From the book
A DREADFUL ROW
Marry on Monday for health,
Tuesday for wealth,
Wednesday the best day of all,
Thursday for crosses,
Friday for losses, and
Saturday for no luck at all.
“December is a fortuitous time for a marriage,” said the seamstress, speaking around her mouthful of pins with the ease of years of practice. “As they say, ‘When December snows fall fast, marry, and true love will last.’ ” She placed a final pin in the gown and took a step back. “There. What do you think? It is modeled after one of Worth’s own designs.”
Tessa looked at her reflection in the pier glass in her bedroom. The dress was a deep gold silk, as was the custom for Shadowhunters, who believed white to be the color of mourning, and would not marry in it, despite Queen Victoria herself having set the fashion for doing just that. Duchesse lace edged the tightly fitted bodice and dripped from the sleeves.
“It’s lovely!” Charlotte clapped her hands together and leaned forward. Her brown eyes shone with delight. “Tessa, the color looks so fine on you.”
Tessa turned and twisted in front of the mirror. The gold put some much-needed color into her cheeks. The hourglass corset shaped and curved her everywhere it was supposed to, and the clockwork angel around her throat comforted her with its ticking. Below it dangled the jade pendant that Jem had given her. She had lengthened the chain so she could wear them both at once, not being willing to part with either. “You don’t think, perhaps, that the lace is a trifle too much adornment?”
“Not at all!” Charlotte sat back, one hand resting protectively, unconsciously, over her belly. She had always been too slim--skinny, in truth--to really need a corset, and now that she was going to have a child, she had taken to wearing tea gowns, in which she looked like a little bird. “It is your wedding day, Tessa. If there is ever an excuse for excessive adornment, it is that. Just imagine it.”
Tessa had spent many nights doing just that. She was not yet sure where she and Jem would be married, for the Council was still deliberating their situation. But when she imagined the wedding, it was always in a church, with her being marched down the aisle, perhaps on Henry’s arm, looking neither to the left or right but straight ahead at her betrothed, as a proper bride should. Jem would be wearing gear--not the sort one fought in, but specially designed, in the manner of a military uniform, for the occasion: black with bands of gold at the wrists, and gold runes picked out along the collar and placket.
He would look so young. They were both so young. Tessa knew it was unusual to marry at seventeen and eighteen, but they were racing a clock.
The clock of Jem’s life, before it wound down.
She put her hand to her throat, and felt the familiar vibration of her clockwork angel, its wings scratching her palm. The seamstress looked up at her anxiously. She was mundane, not Nephilim, but had the Sight, as all who served the Shadowhunters did. “Would you like the lace removed, miss?”
Before Tessa could answer, there was a knock at the door, and a familiar voice. “It’s Jem. Tessa, are you there?”
Charlotte sat bolt upright. “Oh! He mustn’t see you in your dress!”
Tessa stood dumbfounded. “Whyever not?”
“It’s a Shadowhunter custom--bad luck!” Charlotte rose to her feet....