Chapter Nine

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Priscilla is a painting. She's beautiful, elegant, and requires way more than a single glance to appreciate the full picture. She's frozen in time, her physical features imprinted on my memory. Except, just like a painting, her beauty is razor-thin and likely to crack under stress.

The stress, in this case, is her atrocious personality. Only one minute in her presence and I find that that hasn't changed any more than her physical appearance has.

The brimstone in her eyes brightens when she spots us. "Well, well, well, if it isn't my sister-in-law, her mangy dog, and the pathetic leech."

Eli snorts. "Oh, please. Nobody can stand your bitch ass, and no one cares about the thoughts that come from your maggot-infested brain. Spew your shit to someone else."

For the millionth time in my life, I'm grateful to have Eli as an ally. She's a truly fearsome enemy.

Priscilla clenches her fists but doesn't defend herself or attack any of us further. Few people are brave or dumb enough to enter a verbal sparring match with Eli. Or a physical one. Gwen is an exception, obviously, but I'm not sure if she falls into the brave or stupid category.

Assured that she's won, Eli heads to the back of the classroom, passing a subdued Cassie on the way.

"Still want to be my seat partner?" I ask the angel.

Jerking her chin up and down, Cassie packs up her supplies and follows me. Eli takes the corner spot, Killian sits next to her, and I plop down in front of her with Cassie taking the seat beside me.

A minute before class officially begins, Eli's holler precedes a loud thud. Spinning around, I find Aristotle moaning on the floor.

"Ouch, sis."

"You sat on me!" Eli accuses.

"You're in my spot," Ari retorts.

So, he must have teleported right on top of Eli. Smooth moves, Sloth.

Instead of taking a new seat like a normal person, Aristotle continues to lie on the tile. From behind his ear, he pulls out the pen I gave him earlier and doodles in the spaces between the tattoos on his left arm.

In an act of self-preservation, I spend the hour tuning out Priscilla. She drones on and on about whatever she deems to be useful life skills. It might be stories from her own life, the weather, or how much she despises my existence. Who knows.

When I can't take anymore, I'm once again glad for Eli. "Hey, Prissy!" I cover my ears at Eli's shout. "Your time's up; quit moving those sacks of fat you call lips."

Priscilla does close her mouth, her lips pursed like Gwen's do when she's upset.

Eli's boldness shocks the students who aren't familiar with her. Several gasps sound throughout the room, but demon snickers are also audible.

Without waiting for a response, Eli grabs her stuff, climbs over Aristotle, and struts down the aisle. Encouraged by her bravado, other students follow suit, including myself.

Outside the classroom, I breathe a much-needed sigh of relief. Even though I learned nothing, I still shared air space with Priscilla for an hour and didn't have a breakdown or try to kill her. That's an accomplishment to be proud of.

"Just combat with Ragnar now," Killian says.

He's trying to be positive, I think. Like, he's simply pointing out that we're almost finished with our day.

But, as it did previously, Killian's statement is met with scowls.

"We don't like Ragnar," Eli reminds him.

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