Chapter 1: Jonathan C Morgenstern
Jonathan Christopher Morgenstern
He sleeps around. A lot. I mean a lot. At the start of the evening I'll see a Latina girl with too many tattoos enter his room and by morning some Asian woman will leave limping and with a crooked smile on her smeared lips. His father is no different but at least I know why Valentine acts the way he does- his wife left him for his best friend. Though the details on why she left to begin with are a little fuzzy, and I don't care. Valentine may have allowed me to rent out one of his loft's rooms but by no means is he a "nice guy." He's strict and cruel and possibly the worse father I have ever seen. I could have left months ago and gotten a better place to live but I needlessly worry about Jonathan, even though he's older than me.
It's not like I do anything in the Morgenstern loft, they have a cleaning lady and a part-time cook that makes dinner and works weekends. I just sleep and do homework in my room, then go to work at a bar that is rather infamous, but it's good pay and the costumers are all decent people. Well actually I try to sleep, but Jonathan's room is right next to mine and the girls he brings home aren't exactly quiet. By no means quiet, and I've taken to jabbing headphones into my ears and blasting music to drown out their cries of pleasure, or pain- I don't like to think about it.
This morning was no different than another, I trudged out of my room with a messy bun of crimson hair and sleep crusts in the corners of my eyes as I made my way to the kitchen. I caught sight of Jonathan shutting the front door after some chick with a huge ass. I did my best to ignore him as I grabbed an apple from a bowl of fruit and cleaned it on the front of my plain gray tee. He huffed turning to the open layout of the loft and stretched his long pale arms over his head and cracked his back. I crunched into my red apple as I started looking through the fridge for something to drink.
"Are you gonna stand there all day?" He grumbled behind me.
"Does it bother you?" I asked grabbing a bottle of water with my free hand and turned around to face him. He is half a foot taller than me and has pitch black eyes and paler than pale blond hair. He looks just like his father and they are both attractive, and that's why I don't tell anyone at school I live here.
"It's very inconvenient." He deadpanned brushing his tousled hair out of his face.
"My pleasure Master." I said sarcastically as I stepped out of the way. I bite another mouth full of my apple as I rounded the corner into the living room.
"You're such a pain in the ass. I don't understand why my father puts up with you." Jonathan growled from the kitchen while the sound of rattling pots and pans could be heard.
"I live to serve!" I replied plopping down on the couch and setting the bottle of water on the coffee table then grabbed the remote to the TV.
He muttered something else I couldn't quite hear but it sounded like " Ducking witch." I angrily bite another chunk of my apple as I flipped to the weather channel and pondered why I worry about such an annoyingly stuck-up bastard.
At NYC Institute High school I melted into the crowd of students. I can't wait to get out of high school but I am only a Junior. I need to get out of here and find my place and stop relying on others even though it's my decision to stay at the Morgenstern's. Thankfully Jonathan is a senior so I don't see him often except at lunch and study-halls. He's popular and on the Hockey team, known as the King of the penalty box. He is violent, and has a horrible mouth, and terrible temper, and hates Jace Lightwood to no end, and has money, and. . . . I lost my point to this thought.
I was sitting in the library trying to get ahead in my homework so I could go straight to sleep when I got home from work when some guy yelled "I'm a freewheeling bisexual, get over it." from the level below. I groaned and rolled my eyes. This is what happens at public city schools. It's only October and people are treating it like the last few weeks before the end of the year. It annoys me, mostly because that's how Jonathan acts all year long. He is always about himself and no one else. Examples the screaming women at night and my room right next to his.
I turned back to my chemistry homework trying to figure out the chemical equation when something else interrupted me, and I didn't have to look up to know who it was, or what was going on, but I did anyway out of a teenage girl's curiosity reflex. It was Jonathan -of course- and some random girl, they were wrapped around each other as they struggled to get to the sanctuary of a corner so people like me couldn't see. I huffed a sigh and shook my head out of annoyance. I was about to turn back to my homework when I saw a teacher walking up the main aisle of shelves checking the other aisles and he was rapidly approaching the one Jonathan and his little friend were canoodling in. If it was anyone else I would have left them to their punishment, but it was him and I live with him. If he found out I just let it happen he would make my life even more difficult than it already was.
So I jumped to my feet and hurried down the aisle to them. The girl's top was halfway over her head when I approached and I yanked it back down. She began to yell, but I clamped my hand over her mouth and pulled her away from Jonathan who's fly was down and belt undone. I groaned inwardly as I removed my hand from the girl. She glared at me and I just rolled my eyes. Jonathan was still leaning against the bookshelf with his pants open leering at me like I was a plague put on this Earth solely meant to ruin his life. Maybe I was, but right now I was only trying to help. The girl next to me raised her hand to hit me and,
"What's going on down here?" Asked Mr. Fell, the chemistry teacher. His snow white hair flopped into his eyes as he peered down at us three. I took a side step in front of Jonathan to block his currently exposed boxers and gave the always kind teacher a friendly smile while the girl lowered her hand. She looked nervous and red faced like she about to get scolded. And she would be if I hadn't stepped in.
"I was looking for reference material for the homework you assigned and these two were just helping me." I lied smoothly. Behind me I could hear the zip of a closing zipper and the clink of a buckling belt, Jonathan was decent again... as decent as Jonathan Morgenstern can be. The girl next to me nodded vigorously agreeing with my lie like it would save her life.
"Oh, what are you having trouble with Mira, I can help you while I'm here." Mr. Fell said with his kind teacher smile.
"Thanks." I said stepping away from the flirting pair. As Mr. Fell and I rounded the corner I caught a glimpse of Jonathan glaring at me and his little friend looking at me with an expression that said she was relieved. I was half thanked and half hated, nothing new.
I fear the Jonathan will never change.
The bus ride to work was hot and smelly from the crowding suited men and woman that refuse to take the subway. I tried to ignore the disgusting wondering hands of the old desperate men and nearly charged off the bus when we finally reached my stop. I walked three more blocks to Pandemonium, the infamous bar, and my work. It's an extra large shack like building with one main room and a back room where countless rumors have been started. I can't even remember them all, but only about half are actually true, like yes we sometimes serve underage kids -well they hired me, a seventeen year old- and that many kids have been conceived in the back room.
"Hola Mira." Greeted my boss as I walked through the door. Raphael Santiago was wiping down the counter of the bar with a worn out rag. The regulars were all gathered on the stools and waved at me as I made my way to the bar.
I waved back as I said, "Hey." I stepped behind the bar and shoved my backpack into a cupboard for the employees.
"How's school going Mira?" An old shriveled woman with sharp and clever eyes asked as I pulled on my black apron. Her name is Madame Dorothea, a small time psychic that works just around the corner. She comes in every day for the local gossip and a vodka tonic before she goes off to open her shop for the nightly customers.
"Not bad. Wish it would end already." I answered taking over the cleaning of the bar as Raphael went to the kitchen to clean dishes.
Dorothea cackled her old lady laugh. "All you teenagers are the same, so eager to grow up. You should enjoy this time before you're looking like me."
I made a face as I took in her wrinkles, gray hair and vein riddled hands. I didn't want to look like that, ever.
"Well can you blame us? We're rebellious little brats after all." I joked as I wiped at a water mark on the wood. Dorothea and Bat -a big buff guy with a scar on his face- both laughed.
"That you are." Bat chuckled setting his scotch down. He was extremely tall and scary looking but he's one of the nicest guys you could possibly meet. He tips generously too. "Always getting into trouble and complaining."
"Hey, when was the last time I got into trouble?" I challenged pointing the rag at him and my other hand on my hip.
"Ahh," Bat stuttered and I smirked.
"That's what I thought." I said victoriously.
"How about right now, if you don't start sweeping!" Raphael yelled from the kitchen.
"Sorry." I muttered scurrying for the broom resting in the corner. Bat snickered at me while Dorothea got to her feet.
"Thank you for the socializing. It's always interesting to talk to you Mira, dear." She said patting my back then stuck something into the pocket of my apron.
It was a ten dollar bill. Looking up to protest her kind gesture she was already out the door humming a toneless song to herself. I live off tips, but sometimes it just feels like pity instead of my amazing bartender skills. Sighing I slipped the money back into my pocket and returned to work.
I was in the middle of the floor sweeping dust and dirt across the room when the bell above the door chimed signalling an arriving customer. I didn't look up figuring it was one of Bat's friends, or Eve his girlfriend. "Welcome to Pandemo-"
"Tyler." Hissed a terrifyingly familiar voice cutting me off.
"Seriously?" I said flatly as I looked up to see a red faced Jonathan glaring intensely at me.
"Yeah seriously." He growled clenching his hands at his sides.
I pushed my hair back from my face and released another sigh. "How are you still upset about that? I saved your ass from getting kicked off the Hockey team." I said standing my ground.
"I don't need a little bitch like you saving me. I can handle myself." Jonathan hissed towering over me.
"Yeah I'm sure you could have with your pants around your ankles." I grumbled stepping away from him. We've had this confrontation before and I have work to do.
"Hey!" He yelled grabbing my arm and snapping me back around towards him.
"Woah!" Bat said getting to his feet, and a dish could be heard breaking in the kitchen. A moment later Raphael was standing next to Bat both ready to pounce and fight.
"It's fine." I told them as Jonathan's hand tightened on my arm. I really didn't need to lose my place to live not while school was still going and absorbing three-fourths of my life. "What do you want me to do?" I asked Jonathan who's eyes looked even blacker than usual.
"Just stay out of my way." He hissed jerking his hand away from my arm. I almost lost my balance and had to use the broom to stay on my feet.
"No problem." I said flatly as he turned for the door. He didn't even stop to acknowledge that I had spoken, I would never have guessed we had been living together for almost a year. Actually it was this time last year that I moved into the Morgenstern house, after that accident.
"You okay Mira?" Raphael asked placing a hand on my shoulder.
I looked up at him and half smiled, "Yeah. He's just a cranky guy."
"More like an ass-hat that needs a good beating." Bat said sitting back down on his stool. I laughed.
"That's not the son of the guy you're living with is it?" Raphael asked as I returned to sweeping.
"Nope." I said popping my lips on the p.
"Mira?" Bat pushed as my boss stared at me with his dark eyes.
"I swear." I lied looking him right in the eye without batting a lash.
Not everyone needs to know everything. Some things are better remaining secrets. The world is full of them. Why break a good thing that is keeping humanity together without crumbling into dust and shadows and plunging us into nothingness.