I stared at the woman who had the same red hair and green eyes as mine. I still couldn't believe that she was here. I never thought it was possible. I had already accepted the fact that I would never see her again, that she was dead.
She was wearing a white lace dress that reached the floor. Her hair was in an elegantly in a up-do with a few loose curls here and there. She had not aged a day since I last saw her in her late thirties. I couldn't stop looking at her beautiful face which had a loving expression.
I was waiting for the moment when I'd suddenly get up from bed, realizing that this was only a dream, but it never came. She was still there, staring at me, waiting for me to move or say something.
"Are you real?" I finally asked.
"You're alive and you didn't really die from the plague in our town?"
She nodded again.
Aline was right. My mother did lie to me. All my life, I didn't know what I was capable of. I wasn't able to protect myself and Jace because I didn't know I could. I didn't know whether I'd be happy that my mother was actually alive or angry that she kept me from my real self.
"Why?" I asked numbly.
She moved towards my direction. Her dress ivory dress flowed and swayed with each step. She moved so gracefully, like a queen. When I was a kid, I always wished I could move like that, like a trained princess.
"Clarissa, I know you're confused," she said gently, like she did when I was a little girl. "I'm sorry I had to lie. I did it for your own good, for your safety. I kept you because they wanted to harm you and your father and brother. Many black witches want us dead so they can spread wickedness on earth. I don't want you to suffer the same fate as my parents, your brother and some of my friends. They were killed by Aline's people."
Sebastian was killed by Aline's people? I thought he also died from the disease? I heard that his body was burned to ashes after his death because that was what our people did so that the disease wouldn't spread further.
"Protecting me isn't enough reason for you to lie to me. If you really wanted me safe, you could've thought me your craft, you could've taught me how to protect myself. Look at what happened to me, I was cursed. Mother, you didn't succeed in protecting me," I said, bitterness laced my voice.
She looked terribly sad and regretful. She was just a few feet away from me and Jonathan.
"That wasn't supposed to happen. Jace should have given you the blessed ring, but he was late. We didn't know that Aline would come for you that day. It's my fault. She doesn't only hate you because you have Jace. She hates you more because you are my daughter. She despises me and my mother because her father, who is also mine, left her mother for my mother. Aline's mother killed herself because she got too sad and she couldn't accept that the only man she ever loved left her.
"Our father was the best warlock ever known. He was very powerful and there was nothing he couldn't do. We inherited his powers. My mother is a white witch and Aline's is a black one. Aline tried to poison my mother while I was still inside her womb, but she failed. Our father found out and he disowned her. That only made her hate for me deeper, because she thought Father loved me more than her. Truth is he talked about her all the time. He missed her and wished she wasn't that cruel.
"I'm not expecting you to forgive me that easily. I just want you to know the truth and from now on, I won't ever lie to you. I really missed you, my daughter." She looked at me fondly. It took all of me not to run to her and hug her. I wanted to tell her that I missed her, too, that I was beyond happy to see her, but the feeling of being betrayed and lied to stopped me. She was right, I couldn't just forgive her. My chest felt heavy just thinking of all the lies she fed me.
You are just like your mother. You don't only look exactly like her, both of you likes to take things that don't belong to you.
"Where's Aline now?"
"I've taken care of her," she said simply.
"Did you kill her?"
"Of course not, I won't do that to my sister, she's just under a powerful spell. Her spirit is kept in a magical bottle." From behind Jocelyn, my mother, Magnus held a clear blue bottle where something like dark smoke was swirling inside.
"And Maia is she fine now?" I asked skeptically.
"I sent her into a portal to her parent's house. She's okay as long as Aline's trapped. She's pure again and she won't do any harm. She's a wonderful person and I'm glad you're friends with her. She genuinely cares for you. I wish you won't treat her differently just because she can't control my sister's actions," she answered.
I sighed in relief. "I'm glad she's fine."
"It's best that we send Jace or Jonathan back to the hospital before the glamour that Aline had set up fades and they notice that he's missing. He's also in a very bad condition. Aline placed a strong sleep potion in his drink which is really dangerous to humans. Even powerful warlocks like Magnus wouldn't be able to detect it and cure it. It gives the person affected appalling nightmares and it poisons the mind and heart. Jonathan may never wake up again if the poison in his head spreads to his heart," she said as she moved her right hand in a circular motion, creating a portal.
It was like a huge glass window. Inside was Jonathan's empty hospital bed, the wires which were previously attached to his body were hastily dropped on the floor. His sheets were a mess and the IV was knocked down the floor.
When the portal was complete, Mother's hands were on Jonathan's direction. She made him float in the air, carefully lifting him through the portal. His bandaged head slowly laid on the thin pillow and his body on the rest of the bed. The tubes and wires magically went into place, like nothing happened.
"Is there something that you can do for Jonathan?" I asked when she started closing the portal, interrupting her.
She nodded. "Yes. I can heal him by removing Aline's mark on him."
"I thought Aline's magic didn't work on him because of the ring?"
"That's what she thought. When Jonathan was four, Aline tried to do a spell that would cut all his ties with you. When a witch falls in love and the one she loves feels the same for her, they will be connected forever. Aline tried to make that connection vanish so Jace will forget about you permanently, but she failed because he had the blessed ring. The spell that she performed was more powerful than the one she did when she cursed you and the ring wasn't able to protect him completely. That's why he was having nightmares about you. The spell twisted his memories of you."
So that was why he had had nightmares of me, that he was killing me. That incident where he sleep walked, he knew that he was Jace and that I was Clarissa, it was also because of the spell.
She went on, "I'm the only witch who can remove a mark that another had done. That would void any kind of magic that she used on him, but of course, there is something to be taken from him in return."
The way she said her last sentence kind of scared me. She said it as if what she would do to him was really dangerous. "Will it harm him?"
"Then do it," I said, more determined than I expected.
If she could remove Aline's mark on Jonathan, could she remove mine too and free me from the curse? If she could do this, why hadn't she done it before? If she really cared for me, they why did she let me suffer for centuries?
"Can you remove my mark, too?"
"Yes, but I refuse to do it."
"You refuse to free me from Aline's curse? Why?" I asked, getting really impatient.
"Because lifting the curse will kill you and I don't like to do it. I can't do it, especially not to you. You're my daughter and I won't do anything to hurt you," she said calmly, opposing the tone of my voice.
I gave her a pleading look. "But what if that's what I want? What if I don't want to live anymore?"
"I've also asked myself that question a thousand times. I've watched your every move since the day you left us. I saw all the pain you've been through and I couldn't do anything. I want all your suffering to end, but I really can't bear the thought of you dying in the process. I'm really sorry, Clarissa, but I won't do it." Her face held a remorseful expression. "You can come with me instead. We can rule the white witches together. I can teach you how to use magic," she offered, sounding hopeful.
"No. Please just end this."
She turned away from me and headed back to the door. I could see that there was another portal outside. I wouldn't allow her to leave me again without lifting this curse. Now that I had the chance to end it, I wouldn't let it slip through my fingers.
"Wait!" I shouted, getting to my feet.
She didn't turn back and continued walking. The portal outside grew larger and strong wind came to the room again. Magnus entered the portal and he was gone within a few seconds, he gave me an apologetic look before leaving. He knew that there was a way to end my curse and he didn't tell me. He didn't even tell me that my mother was alive.
"Wait! Jocelyn! Mother!" I shouted through the sound of the strong wind.
She stopped in her tracks. Her petite body paused. There was hesitation in her movements as she turned to look at me. She had tears in her eyes.
I didn't know that my legs were moving until I was just inches away from her. She went to me and pulled me into her arms. I wrapped my arms around her waist as she cried on my shoulder.
"You don't know how long I've waited for this moment, to touch you again. I can't go near you because they'll know that we are related and they'll try to hurt you. Now, you're asking me to harm you, to sacrifice your life. Clarissa, everyone I loved left me and you're the only one I have. Once the curse is lifted, your body will age the way it should. Within moments, you'll turn into ashes."
I hugged her tighter, enveloping myself in her warmth. She smelled like home, of cinnamon and sweet things. She had always loved to cook pastries. I missed her and the feeling of having a mother. The last time I hugged her like this was before I left them.
"Mother, you aren't going to kill me, you'll just free me," I said softly.
After a few moments, she pulled away from me and held my hands.
She placed something in my right hand before letting go of it. I looked at my palm and there was a thing that resembled a pearl.
She smiled through her tears. "Swallow that when you're ready. It will remove Aline's magic in your body. This isn't the last time we'll see each other. Goodbye my daughter."
She went to where the portal was again, and like Magnus, she disappeared.
The portal had vanished and the place was back to its normal state. It was as clean as it used to, which I wasn't expecting after all that happened. The pentagram was gone, same as the black candles.
I stared at the pearl or whatever it was. I brought it to my lips, feeling its coldness.
If there was a place where I wanted to die, it would be where the person who I love the most was. I never pictured myself dying in the arms of the man I loved, never knew it was possible until now.
I laid beside Jace on the hospital bed. The mark on his shoulder was gone and he looked calmer. I knew he'd wake up any moment since he was healed.
I looked at his angelic, almost perfect face with love. I touched his cheek with my hand gingerly and traced the details of his face, memorizing every detail of it. Funny, it was me who was saying goodbye now. It was always him who left.
"Max's and your parents' death isn't your fault. They're accidents and they happen all the time. Please stop blaming yourself because you are not a bad person," I said softly.
I learned from Isabelle that Max, their little brother adored Jonathan so much. Max idolized Jonathan and he wanted to be just like him. He also had an interest in music. One day, Robert was supposed to fetch him from his piano lessons, but he forgot to so Max walked home. While Max was walking, he saw Jonathan and ran to him. While he was crossing the street, he didn't notice that the traffic light went green and he got hit by a car. Because of that, Jonathan blamed himself for his death and stopped playing the piano. He thought that if he hadn't influenced Max to learn the piano, he would still be here.
"I know that I already used my last wish, but technically you didn't do it. My mother used her magic on you, so you still owe me one. I can still ask one last thing from you. I wish that you make this lifetime worth. Please stay out of trouble and stop doing things that will hurt others and yourself. Be nicer to Isabelle, Alec and Maryse because they love you so much. I hope one day, things between you and Robert gets better."
I laid my head on his chest and felt the steady beating of his heart on my cheeks. It was enough to make me feel happy. He was safe now that Aline couldn't get near him again.
"Jace, now, I'd like to tell you things I've wanted to tell you for years. I want you to know that you are the best thing that ever happened to me. If I can go back in time, I'd still choose you though I know that I'll be cursed. You are the most important person to me. No one has ever made me feel the way you do. You made me feel so loved, worthy, and happy. Those years that I was with you, where we planned our lives and created dreams together were the best years of my life. We could have been more, we could have had a family if the curse didn't happen and I didn't have to leave you. I don't really want to leave you like this, but this is the only way the curse ends. Worse things can happen if I don't do this now. You are the only man I'll ever love and I'll be yours forever. I'll be waiting for you as usual. I love you, my Jace, until we meet again."
I swallowed the pearl without thinking twice. I kissed his lips softly. It was the last thing I felt before I vanished.
We lay side by side on the soft grass, warm sunlight touched our skin. She had her eyes closed, smiling as the sun hit her face. Her freckles looked more obvious and it only made her look more beautiful. Her bright red curls were a tangled mess, but I didn't mind.
She opened her green eyes and met mine. She grinned. "Why are you staring at me like that?"
"Like what?" I smiled back and pulled her to me.
"Like I would disappear from you any moment and like you want to rip my clothes off," she said and her cheeks reddened a little.
"Because you're so damn beautiful," I said honestly.
"You always tell me that though I know I'm not. I don't know what you saw in me. All those other girls were prettier and sexier than me."
"I don't care about all those other girls. I love you because you are you. You are the bravest and kindest person I know."
She gave me a bright smile and then it turned into a mischievous one. She stood up and ran towards the woods, laughing.
"Catch me!" She yelled and laughed even more. She knew that she wasn't going farther because I was way faster than her. Her short legs wouldn't bring her anywhere.
Or so I thought.
She was nowhere to be seen. The woods were clear and there was no sight of her red hair. Damn, there could be wild animals in there. I started getting worried and searched farther for her.
"Clarissa! Where are you? This isn't funny anymore. It's dangerous in here, come on, let's go back!" I yelled.
There was no response but a scream full of fear. It was her.
"Jace! Help me!"
Her voice came from my right where I saw thick smoke and a huge fire. Clarissa was trapped on the fire. I ran without thinking twice, not caring if I get burned. Fire touched my skin, but I didn't seem to feel it as I ran to where she was.
"Jace!" she shouted, coughing. She was standing around a circle of fire, crying and a look of terror on her face.
I jumped, I didn't know how I was able to jump that high, but I was beside her. I saw that she had bad wound on her left leg so I carried her bridal style and we ran away from the fire.
"You're hurt," she said, her voice full of concern.
"I don't care, I promised to protect you with my life. What's important is that you're safe. We need to get you to the hospital," I said hastily.
We reached my car and I gingerly placed her on the passenger's seat.
"I thought I was going to lose you," I confessed.
"You won't ever lose me and I'll always be by your side. You saved me."
My eyes squinted as I tried to open them. The beeping sound woke me up, I think. My chest felt heavy, as if someone was lying on it. I looked down, but I saw nothing but something like golden dust. Like glitters, but they were as fine as ashes. They weren't just on my clothes, they were also on my face and my lips.
"Jonathan! You're awake!" Isabelle exclaimed as she entered the room. She ran to me and hugged me tightly. Weird, I haven't hugged my sister like this for so long. It felt quite nice. She pulled away from me, wearing a big smile on her face.
"Where am I?" I asked, grumpy.
"Hospital, you had an accident with your motorcycle, remember?" I could barely remember anything from that night, but I knew that I was very, very drunk, I felt numb.
"Can you get me some water?"
"Sure. Clary will be so happy to know that you're finally awake," she said excitedly as she went to the mini fridge to get me a glass of water. "And I also have to tell Mom and Alec."
Thank you so much for reading!
P.S. There is an epilogue so don't hate me for this chap.