Home > Wicked (Pretty Little Liars #5)(11)

Wicked (Pretty Little Liars #5)(11)
Author: Sara Shepard

But judging by the sneaky little smile Xavier had just shot in Aria’s direction, maybe he didn’t mind her interpretation much at all. And that made Aria very, very happy, indeed.

4

BOTTOM OF THE CLASS

Monday morning, Spencer Hastings hunched over her desk in AP English, scribbling a few sentences on her timed The Sun Also Rises essay quiz. She wanted to add a few quotes from one of the Hemingway critical essays in the back of the book in an attempt to earn some extra brownie points with her teacher, Mrs. Stafford. These days, she had to scramble for every little crumb of brownie she could get.

The PA speaker at the front of the room crackled. “Mrs. Stafford?” called Mrs. Wagner, the school secretary. “Can you please send Spencer Hastings to the office?”

All thirteen students looked up from their papers, staring at Spencer as if she’d come to school in the lacy blue Eberjay bra and panties set she’d bought at the Saks after-Christmas sale. Mrs. Stafford, who looked nearly identical to Martha Stewart, but who had almost certainly never cracked an egg or embroidered an apron in her life, laid down her wrinkled copy of Ulysses. “Fine, go.” She shot Spencer a what have you done this time? look. Spencer couldn’t help but ask herself the same question.

Spencer stood up, did a few covert yoga fire breaths, and placed her quiz facedown on Mrs. Stafford’s desk. She couldn’t really blame her teacher for treating her like this. Spencer had been the very first Rosewood Day student to be nominated for a Golden Orchid essay award. It had been a huge deal, big enough to land her on the front page of the Philadelphia Sentinel. In the very last round, when the judge had called Spencer to tell her that she’d won, she’d finally blurted out the truth—that she’d stolen the AP Economics paper from her sister, Melissa. Now, all of her other teachers wondered if she’d cheated in their classes, too. She was no longer in the running for valedictorian, and the school had asked her to step down as student council vice president, bow out of her role in the school play, and resign as the yearbook editor in chief. They had even threatened to expel her, but Spencer’s parents had cut some sort of deal that most likely involved a hefty donation to the school.

Spencer understood why Rosewood Day couldn’t just let this blow over. But after all the tests she’d aced, committees she’d commandeered, and clubs she’d created, couldn’t they cut her just a teensy bit of slack? Didn’t they care that Ali’s body had been found a few feet from her own backyard, or that she’d received horrific messages from crazy Mona Vanderwaal, who was trying to impersonate her old, dead best friend? Or that Mona had almost pushed Spencer over the precipice of Falling Man Gorge because Spencer hadn’t wanted to be A along with her, or that it was because of Spencer that Ali’s murderer was now in jail? Nope. The only thing that mattered was that Spencer had made Rosewood Day look foolish.

She shut the door of the English room and started toward the office. The hall smelled as it always did, like pine-scented floor wax and a confused tangle of perfume and cologne. Hundreds of glitter-covered paper snowflakes hung overhead. Every December, Rosewood Day Elementary held a schoolwide snowflake-making contest, and the winning designs were displayed in the elementary and high schools all winter. Spencer used to feel so devastated when her classroom lost—the judges announced the winner right before winter break, so it kind of ruined Christmas. Then again, Spencer found every defeat crushing. She still seethed at how Andrew Campbell had been elected class president instead of her, that Ali had taken Spencer’s rightful spot on the JV field hockey team in seventh grade, and that she hadn’t gotten to decorate a piece of the Time Capsule flag in sixth grade. Even though the school had continued to hold the contest every year after that, it had never mattered as much as it had that first year she’d been able to play. Then again, Ali hadn’t gotten to decorate a piece in the end, either, which had softened the blow.

“Spencer?” Someone crept around the corner. Speak of the devil, Spencer thought grumpily. It was Andrew Campbell, Mr. Class President himself.

Andrew walked up to her, pushing his longish blond hair behind his ears. “What are you doing roaming the halls?”

Typical nosy Andrew. He was undoubtedly thrilled that Spencer was no longer in the running for valedictorian—the Spencer voodoo doll she was convinced he had stashed under his bed had finally worked its magic. He probably thought it was comeuppance, too, for how Spencer had invited him to the Foxy benefit last fall, only to ditch him once they got there.

“They want me in the office,” Spencer said icily, hoping against hope that it wasn’t bad news. She picked up the pace, her chunky-heeled boots ringing out on the polished wooden floor.

“I’m going that way, too,” Andrew chirped, walking alongside her. “Mr. Rosen wants to talk to me about the trip I took to Greece over the break.” Mr. Rosen was the Model UN advisor. “I went with the Philadelphia Young Leaders Club. Actually, I thought you were coming too.”

Spencer wanted to slap Andrew’s ruddy cheeks. After the whole Golden Orchid debacle, PhYLC—which always reminded Spencer of the noise one made when hocking up phlegm—had immediately revoked her membership. She was positive Andrew knew. “I had a conflict of interest,” she said frostily. Which was actually true: She’d had to house-sit while her parents went to their ski chalet in Beaver Creek, Colorado. They hadn’t bothered to invite Spencer along.

“Oh.” Andrew peered at her curiously. “Is something…wrong?”

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