What if Jonathan Morgenstern had lived: a time of firsts

If you read City of Heavenly Fire, you can probably still remember how you felt when Jonathan died. Angry, sad, disappointed, unfair he died before he got a chance to live. I felt it all. So did my brain. My mind started playing with the concept What If Jonathan Had Lived? That’s why I’ve decided to write this series of short scenes. They all take place after the ending of COHF (apart from the first one) and all include Jonathan Morgenstern. I do not own these characters and these events never happened, it’s all from my imagination. In this scene Jonathan and River are going on their first date.

“You’re probably wondering why I called you here.” Jonathan started. “Because you need a girl advice.” Jace didn’t ask, he just stated a fact. Jonathan wasn’t even surprised anymore, he just nodded. “I understand that. What I don’t understand is why Simon is here.” He pointed to Simon with his thumb who was sitting next to him. “Because Simon is my friend.” Jonathan said, “And dating your sister. Clearly he did something right.”
“Thanks. I guess?” Simon said, a wrinkle in his forehead. “But you finally asked your girl out? Good for you.” Jace leaned back in his chair. “Her name is River,” he waved it away. “I don’t care. Where are you taking her?” Jonathan bit his lip and shrugged. “Where do you take girls on a date?”
“The movies.” Simon said. “Boring.” Jace shot back. “Your idea of a date is killing demons and having dinner at Taki’s after.” Simon scoffed. “It’s fun.” Jace grinned. “Okay you may know something about girls, but you don’t know anything about dates.” Simon turned to Jonathan. “Take her to the movies, and dinner afterwards. Not McDonalds, just a nice place.”
“You have to tell her she looks good, girls dig that.” Jace added. “And don’t go to a horror movie, she won’t like that.”
“Buy her a present.”
“And you have to pay for everything, since it’s your first date.”
Jonathan held up his hands to stop the flood of words. “Okay, I’ve got it. Movies, dinner, pay, compliment her, presents.” Simon nodded and Jace held his hands behind his head, looking at Jonathan. “I’m glad you found yourself a girl you like Jonathan, but be careful. The rune to fix a broken heart is the most painful one.”

Jonathan was nervous. Not just a little bit, but he was extremely nervous. His palms were sweaty and he kept wiping them on his jeans. He couldn’t recall if he had ever felt this nervous before. And why was he nervous? Because he was going on a date. An actual date. With the girl he had been spending a lot of time with the past few weeks. He liked her, she obviously liked him, they had almost kissed on New Year’s Eve, and yet he was still nervous. His stomach coiled and his nose twitched and every few seconds he’d suck in a huge breath. “Will you please stop that?” Clary snapped, after this had gone on for about ten minutes. He glanced at her. “It’s just a date, no big deal. You’ll be fine.” He closed his eyes for a second. “Yeah you’re right.” Clary stood on her tiptoes and gave him a hug. “I’ll meet you later.” She walked off and before she turned the corner she looked back and waved. Jonathan was staring after her, even though she was long gone, when a familiar voice behind him said: “Jonathan?” he twirled around and was met with River. Her dirty blonde hair was gathered in a braid, just like the day they first met and she wore a little more makeup than usual, her eyeliner ending in little wings at the sides. She hid in a large woolen shawl, her cheeks red from the cold. Her brown eyes looked up at him. He couldn’t see her lips, but saw her eyes were smiling. “Hi.” he breathed. He heard her laugh softly. “You look beautiful.” He said and he saw her cheeks redden even more. “Thank you.” He bit his lower lip. “Ready to go?” She nodded and he placed his hand on her lower back, leading her towards the cinema. They made some small talk which eased Jonathan’s nerves a bit. Occasionally the nerves jumped against his chest, reminding him that this was a date, but mostly they stayed under the surface. So he bought the tickets, and he held the door open and took her coat. So far, so good. “Is this your first time to the movies?” River asked as they stood in line for popcorn. She was wearing black skinny jeans with a white blouse that she had tucked into the jeans. Her hand played with a golden key that hung around her neck. He nodded and she smiled. “You’ll like it, I’m sure.” You’re with me, of course I will, he wanted to say but he kept his mouth shut. They got popcorn and two cups of coca cola and made their way to the theater. Five minutes into the movie, Jonathan realized he had made a mistake. Simon had said not to pick a horror movie, and well this was one. There were already a bunch of people killed and there was so much earblistering screaming that Jonathan’s head started to ache. Suddenly River grabbed his arm and hid her face in his shoulder. “I don’t like horror movies!” she whispered. “Okay, come on, let’s go.” He rose to stand up and knocked over his drink in the process. The lid fell off and the entire drink spilled on River. She shrieked, which made the audience hiss and Jonathan grabbed her hand, pulling her out of the theater. The main area was quiet, the only person there was the guy behind the counter. Jonathan turned to look at River and saw her white blouse was stained. “River, I’m so sorry.” She shot him a small smile. “I’m going to the bathroom real quick.” He nodded and she disappeared into the ladies bathroom. He sighed and sank down on a couch, burying his face in his hands. It didn’t take long for River to come back and when she did, she sat next to him. “Jonathan…” she started but he looked up and cut her off. “I’m sorry. I wanted it to be the perfect date, I was planning on making it the perfect date. I didn’t think it was a horror movie, I hate those as well, I even asked Simon for advice-“ suddenly River’s lips were on his. He tensed for a moment, but when River cupped his cheek, he relaxed and kissed her back. Her lips were soft and they fit perfectly on his. She pulled back after a few seconds and bit her lip, her cheeks flushed. “I’ve been wanting to do that for a while. Jonathan, you don’t have to pretend to be someone other than who you are. You should just be you. Because I like that  guy. A lot.” She smiled and he shot her a smile back. “I don’t know, I just wanted to do it right and impress you.” She laughed softly, a sound he had come to love. She scooted closer, their legs clashing together. “You already did, Jonathan Morgenstern. Long before I had the courage to come up and talk to you.” she whispered, so close he could see himself in her eyes. “Yeah?” he breathed and she nodded, resting her forehead against his. “Absolutely.” A smile pulled his lips. “That’s a first.” Their lips were inches away from each other. “There’s a first for everything.” she whispered and then they were kissing again. Of all the firsts he had experienced that night, his first kiss was definitely the best one.

amy calloway sisters


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