Howdy folks! It's me... the worst author on the planet. I know I have been the absolute worst with updating, and I sincerely apologize. Life has had a crazy way of just... getting in the way. I have plans to finish this story. 100%. This story will be completed. I know how I want it to end, and I know how I want to get there, but life has been hectic. Currently I am doing an internship with Walt Disney World, and I'm still a full time college student (graduating in May though. Whoop! Whoop!) But this will be finished. I can't guarantee how often I'll update. My goal is a chapter every two weeks minimum. I am not promising that though. Sometimes my work schedule is going to overtake me, and I will do nothing but eat, work, and sleep. I apologize in advance. BUT AGAIN, I AM FINISHING THIS STORY. I PROMISE. Just please let me know if you're still reading. I don't want to keep updating this story if no one is reading anymore. So please review. Tell me something, anything. Anything cool happening in your life? Anything you wanna know about my life? I'll answer any questions! Now... on with the show!

"Absolutely not." Clary said adamantly, her arms raised away from her body and her head shaking roughly.

"What's wrong with it?!" Isabelle whined in irritation. She held a slinky black dress in her hands. Seeing how many cutouts there were in the dress, Clary thought there would be far more skin than dress in the end. Clary raised her eyebrows at Isabelle, wondering if Isabelle really didn't see the problem with the dress. "All right, so it's a little–"

"Scandalous?" Clary finished for Isabelle, taking the dress and throwing it in the pile of discarded dresses. "Izzy, you know I don't like to show that much skin. I am not comfortable with that, and," she wrinkled her nose at the pile of dresses that all had some major issues with the amount of skin they revealed, "I will not be able to go to prom if we can't find something more modest than a bathing suit pretending to be a dress. Actually, now that I think about it, a bathing suit might just be more modest!"

Isabelle sighed and slumped onto Clary's bed. "I just thought that you'd be getting a little… action prom night." Isabelle smiled awkwardly as she waved her hands around Clary's body.

Clary jerked away before mumbling, "Action? With whom?"

Isabelle snickered but covered her mouth quickly. "Um, Jace? You are going with him, aren't you?" Isabelle waggled her eyebrows at Clary goofily.

Clary huffed and leaned against her door. Her relationship with Jace was a continuous cycle of confusion and disappointment. She no longer saw him with Kaelie, but he hardly showed her any more affection than before they left for New York. Besides, with Will's tumultuous behavior regarding Jem's sickness, Jace had been spending more and more time with his cousin and less time worrying about Clary. She knew he didn't mean anything by it, but it still hurt all the same. "No, he hasn't asked me to be his date yet." she muttered, almost embarrassed at the idea.

Isabelle's eyes drew up together, a wrinkle forming between her eyebrows. Her mouth was open in a small 'o' as she grappled for words. "But he said!" she exclaimed indignantly.

"Well maybe you should remind him or something?" Clary said half joking before she moved to look through more of the dresses looking for a distraction.

Isabelle stood up quickly. Her face cleared instantly, the beginnings of an idea forming in her head. "Let's just focus on finding you a dress first. We'll worry about the date part later." She swooped back over to the hanger filled with dresses not yet approved. She flicked through them quickly, seeming to be on a mission. "This is the dress!" She grinned triumphantly as she showed it to Clary.

Clary paused and examined the material of the dress. "Hm, you might be a genius, Isabelle. It only took like thirty dresses." Clary simpered teasingly as Isabelle thumped her on the ear.

"Just try it on, Morgenstern."

Clary sat outside, watching the birds soar through the air. Spring had always been one of her favorite seasons. The colors seemed brighter and more vibrant, and it helped that it wasn't so hot outside that she felt like she was melting any time she stepped a foot out the door. She was a couple feet away from the gazebo, preferring to sit in the grass and soak in the sun. She had her sketch pad with her, and even though there was more than enough to sketch, she sat unmoving as she enjoyed the peace.

"Mind if I join you, biscuit?" Clary glanced up and nodded at Magnus. He held out a bowl of strawberries to her, and she took one carefully. As he sat down, he nodded at her sketchbook, lying open on an empty page. "Got an artist's block?"

She sighed as she ate the strawberry. "No, not a block. I'm just taking it in. I thought I wanted to sketch, but the quiet out here is enough for me."

He nodded his head in understanding. "It's pretty tough in there, huh?" he asked after a moment of silence. Sometimes she forgot that Magnus and she arrived on the same day. Neither one of them had really been around the institute for long, and in regards to Jem's health, they both felt like outcasts.

"I think tough would be an understatement." Clary replied as she thought back to the drawn faces of the Herondales. The tears in Tessa's eyes seemed to never disappear. Clary could practically feel the weight of the despair. Isabelle continued to try hard to keep up the mood of their group, but there was just too much pain to be ignored. "Do you think he'll be okay?" She turned her big eyes toward his, and he held her gaze for a moment before brushing her unruly hair out of her face.

"The good suffer, the evil flourish, and all that is mortal passes away," he sighed before looking away from her and out towards the trees.


"Clary, I know what happened to you." Clary's heart thumped painfully in her chest. She felt the blood rising to her cheeks and then freezing in her veins. Her thoughts felt fuzzy, and she frowned at him not knowing what to say. "I know that you haven't actually told anyone, and everyone has respected your privacy enough to not read that article, but I just wanted to let you know that none of it was your fault. Not one bit."

She felt the tears before she heard herself cry out. They left hot trails down her face, and she bowed her head as her shoulders shook with the power of her sobs. He rubbed her back soothingly as she continued to cry. She took her hand and smeared it across her face, catching some of the tears. "My father – he forced me to abort the baby. I would've kept him… Sean was horrible to me. He caused me so much pain, but that baby – he would've been the only thing worth all that pain, and my father snatched him away from me too. I was too weak to leave Sean before it escalated to that point, but I was a coward for not fighting my father for that baby."

Magnus grimaced at her. "You, a coward?" he scoffed and pulled his hand away from her back. "My parents are cowards. Your father is a coward. But you, you Clarissa, are the furthest thing from a coward. You sitting here today, alive and healthy, is just proof of how brave you are – how strong you are. That baby would've been lucky to have you as a mother, Clarissa, but he would have suffered with Sean and your father. Sean could've done much worse to that baby, and you were in no condition to raise him. Best case scenario would be that he would've ended up in a terribly failing foster care system. What kind of life is that?"

"It's one that he could've lived…"

"One that he would've wondered every day why his parents didn't want him, and that's before he would find out that his father raped and abused his mother. That little boy would've been beautiful, I'm sure, but that is a tough burden to bear."

Clary considered his words, words that came from a young man who must have known exactly how it would feel to be that baby. She reached over and gripped his hand in hers, "Magnus, you are truly a gift to the world. I hope you know this."

His eyes widened in surprise. He turned his face away from hers and wiped quickly at his eyes. Turning back to her, he released a large breath, "All right. Sob fest over. Alec needs me to help pick out a color for his tie for prom. Isabelle showed me the dress you picked out. Jace is going to lose his mind when he sees you in it. Just two weeks until we get to celebrate the end of our senior year!" He patted her on the head and sprung from the ground. With a flourish of his hand, he disappeared back inside.

Clary smiled to herself, feeling as if a weight had been lifted from her chest. She had always felt guilty about the baby despite her lack of choices in regards to its life. She knew in her heart that she would always feel the loss, but Magnus put a lot in perspective for her. She then picked up her sketch book once again and began drawing with a small smile on her face. She was hoping that these last two and a half weeks left at the Shadow Institute would boost her into a better future.

Sometime later, Clary felt another person lay out beside her. His body was warm, and she felt his presence in that way she had become accustomed to. She pulled her pencil from the paper and turned her head to face him. He was staring at her intently, as if he was memorizing her face, and he smiled at her softly, the small chip in his front incisor catching her attention. One day, she was going to try to draw him, but today was not that day. Clary wondered if she would ever have enough gold to appropriately portray him in a drawing.

"What's that?" he asked as he gazed down at her sketch. She gazed back down at it self-consciously. Her drawings were a lot like her thoughts. Some people keep diaries; Clary kept a sketchbook. The sketch was of a baby with no clear features and angel wings. She had always imagined what her baby would've looked like, but she could never clearly picture what he would've actually looked like. Would he have gotten her green eyes or Sean's blue eyes? Her red hair or Sean's dark brown? A spray of freckles or just the one on his cheek?

"I have something to tell you, Jace." Clary sighed, as she ran a finger down the page. Her heart thundered painfully in her chest, and her throat felt like it was constricting. She knew Jace needed to know about what happened to her, but her fear of his reaction controlled her thoughts. She tried to keep Magnus's words in her head as she waited on his response.

He pulled himself up suddenly. She could feel the tightening of his muscles, his body stressed and conveying that she had all his attention. She knew he had been waiting on her to finally complete the puzzle for him; to let him know the deep, dark secrets she had held close to her heart since she first moved to the institute. "You can tell me anything, Clary." he said, taking her hand.

She sucked in a deep breath. She knew she was going to have to say it all in one spiel, or she would lose the nerve she had gained by talking to Magnus. "Sean raped me." She felt Jace jerk back immediately, but she didn't look up at him. She took another shuttering breath before continuing. "He drugged me, and I don't remember much. Just flashes. But I know it was him. When I woke up, he kicked me out…" She shrugged as her eyes welled with tears. She could see the memories as if she were reliving them. Jace reached out a hand, but he left it hanging in the air with his mouth slightly open as if he wanted to say something but could not find the words. She could see her pain reflected in his eyes.

"Later, I found out I was pregnant." She wiped away the tears that fell. "And, well, Valentine made me abort the baby. I – uh, I – was broken. I had lost Callie, and then I lost the baby. A little while after that, I was in the hospital for going into anemic shock. Then Valentine sent me here." She smiled sadly at Jace. "I didn't want any of you guys to know that. Simon knew… since he's from New York, he had heard everything about me. But this place was supposed to be my clean break."

She ran her finger down the paper of the sketch book, admiring the neat lines and cuts she made with her pencil. If only life had been as clean as her drawings. "And now, someone is blackmailing me. I can only assume it Kaelie… she's one of the only people that vindictive, but it's not like it matters. The whole world knows my story now. It's in that stupid magazine article. I think she's just doing it now for the hell of it. See how far she can push me before I break again, ya know?"

Jace stood up quickly. "She cannot – I will not –" He still seemed at a loss for words. His eyes darted frantically to the doors of the cafeteria and back to her. "Clary, you do not deserve this." He finally muttered, tears in his eyes. His body sagged, and he fell back to the ground with his hands covering his eyes. His body shook, but she couldn't tell if it was from him crying or from anger.

"I'm sorry –" Clary whispered, but Jace cut her off immediately.

"Do not ever –" He took a deep breath, trying to regain his composure. "Never, ever, apologize for his actions. Not Sean's. Not your father's. No one's actions. I am sorry. If I had only known…"

"I wouldn't have wanted you to treat me any different than you have. The way you, and everyone else here, treated me was the only thing that helped me come back. I needed you guys more than you'll ever know. If I would have stayed in New York, I probably wouldn't still be alive. You guys treating me like normal helped more than anything could have possibly helped. I know that the circumstances that brought me here, or any of you guys here for that matter, are less than desirable, but I am so thankful for you and for the others. I needed you guys." Clary put her hand on his arm, hoping to calm him a little. She could feel the muscles in his arm quiver, but he tried to smile at her anyways.

"We're so thankful for you too, Clary. You've helped some of us in ways you could never imagine. Selfishly, I'm glad you're here… you've definitely made me a better person. I just wish that you didn't have to go through what you did to get here." Jace's golden eyes were still filled with tears, but he grinned at her softly anyways.

"Thank you for listening, Jace."

"Thank you for trusting me, Clary." He wrapped her small hand in his and squeezed it softly. "It means the world to me."

Clary smiled back at him before squeezing his hand in return. "So what brought you out here?" Clary asked as she closed her sketch book. She had been in her head enough for the day. It was time to socialize and try to dispel some of the unpleasant thoughts.

Jace instantly perked up. His face lit up, and he stood quickly again. This time, he held a hand out to Clary to take. She graciously took his hand, and he hefted her up before scooping up her art supplies with his other hand. "I had a very important question to ask you… Thanks for reminding me." He smirked at her as he handed her the sketchbook and pencils. I just need you to follow me upstairs to your room.

Clary entered the pin to her room hastily while Jace danced on the balls of his feet behind her anxiously. His jitters were making her nervous. "Jace, could you stop? You're freaking me out." She mumbled, her heart racing. What could possibly be in her room that had him so worked up? He stopped jiggling his body for a couple seconds, but then he resumed his bouncing.

"Please just open the door, Clary." He sighed from behind her.

Cautiously, she pushed the door open, unsure of what she should expect. Surprises at the institute usually weren't good ones, and she was not prepared for any worse news. As the door widened, she gasped in shock.

There were balloons all over her bedroom. Floating in the air, hitting the ceiling, and some losing a bit of their helium and sinking toward the ground. "What…?" Clary whispered, turning back to look at Jace. He grinned at her and held up a pin.

"You need to pop them." That's all he said as she took the small pin from his hand. She laughed softly, still reeling from the weird turn of events. "Go on. If you keep standing there like this, we'll be here all day." Jace pushed her back softly towards the closest balloon.

So Clary took the pin and pressed it against the balloon quickly. The pop was followed by a shower of confetti falling to the ground and a bright yellow slip of paper. Clary picked it up from the pile of confetti and opened the slip. There was a single letter written on the paper: "W" Clary turned back around to look at Jace, and he gestured towards another balloon with a carefree look on his face. She laughed and popped that balloon too. This time there was just confetti; no slip of paper. So she continued popping balloons, finding more slips of paper and coating herself and her room in confetti.

Finally, she had all the letters laid out on her bed. There were no more balloons floating around her room, and there was sure to be hell to pay when Kaelie saw the massacre of balloons and confetti, but Clary was too elated to care. She had more fun popping the balloons and collecting the slips of paper than she could have expected. With Jace laughing and cheering her on, her mood had soared sky high. She carefully rearranged the letters trying to decode their meaning. She placed the slip of paper with the question mark at the end and let out a laugh full of delight. "Clary, will you go to prom with me?" she read the question out loud and stuck a tongue out at Jace.

"Well?" Jace questioned, smirking at her as he brushed some of the confetti out of her hair.

"I mean… I guess." Clary agreed facetiously, a grin on her face.

Jace laughed and flicked her on the nose. "Of course, if there's someone else you'd rather go with…" he trailed off, the glimmer in his eyes matching the smile on his face.

"Hm…" Clary pretended to ponder, placing a finger on her chin and looking around the room before meeting Jace's brilliant eyes again. "Nope, you'll have to do!"

Jace laughed and pulled Clary in to his chest. "So I'll see you on prom night?" He kissed her nose softly, eliciting a blush.

"You'll see me on prom night." Clary agreed, pulling him in for a kiss.