At the end of the school week, I find myself back in fifth period working on finishing the books I started off the week with. Sadly, it has been a disappointing week on the Pandemonium front. The information I got from the people who chased me off the roof is minimal at best. I have a lot of puzzle pieces to put together.
Meaning almost no time for books. Saving the world is hard.
Oh, well. That's what this lax period is for after all. Losing myself in Fangirl I'm at the part where Cath is reading The Outsiders to Levi when a very loud voice breaks my concentration. No one respects libraries anymore. I turn around to face the doors to see who interrupted my OTP's moment.
I breathe hard through my nose. Of course. Who else but William Herondale?
Will is arguing very loudly with his best friend, and sidekick, James Carstairs.
"You can't just throw things at random ducks in the park! Park security doesn't tend to appreciate it," Jem points out calmly as Will stops right next to the chair I'm sitting in to face his friend with a shocked face.
"You dare to defend those dastardly creatures? Bloodthirsty little monsters. We should instigate a genocide on them before they get organized. Never trust a duck."
A snort escapes my mouth as I try to cover up the laughter. Ducks? The fierce Shadowhunter is scared of ducks?
However, the noise did not go unnoticed. Will and Jem both look my way. Jem gives me a friendly smile while Will feigns offense.
Hands on his hips he now addresses me, "What? Do you find the idea of our imminent doom funny?"
"I find the idea of a 16 year old boy being scared of ducks funny. Are you afraid of baby kittens too? Do you think baby birds spend all their time in the nest planning on dive bombing us?" I ask giving him my sweetest smile.
It's situations like this that make me think I'm better than most people. Conceded? Yes. Wrong? Not really.
His very, very blue eyes look at all my things scattered on the end table next to me. Hating him would be easier if he wasn't so good looking. Hey, I'm vengeful not blind. Thankfully, he knows he's good looking and also knows how to use it. That helps.
Letting out a low whistle, he picks up A Tale of Two Cities which I always have with me. "A young adult book and a classic. Can't make up your mind? Or are you just trying to seem like you're better than everyone else even though in reality you've never even read a word of this one?"
"'Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away.'" I quote from the very book he just mentioned as I set the other one down, so I can stand and face him. "It's one of my favorites. Sorry, did I not tell you? Then it must not be any of your business."
Will's tsks as he smugly replies, "You know, you don't have to try and turn me off. You aren't my type."
"Why? Because I can read?"
"Because I can't imagine you with a personality."
I look him up and down before quirking my lip up into a smirk, "You know you'd be in good shape…if you ran as much as your mouth."
"It's like watching a tennis match," I hear Jem mutter to himself from his spot on the sidelines. "Will, stop making such an ass of yourself. Well…stop making more of an ass of yourself."
Will ticks up an eyebrow at his friend, "I'm not trying to be an ass. I'm just trying to understand why Ms. Gray here feels the need to bite my head off."
Shrugging my shoulders I respond, "I'll try being nicer if you try being smarter."
"You are testy today. Is it time for your monthly bleeding?"
"Will!" Jem yells appalled at his friend.
I roll my eyes, "No. And here I thought that people on the other side of the Atlantic were supposed to have better manners."
"Well, I'm terribly sorry. You just got that look you females get like you want someone to hurt as much as you. Were you thinking about making me bleed?"
"No one would blame you," Jem says casually putting a kind hand on my shoulders. His grey eyes are laughing. "He is very annoying."
"That he is," another voice comes from behind us. We turn around to see Gabriel Lightwood.
Will steps between me and Gabriel, "Who invited you into this conversation?"
"No one needed to. When I see a defenseless woman getting abused by you, I find it my duty to step in. Something you should have been doing, Carstairs," Gabriel states. Egotistical much?
"Tessa can handle herself," Jem says at the same time Will points a finger at me and responds, "Defenseless? I assure you, Lightworm, that she is perfectly capable of handling herself in a battle of wits."
Nodding in agreement I add, "In a battle of fists too, but beating the crap out of people physically is illegally while doing it mentally is a sport."
Gabriel moves Will out of the way to stand in front of me, "You know, you shouldn't hang around the likes of him. He tends to bring the people around him down. I can give you other options."
"How about I give you a ladder…so you can step out of my business," I ask trying to step away from him. "Because I am nowhere near that desperate."
"And you're not that lucky," Will points out stepping next to me.
"Get off of my side, Herondale."
"Sorry, but as the saying goes: the enemy of my enemy…"
"I am not your friend."
Both of us are too busy getting back into our argument that we don't see Gabriel stomping away towards his laughing brother. What we do notice is the bell ringing, signaling the end of fifth period.
"It's sad you feel that way," Will says as he begins to walk away. "If you didn't hate me, I'd have someone besides Jem to remind me that some people are worth my time."
"I don't hate you," I say as I gather up my stuff. Jem raises his eyebrows in surprise. "It's just my attitude has a problem with your personality. Besides you're not that lucky."
Will turns around to flash me that famous smile once more. "I'm also not that desperate."
As he walks away, I let out a frustrated growl. I go to grab my books that he moved only to see that Jem is standing there ready to hand them to me.
He gives me a very kind smile, "Mind walking to class together?"
Jem may be a Shadowhunter, but I can't hate him. He's too nice. Hitler would like this guy. "That'd be nice. Thank you, James."
"You can call me, Jem," he offers kindly.
Nodding my affirmation, I add, "Only if you call me Tessa and not Ms. Gray. It makes me sound like a seventy year-old librarian."
Laughing, we begin to make our way to the English corridor. As we walk, a question begins to form in my mind. "Why do you put up with him? Will, I mean. You guys are always together, and he's just so…" I trail off trying to find the right word. I don't want to be too mean purely because he's Jem's friend. That means he has to have some redeeming qualities.
"Irritating?" Jem offers
"Yeah, that covers most of it."
Jem looks like he is debating what to say next. His hair catches the florescent lighting and I wonder how it came to be the same grey color as his eyes. Finally, he answers my question.
"Will is…difficult. But family is difficult, too. Will has been like a brother to me my whole life. He just has trust issues. He seems to believe that if you expect nothing than you can never be disappointed. Sarcasm lets him keep people at a distance, and then he never grows attached to them. They can never betray him," he finished looking at me seeming to see if I understood what he was saying or not.
"I get that," I whisper looking down at the floor before looking up at this kind boy with a smile. "Still, you must be some kind of saint if you never get mad at him."
Jem barks out a laugh, "Oh, I wouldn't say that. There have been plenty of times where I've plotted his death."
"How do you restrain yourself?"
"I play music," Jem says. "Playing the violin is like going to another place for me where I can forget about the small worries."
Raising my eyebrow, I contemplate that answer then think back to my argument with Will. "And that works?"
"Not at all, but that I remind myself how easy it would be to smother him and his sleep and I feel a lot better."
We both laugh until our sides hurt as we reach our English room where Will is sitting in his desk waiting for class to begin. He hears us, and looks up. Raising an eyebrow at his friend, he darts his eyes back and forth between the two of us. Jem turns to me and hands me my books which I didn't realize he was still carrying.
"Maybe once you realize how to deal with him, you could hang out with us during fifth period break sometime?"
I take my books and give him a smile. "That might actually be nice. Just make sure to get him a shorter leash."
We part ways with one more smile. I go to my desk, and he goes to his. Will turns around in his seat as Jem sits next to him. Only he isn't looking at Jem. He's looking at me and in a very weird way.
Why do I get the feeling something just got very complicated?