Dying Young

14

"Will, you need to calm down, right now," Tessa's knuckles were turning white from where she was gripping the steering wheel, her eyes glancing between the road and the passenger sitting next to her, Will Herondale.

"Don't, don't tell me to calm down, he lied to my face, and what the hell does this note mean, your dad is taking me to visit a friend's mother," Will growled in frustration, balling the note in his tiny fist.

Tessa slammed on brakes, turning to glare at Will, "there will be no growling in my vehicle, do you understand and if you do not grow up and act your age, we will turn this car around and go back home."

Will crossed his arms over his chest, "whatever, I don't think I like your attitude."

Tessa grunted, turning her attention back to the road, "now can you please explain to me why you think Clary's at the Lightwood's house?"

"I don't know, Maryse seems to be around for Clary, so I just assume it's her," Will shrugged his shoulders.

"Well we're about to find out," Tessa said as she pulled into the Lightwood's driveway.


"Mrs. Lightwood," Tessa forced a smile, noticing that Maryse Lightwood had yet to greet them, "We're sorry to show up like," Tessa was mid-sentence when Will interrupted her.

"Where is she," Will stepped in front of Tessa, glaring at Maryse as he spoke.

"Excuse me," Marsye was clearly annoyed.

Will rolled his eyes, "I will ask only once more where is she?"

"Will," Tessa hissed, "you cannot go around," Tessa was cut off by Dr. Lightwood calling out to them as he approached the door.

"Tessa, Will what are you doing here," Dr. Lightwood seemed genuinely happy to see them until he noticed the looks on all their faces.

"Is something wrong, Clary, where's Stephen, do they need me," Robert was clearly beginning to panic.

Maryse walked over to her husband, placing her hand on his chest, "Clary's fine."

Robert sighed in relief, "If everything is okay, why are the two of you here?"

Tessa realized that Will was not going to give Dr. Lightwood an answer, "It seems Dr. Herondale took Clary to visit a friend's mother, Will assumed that the mother would be Maryse."

"Oh, I see," Robert waved his hands, gesturing for Will and Tessa to come inside, "I may know where they could be, come have a seat in the dining room."


Once the four were seated, Robert's eyes drifted over to Will, "how have you been Will?"

Will had opened his mouth to answer Robert, when Maryse answered for him, "obviously Will is doing fine, he has Clary all to himself," her voice sounded polite even a little too sweet but under all of that fakeness her words were laced with venom.

Tessa felt anger coursing through her veins, how dare Maryse think she had any right to be angry, acting as if Will had whisked Clary off on some type of romantic getaway, placing both hands firmly on the table, Tessa stood leaning over toward Maryse, "Who do you think you are, do you really think Will is actually enjoying all of this, do you think he liked seeing Clary pass out in front of him, do you think he was having the time of his life when we found her broken and sobbing on the bathroom floor, do you think that these past few days have been fun for him while he sat there watching and hoping that she would wake up," Tessa's breathing was becoming ragged but she still continued, "how selfish can one person be, tell me Maryse why are you really angry, are you angry because Clary is allowing Will to take care of her instead of you or your kids, is that why your angry?"

Tessa sat back down slowly, her eyes filled with tears, "Clary, she's young, so full of life, before this happened she had hopes and dreams for her life, she should be angry, she should be selfish, but she's not, she puts herself aside for others, just look what she did for Maureen and your family, she may have lied to Alec, Izzy and Jace but that's only because she wanted them to have a bright future and she knew if she had told them about her diagnosis they would have refused to leave her side."

Tears started escaping Tessa's eyes, "we all think Clary is resilient but the truth is she's not, she's scared, confused, angry, and hurt, she's just hiding her true feelings from all of us." Tessa took her hands quickly wiping the tears from her face, "I will never understand why bad things happen to people like Clary and Jem." Standing from her chair, Tessa looked down at Will and then her gaze went over to Maryse, "if you truly loved Clary, you should be thanking Will, he's brought Clary back to life, she wants to fight now, that's because of him, he makes her laugh, holds her when she cries, Will has been a true godsend."

Tessa pushed her chair under the table, "Will take your time, I'll be waiting in the car, Dr., Mrs. Lightwood thank you both for having us in your home," and with that Tessa left without another word.


Will watched Tessa as she left, did she really just take up for him? He felt the urge to run after her, tell her thank you but he didn't.

Will sighed, "Well if things weren't awkward before, they certainly are now."

"Will, I'm sorry, I was unfair to you, it's just, Tessa was right I was extremely jealous that you're here taking care of Clary, that she wanted you here by her side, and it made me angry that she wouldn't allow Alec, Izzy and Jace to be here for her, for that I am so sorry," Will saw nothing but honesty in Maryse's eyes as she spoke.

Will nodded, "I understand, I do and if I were in your shoes I would have been jealous too, a girl like Clary is something you want to hold on to."

Maryse smiled, it was a small smile but still she was trying, "thank you for understanding Will."

Will leaned back in his chair, holding his hands up in the air, "hey that's just the kinda guy I am," dropping his hands back down Will looked toward the front door, "I should be going, I need to check on Tess."

Will started to walk out of the dining room, stopping when he heard Dr. Lightwood calling him, "Will wait, do you still want to know where your father took Clary?"

Dr. Lightwood walked up to Will, placing his hand gently on his shoulder, "son I don't know if you realize what day it is, it's the anniversary of your Aunt Celine's death, I know your father goes there every year."

Will couldn't believe he'd forgotten "my dad still goes out there," Will never knew that his father went to visit her grave.

"Yes, he goes there quite often," Will noticed that Robert looked as if he had something else to say.

"What else," Will watched as Robert seemed to be debating with himself.

"I don't know if she would want anyone to know, she doesn't, well she didn't know that any of us knew but we've all seen her there," Will was confused, what was Robert trying to tell him, Robert must have noticed Will's confused look because he continued, "Clary goes to visit Celine a lot, she sits on the bench your father had placed by her grave, I went there with Michael on Celine's birthday last year, that's the first time I ever saw Clary there, Michael made me go hide with him, watching Clary until she left," Robert paused, a small smile appearing, "you should have seen her that day, there she was sitting on the ground next to Celine's grave, her red curls blowing all around her while she leaned her head on the head stone, she sat there for over an hour, she cried and then she just talked, it was as if she'd known Celine forever."

Will felt his eyes glisten with tears, "Clary goes there, she talks to Aunt Celine."

Robert nodded, "your father has seen her there too."

Will didn't know how he should feel about Clary going to visit his Aunt's grave, he felt happy about it, it was as if his Aunt Celine and Clary had formed a connection, Will found that he rather enjoyed thinking that the two of them had a chance to meet.

"Thank you for telling me Robert, I better get going," Robert opened the front door for Will.

"Goodbye Will, try not to be a stranger," Will nodded as he walked out the front door.


Tessa had been scolding herself as she waited for Will, she couldn't believe that she had lost her temper in front of all of them, especially Will.

The passenger side door suddenly flew open, Will appeared with a devilish grin beside her, "did you miss me Tess."

"What happened earlier, never happened, understand me," Tessa quickly cut Will off.

Will was quiet only for a moment and then his onslaught of questions started, "Tess, Tess, my dear sweet Tess, when did you come over to the dark side, more importantly when did you fall in love with me, not that I'm complaining of course, and who is this Jem guy, is he the guy you dropped to come chasing after me?"

Tessa was pulling out of the Lightwood's driveway, "which way are we going?"

Will pointed to the right, "the cemetery."

"May I ask why we're going to the cemetery," Tessa asked as she drove.

"Clary's visiting my Aunt, now back to the topic at hand, who's this Jem," Tessa could feel Will staring at her as she drove.

"Tess, you might as well go ahead and tell me, you know I'll find out or would you rather me ask Clary," Will began tapping his fingers on the dashboard waiting for Tessa's reply.

"Damn Herondale men," she muttered to herself, "fine I'll tell you just give me a minute," Tessa continued her drive to the cemetery, she knew she wouldn't be able to talk about Jem while she was driving, she wasn't even sure if she would be able to talk about him at all.

"Deal, see how easy the two of us can get along," Will was surprisingly quiet the rest of the ride.


Tessa saw that Dr. Herondale's car was no longer there, "should we call them?"

"No, not until I hear about this Jem," Tessa was shocked that Will did not want to call and check on Clary.

"You don't want to know if she's okay, I mean she just left the cemetery, she probably needs your support," Tessa's plan was to get Will sidetracked on Clary that way he would forget about Jem.

"Tess, you're quite the devious little character, I know what you're thinking, Clary's with my father who happens to be a physician, she's in good hands not perfect like mine of course but she'll be fine until we get back, now start talking about Jem, unless you'd prefer I ask Clary," Will knew he had Tessa exactly where he wanted her.

Tessa shifted her body to where she was facing Will, she took a deep breath before beginning, "Jem was my fiancé, he's the reason I became an RN."

Will's eyes were wide, "was your fiancé, what happened, did he cheat on you or something?"

"Jem and I went to school together, you could say we were high school sweethearts I guess, we'd been together since eighth grade, our senior year he proposed, of course I said yes, we made plans to move in together at college, waiting to get married until we graduated, Jem was perfect in every way but then things changed," Tessa was looking out the windshield, her eyes were on the head stones in the cemetery.

"What happened then," Will asked.

"It was right before graduation that it happened, Jem came to me telling me he enlisted," Tessa felt tears falling from her eyes, "he was so excited, he thought I'd be proud, he was going to fight for his country, I wasn't proud, no I was angry, I was more than angry, I hated him in that moment, I really did, how could he do such a thing without even discussing it with me." Tessa felt her tears rolling down her cheeks, her hand went up to wipe them away but Will's hand reached out and gently wiped both of her cheeks.

"Take your time Tessa, you don't have to rush," Tessa could hear the concern in Will's voice; she could feel the gentleness in his touch.

Tessa just nodded, knowing she couldn't make eye contact, "I don't even remember what he was wearing that day, will never forget the look on his face, it haunts my dreams, sometimes when I'm awake, he just sat there taking it, he never said anything, he didn't try to stop me," Will's hand touched her hand, he gently moved her hand and placed it in his, "I yelled at him, told him he was selfish when Jem was the most giving person I knew, I told hi-m, god I tol-d him I hated him, I never wanted to see him again and then I threw my ring at him and left, I got in my car and left the diner."

Tessa looked away from the head stones and down at Will's hand holding hers, she couldn't help but notice how perfectly they fit together, she bit the inside of her cheek to rid herself of the thought before continuing her story, "I was halfway home when I came to my senses and turned around, I realized that Jem was not doing anything to hurt me, he was only being Jem, the most giving person and loving person I had ever known, how could I have been so selfish, I drove as fast as I could back toward the diner, I was rehearsing my apology over and over in my head, even though I knew Jem wouldn't allow me to say it, he would never let me apologize, he'd just wrap me in his arms and thank me for loving him, thank me for loving him," Tessa could barely speak, remembering that night was so much too much, she had not allowed herself to go there in such a long time.

Will squeezed Tessa's hand, "breathe Tessa, you're doing great, just take it one step at a time."

Tessa closed her eyes, concentrating on her breathing, "I had almost made it back to the diner when I saw it, there were flashing lights everywhere, traffic was at a complete stop, I wasn't close enough to see anything b-ut I knew, this feeling in my chest, it was my Jem, I didn't even turn off my engine, I just got out and ran, left my car door open, I ran and ran, the police officer tried to stop me, I don't even know how I got past him but I did and then I saw it, I saw his truck, I saw him, I sa-w my Jem, he was still pinned inside his truck, this huge delivery truck ran a red light, hit Jem's truck, he was following me, coming after me, that's why it hap-pen-ed, I ran to the passenger side of Jem's truck, I felt hands pulling me but they wouldn't stop me, they couldn't, I climbed in the passenger side, there was blood so much blood," Tessa kept her eyes closed, that day was replaying in slow motion right before her, she remembered everything perfectly, like it had just happened.

"I crawled over to Jem, his blood was everywhere, his head was leaned back, he was so pale, his eyes were closed, I took my hand running it through his bloody his hair, he turned his head slightly, opening his eyes as much as he could, I tried to smile, tried to be strong but I couldn't, I fell apart, apologizing for all of it, telling him it was my fault, it was all my fault, Jem tried god he tried to lift his hand but he couldn't, he opened his mouth, blood came pouring out, I begged him to stop, begged him to just rest that help was coming, he wouldn't listen though, he kept fighting to talk, to t-ell me, tell me," Tessa opened her eyes and turned to Will.

Staring into Will's eyes, Tessa finished her story, "Jem told me, thank you for loving me, after everything he wanted to tell me thank you, then he did his best to grab my hand, I grabbed his instead, and there on his pinky finger was my engagement ring, I slowly pulled it off, ignoring the blood, I placed it back on my finger, Jem smiled, his sm-ile was perfect, I held his hand in mine, leaned over placing my lips on his, I told him I loved him, loved him so much, I thanked him for loving me, that's when he took his last breathe, he died right then with my lips still next to his, I just stayed there, like that holding on to him for dear life, I had so much of his blood on me that the paramedics thought I was hurt, I was just not physically."



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