It had been a month, and he still wasn’t sure what was going on with him and Isabelle, so he hadn’t said anything. Her big dark eyes were alive suddenly, the way they only ever came alive when she was either hunting demons or thinking about hunting demons. There were two men standing over by the glass-fronted case that held bakery items: thickly frosted cakes, plates of rugelach, and cream-filled Danishes. “Fine, you know that vampires need to have sex to reproduce, but I bet you don’t really know how it works.” “I do too,” said Simon. It increases their red blood cell count, makes them stronger and healthier, and makes them live longer. “I want to know why you haven’t become part of Raphael’s clan.” you.” Her green eyes glowed. If Simon had still been human, he would have blushed. Raphael had indicated it was a matter for deadly secrecy, and Simon had treated it as such. “I can bear it.” “But you don’t want to.” She ran a gloved finger around the rim of her wineglass, her eyes still fixed on him. The secrecy is for my own protection.” Simon looked at her suspiciously. We had beautiful quarters in an old prewar building on the Upper West Side, not that rat hole of a hotel Santiago keeps my people in now. He wishes me to return, that’s for certain—so he can murder me and take charge of the clan in earnest.” Simon wasn’t sure what she wanted to hear. But the moment I did, I realized that you were what I had been waiting for.” “I was? You are one of his own, a vampire, but you cannot be harmed or killed; he cannot lift a finger against you without bringing down God’s wrath on his head.” There was a silence. You must call me Camille.” “I still don’t understand what you want from me.” “Don’t you? We will walk together into his rat-infested hotel; the moment his followers see that you are with me, they will leave him and come to me. ” Then she collected herself, her face smoothing, her expression lightening. I mean, I understand the part where we face down Raphael, but after that? The warlock Magnus Bane had stepped in and performed a memory spell on Simon’s mother so that she now had no recollection that he had been missing at all. The last time he had come home from a date with Maia, he had found Elaine in the foyer, sitting in a chair facing the door, her arms crossed over her chest and a look of barely tempered rage on her face.
And the more time that passed, the more awkward the idea of saying something grew. Isabelle and Maia weren’t really friends, and rarely saw each other. Clary’s mother and her longtime friend, Luke, were getting married in a few weeks, and both Isabelle and Maia were invited to the wedding, a prospect Simon found more terrifying than the idea of being chased through the streets of New York by an angry mob of vampire hunters. .’” There was a rush of cold air as the door of the restaurant opened, letting in another customer. Neither of the men looked as if they were interested in food, though. “By the Angel, you don’t know anything about your kind, do you? ” “Well, when a mommy vampire and a daddy vampire love each other very much . “I’m a vampire because I drank some of Raphael’s blood before I died. That’s why it’s not against the Law for a vampire to feed on a human. Of course every once in a while the vampire will decide it wants more than a snack, it wants a subjugate—and then it will start feeding its bitten human small amounts of vampire blood, just to keep it docile, to keep it connected to its master. You were drawn back to the vampire whose blood you had consumed.” “Raphael,” Simon said, his voice bleak. “I never wanted to be a vampire,” Simon said, half-wondering why he was telling these things to this strange woman. When I found out I was a Daylighter, I thought I could have one. I can go to school, I can live at home, I can see my mom and sister—” “As long as you don’t ever eat in front of them,” said Camille. You have never fed on someone purely human, have you? But Camille’s eyes were very green and steady, and for some reason he wanted to do what she wanted him to do. “What if I could offer you a way to turn what you regard as a curse into an advantage? Santiago—Raphael, as you call him—was my second in command. One night I found out that he was murdering humans, driving them to that old hotel in Spanish Harlem and drinking their blood for his amusement. Taking stupid risks, breaking Covenant Law.” She took a sip of wine. I fled, with only Walker and Archer to keep me safe.” “So all this time he’s claimed he’s just leading until you return? He wasn’t used to adult women looking at him with big tear-filled eyes, or spilling out their life stories to him. She shrugged, a very expressive shrug that made him wonder if perhaps her accent was French. “I have been hiding out in London all this time, looking for allies, biding my time. Simon could hear the soft electrical hum of the Christmas lights overhead, the water plashing in the stone fountain in the center of the courtyard, the buzz and hum of the city. ” She shook her head, and her brilliant hair flew around her face. I believe they are loyal to me beneath their fear of him. I don’t really hate Raphael, or want to get rid of him just to get rid of him. That’s all I ever wanted.” She folded her hands together in front of her. That night, he’d been able to hear her breathing before he’d seen her.
That they’d been dating regularly for the past month or two amazed him, even if their relationship was limited mostly to infrequent meetings like this one.
And even if he couldn’t help but wonder if he’d never been changed into a vampire, if his whole life hadn’t been altered in that moment, would they be dating at all?
It lay across the table, gleaming in the diner’s fluorescent lights. I haven’t really seen him since that time I threatened to kill him with a candelabra. You might as well tell me what it is.” “We are not privy to our master’s plans,” said Mr. On the one hand he didn’t think Isabelle had ever referred to herself as his girlfriend before. I swear on my master’s honor that no harm will come to you, Daylighter, and that should you wish to refuse my master’s offer, you will have the free choice to do so.” Mr. The gesture itself wasn’t what was creepy, really; it was that they did it exactly at the same time and in the same way, as if they were puppets whose strings were being yanked in unison. She worked during the day for an environmental nonprofit, and most of her clothes had animal motifs on them.
It was a dark, heavy silver, with crosses burned into both sides of the hilt. On the other hand it was symptomatic of how strange his life had become that was the thing that had startled him most tonight, rather than the fact that he had just been summoned to a meeting by the most powerful vampire in New York. Walker, in what he probably thought was a soothing tone, “has a proposition to put to the Daylighter—” “His name is Simon. Walker spoke the words with a mixture of adoration and awe. How horrible to be so bound to someone else, and to have no real will of your own. She’d been hunting demons and lawbreaking Downworlders—rogue vampires, black-magic-practicing warlocks, werewolves who’d run wild and eaten someone—since she was twelve years old, and was probably better at what she did than any other Shadowhunter her age, with the exception of her brother Jace. Right now she was wearing a dress tie-dye printed with dolphins and waves, and a pin that had once been a live fish, dipped in resin.
They didn’t appear to be taking steps so much as gliding forward soundlessly. Their eyes were a pale whitish gray color, like dirty snow. I would have thought you above this sort of business, Isabelle Lightwood.” “I’m not his bodyguard,” said Isabelle. “You don’t have to do what he says.” “Of course I don’t,” Simon said, lowering his voice. Meanwhile, whenever Simon was home, he could feel the weight of his mother’s gaze on him, like an accusation wherever he went. He glanced toward the couch, and his surprise faded. His mom was still asleep, her breathing slow and even.
It took them only seconds to cross the restaurant; by the time they neared Simon’s table, Isabelle had whipped the sharp stiletto-like dagger out of the top of her boot. “If Raphael wants me in the clan, it’s because he wants something from me. “I won’t go.” “If you do not wish to come with us, we are authorized to use force to bring you.” The dagger seemed to leap into Isabelle’s hand; or at least, she barely seemed to move, and yet she was holding it. “I’m his Simon was startled enough to look at her in surprise, but she was staring down the two subjugates, her dark eyes flashing. Lewis will find it most advantageous if he is willing to accompany us and hear my master out. ” Both subjugates rubbed their hands together, like villains in a comic book. Isabelle banged the knife down on the table with a clatter and leaned forward, her shining dark hair brushing the tabletop. “But if I refuse to go, do you think Raphael is just going to drop it? They’ll keep coming after me.” He snuck a glance sideways at the subjugates; they looked as if they agreed, though he might have been imagining it. Squaring his shoulders, he dropped his messenger bag by the door and headed into the living room to face the music. The local announcer was reporting on a human interest story—a baby found abandoned in an alley behind a hospital downtown. His mother was asleep, her glasses on the table beside her, a half-empty glass on the floor. Elaine Lewis was a tiny, birdlike woman, with a halo of black curling hair, streaked with gray that she refused to dye.
“Then tell her.” This had turned out to be bad advice. .’” “Shh.” Isabelle finished knotting her scarf around her throat and leaned forward, putting her hand on Simon’s wrist. “You’d think they’d be weak from blood loss all the time, but vampire saliva actually has healing properties. The shape of it seemed to change sometimes, like the moving images found in clouds, but it was always clear and black and somehow dangerous-looking, like a warning sign scrawled in another language. That’s most nights, in case you’re curious.” “I’m not mocking you, Simon.” She ran her tongue over her lower lip as if tasting the wine she had just drunk. Simon thought of Jace, and pushed the thought hastily away. “You cannot hide your true self forever.” “What teenager doesn’t lie to their parents? When she did, the neckline of her black silk blouse gaped open. “See Very few people knew of the Mark that Clary had put on him in Idris. ” Simon sat back, letting his hair fall back into place. “But I’m not sure I’m that curious.” Her eyes held a little spark of surprise and amusement and perhaps, Simon thought, even a little respect. It will not affect their safety, or their well-being. “Until quite recently I led the Manhattan clan, happily. “Raphael is afraid of you, Simon, as well he should be. The wrath of—” The word bit and burned in his mouth, just as it always did. You will learn you are not damned.” “Ma’am—” “Camille. I am convinced you will see the wisdom of my proposal and join with me.” “And what exactly is your proposal? He had vanished from home, with no chance to offer an excuse or explanation. She was suspicious now, hovering, always watching him, insisting he be home at certain times.
There was a knife stuck into the top of her left boot that Simon knew only he could see; still, everyone in the diner was watching as she sat down, flinging her hair back.
Whatever she was wearing, Isabelle drew attention like a fireworks display. When Simon had met her, he’d assumed she’d have no time for a guy like him. Isabelle liked boys her parents disapproved of, and in her universe that meant Downworlders—faeries, werewolves, and vamps.
And she really couldn’t believe that Simon hadn’t yet told either of them about the other. Maia liked to come to his house and use his Xbox—they didn’t have one at the abandoned police station where the werewolf pack lived—and it wasn’t until the third or fourth time she’d come over that she’d leaned over and kissed him good-bye before she’d left. “I was told I was meeting Raphael Santiago here,” said Simon, not reaching to take it. ” Camille Belcourt laughed like a rippling fountain. Though once upon a time he worked for me.” And Simon remembered. “Of the Manhattan clan.” He turned back to the subjugates. You told me I was meeting Raphael.” “I said you were meeting our master,” said Mr. His eyes were vast and empty, so empty that Simon wondered if they had even meant to mislead him, or if they were simply programmed like robots to say whatever their master had told them to say, and were unaware of deviations from the script. Archer turned to walk away, Simon caught sight of a mark on the side of his throat, a deep bruise, so dark it looked like paint, with two darker spots inside it. ” Simon sat, perching uncomfortably on the edge of the hard metal chair. Over time you will train yourself to be able to consume wine and other beverages. ” he inquired, gazing pointedly down at his cell phone, which told him the time was after ten thirty. ” Okay, there was no reason this woman needed to know that. “I was just wondering what was so important.” “You still live with your mother, don’t you? “Rather odd, isn’t it, a powerful vampire like yourself refusing to leave home, to join with a clan? You probably haven’t seen as many bad movies as I have.” Camille frowned faintly, a very fine line appearing between her brows. Perhaps it is just that I don’t know many vampires of your generation. He had told his mother he was going out to practice with Eric and his other bandmates for a gig on Saturday.
He’d been pleased, and then had called up Clary to ask her if he needed to tell Isabelle. “This.” Isabelle reached across the table and pushed his hair back, her touch more clinical than gentle. Simon had looked at the Mark enough times himself, in the mirror, to know well what it looked like. “And here she is.” “Indeed.” Camille flashed a brilliant smile toward her subjugates. I need to speak to Simon alone.” There was something about the way she said it—both his name, and the word “alone”—that was like a secret caress. The darker spots were punctures, ringed with dry, ragged flesh. “Please,” said Camille, and patted the seat beside her. “I don’t really drink.” “Of course,” she said, all sympathy. Some of the oldest of our kind can consume human food with few ill effects.” ill effects? “I have to get home.” Camille took a sip of her wine. ” “So you interrupted my date to make fun of me for still living with my parents. “But then you will never know what I wished to tell you. I’ll keep your secret, unless I think something you say is putting my friends in danger. ‘Cohorts.’ It’s like saying ‘evildoers’ or ‘minions.’” She stared at him blankly. But that will be good for me, I feel, to be around someone so . There had been a time when she simply would have believed him, and that would have been that; Elaine Lewis had always been a relaxed parent, never imposing a curfew on either Simon or his sister or insisting that they be home early on school nights.