Sins of the Innocent - Jamie McGuire

In the horror show of gods and monsters, I was the star. Conceived of my mother, a Merovingian—a direct descendant of Christ—and my father, the half-human son of a fallen angel, my very existence had prompted a battle that destroyed more angels than when Lucifer himself had been exiled from the sight of God. Before I could realize my destiny though, I was stuck in a different, very special kind of hell—high school.

My jagged fingernails tapped against the desk in succession, listening to the drone of conversation consisting of the latest breakup, which graduation party to attend, how many withstanding virginities had gone down in flames after last weekend’s prom, and whose attempt to be memorable with experimental red carpet fashion had gone terribly awry.

The laughter began after a short moment of shock-filled silence. Ice-cold soda soaked my arm and the side of my shirt from collar to waist.

“Oh. Unfortunate,” Lacie said, holding an empty can.

Per her usual, she didn’t say she was sorry. One thing I could respect about Lacie—she had no fake apologies. Everyone in the room knew she’d done it on purpose, like she’d been doing at least once a month since the seventh grade.

I squeegeed off the dripping liquid from my skin and walked across the cafeteria to the closest restroom.

The door slammed into the wall as I shoved through it, echoing loudly in the tiny room. After a quick check that no one was in the three stalls, I jumped straight up, quickly pushing aside one of the lightweight squares sitting in the metal grid of the suspended ceiling. I grabbed the brown paper bag, folded over at the top, in one movement before landing back on the floor without a sound.

The sack crackled as I rummaged through the gray skirts for one of the light-blue button-downs folded crisply on the bottom. The sack also contained gray slacks and a few pair of navy tights, all in compliance with the Providence All Saints Academy’s uniform.

“You okay, Eden?” a voice called from one of the stalls.

I sighed. “Fine, Uncle Bex. It’s soda. You’ve risked being compromised. Is that effective?” I asked, quoting his favorite question.

“Compromised? You didn’t even see me. And you checked.”

Once I changed into a dry shirt, Bex pushed open the stall door, a smug expression on his face. He towered over me, as tall as my father, wearing khaki slacks and a maroon vest and tie over his light-blue oxford to blend in. Even in a Catholic school uniform, any woman would swoon over his powder-blue eyes and goofy grin, but I didn’t see it. He just seemed like a big kid to me.

“I shouldn’t have to tell a thirty-year-old hybrid that standing on a toilet isn’t considered stealth,” I said.

He chuckled, crossing his arms and leaning his backside against the sink. “It is when hiding from human high school kids. And I’m not thirty yet. I’m twenty-nine for just a little longer.”

“Close enough,” I said.

He frowned. “Since when did you start telling me what was stealthy? You’ve sure gotten pissy this year.”

I jumped up to return the sack to its spot.

“You went to an all-boy military school. Don’t talk to me about being pissy.”

“It doesn’t seem that bad. I would have loved coeds.”

I stared at him, all emotion gone from my face.

He held up his hands. “Okay, it sucks. But it’s what you make of it. You know when she’s going to spill something on you. Why don’t you pretend to drop something and bend down to pick it up? She’ll miss every time.”

“You think I haven’t thought of that? That’s insulting.”

“Then change it up.”

“I have, Bex. But if I do it every time or even most of the time …”

He nodded. “Good point. Want me to break her throwing arm?”

I tried to stifle a smile but failed.

Bex leaned over to kiss the top of my head. “Taking the higher road is hard, especially when you know you could easily snap her neck. I took out a Marine once when I was eleven. He’d been giving me so much crap for weeks …” He trailed off, lost in his moment of vindication. He sobered and then stood up straight. “But I lost.”

“Because you gave him your power by letting him influence your emotions?”


“And we can’t kill her. Keeping the Balance and all that.”

Bex gave me a quick hug. “One more week,” he said before slipping out the door.

By the time I pushed it open, he was gone. When I was young, his ability