Damn, not again. I took one last look at the tear-stained face of my most recent girlfriend before deftly sliding out of the passenger seat and closing the car door with a slam. The rain was pounding down on the helpless people of rural Seattle without mercy, and standing out in the open parking lot of a run- down hotel where I had spent the night, I was drenched within seconds. How could this happen again? I thought I finally had my…situation, under control! So how did I end up walking away from another heartbroken girl with a guilty conscience and an empty pit in place of my heart?
I walked slowly away from the girl's car and towards my own, thinking about what had just happened. Again. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I just couldn't seem to stop. Ever since that day at the hospital, the day my life was torn to pieces and I was thrown into the world alone. That day when my parents, the only people who truly cared…No. Stop right there, I mentally berated myself for even thinking about my parents again. That part of your life is over. But I couldn't help feeling the small stab of pain that any reminder of them brought, and I took a deep breath to block the memories that were threatening to flood through my carefully built barriers.
I subtly shook my head to clear my thoughts. So what if it's another girl? It doesn't mean anything. I smiled mockingly to himself. It never does. But a tiny voice at the back of my head spoke up. Then why do you keep doing it? To forget. To dull the pain. To show everyone I was tough enough to take on anyone. I'm doing just fine as I am. I strode to my car parked across the lot, unlocked it, and quickly slid into the driver's seat, glad to be out of the rain. It was two a.m. on a Sunday morning and I had already broken someone's heart. I need to get out of here. I recklessly jammed my keys into the ignition, pulled out of the parking lot, got onto the highway, and started driving to the only escape I knew.
I pulled into the parking lot of the apartment I would be staying at for the next two years, wearing dark, jewel-studded shades, a tank top, short running shorts, and a crappy mood. I had just moved into this goddamn city and already it was raining like there's no tomorrow! I missed California already, with its sandy beaches and constantly shining sun. California felt free and full of possibilities that made you think you could do anything. Here in Seattle, the constant cover of dark gray clouds and the looming mountains felt so oppressive that I couldn't help but become crabby every time I looked at my surroundings. With a sigh, I reluctantly got out of the car, and without the foresight to bring an umbrella or proper clothing, I was sopping wet by the time I reached the trunk. Unloading the last of my luggage, none of which would be wearable in the best Seattle weather, I trudged slowly up the steps to the building, locking the car behind me.
My apartment was on the second floor, number 201, and I opened the door to a neatly arranged, homey but well-sized apartment, with one bedroom, a kitchen, and a family room. I looked around approvingly. Well, at least the apartment's nice. I tossed I suitcases onto the nearest piece of furniture, a light brown couch I had brought from California, and took a look around, wondering where my mother was. She was supposed to be here to see the apartment, and then both of us were supposed to unpack. There wasn't an apartment big enough to fit both of us comfortably the way we had hoped, so she would be staying in the room next door. I thought that was just a tiny bit overprotective, considering I was 17, but I didn't put up too much of a fight.
I opened the fridge to find one diet coke sitting on the shelf, leftover from my drive up here. Popping the tab, I plopped down on the couch, when suddenly music started playing. I jumped, at first thinking that there was someone else in the room, but then realized it was my ringtone. Feeling kinda stupid, I answered.
"Hi, sweetie! How's the apartment?" Jocelyn asked. Her light tone seemed almost forced, making me cautious.
"Hi, Mom. It's good. I thought you were supposed to be here by now."
"Oh, Clary, that's the thing. I just got a phone call from work saying that they need me in L.A. for two more weeks before they're shipping me up there, so it's just going to be you for a few days-"
"WHAT?" I screeched. "Mom, the only reason I moved up here was because of your STUPID job, and now you're telling me I could've stayed for another two weeks in L.A.? You can't be serious!"
My mom sounded worried, like this wasn't at all how she thought I'd take the news. "Honey, I thought you'd be happy to hear this! It means you get to live on your own for the first time!"
"Well sorry for not living up to your expectations, but you didn't exactly hold up your end of the deal either, so it looks like we'll both be disappointed," I practically screamed into the phone.
"CLARY, calm DOWN! It's not that big a deal!" She was getting pissed now too. Well good. She deserves it. "This works best because you can start a new school year along with everyone else! And besides, it's not my fault you're unable to cope with the littlest change in plans, and this immaturity makes me think you're not going to be able to handle this on your own! If I feel the need, I can always send Steve down to check on you once in a while," she threatened. She knew how much I hated Steve, her boyfriend for 8 months now, and the possibility of him intruding on my new life after she had wrecked my old one was just too much
"You know what, Mom? Whatever! You do what you want! It's not like you actually care that you're ruining my life, so just go!" I slam the phone onto the couch and punch the nearest wall as hard as I can. I know, real mature. Pain shoots up my arm, and in seconds I'm doubled over, clutching my hand and swearing. God, she has to ruin EVERYTHING! She has no idea how hard it was for me to leave my life in California, my friends that I had known since preschool, everything I had ever known. But I had done it, because she didn't want us to live apart yet. And now she was telling me it was no big deal?
I needed someone to talk to, but since I knew absolutely no one in this entire goddamn city, I needed a place to escape. Without even thinking, I stormed out of my room, flew into the car, and remembering an exit sign I had seen coming off the highway, started driving to the one place I knew would be familiar.