Disconsolate noises came from the other end of the phone. Emma was barely able to decipher them—the reception wasn’t particularly good on the roof of the Sepulchre Bar. She paced along the edge of the roofline, peering down into the central courtyard. Jacaranda trees were strung with electric lights, and sleek ultramodern tables and chairs were scattered around the garden space. Equally sleek and ultramodern young men and women thronged the place, glasses of wine glimmering in their hands like clear bubbles of red and white and pink. Someone had rented out the place for a private party: A sequined birthday banner hung between two trees, and waiters made their way through the crowd carrying pewter chargers of snacks.
There was something about the glamorous scene that made Emma want to break it up by kicking down some of the roof tiles or doing a front flip into the crowd. The Clave would lock you up for a good long time for that kind of behavior, though. Mundanes weren’t supposed to ever glimpse Shadowhunters. Even if Emma did jump down into the courtyard, none of the partygoers would see her. She was covered in glamour runes, applied by Cristina, that rendered her invisible to anyone without the Sight.
Emma sighed and put the phone back to her ear. “All right, our relationship?” she said. “Our relationship isn’t working out.”
“Emma,” Cristina hissed loudly behind her. Emma turned, her boots balanced at the edge of the roof. Cristina was sitting on the shingled slope behind her, polishing a throwing knife with a pale blue cloth. The cloth matched the bands that held her dark hair back from her face. Everything about Cristina was neat and put together—she managed to look as professional in her black fighting gear as most people would look in a power suit. Her golden good-luck medallion glimmered at the hollow of her throat and her family ring, twined with a pattern of roses for Rosales, shone on her hand as she placed the knife, wrapped in its cloth, beside her. “Emma, remember. Use your I statements.”
Cameron was still wittering away on the other end of the phone, something about getting together to talk, which Emma knew would be pointless. She focused on the scene below her—was that a shadow slipping through the crowd below, or was she imagining it? Maybe it was wishful thinking. Johnny Rook was usually reliable, and he’d seemed very sure about tonight, but Emma hated getting all geared up and full of anticipation only to discover there was going to be no fight to work off her energy.
“This is about me, not you,” she said into the phone. Cristina gave her an encouraging thumbs-up. “I am sick of you.” She smiled brightly as Cristina dropped her face into her hands. “So maybe we could go back to being friends?”
There was a click as Cameron hung up. Emma tucked the phone into her belt and scanned the crowd again. Nothing. Annoyed, she scrambled up the slope of the roof to flop down beside Cristina. “Well, that could have gone better,” she said.
“Do you think so?” Cristina took her hands away from her face. “What happened?”
“I don’t know.” Emma sighed and reached for her stele, the delicate adamas writing instrument Shadowhunters used to ink protection runes onto their skin. It had a carved handle made of demon bone and had been a gift from Jace Herondale, Emma’s first crush. Most Shadowhunters went through steles like mundanes went through pencils, but this one was special to Emma and she kept it as carefully intact as she kept her sword. “It always happens. Everything was fine, and then I woke up one morning and just the sound of his voice made me feel sick to my stomach.” She looked at Cristina guiltily. “I tried,” she added. “I waited weeks! I kept hoping it would get better. But it didn’t.”
Cristina patted her arm. “I know, cuata,” she said. “You just aren’t very good at having . . .”
“Tact?” Emma suggested. Cristina’s English was nearly accentless, and Emma often forgot it wasn’t her first language. On the other hand Cristina spoke seven languages on top of her native Spanish. Emma spoke English and some scraps of Spanish, Greek, and Latin, could read three demon languages, and swear in five.
“I was going to say relationships,” Cristina said. Her dark brown eyes twinkled. “I’ve only been here for two months and you’ve forgotten three dates with Cameron, skipped his birthday, and now you’ve dumped him because it was a slow patrol night.”
“He always wanted to play video games,” said Emma. “I hate video games.”
“No one is perfect, Emma.”