Chapter 1: A new person in town
In his time as Magnus’ valet, Raphael had been forced into attending hundreds of parties, in which the majority Magnus himself had hosted. It was well known in all kinds of society (both the depraved and the virtuous) that the parties hosted at Bane manor in West Egg were the best of the best and going to them was an absolute must for anyone who was anyone. Even if said host had managed to remain anonymous.
Raphael had to applaud Magnus’ ability to get his name out into the world, have it worshipped and adored, and yet have very few people actually know who he was or what he looked like.
Although, Raphael reflected as he wrote down a note from Mr. Starkweather over the phone, maybe that was for the best. Magnus’ business was not one the police would externally appreciate, even though most could be bribed off, but nonetheless it provided them with the funds to retain the upkeep for the grandiose mansion they currently lived in on the bay of West Egg.
Raphael didn’t actually live in the mansion in an official capacity, he still went home to the Santiago clan every weekend, but he stayed in that mansion for five days of the week and had slowly gotten used to it grandeur and its size, despite Magnus often complaining about the place being too damn small.
From outside the window Raphael heard a faint rumble and his attention was quickly swept away from his, frankly, mind-numbing job and being the completely attentive neighbour and concerned valet he was, went over to make sure no rabble from the main city had found its way to the mansion hours before the party was set to begin.
Instead of the usual humdrum of slightly tipsy, slightly-aristocratic-but-not-really people approaching the Bane residence when a party was going to start, Raphael caught sight of a plain black Ford Model T parking into the driveway of the cottage that bordered along the neatly trimmed lawn of the mansion.
Raphael smirked slightly at the idea of the cottage as a neighbouring house.
The Bane mansion grounds were massive and its neighbour, a cottage which Raphael would have been more at comfort in, was situated quite a distance away and one needed to walk at least five minutes from the grand rococo style door of the Bane residence to the muddy driveway of the smaller residence.
Raphael would know as it was his usual calm down walk when Magnus got a little too prissy for his liking.
Raphael watched with anticipation at the person stepping out the car, seeing only a modest two trunks of a dark brown colour strapped to the back. From what Raphael could make out from the small window and the distance between them, the figure was definitely male, that was noticeable instantly, and remarkably tall, although probably not as tall as Magnus, who at 6’2 stood taller than most.
His hair looked to be dark brown or black, flopping down in a fringe over his eyes as opposed to the more popular slick back parted style many youths sported today (coincidently both Raphael and Magnus sported this style- they were after all in constant view of society). His clothes didn’t seem to be of the best make, although even from the window Raphael could see that they had once been of the highest quality – most likely worn down due to use and never replaced.
He seemed to be unsure of his actions at first, his shoulders were slightly hunched, and he kept on twitching in different directions as if thinking he should go there but then decided against it. Eventually, after a couple of minutes of relatively standing still, the man began the process of unlatching his trunks from the back of his car and trudging them, one by one, up the driveway before disappearing behind the lines of trees that separated the majority of the cottage from the mansion.
With a sigh Raphael turned away from the window, intending to give the note from Starkweather to Magnus now, but stopped short at the sight of a figure at the big window by the door, shadowy in the early morning light, and staring out in the direction of the cottage, body stiff and eyes unmoving.
Raphael waited expectantly for Magnus to move away from the window and head back into his office – the place he usually worked at this time of the day, but still found himself surprised when the Asian eventually did. For the first time as his valet , Raphael noticed that Magnus looked shy, apprehensive almost and yet unmistakably eager, a far cry from the usual you-can’t-touch-me, confident expression he wore all the time and Raphael felt a shock of hatred run through him at the sight.
He knew it was irrational, but he couldn’t help but hate the unknown neighbour now, regardless of their lack of acquaintance. Anyone who put the expression of apprehension on Magnus’ face, who made him look so vulnerable, was surely not a good person.
Isabelle, not for the first time on this journey, sighed in frustration at the confusing roads they were driving down. She was confident that they had passed that particular tree at least three times but god no obviously ‘it was a different one’, and Isabelle was now prepared to slap her fiancé -regardless of how dorkably loveable he was 90% of the time.
Eventually, after they’d passed the tree a fourth time, she had put her heeled foot down and climbed onto Simon’s lap and promptly taken over the driving, successfully getting them to Alec’s cottage in West Egg only an hour after when they had originally said they were going to arrive. As soon as they arrived and shut off the car Isabelle took great delight in viewing the building before her.
To put it simply, the cottage was beautiful.
It was beautifully small and quaint, with one main floor and an extension in the roof which could look out into the world through a large window. The walls were painted with a soft cream colour that blended perfectly with the lush greenery surrounding it, with windows that pushed open into eh early morning air and his from the sun using light blue striped curtains. The front door was painted a bright, gleaming white which stood out by being lined with rich green and white flowers creating a romantic archway into the house.
The garden situated out front was delicately preserved, filled with an array of bright red, yellow and purple flowers all perfectly cut and designed into circles that aligned wonderfully with the house. Trees that reached high up into the air with large swaying branches were circled by either benches or small delicate flowers of unseen beauty. From the door way was a small patio filled with potted plants of all varieties; it was quiet and cut-off from the world with individual stones leading from the door way to the driveway.
All in all, it looked like the sort of place once dreamed of as a child and Isabelle couldn’t stop the smile that spread over her face at the thought that this was the perfect place for her literature obsessed brother.
Loudly she honked the horn and scrambled madly out of Simon’s lap and the car, eager to finally see her brother after weeks apart; She had missed being around him many hours of the day and able to see him whenever she pleased.
The door flew open unceremoniously and she watched eagerly as Alec bounded out, a rare smile gracing his face, and raced down the patio steps before throwing his arms around her, picking her up and swirling her around. Isabelle yelped loudly and clutched at her brother tighter, unwilling to let him go, whilst burying a smile into his neck as he spun round and round, faster and faster before ungracefully setting her down and letting out a slight huff of a laugh as she fell to the floor.
It wasn’t a laugh but considering the last time she had seen him it was most definitely an improvement.
A bony hand graced her vision and Isabelle gladly took her fiancés offer of help as she let out a mature tongue waggle in her brother’s direction, glaring mildly at his sky blue eyes. “Well, at least someone is a gentleman around here.” She exclaimed, non-discreetly placing her hand on Simon’s shoulder, his dark brown suit perfectly setting off her diamond ring.
Alec, sweet, wonderful, oblivious Alec, completely ignored this not so subtle hint of hers and instead turned a deep scowl towards Simon, still managing to send a sliver of fear down his spine at the fearsome sight. “I am a gentleman Izzy, it is simply that you are not a gentlewoman.”
And off they went, squabbling and arguing over this and that and wouldn’t stop the smile adorning her face as they slipped into the familiar routine – one which had been too long absent from her life. Forever suffering the whims of his fiancée, Simon followed behind at a more sedate pace, placing his hands in his pockets and rolling his eyes at the classic Lightwood antics.
He stopped his walk suddenly when Alec turned to open the door and let out one small smirk in Simon’s direction, “Oh, and congrats Simon, you finally grew some balls and asked did you?” Simon, in response, felt his head burn bright red and listened to the dull thud of Isabelle hitting her brother’s shoulder.
Immediately after however, Isabelle pushed by her brother and began to investigate the small interior of the cottage, judging every piece of furniture and item left out for viewing.
The living area was homely, with one small light blue loveseat sat opposite a fire and neighbouring a singular seat of the same colour which were positioned to face slightly towards each other. An ivory bookcase in the corner reached from the floor to the roof and was overfilled with books of all kinds and even though millions would struggle to fill the case, her brother had somehow managed to not only have enough room, but to overfill it with books being piled up on any available space.
A small coffee table of a rich oak colour sat in front of the two sets of sofas, books littering its surface, and in the middle sat an uncompleted manuscript that Alec had been working on for a few months now. Izzy felt excited at just seeing it, wanting more than ever to to read it but aware that Alec would probably break every heel on her shoes if she did so without his permission.
Alec wasn’t passionate about much but writing had always had a special part of his soul.
The living room opened up to a kitchenette, light brown wood being the most predominant colour, filled with only the most basic essential items. An oven, a couple of cupboards, a small refrigerator, a sink, nothing more and nothing less. Practical, just like Alec. Isabelle felt disgruntled at the general lack of anything which was Alec’s but knew any attempt to make him do so would be fruitless.
Off to the side, no doubt what other people would use as large coatroom or small guest room, was Alec’s so called ‘workroom’. Isabelle had never actually seen his workroom before now, only ever hearing about it in absentminded accounts from Jace or in small titbits from Alec and the prospect of seeing it now made her heart skip a beat.
It was designed similar to a small office with only a singular wooden desk of average size, a dark wooden chair, the only phone in the house and finally a typewriter – the one instrument Alec would never part with. All of these items, Isabelle knew, Alec placed with worth higher than his own; it was in this room Izzy knew, that Alec worked on his novel when not at work, ardently typing away, ignoring the world around him.
Farther down the hallway, past the kitchenette, was the staircase upwards to what Izzy presumed was Alec’s actual bedroom and she had little doubts it was probably just as sparsely decorated as the rest of the cottage, although if it was decorated, Izzy probably wouldn’t think it was her brothers.
Collectively the cottage was a perfect home for her brother and Izzy was glad he had found this place of happiness and acceptance away from home.
“Please,” He said, gesturing vaguely in the direction of the loveseat, “Take a seat, I’ll put on some coffee.” Gratefully the pair sat down, thankful to finally relax after their stressful journey. “So, how had your first week of living in the cottage been, I’m sure it’s been swell” Izzy started, prompting her brother to let out a sigh as he walked back over, his hands full with three mugs before he passed them round one by one.
“It’s been positively hotsy-totsy Izzy, I have to say. During the day I can write my novel without interference because I’m further away from the city but I’m close enough that it takes only a short ride to get to work.” He smiled in eagerness and genuine happiness, and for once Izzy could see that it was real. Small, but real and that in itself was a miracle for Alec. “Although I wish that my neighbour would calm down a bit.”
“Why, what’s wrong with him?” Simon asked, seeing the look of hesitation on Isabelle’s face; she was a gossip a heart but her brother viewed the world vastly different and she never wanted to accidently offend him.
“All he does, every weekend, is party. Hundreds of people travel by this way to park up in his fancy mansion and don’t leave until the sun rises meaning that I don’t get that much sleep. Jesus, for once I’d like to go to sleep at a reasonable hour.”
“Christ Alec,” Izzy interfered, her party girl instincts taking over, “Don’t be such a fire extinguisher, let the cat party.”
As always, Alec let out a sigh at his sister’s words, flashbacks of his big brother moments showing up before his eyes quickly. “I’m not a fire extinguisher Izzy, grow some class, besides, we all know you’re here to update me on life in the big city and the rock on your finger, so let go of the neighbour and tell me everything.”
For the next few hours Isabelle happily regaled her brother, and to a certain extent her fiancé, of all the gossip running through the upper, middle and lower echelons of society. It was a conscious effort, one noted by the siblings, that she made sure to go into detail about scandal whilst feverishly staying away from anything to do with the Lightwood name.
Without the three even noticing, evening soon fell, and their meeting would have to break apart so that Alec could head off to work.
The trio slowly made their way over to the door, exchanging pleasantries all the way, unwilling to stop their conversation until the last moment. As Alec opened the door, the three halted suddenly at the sight of a woman wearing a dark blue dress that perfectly complimented her chocolate skin tone, her arm outstretched as if to knock on the now absent door.
Without missing a beat, her arm dropped, and a mega watt smile made its way onto her face, a confident mask slipping on almost instantly. “Mr Lightwood?” She asked, her eyes darting between Simon and Alec and although the situation was understandable, Izzy couldn’t help the flare of possessiveness that overtook her at having another woman analysing her fiancé.
“This is my fiancé Simon Lewis,” She purred, confidently perching her hand on his shoulder, eyes flaming towards the woman, “and this is my brother, Alec.” She finished, a feral smile overtaking her face. Women in this day and age were starting to become more vocal about their desires and she wasn’t going to keep quiet about who exactly it was Simon Lewis was engaged to.
Beside her, Alec cleared his throat and stepped forward, hands instinctively twitching in nervousness even after all his years of preforming in front of people for work. “I’ve been asked to hand you this invite.” She politely offered, holding out to Alec a purple card with gold ribbon delicately tied around it, and three sets of eyes instantly stared at it as he reached out and placed into his hands.
Isabelle looked up to start her questioning on the girl, only to see her disappearing down the driveway and moving off into the direction of the mansion that neighboured Alec’s cottage, vanishing into the dark that surrounded the absent mansion. Frowning at the lack of respect or basic decency, Isabelle turned back to the invite in her brother’s hand instantly gasping out loud at the sight that greeted her.
In his hand was a sleek, royal purple coloured piece of card, no bigger than a greeting card, filled with beautiful golden handwriting; without even asking, she grabbed the invite out of her brother’s hand, ignoring the startled yelp that accompanied it and read the invite in disbelief.
“Jesus Christ Alec, you didn’t tell us your neighbour was Magnus Bane!” She screamed, her voice quickly rising to an almost sonic pitch, the dogs near by raising their heads in wonder.
Came the immediate reply from both parties. Isabelle rolled her eyes at the pair, sighing internally at the people she called her friends. “Magnus Bane holds the most glorious and elegant parties. No one knows who he is or what he looks like, nor how he got all his money, but everyone accepts that his parties top all else!” One pair of eyes, belonging to Simon, continued to look into her own whilst the other, belonging to Alec, lowered to the floor, cheeks flaming in apparent embarrassment.
Impatiently Simon reached out towards the invite, intending to read it for himself, but Isabelle knew him too well and moved her arm in the opposite direction, bringing it closer to her eyes to read aloud.
“You are invited to a gathering at the home of Magnus the Magnificent, a rapturous evening of delight beyond your wildest dreams, at midnight tomorrow. Bring along as many friends as you please, all are welcome.”
The message was a little impersonal but Izzy couldn’t stop her disbelief at seeing such an invite being literally handed to her brother, Magnus Bane was infamous for his parties, and although many wondered exactly how Magnus made his money, many didn’t care as his parties more than made up for his mysteries, Izzy being one of those people.
She thought she saw a hint of a smile grace her brothers face as she read the invitation out but was unable to question it as Simon quickly grabbed her arm and steered her out of the cottage, calling out a hasty, “We gotta bounce” as they got in the car and set off. She had wanted to interrogate her brother, find out why exactly Magnus Bane of all people would be sending him an invite and why the sheer mention of his name would cause a blush; she also had wanted to make sure he turned up but now there was no guarantee.
Turning back to face the road leading them out of West Egg, Isabelle smiled to herself, she would simply have to come back.
Catarina let herself back into Magnus’ mansion, huffing at the slightly cold air of the evening and glad for the silence that graced the home this evening. Tomorrow the halls, the rooms, the gardens, everything was going to be packed with dancing, singing party members and she revelled in the quiet whilst she could.
It had surprised her when Magnus had said he wasn’t going to throw a party this evening, but she was secretly glad; Catarina wasn’t stupid enough to think Magnus threw his parties for the pure happiness of the act. However, his random request of sending an invite, an invite to his neighbour who apparently Magnus was oh so very eager to meet, was of more interest to her in this moment and she desired to know the secret.
Why Magnus hadn’t introduced himself as he normally would is beyond her, but she wont push him, it would only make him clamp up more.
Sashaying through the long hallways, enjoying the feeling of her beaded dress against her bare legs, Catarina bellowed out for Magnus, wanting to let him know that his task had been done. She felt a presence move behind her and stretched her arm out, delighting in the fingers entangling with her own, Ragnor Fell drawing himself closer by her side as they ran around the house together.
“Any word on why our melodramatic friend is going to all this trouble to meet up with his neighbour?” She questioned, hoping that maybe Magnus had confided in his closest and oldest friend. A sigh following the question meant that Catarina instantly knew that Magnus had yet to divulge that information.
For the past week Magnus had been partying almost non-stop, hosting multiple parties at the same time, drinking more and more alcohol and secluding himself in anonymity. She had been prepared to hold an intervention when early in the morning Magnus had come to her, a nervous expression covering his face, and shyly held out an invite, asking her if she would be willing to give it to his neighbour whilst also saying that there was to be no party that evening.
The question had surprised her for multiple reasons, the first being that, as far as she knew, Magnus had never actually invited anyone to his parties, usually they just turned up, and the second being that he had been shy.
Magnus was never shy!
In all the years they’d been friends - aside from the Camille years which Catarina refuses to acknowledge -Magnus had been outgoing and outlandish, unafraid to face the world and all the people in it; whoever this neighbour was, Magnus wanted to know him, wanted to meet him
Catarina pulled Ragnor with her all the way to Magnus’ study, barging her way through the door unapologetically. Magnus was sat at the desk, anxiously wringing his hands as he stared out of the window that faced the cottage and Catarina was struck with how young he looked in this moment. His shoulders were slightly hunched forward in anticipation, bottom lip being worried by teeth as eyes darted quickly around the area outside.
“Magnus” she called out gently, unwilling to startle him when he was so deep in his thoughts. He turned his head slightly towards her and smiled so brightly it overtook the rest of him and held out his arms, allowing her to step into his chest and accept the hug given to her. “Thank you my Darling.” He whispered into her bob, clutching her to him tighter before letting her go and turning around to his desk, raising the phone off the hook and sending a pointed look to the door.
“Thank you my dears” he called out pointedly to the pair in the room, silently ushering them to the door, “If you don’t mind, I have a party to plan.”
“Will he come?” She hears Ragnor ask and feels the breath in her throat clog up at the question – Magnus had made the effort and now it was the neighbours turn.
“I don’t know.” Was Magnus’ honest, but eager, reply. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Magnus had lasted all of five minutes before running out to him and Catarina, asking (begging) for help to plan his party. He fluttered over the details, changing one idea for another within the space of one second, all whilst taking important phone calls for his bootlegging business.
Ragnor was confident he’d never seen Magnus’ hair so untamed.
“Now my little cabbage, who do you think we should have as entertainment at the party, we need someone to really set things off don’t you think?” Ragnor notes that Magnus isn’t actually focused on him when he talks, his head is down, shirt slightly unbuttoned and suspenders around his waist as he juggled sheets of paper around the desk.
“Magnus-“ He tries, stifling his laughter alongside his Catarina as the Asian just keeps on talking to them but ignoring them.
“Maybe we could get a jazz singer, haven’t had one of those for a while-“
“And maybe we should have a champagne chandelier-“
“Magnus!” Ragnor shouts, voice echoing amongst the walls of the spacious room they’re in; honestly Bane manor is far too big to be comfortable sometimes. Finally though it seems as those he’s got through and Magnus looks up with a startled expression, eyes wide and mouth slack. His mouth shuts with an audible click and once again Ragnor finds himself hiding his laughter behind his hand whilst Catarina presses her lips tightly together.
“Yes my green Mrs Grundy?” He asks sarcastically, hands beginning to twitch once more. It was slightly unnerving, Ragnor found, to see Magnus in such a state as he was. In all their years of friendship, from the backstreet slums before Magnus’ father found him and took him under his wing, to this moment now, the taller male had never appeared nervous or flighty before.
This neighbour certainly was something interesting.
“Why do you care so much, who is this boy?” Raphael askes. It’s the question Ragnor himself has been dying to ask the entire day since he found out Magnus had asked for an invitation to be sent out to the cottage next door.
Raphael, who was sat opposite them, had confirmed that so far Magnus had only looked at the boy through his window during his first week of being in Week Egg but had yet to approach him or talk about him – something which the Magnus Ragnor knew would not stand for.
The question seems to make him stop. Catarina, Ragnor noticed, was observing the man’s breathing to reassure herself nothing was majorly wrong and Raphael seemed ready to bolt to a phone should an ambulance be needed.
“I heard through the grapevine a couple of weeks ago that an Alexander Lightwood had returned to New York but could find no one to confirm or deny this to me.” He starts and Ragnor takes a moment to pause.
Lightwood is a familiar name to him. Robert Lightwood was a politician, infamous for taking dodgy deals and bribes from rich city officials to make their problems disappear whilst managing to dodge any official retribution for it.
Maryse Lightwood was a socialite who moved with the upper echelons of society, looking down on those she deems beneath her. The family is old money, born from aristocracy, and Ragnor knows for a fact that the lightwoods only tolerated Magnus’ father because he was richer than them.
“I-I tried to get more information myself about him but couldn’t. You see my dear cabbage, that boy is someone I knew a few summers ago. We met at one of my father’s many properties, his family were staying there for the summer.” Magnus seems to almost lose himself to his memories and for a moment Ragnor thinks that they will receive no more information about this neighbour until the party tomorrow – if the boy turned up that was.
Vaguely Raphael remembers a Magnus of a few years ago, nineteen and ready to take on the world. He remembers Magnus complaining and crying about having to spend the summer apart from himself and Catarina but not commenting on it once he’d actually left New York. He remembers, above all else, the way in which Magnus had come back and seemed more distant, sneaking off to his room to read letters or driving into the city for a shopping trip.
He’s starting to feel the shopping trips were in name only.
“We became fast friends despite his parents opinion and spent all our time together before his family went back home. We continued to meet up for a while, created and used plans for the next summer when we saw each other again and generally were inseparable.” His voice turns wistful and Ragnor feels the pull of his heartstrings towards his friend.
Magnus had never explicitly stated his sexuality, America wasn’t exactly known as being the forefront of freedom after all, but Ragnor and Catarina had always suspected something wasn’t quite the same with their friend and this seemed to all but explicitly confirm it.
“What was he like?” Catarina asks, body tilting forward slightly in excitement. Ragnor didn’t think he’d seen her this excited since he’d presented her with a manacle on their second anniversary.
Magnus seemed to think about this question carefully and even Raphael manages to look vaguely interested in the answer. It wasn’t obvious – the man had far too much emotional control for that – but Ragnor could see it in the way his body leaned forward a tiny bit and his head was lifted just so that his eyeline was above the floor.
“He was…” Magnus began in a dreamy tone trailing off before he’s even begun properly, eyes fluttering shut as he lost himself in memories.
A subtle cough from Raphael seemed to pull it out and Ragnor witnessed the way Magnus’ unique golden green eyes seemed to clear and snap into focus. His voice became a little more professional, not entirely relaxed, and the elder realised that Magnus was now speaking in broader terms, refusing to comment on the personal affect this neighbour, this Alexander Lightwood had on him.
“He was a real swell guy Cat, a real berry of a person. Never met a man who cared more for his siblings than him, nor a man so innocent in all things. He was a real Oliver twist too, taught me things I had never seen before!” Magnus become excited as he speaks, his voice becoming lighter and louder, more expressive and less guarded. It is a humorous thing to watch Ragnor thinks.
And for the boy to know more dance moves than Magnus was something completely unexpected. Magnus had always been a knowledgeable man about dancing, able to keep up with the latest trends and movements, so to have a boy younger than him teaching him was remarkably exciting.
“What happened, why did we never meet him?” Ragnor hates to ask the question, really he does, but he needs to know. This boy clearly had a positive effect on Magnus and for the Asian man to be unsettled by his presence in West Egg, even if the boy hadn’t been aware of it when he’d first moved in, indicated that something was not quite right.
“We had a falling out on the just before the third summer. Parted on less than amiable terms and created a positively unfixable rift between us that couldn’t be solved through letters or phone calls. I don’t even know what he does for a living now.” The taller man’s voice is lower now, more sombre and Ragnor sighs heavily at the realisation that once again, Magnus had gotten his heart broken.
“When I overheard someone mention he might be back in New York I just-I just knew that somehow I’d have to see him again. It was a genius stroke of luck that he moved next door, it meant I wouldn’t have to look for him, but I don’t want to impose on him, not if he’s still angry at me. So don’t you see! A party is the best thing to do, and with an invite he has an extra incentive to come.”
The joviality of Magnus’ tone is fake, a visage of confidence that fools nobody in the room but they all pretend it does. If left too long now Magnus will resume his restless buzzing, trying to fix details of his party than need no altering and generally becoming more depressed as the evening goes on.
“Personally I think you’ve been a bluenose to us Magnus,” Ragnor begins as he takes a sip of his whiskey. He sees Raphael and Catarina raise their heads sharply in shock but across from him Magnus simply raises an eyebrow and gestures for him to continue on.
“Well only you and Cat have seen this bird, and as it would be weird for me and Raphael to just wander round, I want to know if you’ve got any photographs of him?” Its an honest question, one that within this context is more than appropriate, but secretly Ragnor wants to know what this boy looks like for personal interest.
With a smile and a slam of his drink Magnus runs off in the direction of his bedroom, leaving the three friends behind to look around curiously. With just a quick glance Ragnor knows that even though the four of them have been through thick and thin, the presence of Alexander Lightwood was something kept from them all.
In the space of five minutes – which is quite remarkable seeing as the Bane mansion could rival a small castle in size – Magnus returns to them, waving a photograph in his hand and smoking a new cigar in his mouth. The taller male is not a habitual smoker, preferring instead the homemade brand of giggle juice the man is famous for in certain circles, so Ragnor knows his friend is deathly anxious about re-uniting with this boy.
The cigar does not go unnoticed by Catarina or Raphael either.
“Here!” Magnus declares, throwing down the photograph with a flourish and brandishing it in front of their eyes like magic. The photo is grainy and slightly unfocused, yellowed by the gradual passing of time, but Ragnor can tell his friend has kept this photo safe and preserved to the best of his ability.
Its blaringly obvious the photo was taken on the beach; sand is beneath their feet as they sit on outcroppings of rock, the gentle waves crashing in the background.
Both boys are wearing short black swimming briefs, leaving their muscular torsos bare and shapely legs on display with wide grins and carefree expressions. Their hair is wet, dripping in front of their eyes as fringes fall forward onto foreheads.
The first thing Ragnor really notices is that Alexander looks young.
His body is toned, putting Ragnor’s to shame without even trying, but he can see the tell-tale sign of slight baby fat, a certain plumpness that goes away with maturity. His smile is goofy and wild, stretching all across his face whilst a blush decorates half of his face, and his eyes are bright and shining, showing a happiness Ragnor had only ever seen in story books.
The second thing Ragnor notices is that Alexander is a looker; for a boy that was.
His jaw was chiselled, even at whatever age in the photo, and his abs clearly defined. His shoulders were broad and muscular with the sun bouncing off them in what Ragnor presumed was bright rays and his face was sculpted perfectly. He can’t see what colour his eyes are – black and white photographs tend to keep that information hidden – but regardless of that, he can see they are enticing.
From beside him Catarina let out a wistful sigh and Ragnor feels his cheeks begin to burn.
The boy’s hands are trapped between his muscular thighs, his head slight down in embarrassment as his fringe flops in front of his face, his baby face reflecting the sun. Magnus has his arm wrapped solidly round the boys shoulders, holding him close to his chest as his face slightly snuggled into the boys hair, a smile of equal width on his own face.
It strikes Ragnor that he hasn’t seen Magnus smile like this for many years.
“Gosh Magnus how old is that boy!” For once the elder is glad that Raphael still feels okay with blurting out statements many find difficult in phrasing as he had wanted to find out the answer to that question himself. As he saw in his earlier observations, Alexander Lightwood looks quite young with a baby face and last remnants of baby fat on his body whilst Magnus looks the same as he does in this moment at twenty two.
Magnus blushes at the question and ducks his head as his eyes become fixated on the picture. “Well I was nineteen then and Alexander was…fifteen I think.” He trails off at the end, mumbling the answer under his breath to try and lessen the impact. The boy does not look sixteen in this photo and Ragnor can feel his scepticism rising at the answer, especially as Magnus made it sound like a question.
“Really?” Raphael asks with a deadpan tone, raised eyebrow betraying his true feelings on the matter. “Just how long had Alexander Lightwood been fifteen Magnus?”
“He was going to be sixteen in a week.”
Ragnor let that sink in for a moment. Magnus a few summers ago had gone on holiday to one of his father’s properties where he met the Lightwood family and under all the good judgement he held had decided, at nineteen, to pursue a relationship with a boy only fifteen years old.
“Magnus!” Catarina screamed, slapping him on the back of the head in anger, “What exactly were you think-
“Catarina it wasn’t what you think!” He cried, holding hands out in front of her desperately. Golden green eyes cast a glance around the room, taking in the mix of anger and disbelief on his friends faces before standing up tall, raising his head high in defiance.
“We only became friends that summer, nothing more I assure you, I wouldn’t dream of doing anything, honestly what on earth do you all think of me!” He snatched the photo away from them and Ragnor noticed the slightly embarrassed look on Catarina’s face; she wouldn’t apologise to him, her pride was too strong, but she probably would be getting him drinks and helping more with the party to make up for the slap.
Ragnor sighed, sipped his drink with as much conviction as possible and held out his hand to Magnus. “Show me the entertainment list then.”
They had a party to plan.
Out of all the parties Clary had gone to, she could say without an ounce of hesitation that Magnus Bane’s was undoubtably the one she was most excited about. Walking up the driveway the music came through the walls of the house to the outside and greeted her with splendour and a glance at the large gothic mansion made of gold. It was bigger than anything Clary had ever seen before and she had to take a moment to gaze up at it.
Dragging a reluctant-but-not-really Jace with her, Clary moved towards the large open doors already filled with crowds of people and pushed through, eager to see if the splendour inside matched that of the outside.
She overheard one of the guests speculating that people had been arriving since noon as another wondered at the Rolls-Royce parked in the driveway; she didn’t care for either titbit of information, eager to push past it all and get to the actual party.
The second they pushed through the crowd, Clary could hardly contain the gasp that resounded within her.
The room was decorated with rich gold coverings that glimmered from the light of the chandelier, white marble floors shone that brighter than her future and stretched far down the hallway, a buffet table on the other side of the room was filled with glistening hors’doeuvre, spiced baked hams, salads of harlequin designs and what appeared to pastry pigs and turkeys wrapped in a dark gold covering.
Clary, enticed by the first room, dragged a protesting Jace with her deeper into the house, emerging into the main hall with wide eyes and grins. A bar stood proudly with a real brass rail wrapped round it, bottles of liqueurs and gins stocked proudly for viewing pleasure as server after server poured drinks of golden liquid into glasses or mouths.
On tables around the room, stood tall and strong, bottles of champagne were arranged in neat rows raising high into the formation of a pyramid. It was nothing like she had never seen and Clary was so grateful that she had finally agreed to follow her boyfriend to one of his many ‘parties’, regardless of if she hadn’t met the host.
In fact, where was that host?
At the back of the room, surrounded by couples of various drunkenness, was an actual orchestra, something Clary had never seen beyond the realm of the theatre she performed in. It was a whole pitiful of oboes and trombones, saxophones and viols, cornets and piccolos, drums that beat rhythms high and low, music sweeping across the floor like a magic enchantment, enticing all to dance.
The room was alive with chatter and laughter, tittering from corners and shouts from the middle. Clary didn’t recognise anyone, and she knows that they don’t recognise her, but still both she and Jace were welcomed warmly by hundreds of ‘friends’. Jace smiled at her, that heart-breaking smile that caught her heart the first time and grabbed her hands before swinging her wildly into the fray to dance.
She doesn’t know how long exactly they’ve dancing before she catches sight of a familiar head of hair, waves of black that cascade down a bared back. Izzy was dancing opposite from her in a risky dress that scandalously exposed the majority of her back and cut off at the knee, bracelets jangling loudly from her wrist as Simon, dressed handsomely in a pinstripe suit, twirled her round the room.
Their dancing is base, wild and free and Clary knows beyond the haze of alcohol that they all danced with each other at some point, laughing loudly and carelessly as the band continued playing.
After another amount of undetermined time dancing, Izzy dragged them all away to the back garden, pushing and shoving crowds of drunk partygoers out of her way and once more Clary found herself blown away by the grandeur of this place. The garden, as the rest of the house was full of splendour and delights she’d never seen.
There was a normal layout of a garden, luscious green grass where people of various states of dress were lounging, talking, drinking and at one glance in a bush kissing. In the middle, used by what seemed an entire team of swimmers and football players, was a sparkling blue pool about twice as large as the apartment she shared with Jace. It looked inviting, waves of blue lapping at the side as muscular males splashed about and jumped at each other.
A polite cough from the blond on her arm drew her attention away from their wet bodies.
At the very end of the garden, partially hidden by trees and statue decorations was what looked like a tennis court and Clary could see the fire light up in Jace’s eyes as he caught sight of it. He loved competition and used every available chance to flaunt his natural ability with sports.
Izzy pulled them over to a table partially surrounded by other partygoers and collapsed down on a chair, claiming the drink from Simon’s hand and dipping the bill. They all sat round talking absently, speculating on the lack of appearance from the host and the current fashions on display before Clary finally plucked up the courage to face down with the female Lightwood.
“So Izzy, from your telephone call I was expecting to see a certain tall, dark and handsome Lightwood brother with us today.” Clary couldn’t help but wonder where the eldest Lightwood sibling was that evening after the frantic and rather undecipherable telephone call she had received in the waking hours of the morning.
Izzy had woken her up, screaming down the telephone that a certain lightwood had received an invitation to the most glorious party and they would all be in attendance whether or not they had something on. Absently she had wondered exactly why Alec had received an invitation to a party people were allowed to just turn up at but Izzy had steamrolled right through her questions and order her to pick them up at seven o’clock on pain of all her flapper dresses matching the colour of her fiery hair.
Beside her Jace scoffed, muttering a quick “he’s not handsome” in a petulant tone, as Izzy huffed angrily, pulling another drink out of somewhere and swallowing it.
Clary waited, expecting a follow-up comment about how he was lying or how he was going to turn up at a later point but Izzy just sat back and stole Simon’s cigarette out of his mouth. “And?” She prompted as Jace moved away from the table in search of another drink, surely Izzy wasn’t letting this go after how excited she was in the morning.
“Busy, he said, when I called him. I was going to have a go at him, drive down in our Iron and drag him out of the house but he gave his reasons. Legitimate and everything.” She sighed in annoyance again, puffing out the smoke from the cigarette and huffing back into her seat.
Clary could see Izzy was absolutely gearing up to pump Alec full of lead when she next saw him but ultimately understood he wouldn’t be coming to the party this evening for whatever reason he gave. Izzy stumped out her cigarette onto the table, planted a kiss onto Simon’s waiting lips and stood up, turning to walk away towards the main hall “I’m gonna get some giggle juice, be rate whilst I’m gone.”
Clary turned towards Simon with a perfectly sculpted eyebrow lifted in wonderment and puzzlement, expecting an answer about his dolls behaviour. He smiled at her in that cheeky way he had retained since childhood and took a sip of his drink. “Alec Lightwood has a legit reason to not be here and Izzy had no choice but to accept it or face the famous Lightwood silence.”
Clary found herself laughing at the smug expression on Simon’s face as he crossed his legs and took a swig of her drink.
Suddenly from beside her the chair was all but ripped out of its position as someone sat down, slamming a champagne bottle on the table. Clary looked up in surprise at the new person and found herself mesmerised at a pair of golden green eyes lined with black kohl staring inquisitively at her. “Um…hello?” She questioned hesitantly as two more people joined the man, standing behind him with slightly exasperated expressions on their faces.
“Hello darlings, I was just listening to your conversation-
“And I overheard you talking about a certain Alexander Lightwood, is he here?” Clary took pause at the mans eager expression, the way his arms crossed over on the table straining his shirt around his biceps, his body leaning over them in anticipation of the answer, his eyes alight with curiosity.
“He’s not.” Simon called out from his position opposite them, “He’s busy with work.”
The mans face fell almost imperceptibly before a smiling mask was put in place, his body relaxing a little more but dropping in disappointment. “Work?”
“Oh yes!” Clary said excitably, finally gathering her wits enough to engage in the conversation, her excitement bubbling at the chance of talking to someone so well put together. At a party like this Clary wanted to seem important and in the know, so she turned to the unknown man prepared to unleash all her knowledge on him.
“He’s dancing this evening, he’s in ballet don’t you know. Trained in France and everything for a few years before coming back here.” The man looks surprised at this information, shocked in fact, and Clary thinks this is probably because ballet is a new thing in America and to know a ballet dancer was a pretty big thing.
“Also, he was busy all day choreographing me and the other hoofer girls at the New Amsterdam for the show next week so-“
“Right, thank you so much. Goodbye.”
His departure, like his entrance, was swift and left Clary with a case of whiplash as she attempted to follow him with her eyes. She watched with confusion as his two friends swiftly followed behind him, gathering their heads together and discussing something rapidly with varying degrees of hand gestures.
Whoever that man was, really wanted to know about Alec.
From the other side of the table Simon stifled a laugh at her drunkenly bemused expression and turned to welcome back the Lightwood siblings with a broad smile, taking a drink from Jace’s hand and instantly telling them of the strange encounter they’d just experienced.
“C’mon doll” Jace said a few minutes later, eager to get away from Izzy’s pestering questions and in bed, “Lets blow this joint and head home.”
Clary said her goodbyes with a drunken nod before following her boyfriend silently, wondering vehemently just who that man was as she settled into the car, thinking back over the numerous acquaintances she shares with the eldest Lightwood child.
Just who was that man?
Tessa hurries to the door in a flurry of anxiety and worry, barely parking her car and shutting the door before running as fast as she can. Evidence of last nights party litters the front garden, streamers of gold, empty bottle and broken glasses, a couple of pieces of underwear, but Tessa ignores them in favour of knocking loudly and obtrusively on the door.
She waits only seconds before a heavily disgruntled Raphael opens the door, blearily wiping at his eyes as he stares blankly at her.
“Where’s Magnus?” She asks, tearing through the door in alarm and entering the grand hallway, deliberately ignoring the couple passed out on the floor by her feet. Raphael points in the vague direction of the stairs and Tessa waste’s no time in dashing up them as fast as her heels will allow her and moving towards Magnus’ bedroom.
She crashes the door open to see Magnus calmly drinking tea (Tea? Since when had Magnus drunk tea in the morning?) and watching the sunrise from his large double window. She breathes heavily, regaining the breath she lost in the mad dash upstairs and glares angrily as the man turns his head slowly towards her, an elegant blissed out smile on his face.
Its wide and excited and Tessa feels some of the anger wash away at the sight. The message Magnus had sent her, the urgent cry for help that had her dashing from her lovers bed, is something that has her friend smiling, really smiling, and she cant fault that; no matter how much she wants to strangle him.
“What happened Magnus, I just got an urgent telephone call demanding ‘urgent help of a life and death matter’”
He stands up in that nimble way she loves and stretches out his arm, a shining white piece of paper held between his fingers with elegant writing scrawled on top. Hesitantly she takes it from him, worried at the contents, and begins to read eagerly – her love of reading taking over.
Thank you for the invite, it was well received. Unfortunately I was working all morning and evening yesterday after finally getting back to work and so was unable to come. If you see fit to hold another party next week at the same time, I will surely be in attendance as I shall have the day off.
Looking forward to seeing you,
Tessa looks up, a smile tugging at the corner of her lips as she meets Magnus’ excited gaze, and hands the letter back, allowing a small chuckle to escape her lip. Magnus offers her a drink and she gladly accepts, drinking daintily as she always does, and proceeds to sit down at his desk.
“He’s coming Tessa.”
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Camille wasn’t entirely sure why she had chosen ten o’clock in the morning to make her visit to Magnus. If he’d been partying the night before, which of course he had, then the Asian was unlikely to get out of bed before noon and Camille would have had a wasted journey.
Which was a shame really.
Her blonde hair was cut in a beautifully shaped bob that lined her face and promoted her button nose perfectly, her eyes were dark and smoky, her cheeks showing a healthy rouge and lips stained bright and sharp to highlight her positively darling features. Her dress was cut dangerously short both above the knee and with a plunging neckline, coloured a midnight black to contrast her pale flawless skin in the best possibly way.
If Magnus and she were still together she imagined he would be on his knees in worship by this point, offering her the world and everything in it. But that was not the reason she was currently here. Magnus and she had parted some years ago and all lingering romantic affection had gone from them by now.
Camille sighed, annoyed and petulant, before raising her hand once more to the outrageously designed door and knocked. The sound echoed deep within the home before drifting away into silence and for a moment Camille was prepared to rip every strand of blonde hair out of her head if no one answered.
She waited a few moments more - just where was that butler – but ultimately turned to leave, resigned to the fact that she’d driven herself to west egg for no good reason. She wasn’t sure why she thought visiting the Bane mansion at this time in the morning was smart, she knew Magnus wouldn’t be up and even if he were he might be incredibly busy, after all Magnus was now an incredibly-
The voice came from behind her; moody, low and slightly accented in that exotic way she remembered, and Camille turned with a confident smile wide on her face, painted lips stretching out into her most common ‘man-eater’ look. Raphael was stood in the doorway, shirt rumpled and tie loose, with an expression of confusion and uncertainty etched onto his face.
“Why hello Raphael, could you be an absolute darling and show me to the Sheik please, I drove up all night to just get here and would appreciate him getting out of bed, honestly I was prepared to bump him off if no one answered the door.” She strutted towards the door as she spoke and passed Raphael like a breeze, unflinching in his glare.
It was nothing less than she expected from the butler.
The Spaniard simply bowed his head and made off in the direction of Magnus’ bedroom – a place she no longer had unlimited access to – and so Camille gladly took a seat in the waiting area. She observed the place surrounding her, surprised at the extent of lavishness and decoration put in place.
Magnus was clearly in the preparation stage of a party, a vivacious one at that, and as she had been made aware by some subtle letters from Ragnor (and non-so subtle letters from Catarina) it was one of upmost importance.
He’d asked her to come down and talk to Magnus, to assure that he wasn’t spiralling out of control, and that everything he was doing, all the planning and pining, was out of genuine affection and not a misguided attempt at numbing everything else in his life.
He hadn’t told her however, just why the party was so important.
Camille didn’t have to wait long and soon a prancing Magnus was coming at her, arms wide and expectant, smile open and free and she wasted no time in allowing herself to fall into his arm. It had been so long since she – and Magnus probably – had been hugged so strongly. They stayed in the hall for a few minutes, doing nothing more than hugging, relishing in the presence of each other and Camille just knew her journey had been worth it.
She had broken Magnus when they were dating, turned him into a hollow body to play with and grow bored with, but together they had begun to build him back up by sharing moments like this after they split. Moments of true intimacy without conditions, of love without lust and of affection without the need for it to end. It had started Magnus’ healing process and Camille was eager to see it through to the end.
They separated far too early – Magnus did gave the best hugs – and the Asian moved her forward towards his private living space, offering her coffee and alcohol along the way. He pushed her into a chair of unfathomable plushness and wondered over to his private drinks area to make them both strong coffees, a broad smile present on his face.
“You look good.” She thought out loud, watching curiously as Magnus froze for a second before resuming his task. “Healthier, more like…”
She didn’t say ‘Like yourself’ but knew Magnus understood what she meant when the smile softened into something less ‘host’ and a little more ‘Magnus’. “Thank you.” He replied softly, wondering back over to her chair and offering a small cup of dark, bitter liquid.
“I must ask Camille, why are you here?” His voice remained steady, in the passive but friendly refrain he’d chosen to use around her when alone, but she could see the genuine curiosity in his eyes.
“I’m going to be honest Magnus, I’m here because Ragnor asked me to.” She’d taken up a policy with Magnus after they spilt up, after her nasty habits had been pointed out to her and her manipulations brought to life, that she would always be honest with the elder. It was another way she was building him back up.
“Ragnor?” Magnus takes a sip of his coffee and looks puzzled, frazzled almost, and makes it sound as if Ragnor was nothing more than a figure of her own imagination.
“Yes that Jalopy’s been messaging me again.” She laughs, slapping her hand down on Magnus’ knee in hearty amusement. She can tell by the flush of his cheeks that Magnus knows the exact reason Ragnor’s been in contact. “Tells me you’ve got a new flame-
“Carrying a flame, stuck on, someone to neck in the struggle buggy-
“A crush Magnus! Ragnor has told me you’ve got a new crush but has refused to tell me more. He hinted that the next party is in honour of her but didn’t tell me exactly, and he positively refuses to tell me who this choice bit of calico is or is she a cancelled stamp and you’ve turned to more she-
“It’s a boy.”
Camille can count on one hand the number of times she’s been made speechless but Magnus’ statement knocks her back quite considerably. Her mouth shuts loudly and her eyes widen and Magnus grips the handle of his cup tight enough to turn his knuckles white.
She had always suspected, even before they had begun their relationship, that Magnus had some attraction towards the same sex and had been confident that their relationship had started as a fallout from the breaking of one such attraction but a distinct lack of proof meant she could prove nothing.
It would explain a lot about Magnus if he liked men as well as women, would explain some of his suggestions and comments, his actions and mannerisms.
Perhaps Camille should feel slighted about Magnus not telling her the entire truth of his being when they’d been dating but knowing how she was – they were- back then it was probably for the best.
“What’s his name?” She asks simply, desiring nothing more than for Magnus to feel relaxed in her presence once again. Her question has the intended affect and Camille see’s the elder’s shoulders slump slightly as if released from a string, the smile on his face becoming even more genuine.
Her and Magnus have a long way to go before they can truly be friends once again, even longer than that until Magnus can fully trust her again or resume to be how he was before but she was confident they could get there in the end. Magnus was incredibly strong and Ragnor had asked her to be with him on the morning of the party so clearly progress was being made between them.
“His name is Alexander Lightwood.” Magnus begins, a love drunk smile adorning his face, his eyes drifting off into something high above the skies and Camille takes a sip of coffee to hide her smile.
She listens for hours, patiently and happily, at the tale Magnus tells her. She listens to him describe beaches and the sea, pale skin and blinding eyes with an innocence never felt before, her guard practically non-existent as she watches her old friend get caught up in the description of this boy.
Magnus tells her of the difficulty in realising his feelings for a fifteen year old and the events of that final summer, something she’s sure both Ragnor and Catarina have been told recently and doesn’t stop to interrupt him. Its hours before he finishes but Camille finds she doesn’t particularly mind listening to Magnus, sad only that she has to leave before the party starts.
Its as she’s leaving, bag and hat collected, hand clasped between Magnus’ own that she speaks again. Magnus has never needed her approval for anything, not really, but she knows how important it is to him that he gets her approval for this one thing, arguably the most important party Magnus has ever thrown in his life. Camille understands that tonight her friend will either find love or reject it completely.
“Go get him tiger.” She whispers into his ear, pecking his cheek before turning towards her car, the wind caressing her face like a lovers touch.
Go get him indeed.
Hope you all enjoyed this chapter - next comes the dramatic meeting between two very eager people! Don't hesitate to comment on what you liked, didn't and anything you want to see in the future! Sorry its been so long guys :(