Chapter Sixteen

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As the great philosopher Hoobastank once said, I'm not a perfect person.

I'm just a girl, crouching in a tree, holding her breath as the man she had sexual relations with passes beneath her.

The branches aren't very thick, especially this high up, and I can hear faint creaking noises every time the wind blows. I hold on tighter to the trunk of the tree, praying that he doesn't glance up and find me.

Galileo doesn't notice me. He's too preoccupied with his frustration to pay close attention to his surroundings, an oversight I'm immensely grateful for. 

To climb this pine tree, I had to hike my dress all the way to my hips. I'm regretting the constricting garment even though it's exactly what Morticia wears and I'm all for costume accuracy. I started the night with my wig freshly straightened, my face in expertly applied makeup, and my dress ironed, but now...

I probably look insane, like a mental patient who just escaped from the psych ward. It doesn't help that I actually feel crazy, out of control, confused.

What was I thinking? Kissing Galileo, letting him touch me and touching him back, having my first non-solo orgasm. With Galileo! The man who, in the short period I've known him, has already emotionally traumatized me by facilitating a meeting with my parents. He's constantly giving me bad grades, heckling me in class, and being rude to my friends or anyone who associates with me.

Not to mention, this is the same guy who wants to kill all demons!

I smack my forehead against the bark of the tree in punishment for my stupidity.

The last time we kissed, I spiraled in a similar way, but it's much worse now. Back then, Galileo's cruelty was just a hypothetical probability. I didn't have any experience with him. Now, I do. Now, I know exactly what kind of cruelty the angel is capable of.

I wait for the regret to come, but it never does. I feel plenty of guilt, sure. I'm mad at myself for giving my enemy so many firsts, for living lies and believing them in return. But, I don't actually regret anything that happened. If given the chance, I'd probably do it again. What does that say about me?

Being with Galileo was instinctual like my body had answers to questions my mind hadn't asked yet. It felt right. And good. A little too good, if I'm being honest. My limbs are still lax from orgasm, with little aftershocks of pleasure occasionally sparking through me.

I'm stuck. Literally and figuratively. I'm literally stuck in this tree because I can't leave it and risk running into Galileo. I'm lucky that my disguise fooled him, but who knows how long it can keep up under intense scrutiny. I'm like Sam in A Cinderella Story hiding my identity with nothing but an eye mask. That always bugged me when I watched it—how can men be so oblivious to what's right in front of them?

I'm figuratively stuck in my own damn head. I don't know what to think or how to feel about everything that's happened. Not just tonight, but in the last two months I've been at PA. Might as well throw in my seventeen years in Hell, too. It's all a mindfuck.

"Do you often climb trees in the middle of the night?" someone asks.

I almost fall off the branch.

Peering into the darkness, the person is hard to spot.

"Roz?" I call out, unsure.

A flash of white teeth. "In the flesh."


I haven't seen much of Eli's roommate. She exists on the peripherals, occasionally showing up to the cafeteria or the classes we share, but never attempting to engage with anyone. Even Eli knows little of the angel and they live together.

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