He was woken by the warm light rays of the Sun washing across his face, caressing his skin. Magnus slowly opened up his eyes as his consciousness came in. He was greeted by the sight of a white ceiling and he felt a light weight leaning on his side, a hand resting in his chest. He titled his head to the side and stared at the young man who was sleeping soundly against him. Images of last night came through him and his hang over hit him. He moved his shoulders and rested his hand on his forehead in an attempt to ease the headache he felt, but to no avail. The man beside him began to stir and afterwards, he opened his eyes. When he saw Magnus a smile formed in his lips and he began rubbing his hands on Magnus’ chest.
Magnus flinched at his actions and when he leaned up to kiss him he tilted his head to avoid his kiss. The man frowned and backed up against him.
“What’s wrong? You enjoyed it last night. Hell that was even the best night I ever had in my life!” The man whined at him but it only made Magnus irritated. His tiny voice resounded in his head and it hurt like hell.
“Quit whining! You know this is just a one night stand. Now, leave!” He yelled at him that made the man to stare at him in shock. He quickly got his pants and shirt that he wore last night and putted it on. Before Magnus could utter another word he quickly slammed the door shut and stormed out of his loft.
Magnus sighed when an eerie silence emerged in the room. He was going through this same, endless cycle once again. He was a famous fashion designer now and had made his stardom in the line of fashion and clothing. That fame made him rich, made him slept with countless men and women in show business, both famous actor and actresses. In fact, the media was always fascinated about his sex life, of who will be his next victim. They were anticipating who will be his next fling. He had to admit, him being a bisexual and having countless dates and flings had helped his stardom to shine. But deep inside, he knew he wasn’t complete. He went to the mirror and stared at his reflection.
He was like a zombie. Living in this world alive and vigorous, but deep inside him he was long dead. The soulless, expressionless reflection of his eyes confirmed it. He knew he should endure this endless loneliness he felt. This was his atonement of the greatest sin he committed 3 years ago.
He went to the kitchen and grabbed a tablet of Advil to ease the throbbing of his head. After a few minutes the medicine finally kicked in and he went back to his room to clean up the mess and took a shower.
After 30 minutes of showering he went to his closet and grabbed his perfect outfit for the day. He was wearing a purple V-neck shirt covered with a white vest. He folded the sleeves of his vest up to his elbows. He wore a black washed skinny jeans. He faced to the mirror once again and did his makeup. 30 minutes later his phone rang and he quickly pressed the answer button without glancing of who was the caller.
“You’re reaching the High Warlock of Brooklyn. To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“Seriously, Mags. Do you really need to have a grand introduction over the phone?” Magnus’ lips twitched in a smile at the familiar voice he heard from the other line. It was his best friend and his manager.
“You know me Rags. I need to please them with all of my charm or else they wouldn’t be all over me.”
Ragnor scoffed at him on the other line. “Huh! Always so boastful. Anyway, I wanted to tell you something, but I’m not sure of how you’ll react with it.” Magnus raised his eyebrows as his curiosity loomed in. He and Ragnor usually talked over everything. So he couldn’t understand why Ragnor was being so caught up about this.
“Rags, whatever it is you need to tell me. You know I won’t judge you, no matter how kinky it is. If you had sex with Raphael in the public, it’s fine with me.”
“I’m not! It’s not— Oh fuck it!” Ragnor mumbled and Magnus knew that his best friend was blushing beet red because of embarrassment. Magnus chuckled as his teasing statement was confirmed with Ragnor’s answer. Ragnor rarely stuttered and he only did it when Raphael made him do a kinky scene.
“Uhh. Anyway, this call isn’t about me. It’s all about you Magnus. I hope you’ll be serious now.”
“Okay, okay. What is it? Shoot.”
The only replied he received from the other line was a heavy sigh, but then the next words Ragnor uttered made his whole world stop.
“He’s back.” Magnus’ eyes widened and he felt his shoulders started to tremble.
“Ragnor, you mean-“Magnus forced himself for the words to come out but he ended up choking. He felt like his breathing was suddenly knocked out of him.
“Yes. Magnus, Alexander Lightwood is back. I saw him with Jace in the hallway. It seems Jace’s manager decided to move him here.”
“Alec- - my Alec!-“He repeated his name in his mind like a mantra. A swirl of emotions erupted in him as tears continuously fell from his eyes. Ragnor was the only one who knew about the incident three years ago. He honestly thought Ragnor would abandon and disown him after hearing out his sin, but no. Ragnor helped him realized something and was helping him to make this right again.
But hearing his name again made his heart beat like crazy. He felt his body was on fire and was revitalized with so much energy. Only Alec could do these things to him. Only Alec could make him feel alive in this world.
“Where is he? Is he still in the entertainment building?”
“Yes, but you must know—“He didn’t hear what Ragnor was saying anymore as he ended the call and stormed out of his loft. He quickly started the engine of his car breaking the speed limits to rush into the building. Fortunately, his apartment was near to the building so he was able to come in less than an hour.
“Where is Jace Herondale located?” Magnus quickly asked in the receptionist’ area. He was gasping for breath as he tried to calm his breath.
“He’s in the third floor sir, in the—“The moment the receptionist told their location he quickly went to the stairs and rushed through the third floor. He didn’t bother going to the elevator knowing there were people waiting for it and that would delay his time on meeting his blue-eyed angel once again. By the time he reached the third floor he was panting and gasping for air but then his world stopped when he saw a glimpse of his blue eyed angel.
The hallway was filled with media and press while on the middle there stood Jace Herondale. The whole hallway was filled with screams and squeals and thousands of flashes of camera. He could tell that the interview was coming to end when the media slowly began to dissolve. When the media finally dispersed Alec called Jace and he turned to him. He was talking lightly to Jace, but what their topic all about, he didn’t know at all. He could see his angel with his brilliant blue eyes that stood up against his pale skin. He was laughing timidly as blushes filled his face. He was so adorable that he couldn’t help but love him. How long was he longing for his brilliant face and angelic smile to see again? How long was he longing to have his angel by his side? But when Alec suddenly lit up his head, his blue eyes locked with his golden green one.
And Magnus was hurt by the sudden change he witnessed across his angel’s face. His blue eyes widened and the brilliance of his blue eyes was instantly gone. It transformed into dark blue that it was almost pitch black, he could see and feel the turmoil building up inside him. He suddenly hugged himself and unconsciously scratched his shoulders so hard it drew blood. He was trembling like crazy.
Magnus’ heart was stabbed by knives a million times as he saw his blue eyed angel trembling in fear. He was so defenseless, hopeless and fragile seeing him like this. And what made it worse was that he knew exactly the reason why his angel was trembling in fear.
“Alec, Alec what’s wrong? Are you having a panic attack again?” Jace said as he wrapped his arms around him in an attempt to comfort his best friend. Alec was still trembling in fear as he raised his fingers and pointed his direction. The next words his angel uttered killed him.
“Plea—Please! Please take me aw—away from that mo-monster!” Jace looked up where his hand was pointing and a wave of rage flashed through him. He fisted his hands hard as he was fighting the urge to punch Magnus’ face. He really wanted to punch the hell out of Magnus but he knew Alec being in calm was his priority. Alec needed him now more than ever. He hugged and blocked Alec’s sight from his tormentor. Because of fear Alec couldn’t recognize anyone anymore, all he thought was he needed to find a way to get out of here. He was struggling against Jace’s grip but he only held him tighter.
“Please! Please! I don’t want to face my own demon! Please!” Alec cried in agony as tears fell from his eyes. A minute later Alec passed out and collapsed on the floor.
“Alec, Alec!” Jace tried to wake him up but to no avail. He carried Alec in his shoulders and lifted him up in a bridal style. Just then, Jace’s girlfriend, Clary came in and stared at them in shock.
“Jace! What happened to Alec!”
“That bastard had the nerve to grace us with his oh so lovely presence.” Jace spat back as he glared at him. Magnus flinched at the words he uttered, and it hurt even more that Alec couldn’t bear to be in the same building with him to the point he passed out of consciousness. Clary widened his eyes when he saw him.
“Let’s go, we need to take care of Alec.” He said as he took the step towards the elevator without looking back. Clary stood in his position for a while and looked at Magnus with sadness and apologetic look in his eyes before Jace called her again. This time, they went to the elevator and stared at one another before the elevator door closed. The last time he saw was the wrecked face of his angel.
Tears started to flow in his eyes and he felt as if his energy was suddenly drained from the commotion a while ago. He ended up kneeling in the floor as he punched it, and caused the blood to seep from his hands.
“Fuck! This is your fault! Damn it! Damn! Damn! Damn!” He muttered to himself as he continued punching the floor. The floor was filled with his blood just then Ragnor caught his hand and hugged him back.
“I was supposed to tell you not to meet him yet. He was obviously devastated because of the incident Magnus.” Ragnor said as he soothed his back. But Magnus’ attention wasn’t on him. Scenes from the past filled his mind, the memories he was trying to bury a long time ago.
“I love you Magnus! You are my life! I praised you! And I will follow you wherever you will go! I will always be here for you!”
“Don’t cry Magnus. You know I’ll always support you right?”
“Even if the world was crashing down, I will never leave you.”
“I love you eternally, Magnus Bane.”
Once upon a time, there was a blue-eyed angel who adored me. When the world was against me, he was the only one who stood with me. He loved me with all of his might. I was his life. He praised and supported me for my happiness, even if it means him being in endless pain and agony. He loved me so much that he will follow me even in the deepest pits of hell.
But, I took him for granted. I left him hanging. I abandoned the love and adoration he had for me. I was too blind to see the reality that he was the only one I needed in this world. The only one who kept me sane. The only one I needed to be alive. Most of all, the only one I truly love.
But when I realized it, it was too late. Damn too late.
“Demon. Monster.” Those words pierced through my heart sharply. It hurt me to see Alec like this, miserable because of me.
I shattered him into pieces. I broke him. I destroyed the love he had for me. And now, I wanted him back. God knows how much I wanted to make it up to him.
But how, how can I do it?
How can I heal my broken angel?
Did you like it? Illustration of this chapter is on my website daimeguiral.weebly.com. You can also follow my social accounts for teasers and update schedules of this story. You can check them out in my profile.
It is the first day of my classes today. I am very excited to meet my old friends, and maybe, I could find new friends this year. I hope this new school year will be kind to me. But I guess the main reason why I am so excited this school year is because I will get to see him again. This whole summer he was away on a vacation. I really hope he enjoyed his vacation. Scratch that, I knew he enjoyed it too much. He always loved to be the center of attention, he loves parties and everyone just seemed to be mesmerized by him. But who wouldn’t? Everybody definitely loves him. Even me.
Sigh. Though I think it also means that with him having on vacation, meant that he also enjoyed dating with men and women. I couldn’t help but feel jealous. But it’s okay, he’s my secret crush. And I am just contented being that way. There was no way he would ever be interested in me. As long as he’s happy, I am happy too. So much for now, I will end my entry here. I will get back to you once again.
Alec smiled as he putted down his pen and finished writing in his diary. He had fixed his bed and was excited for this day. He couldn’t wait to see Magnus and talked with him. He had missed him too much. Although he also missed Clary and Simon’s companion together with his best friend Jace. He stood up and went to the mirror beside his bathroom to stare at his reflection. He possessed a feminine figure, from his high cheekbones and adorable small face and a slender hips and waist. He sometimes wondered if his figure had something to do with his preference. Alec immediately blushed at his thought as he remembered what he had written in his diary earlier. Unfortunately, he also remembered his reason of going into the bathroom. He wanted to quickly finish preparing up to be able to go to school early.
With a sigh he immediately went to his bathroom and took a bath. It only took a few minutes for him to finish his bath. He stepped out of the bathroom, combed his hair and went to his little closet to grab whatever sweater and pants he could get and quickly putted it on. In less than 30 minutes he was done and he grabbed his bag to go downstairs. He found his mom preparing for their meal and his dad was busy fixing Max’s things on his bag. Alec smiled tenderly at the picture of his family.
He was really blessed to have them as his family. Even though the Lightwoods are known for being rich and having a big name in the industry, his parents, Robert and Maryse always made sure to have a quality time for them. They were making sure they didn’t miss any big events and occasions in their life. Alec walked towards the kitchen where his mother was busy preparing their breakfast meal.
“Good morning Mom.” Alec greeted her mother as he hopped into the counter and leaned in to kiss on her cheek.
“Good morning sweetie! Can you check on Iz and tell her to go downstairs so that we could have our breakfast? I will be done in a minute.”
“Sure thing mom-“Alec was suddenly interrupted when he heard a loud slam coming from upstairs. He tilted his head and looked at his sister who had emerged from the door and was walking towards them while smiling brilliantly. He was amazed just how stunning Izzy was. She was like a replica of their mother. She exudes the confidence and grace of a lovely girl, except that she didn’t get the vibrant blue eyes of their mother. But she was still gorgeous as she was with her mystic, pitch black eyes.
“Good morning my dear brother! How are you on this fine- WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WEARING?” Izzy shrieked as he took in Alec’s appearance. All of the people inside the house was startled at the loudness in her voice and turned to look at her.
“Good gracious Isabelle Sophia! It’s still very early in the morning, don’t yell! You’ll disturb our neighbors! And for the love of God stop cursing! Language Isabelle!” Maryse hissed as she nearly dropped the plate of pancakes she was holding on her hand.
“Oh. I am so sorry mother, I promise it won’t happen again.” Izzy said as she gave her mother a cute, puffy eyes that she knew no could resist. Alec rolled his eyes in reply.
“Okay, fine. Just be sure it won’t happen again, promise me, okay?”
“Yay! Yes mother! I promise!” Izzy said as she raised her right hand as if she were taking oath to her mother. Maryse nodded in reply.
“Okay, come and take your breakfast.”
“Yes mom! But for now I need to talk to Alec, we’ll be quick. I promise.”
“Okay then. Be sure to make it quick because we will be eating our breakfast once I’m done preparing the table.”
“We will mom!” Izzy replied as he quickly grabbed Alec’s shoulders and yanked him away from the kitchen counter. Alec stumbled at her harsh actions and found himself being trapped between Izzy and the wall.
“What the hell are you wearing brother! You won’t be able to get Magnus’ attention with that crap you’re wearing!” Alec immediately blushed at what she said. Izzy was the only one who knew his situation and preference. And his huge secret crush of their close, childhood friend.
“Izzy! Can you shut your mouth! They might hear you!” Alec hissed in reply as he was busy looking towards their mother’s direction, silently freaking out that they might overheard their conversation. Izzy just rolled her eyes at Alec’s hilarious reaction.
“Keep calm brother. I am sure they didn’t hear us. Really, I don’t know what’s holding you back from saying it to them. It’s not like they will disown you for your sexuality brother. Mom and Dad will definitely love and accept you no matter what. Hell, they even welcomed Magnus with open arms and didn’t give a damn of his sexuality.”
“I – I know that Izzy, but I’m just waiting for the right time. I just need time and strength to do this.” Alec lowered his head in embarrassment. He really sometimes get angry with himself because he couldn’t bring out to the whole world who he was. He knew his parents would accept him no matter what. But admitting it to them, it was another story. He needed to gather courage and strength to be able to do it. Izzy’s eyes softened as she saw the defeat look of his brother.
“Fine, I won’t push you Alec. But I would like you to know that we are always here for you okay?” Alec lifted his head and stared back at the genuine love reflected in Izzy’s eyes. He smiled shyly at her in reply.
“But seriously brother! You can’t get Magnus’ attention with that! We still have, like 45 minutes before the time so let me dress you! I promise I will make you hot and gorgeous that will make Magnus drool over you!” Alec’s blush worsened at the statement of her sister. He was beyond embarrass at what she said and though the thought was really tempting, he couldn’t do it. He was too shy and he was always afraid it wouldn’t end well. Plus, he knew Magnus would never look at him that way.
“No Izzy. I promise I’m fine like this. You don’t need to bother, really. And - and besides, Magnus would never look at me like that . . . plus I’m comfortable in this getup. So-“
“Alec, Izzy. Come here, we’re taking breakfast.” Their mother’s voice suddenly echoed around the room with a tone of finality. Izzy released a heavy sigh, knowing full well she wouldn’t able to dress Alec today.
“Fine, you get away this time. But next time, you can’t escape me and I will dress you up myself!” Izzy grabbed his hand once again and dragged him towards the kitchen. They took their respective seats and ate their meal together.
When they were full they stood up and got their bags and walked outside to ride in their car. Robert got into the driver’s seat and started the engine. Throughout their ride everyone was quiet as Izzy and Max were busy dealing with their phones and IPAD. It didn’t take too long before they arrived at Alicante High. Alec and Izzy turned their heads to face Max and kissed him on his cheeks.
“Goodbye Max. Have a nice day on your first day in class.” They said as they bid their goodbye to their younger brother. They got out of the car and walked towards the driver seat and stared on their father.
“Good luck in your first class kids, remember, always do your best in your classes and don’t involve yourselves on fights okay?” Robert reminded them one last time as he handed them their allowance for the week.
“We will father.” They both said and nodded at their father’s reminder. Robert nodded and they bid goodbye as the engine started once again and the car went off. Alec and Izzy stood on the side and stared as they follow the path of their father’s car. A few seconds later the first warning bell rang signaling that the students needed to get into their room before the second bell rings. Alec and Izzy then rushed and went into their own respective rooms.
When Alec entered the room he noticed that the room was a bit noisy because of his classmates who were chatting with each other over their vacation. Unfortunately for him he didn’t have any old friend in this class. He was hoping he get to have Jace in this class but to no avail. He sighed and chose a seat in the back near the window and went there. Alec opened his notebook and continued to write in his diary while waiting for their teacher when he felt a light tap on his shoulder. He looked up and saw a beautiful dark-haired girl with a stunning green eyes that resembled Clary and was waving her hand to him.
"Hello! Is this seat already taken?" The girl asked as she pointed a table next to his.
"Uh. I don't think so." Alec said as he shrugged in reply. The girl smiled brightly as if the burden on her shoulders was being lifted.
"That's great! You wouldn't mind if I seat here right?"
"Uh, no I won't mind."
"Great!" The girl went to the table next to him and began putting her stuff. Alec resumed in writing when he felt a gaze on him once again.
"By the way, what is your name sweetie?" Alec nearly blushed at her endearment and replied.
"Cool. I am Aline. Nice to meet you! I hope we can be friends!" This time though, Alec couldn't hide his blush and felt it spread on his cheeks. Aline's eyes widened as she witnessed the adorable scene before her.
"Awh aren't you cute you’re blushing!" she said as she pinched his cheeks. Alec just smiled in reply while silently cursing his pale skin.
"But you know, I have a feeling that you're like me."
"Yes, like me, that we are-" Aline was interrupted when their professor suddenly came. Alec’s eyes suddenly lit up when he recognized it was Clary’s mother. Mrs. Fray gave him a knowing look before she returned her attention into the class.
"Good morning class. I am Mrs. Fray. I hope to have a nice school year with you."
"Good morning Mrs. Fray." The whole class responded and Mrs. Fray started to check the attendance of her students. When she was finished checking their attendance, she closed her class record and faced them for her announcement.
"Okay class, since this is your first day, we won't have a discussion about art right away. Instead, we will have an activity that will let us connect with each other. I want to know what is the thing that inspires you, motivates you, or the thing that brighten up your life. You have to draw about that thing and discuss it here in front of the class. In that way, we will get to know each other better. Understood?"
“Yes Mrs. Fray.” The whole class said and they began to get their drawing book and started drawing. At the announcement of Mrs. Fray Alec’s mind already chosen the best subject to draw today. Magnus’ cat-like golden green eyes seemed to flash in his mind every now and then and he couldn’t help but to fall in such rare beauty. And so without realizing about it he began to draw Magnus’ figure.
He drew him as a man who had his body gently leaning on a Cherry Blossom tree. There were some leaves that were carried away by the gentle, chilly breeze of the wind. The background was like a calm before the storm. On the left side it was bright but then you could see that dark clouds are beginning to cover the whole brightness of the sky.
Magnus touched one leaf and was staring at the tree intently. The pain and longing reflected in his eyes. As if the he were jealous that the tree has a lifespan, it will changed over the time while he remained the same, frozen. But of course, he purposely hid Magnus’ face behind the falling leaves so that no one will recognize him. He was sure he will be put up in a very awkward situation if they realized he was having a crush on the Campus heartthrob.
Instead, Alec focused on highlighting the magical effects of his golden green eyes. The brightest part in his drawing was Magnus’ eyes. One look of the portrait and you will be captivated by the golden-green eyed beauty. Finally he was done and was satisfied with his work.
After a few more minutes everyone was done and they all began explaining their artworks on the front. When it was Alec’s time he immediately blushed and felt the urge for the ground to just devour him because of embarrassment. All of the eyes of his classmates were solely focused on his artwork. They were amazed of the masterpiece Alec produced and began throwing him bunch of questions before Alec could even start explaining his work.
“Class be quiet. I know that we’re all fascinated by Alec’s piece but we need to know the story behind it. You can ask questions to Alec later okay?” the whole class nodded and went quiet.
“Alec, you may start.”
“Right.” Alec said as he released a heavy sigh to calm his nerves.
“I chose to draw this one because, because I was just . . . attracted of the magical entity of his golden green eyes. The figure in here is a one of a kind person. I always see it as an immortal, beautiful creation. But his beauty was being misinterpreted by the people surrounding him. Hence, the division of the brightness and the darkness in the background. They cursed him for his unusual beauty and gave him the cruelty of life. He wanted to die and end his sufferings but then he found out that along with his unusual beauty is that he possessed an eternal life. And he was sad because he couldn’t do anything about it. He wanted his suffering to end but unable to do so. And then he is here, wishing that he will be like the cherry blossom trees that they will changed and withered in time.”
The whole class was covered with adorning silence that made Alec’s skin prickled. The next thing he knew there were thunderous applause given to him and just time, the bell rang.
“That was really excellent Alec. And now since the time is up, we will continue this discussion tomorrow. Take your lunch and have a good day.” Mrs. Fray said as she dismissed their class.
Alec quickly arranged his stuff and went to their usual spot in the cafeteria. The first thing he noticed was Izzy sitting on their table. She glanced up and waved her hand to Alec. He waved back and walked towards their table and sat beside her. They started talking how their first class was when they heard few footsteps approaching their way and Alec was suddenly wrapped in a pair of strong arms from behind followed by other arms hugging them.
“Guys! You’re suffocating us!” Alec said while choking as he struggled against Jace’s grip. Clary and Simon smiled and released them from their grip. Izzy glared at Simon because he got her hair slightly messed up because of the hug. But Jace ignored Alec’s plea as he tightened his grip around Alec even more and was throwing him playful punches on his belly.
“I’m sorry Iz. But really, we just missed you guys. It’s been three months since we last saw each other.” Simon apologized to Izzy as he offered his comb to fix her hair. Clary followed him and they sat on the chairs opposite to them. Izzy smiled at the sincere apology of his friend and took the comb from him.
“Well, we missed you too guys! How was your summer vacation by the way?”
“Oh, it was really fun. Simon and I got to tour around Asia this time. And we met Simon’s relatives from his mother’s side. What about you and Alec?”
“Nothing. We just stayed here in New York all throughout the summer. But we did enjoyed my ballet session and Alec recently joined archery. I gotta say, I was surprised he has a natural talent in archery. And I think, this time Alec will steal the glory from Jace.” Izzy purposely raised her voice for Jace to hear what they were talking about. Jace finally stopped his playful attacks on Alec and stared at them. Without releasing Alec he quickly jumped and sat on the chair beside his best friend causing Alec to flinch from the impact of Jace’s actions.
“What? Alec stealing my glory? Oh please, we need some miracle for that to happen. And Alec excelling in archery is just natural. As he is my parabatai.” All of them raised their eyebrows at him as if he already lost his mind.
“Parabatai? What the hell is that Jace? Wait, is that even a word?” Clary managed to ask him as they recovered from their initial shock. Jace just shrugged in reply, ignoring the shock looks they had on their face.
“Parabatai. Your better half. It was like your best friend, your side-kick, your partner.”
“Man, we are all aware that Alec is your best friend, but is there really a need to use a difficult word to define your friendship? Why don’t you just say best friend? Like me and Clary.” Simon scoffed as he replied on Jace’s answer.
“No. We had a special bond. Our brotherly bond is unique, and therefore, it has to stand out from the rest of the world. Whether you like it or not, he is my parabatai. And as my parabatai it is Alec’s duty to put up with me. I am the best in fencing, therefore he should be best in archery. We had each other’s back. Of course, I am the leader of the band.” Alec rolled his eyes while everyone expressed their disapproval in Jace’s statement. They were about to retaliate with a witty statement when someone suddenly interrupted them.
“I see you’re enjoying yourselves, youngsters.” Alec’s eyes widened when he suddenly recognized that smooth, silky voice he knew everywhere he go. He immediately tilted his head and looked at the golden-green eyed beauty in front of him.