Chapter 18 

While getting ready for the premiere of Little Women, Celia resists going with her date, Robert Logan. She despises him, and begs Evelyn to let the two of them go together, but Evelyn says Celia has to have a date for the event. Celia pretends to enjoy Robert’s company, and Evelyn pretends to enjoy Don’s. On the red carpet, Evelyn poses with Celia to make sure there are beautiful pictures of Celia in the press. Watching the film for the first time, Evelyn is sure that Celia is going to win an Oscar. But instead of feeling jealous, she feels happy for her. When Evelyn shows Celia affection in front of Don, she feels certain he’ll hit her for the act later.  

At an after-party, Ruby pulls Evelyn into a laundry room and spills a green drink on her green dress. Ruby wants to conspire to take Celia down, but Evelyn rebuffs her. Upset, Ruby tells Evelyn that Celia is a lesbian and that Don is cheating on her. Evelyn cares more about finding Celia than finding her husband. 

Chapter 19 

In the interview, Monique asks Evelyn if she knew that Celia was gay. Monique notices that, under her calm exterior, Evelyn seems nervous, and she pushes Evelyn to tell her who the love of her life was. Evelyn hesitates and Monique thinks that it’s safer for her to come out now, though it is still not entirely safe. Finally, Evelyn admits that Celia is the love her of life.  

Monique assumes that her confession means that Evelyn is a lesbian, which upsets Evelyn. In fact, she identifies as bisexual. Monique regrets jumping to conclusions and reflects that, as a biracial woman, people also make assumptions about her that erase part of her identity. She apologizes, and Evelyn continues with her story. 

Chapter 20 

Celia finds Evelyn in the laundry room at the party. Evelyn confronts Celia and asks if she’s a lesbian. When Celia tries to leave, Evelyn kisses her. Celia leaves, and Evelyn goes to find Don. She catches him cheating on her. She asks Harry to take her to her house. Evelyn asks Harry to admit to her, out loud, that he’s gay, and she hints that she and Celia may also be like him. Harry says he thought that Celia might have had feelings for Evelyn. Harry warns Evelyn that if she leaves Don, it will have consequences for her career. When Evelyn gets home, Celia is there. Evelyn tells Celia she doesn’t love Don anymore and that Celia is all she thinks about. Evelyn packs her bags and leaves. 

Chapter 21 

Evelyn goes to stay at Celia’s and though they sleep in the same bed, they keep things mostly platonic. Evelyn wants to kiss Celia again but struggles with what it means for her sexual identity. Harry comes to visit Evelyn and presents the divorce agreement from Don. Evelyn gets the house and half of Don’s money but is forbidden from discussing their marriage publicly. Don has also asked the Sunset Studio to kick Evelyn out and loan her to different studios that will cast her in bad movies until her contract ends. Harry and Evelyn promise to remain friends despite the messy business with the studio. After Harry leaves, Evelyn tells Celia she loves her, and they sleep together.  

Adler and Hugo Kaput! 

This 1959 article in Sub Rosa announces that Don is divorcing Evelyn because Evelyn was jealous of Don’s burgeoning success. The article speculates that Evelyn’s career may be over.  

Chapter 22 

Back in the interview, Monique asks Evelyn how she remained so confident after Don left her and hurt her career. Monique lets it slip that she’s thinking of her own divorce. Evelyn draws a distinction between feeling hurt because of heartbreak and feeling hurt because of a failed marriage. The distinction strikes Monique because she’d never considered it. 

Monique admits to Frankie that Evelyn wants Monique to write her biography. Monique negotiates a deal with Frankie: if Monique can get a cover story and photoshoot with Evelyn, Frankie will give Monique a promotion and raise.  

Chapter 23 

Monique asks Evelyn about the photoshoot. Evelyn refuses to participate, and Monique says that if Evelyn doesn’t give her the photoshoot, she’ll walk away from the biography project. Evelyn relents with the caveat that Monique needs to spend every waking moment working on the biography, and that she can't pressure Evelyn to answer any questions she's uncomfortable with. Monique is pleased but then realizes that if Evelyn has given into her request, then Evelyn must want something in return. Monique feels like she should be afraid. 


The color green reemerges in these chapters as a symbol of both the dark and light sides of Evelyn’s sexuality. Evelyn first wore a green dress in the novel while seducing Ernie for a ride to Hollywood. This was, for Evelyn, a transaction of mutual interest more than an act of desire, illustrating that in the beginning of her adult life, sex was currency for her. This made the green more emblematic of money and material gain than nature and desire. Evelyn wears a green dress when she experiences another sexual first: kissing a woman for the first time. The scene with Celia is imbued with floral imagery and scents, and it evokes a sense of new blossoms related to the green of growth. In this first kiss with Celia, Evelyn isn’t in control of herself. She is overcome with a desire that hints at the association between newness and the color green. This more emerald shade of green will become Evelyn’s signature color, and it captures both the transactional and the transcendent nature of sex throughout Evelyn’s life.  

These chapters explore the theme of hiding the truth in order to survive. Throughout the novel, Evelyn, Celia, and Harry hide who they are from public scrutiny because they fear being shunned and losing their careers due to their homosexuality. When Ruby tries to conspire to bring Celia down and end Evelyn’s allegiance to her, Ruby outs Celia as a lesbian to Evelyn and calls her homophobic epithets. This illustrates that outing a celebrity, particularly in this golden age of Hollywood, has the power to destroy their career. Harry struggles to come out to Evelyn and won’t say that he’s gay aloud even when Evelyn asks him to. This is in order to protect her from the burden of knowing and also from the potential blowback if his sexuality becomes public knowledge. Even in the present day, Evelyn struggles to tell the truth about her bisexual identity. Monique notes that though things have gotten much better in the decades since Celia and Evelyn fell in love, being out as gay is still not entirely safe. 

These chapters also explore the unreliability of appearances. Evelyn worked hard throughout her life to present herself to society as a heterosexual woman, and she has used heterosexual marriages to hide her decades-long love affair with a woman. However, when Evelyn comes out to Monique, Monique immediately assumes that Evelyn is gay, which Evelyn takes as an erasure of her bisexuality. As a biracial woman, Monique recognizes the reductive nature of labels and reflects on how often in her life people saw her as only Black, ignoring the complexity of her identity. By relying on surface cues and appearances, people in both Monique and Evelyn’s lives have missed out on who they truly are. Evelyn used those assumptions to protect herself and the people she loved, but in finally coming out, she realizes she hid her true self from the world for most of her life.