Home > Wicked (Pretty Little Liars #5)(14)

Wicked (Pretty Little Liars #5)(14)
Author: Sara Shepard

Hanna’s insides burbled, but she resisted covering the scar with her hands. No amount of foundation, powder, or mega-expensive laser treatments had been able to make it disappear completely.

Kate followed Hanna’s gaze across the room. “Oh! That blond girl’s in my French class. She seems super nice. Are they friends of yours?”

Before Hanna could say, Absolutely not, Naomi was waving to Kate and mouthing hello. Kate flounced across the room to their table. Hanna lingered a few paces behind, pretending to be really interested in the Steam menu board, even though she had it memorized. It wasn’t like she cared what Naomi and Riley said to Kate. It wasn’t like they mattered.

“You’re new, right?” Naomi asked Kate as she approached.

“Yep,” Kate said with a huge smile. “Kate Randall. I’m Hanna’s stepsister. Well, stepsister-to-be. I just moved here from Annapolis.”

“We didn’t know Hanna had a stepsister-to-be!” Naomi’s grin reminded Hanna of a creepy jack-o’-lantern.

“She does.” Kate spread her arms out dramatically. “Moi.”

“I love those boots.” Riley pointed to them. “Are they Marc Jacobs?”

“Vintage,” Kate admitted. “I got them in Paris.”

Oh, I’m so special, I’ve been to Paris, Hanna mimicked in her head.

“Mason Byers was asking about you.” Riley gave Kate a sly look.

Kate’s eyes glittered. “Which one is Mason?”

“He’s really hot,” Naomi said. “You wanna sit?” She swiveled around and stole a chair from a table of band girls, carelessly tossing someone’s backpack to the floor.

Kate glanced at Hanna over her shoulder, raising one eyebrow as if to say, Why not? Hanna took a big step away, shaking her head forcefully.

Riley pursed her shimmery lips. “Are you too good to sit with us, Hanna?” Her voice dripped with sarcasm. “Or are you on a friends-free diet, now that Mona’s gone?”

“Maybe she’s on a friend purge,” Naomi suggested, nudging Riley slyly.

Kate glanced at Hanna, then back to Naomi and Riley. It looked as if she were debating whether or not to laugh. Hanna’s chest felt tight, like her bra had shrunk three sizes too small. Trying her best to ignore them, she whirled around, tossed her hair, and strutted into the crowded hall.

But once she was safe amid the throng of people streaming out of the cafeteria, her composure crumpled. Friends-free diet. Friends purge. Leave it to Kate to bond immediately with the bitches she hated most. Right now, Naomi and Riley were probably telling Kate about the time A had made Hanna tell them she had a little binging and purging problem and that Sean Ackard had turned her down cold when she propositioned him for sex at Noel Kahn’s field party. Hanna could just picture Kate throwing her head back in laughter, all of them insta-BFFs.

Hanna angrily made her way down the hall back to the fabrics room, elbowing slow freshman out of her way. Even though she was supposed to despise Mona these days, Hanna would have given anything to have her back right then. A few months ago, when Naomi and Riley had teased Hanna about purging, Mona had quickly stepped in, stomped the rumor flat, and reminded them who was truly in charge at Rosewood Day. It had been beautiful.

Unfortunately, there was no best girlfriend to get Hanna’s back today. And maybe there would never be one, ever again.

6

EMILY’S CHURCH MIRACLE

Monday evening after swim practice, Emily clomped up the stairs to the bedroom she and her sister Carolyn shared, shut the door, and flopped down on the bed. Practice hadn’t been that grueling, but she felt so tired, like all of her limbs were weighted down with bricks.

She flipped on the radio and spun the dial. As she passed a news station, she heard a chilling, familiar name and paused.

“Ian Thomas’s trial begins on Friday morning in Rosewood,” a clipped, efficient-sounding newswoman said. “However, Mr. Thomas staunchly denies involvement in Alison DiLaurentis’s death, and some sources close to the district attorney’s office are saying his case might not even go to trial due to insufficient evidence.”

Emily sat up in bed, feeling dizzy. Insufficient evidence? Of course Ian was denying brutally killing Ali, but how could anyone believe him? Especially with Spencer’s testimony. Emily thought about an online interview she had discovered a few weeks ago that Ian had given from inside the Chester County jail. He’d kept repeating, “I didn’t kill Alison. Why would people think I killed her? Why would someone say that?” Beads of sweat clung to his brow, and he looked pale and gaunt. At the very end of the interview, right before the clip ended, Ian ranted, “Someone wants me here. Someone’s concealing the truth. They’re going to pay.” The next day, when Emily went online to watch the interview again, the clip had mysteriously vanished.

She turned up the volume, waiting to hear whether the newscaster would say anything else, but the station had already moved on to a Shadow Traffic report.

There was a soft knock on the bedroom door. Mrs. Fields stuck her head in. “Dinner’s ready. I made homemade mac and cheese.”

Emily pulled her favorite stuffed walrus to her chest. Usually she could eat a whole pot of her mom’s homemade mac and cheese in one sitting, but today her stomach felt swollen and angry. “I’m not hungry,” she mumbled.

Mrs. Fields walked into the room, wiping her hands on her chicken-printed apron. “Are you okay?”

“Uh-huh,” Emily lied, trying to muster a brave smile. But all through the day, she’d fought the urge to burst into tears. She’d tried to be strong when they’d done the Ali-purge ritual yesterday, but not so deep down, she hated that all of a sudden Ali was supposed to be dead and gone. Over. The end. Finito. Emily couldn’t even count how many times she’d felt the overwhelming need to run out of school, drive to Spencer’s house, dig up her Ali coin purse, and never let it out of her sight again.

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