sorry about the length of time it took to upload this chapter - summer is officially over now, so this is the first chance I've had to write something. It was an oddly busy summer.
Wary, even after Charlotte's promises, Tessa only managed to sleep a few hours on and off. She woke for the final time, desperately tired, something she put down to the time travel.
She sat up and got a better look around the room now that there was some light from outside. She was in a large four poster bed that sat in the middle of the room. The heavy curtains were drawn slightly back, so that light was creeping in. The room was furnished with a large dresser table, a bedside table and a full length mirror.
There was a knock on the door. Tessa scrambled out of the plush bed and ran a hand through her messy hair as she opened the door slightly, peeking out into the corridor.
"Miss?" a pretty girl who had dark hair tied up underneath a white cap and a thick scar cutting across her face was standing outside the door. Tessa quickly averted her eyes from the scar, not wanting to seem rude.
"I'm Sophie," the girl said a little stiffly, having noticed Tessa's gaze, "I'm here to assist you in getting ready."
Tessa blushed and cleared her throat. "Assist me?" She replied, puzzled. "With what?"
"Dressing?" Sophie replied, seeming slightly perplexed.
"Oh, well I -" Tessa pulled the door open wider and looked down at her clothes, which she had slept in, "I don't suppose you have anything like this lying around."
Sophie shook her head, her lips pressed together in wonder as she observed the other girls outfit.
"Well, I'd really prefer to wear my own clothes, thank you." Tessa said, waving her hand around, "I'll be going home today anyway." Her confident tone made Sophie raise an eyebrow, but she stayed quiet. "It would be great if I could use the bathroom though." She stopped talking suddenly, her eyes widening. "You do have a bathroom, right? Please tell me you have a bathroom."
Tessa's stomach sunk as Sophie looked even more confused.
"I don't know what a 'bathroom' is, Miss," Sophie said. "I can take you down to breakfast, though."
Tessa groaned and closed her eyes. "It's Tessa," she sighed. "My name is Tessa."
She opened her eyes in time to see Sophie smiling at her. She looked so pretty when she smiled.
"Miss Branwell sent me, but if you do not need any help..."
"I'd like a bath," Tessa said, thinking back on her high school history lessons, "could you, er – draw me one?"
Sophie looked relived. "Of course. Would you like me to show you where breakfast is? I can prepare it for you while you eat."
"Actually, Will showed me it last night," she said, and then she blushed, realising how it sounded. Sophie seemed to think nothing of it and nodded.
"So, uh, I'll just be off then," Tessa said awkwardly, stepping out into the hallway. Sophie bustled into the room and shut the door. Tessa shook her head and started down the corridor. She reached the end, but suddenly couldn't remember if she'd turned left or right the night before.
"Shit," she said, realising as she stepped off of the carpet and out onto the cold floor that she'd forgotten to put her shoes on.
"Are you lost?"
Tessa turned sharply and was greeted by the boy she had seen the night before, with the strange silver hair. At closer inspection she could see that his eyes were also the same pale colour. He was smiling at her, something she wasn't expecting after all the hostile greetings she'd had so far. It was a relief and she felt herself automatically smile back.
"Yes," she exhaled. "I am, actually. This place is crazy."
His smiled widened and he extended a hand to her. "James Carstairs, at your service. Call me Jem, everyone does."
Tessa shook his hand and introduced herself.
"So you're the mystery woman from the future," Jem said thoughtfully. "Not that you needed much of an introduction; your outfit rather does all the talking."
Tessa blushed. "Yeah, well I wasn't expecting to end up here. In fact, if I'd had it my way, I'd have stayed in 2011. I like to change my clothes every day, you see."
Jem chuckled. "Surely Sophie must have offered you a change of clothing?"
"She did, but I'm going home today; I didn't see the point of changing, really."
"That makes sense," Jem said. "Have you visited England before, in the future?"
Tessa shook her head. "Nope."
"Well this is my first time, too," Jem said, "although I have been here a while longer than you have. Should we go down for breakfast?"
Tessa nodded and he strolled ahead of her and led her in the right direction. Together, they descended the stairs.
"Where did you live before you came here?" Tessa asked, intrigued. He was obviously from somewhere in Asia, but she didn't want to offend him by mentioning the wrong place.
"Shanghai," he replied. "My mother was Chinese, my father British. And you are from New York, I understand?"
"Born and bred New Yorker," Tessa nodded. "Nothing exciting here."
"Nonsense," a voice said from behind them. "On the contrary Miss Gray, I think you are the most exciting thing that has happened to the Institute since Henry ate those bad radishes. God," Will said, stepping around them to open the door, "that was an exciting week."
Tessa narrowed her eyes and followed him through the doors. Inside was a huge room, with a table big enough for twenty sat in the centre of it. It was furnished with expensive china, flowers and a mirror that ran the length of a wall. Will sat down near the end and Tessa sat on the other side of the table opposite Jem, who sat next to the dark haired boy. Will smirked at her.
Tessa's toes curled under the table.
Jessamine flounced through the door, took one look at the seating arrangements and sat on the side furthest away from Will with a dramatic sigh. Will rolled his eyes.
"Tell me James," he drawled loudly, "do I smell? Everyone seems to be avoiding me."
"It's your attitude that stinks," Tessa bit back, folding her arms on the table. Will opened his mouth to answer back to her but just then, a man Tessa had yet to meet swept through the door.
"Good morning, Nephilim," he said, and Tessa couldn't help but stare. She was used to people dressing a little crazy in New York, but this man looked as if he was a whole century behind everyone else in the Institute. In fact, he looked as if he was a very colourful pirate. The little gold stud glinting in his left ear seemed to agree with her.
"I am Magnus Bane, but you know that already," he said with a wide grin, eyes sweeping the room. Tessa started as she took them in. They were – a pair of cats' eyes in a man's head.
Magnus spotted Tessa and his eyes widened.
"Oh," he said excitedly, "oh, this one is definitely not of the Angel."
"We already knew that, Magnus," Will said, his body twisted round to face the other man. "Miss Gray would like you to get her home."
Magnus cocked his head as he took Tessa in. Embarrassed by his scrutiny, she looked down at the table.
"She doesn't even know," Magnus said quietly, but William still managed to hear.
"Know what?" he said, "there is something special about her, isn't there? I knew it."
"You didn't mention you knew it last night," Charlotte said, scurrying into the room. "Magnus, can I take your coat?"
As Magnus shucked his coat off, Will replied, "Well, I didn't want to scare the poor girl. She'd just fallen through a portal, after all."
Tessa was suddenly standing up, glaring at all of them. "Okay, listen. I don't care about what you people are -" she motioned to Will, Jem and Jessamine who were watching her from the table with various amused and bored faces, "and I don't care what you think I am," this time she motioned to Magnus, "I just want to go home!"
"My dear," Magnus swept forward and clapped one of Tessa's hands between one of his own. "Tell me about your parents."
Tessa recoiled instantly. "That's none of your business."
"I thought so," Magnus said, turning to the room, "they never know the truth. Well, it could go two different ways from here. She might lose her head completely and turn us all into sheep, or she may just -"
"Turn you all into sheep? God, this is ridiculous," Tessa turned to Charlotte angrily. "Please, just make him send me back to New York."
"Miss Gray," Magnus said, "if I was to send you back to New York this instant, you would miss out on the most important moment of your life."
Will shuffled on his chair.
"And what would that be?" Tessa said scathingly, "more crazy talk?"
"You are a warlock, Miss Gray. Not human. Magic."
There was silence.
"What are you talking about," Tessa spluttered. "I'm human. My whole family are human. I've never done anything remotely magical in my life!"
"Except from creating a portal in 21st century New York," Magnus said, "and you've probably done it before, too, but not been aware you have. It happens sometimes."
"Tessa," Charlotte said, moving towards her, "perhaps you should stay for a while, to learn how to understand what you are. We have a very vast library, I'm sure you will able to find the answers you seek there -"
"No," Tessa said, drawing back in horror, "you're all crazy. I'm human and I don't know I got here. I'm hoping it's just a dream and I'm going to wake up in a moment and be where I should. But if that's not the case then send me home now, dammit!"
She could feel the tears running down her face and swiped at them angrily. She didn't like to cry in front of people; it made her feel weak.
"Miss Gray -"
Magnus stepped forward and reached a hand out to touch Tessa's head. She began to feel sleepy and felt her body start to fall, unresponsive underneath her. There was the sound of scraping chairs and hurried feet, but they were only background noise to Tessa now.
"You have a purpose in this place, Miss Gray," Magnus whispered to her as she fell, but his words seem to shriek and echo in her ears, "I will not send you home. You must find your own way."
Then there was only darkness.