked out of his life.
The house was more of a worn-down shack than anything. The walls were crumbling – he could punch a hole through it if he tried – the roof was falling down, the door hanging on one hinge. It was the homeless people's refuge. Whenever people passed him sitting there with his head in his hands, they'd give him a strange, pitiful look, and he'd glare back at them, his golden eyes shooting bullets through their skulls. He didn't need anyone's pity.
Of course, he never cared about what they thought anyway. This spot marked one of the only things he had ever done right in his life.
This was where he had met his girl, more than three long years ago.
Snow had been falling to the ground, soft like cat's feet, inches thick already, on that fateful day. He'd been on his way to the corner store with a warm scarf and a thick, furry jacket, still shivering from the cold, hands stuffed deep into his pockets, when a tiny cough drew his attention.
A girl with flaming red hair and sparkling green eyes laid curled on the doorstep of a ramshackle tent, her body racking with coughs and shivers. Despite the weather, she had only worn a flimsy tank top and a pair of worn, torn jeans. From the looks of it, she was by no doubt crazy.
"Hey, girl," he'd said, after mulling over his options for a while. Either leave, or take her in, make her work for him, pay his bills, and be his mistress. He was a male, after all, and his body shouted for action.
The girl had shrunk back, eyes reproachful.
"Aren't you cold?"
She hadn't reply, just glared at him,
"Hello?" He had waved a hand in front of her face. The cold nipped his fingers. "Are you deaf or something?" She'd glared at him again, and when his hand had come too close, she'd bitten it.
He'd grinned. She was feisty. Good for his taste.
"Come on, girl. You're coming home with me."
It had been as easy as that, and the girl was quite breath-taking after she'd cleaned up. It'd given him a boner.
Now, sitting at that same spot, he groaned, low and deep, pulling roughly at his golden locks. How could I have been so stupid?
He knew he'd treated her like shit after giving her a home. She had been taking too much of his money, being useless around the house, an extra burden on his shoulders. His money supply was quickly dwindling to nothing. So he had resolved to hitting her, abusing her, making her…He clenched his fists, driving them into the gravel, not caring about the red blood dripping down his knuckles and staining the rocks. He guessed he deserved it; he'd been a monster. No wonder she had left.
It was all because of that necklace. He'd lost total control that night, after learning she'd spent the money herself. He was already behind in his bills, and taxes, and she had spent the damn money on jewelry? He hadn't paused until after to realize that it'd been a gift to him. Blinding rage had taken over, and before he knew it, his nails had been colored red. Her blood. He hadn't been able to stop. It was like watching a horrid movie. His mind had been screeching for him to stop, but his body wouldn't obey.
Next morning she was gone. He'd been too sure of himself. He thought she'd come back. Like she always did. She loved him too much to leave.
But she hadn't come back that night. He'd waited by the door, straining to hear the soft knock. He'd waited the whole night, but it hadn't come.
It was the same the next night, and the next. He'd wanted to call her, to search for her, but his pride held him back.
Time passed like that. Without her. One month. Two months. It was the longest she'd ever been gone. He blamed his anger on her, for leaving him, and had gotten mad, taken to heavier drinking to help him forget about her. Those piercing green eyes, that flaming red hair which tortured his dreams. The liquor didn't help. And it made him in debt.
He blamed himself, too, but mostly, he blamed his dad. The abuse he got during his childhood. It had taught him that power was everything, and to never submissively yield to anyone.
He'd loved her. He really had, deep down in his heart. But he hadn't dared to let himself admit it. To love is to destroy. So he showed his love in another way: by forcing her to have sex.
Three months. His body had screamed for her. Instead, he got prostitutes, or "stress relievers" as they called themselves. The Asian girl, Aline. The brunette with those long, sexy legs – Isabelle. The blond Kaelie. And a whole lot of other women he couldn't keep track of. They'd been good. They'd satisfied his wanting.
But they never satisfied his mind. Every time they'd be in bed, he'd be thinking about his girl. He'd be imagining those luminous, glowing eyes. When the other girls stared up at him with the obvious hunger, he'd remember how she'd used to stare up at him in bed. He knew he'd never see them that way again.
Four months passed. Five months. Holidays came and went. Her birthday.
Six months. He was sinking in quicksand in debt. His landlord had threatened to kick him out.
Seven months. He'd wanted to forget her, desperately. He'd taken his anger out on his "clients," but they'd always pushed him off, crying that it hurt, threatening to tell him off. He'd miss her then so fucking bad. She was always so compliant, taking whatever he'd given her.
One day, exactly eight months after she'd left, he had spotted her, across the street, coming out of a store, laughing with a dork with glasses. He'd wanted to scream her name, wanted to run over and grab her for himself, away from that nerd, but his voice stayed trapped in his throat, his feet rooted to the ground. He'd watched them with burning eyes as she looked up at her newfound friend with those same adoring eyes that used to be for him only. She didn't even glance his way; he was invisible her.
That night, it'd been Kaelie's turn, when the answer hit him. The reason why she'd left him. He was so disgusted with himself that he'd launched off Kaelie like she was on fire, throwing her out the door with her clothes tossed after her. Isabelle came knocking the next night, but he'd shut himself inside, locking the door. He didn't bother answering. Aline was the most persistent, coming day after day, with her annoying Jacie, dear? Talk to me, baby.
Fuck that, he'd finally snarled through the door when she'd driven him crazy. You just want to have sex. If I hear your voice one more time, I swear on the Angel I will fucking snap your neck in half.
She disappeared after that.
He'd wallowed in gnawing self-hatred for weeks, shutting the rest of the world out. In that time, he'd grown gaunt. When he'd looked in the mirror, he had hardly recognized the tormented face that stared back at him.
The police had pounded on his door one morning in the ninth month she'd been gone. At first, he thought they'd come to tell him he'd been too behind on his debts, his taxes. Instead, they took one look at his bloodshot eyes, gotten a whiff of his foul, alcohol-tainted breath, and told him point blank that if he didn't pick himself up, they'd be personally throwing him onto the streets, as the landlord had directed. And he wasn't to threaten the landlord, like he was known to.
He gave them the finger and slammed the door in their faces. God, he was in so much misery.
After they left, he'd taken a good, long nap. He dreamed once again of a certain girl with red curls on fire. In the dream, she was shaking her head in disappointment.
He thought of her the whole night. Morning came, and he had shoved all his bottles of beer out of the window, hearing with a mix of searing pain and pleasure the sound of them shattering. He was going to start over. Even if his girl was out of his life forever, he owed it to her to at least change.
It had been difficult changing. First he had scrubbed his apartment inside and out, and changed his diet, his manners, and his intimidating demeanor. He cut off all the alcohol and the gambling, saving money. No more women came to his apartment at night. He worked 24/7 and got out of debt. It hadn't been easy. He thought he was living in hell. But hell is supposed to be hot, he thought.
In return for what he had accomplished, all he got was a pat on the back from the police.
Several times he had wanted to quit. He felt like his head was going to burst, and he screamed outright bloody murder, releasing the stress. What kept him going was the image of his girl. In his head, he continually chanted, this is for Clary. She believed in you. She saw something in you other people didn't. You were one lucky guy to gain her love.
But she had given him her heart, and he had crushed it to pieces, stepped on it brutally, and used her over and over relentlessly. She is happy to get rid of you. She's living a better life now, he'd constantly chide himself.
He'd searched for the necklace she gave him, and examined it before putting it around his neck. It was beautiful, actually. The M carving was intricate. He realized that it stood for him, his last name, Morgenstern. After that, he'd worn it, day and night. It was something to remind him of her. In a sense, he could carry a little fragment of her love with him everywhere.
He honored her in another way by placing a picture of them in his wallet. It pained him to open the wallet every time to pay, but he forced himself to look at it. To feel the pain. To remind himself of what he had done.
Ten, eleven months gone. Now, as he sat in front of her old house, staring off into the setting sun, twelve. Exactly twelve months since she'd left. He'd been counting the days. A whole year. He would search for her, but he still couldn't swallow the image of how weak he would seem. Damn his pride, and damn hers too.
That night, he stumbled home, and bought a beer. Tipping his head back, he swallowed the drink in a whole gulp, relishing the feel of the burn in his throat. It felt so good, the beer. So, so good. It'd been too long since he had had one.
He figured he deserved a beer to celebrate the mark of a complete year without her. With that thought, the renewed pain of missing her came flaring back, and he crawled feebly under the covers of his bed, silent tears streaming down his face. It had been forever since he cried. The last time he cried had been the first time he cried, as a little boy. Then his father had given him a brutal beating, and the times after that, he was afraid to cry.
He fell asleep dreaming of her.
Next morning, a loud knock jerked him out of deep slumber. He growled, rolling over to grab his clothes. I thought I told everyone to stay away today.
His whole body felt languish; he had a hangover. He didn't even have enough energy to yell at the intruder.
He flung open the door, and his heart literally stopped beating. He had to be still dreaming. She was there, in flesh, right in front of his door. She looked so beautiful. So different. And so untouchable, so distant from him.
He resisted the urge to pull her into his arms.
His mouth felt like lead as he tried to form words. "Clary? You came back."
She nodded, tense, and he walked back, sitting on the bed in a daze. He couldn't believe it. He even pinched himself to make sure he was awake. Before he knew it, he was rambling, trying to get the words out less she disappeared like mist. "You came back for me." His heart thudded against his ribs. When she remained silent, he said nervously, "Clary? Say something."
"I've got to go."
No! His mind screamed. Instinctively, he reached out a hand to pull her back, and she flinched. Suddenly he wanted to cry. Clary, who had loved him for so long, had flinched. Flinched away from him. She was scared of him.
"I won't hurt you, Clary," he managed to squeeze out, voice cracking. Dimly, his father's haunting words came back to him. To love is to destroy. To be loved is to be the one destroyed. Now he pushed it out of his head. It was time to move on, away from the influences of his old past. "I've changed for you. I'm better now." He wanted to tell her everything before she walked out of his life again. How he changed for her. Everything he did to punish himself for what he had done.
"I'm sorry," she said. He felt his hopes drowning in despair. "I've got to get home now. I was serious about it, and I still am." The words he had been dreading to hear, the words that scared him the most, dropped from her lips. "I've moved on."
He didn't let her finish. He shut her voice out of his head. She couldn't have moved on. She couldn't leave him, not after he'd just gotten her back again.
She stiffened under his lips, as if expecting him to seize her harshly. His heart broke. Was she really that afraid of him? Through his kiss, he tried to explain everything. All the thoughts he couldn't say, all the pain he had gone through, how much he had changed. Most importantly of all, I love you. I have loved you forever.
He prayed she would stay with him. He couldn't survive if she walked out on her one more time. There had to be something left of that love she'd felt.
He thought of that her with that browned hair geek, laughing as if she cared about nothing in the world but that guy. That geek wasn't the other half for Clary. He was. He had found her again, and he wouldn't let her go. Not even if his life depended on it.
There is a happily ever after, Clary, he wanted to say. And no one but me can be that happily ever after for you.
I liked Clary's POV better. It was so much harder to get Jace's version written. I don't think I've really gotten a hold on his emotions…:/
Oh well. Anyway, please review, and send some suggestions on how to improve it :D