Home > Wicked (Pretty Little Liars #5)(15)

Wicked (Pretty Little Liars #5)(15)
Author: Sara Shepard

More than that, being back at Rosewood Day just felt…uncomfortable. Emily had spent the whole day dodging Maya, afraid of a confrontation. And she was just going through the motions at swim team. She hadn’t been able to shake off the lingering feelings of wanting to quit, and her ex-boyfriend Ben and his best friend, Seth Cardiff, had kept giving her smirking, dirty looks, clearly bitter that she preferred girls to guys.

Mrs. Fields pursed her lips, making her I’m not buying that face. She squeezed Emily’s hand. “Why don’t you come to the Holy Trinity fund-raiser with me tonight?”

Emily raised a suspicious eyebrow. “You want me to go to something at the church?” From what Emily had gathered, Catholic churches and lesbians went together about as well as stripes and plaids.

“Father Tyson asked about you,” Mrs. Fields said. “And not because of the g*y thing,” she quickly added. “He was worried about how you were doing after everything that happened with Mona last semester. And the fund-raiser will be fun—they’re going to have music and a silent auction. Maybe you’ll feel peaceful just being back there.”

Emily leaned appreciatively on her mom’s shoulder. Just a few months ago, her mother wouldn’t even speak to her, let alone invite her to church. She was thrilled to be sleeping in her comfy bed in Rosewood instead of on a foldout cot in her über-puritan aunt and uncle’s drafty farmhouse in Iowa, where Emily had been sent to exorcise her so-called g*y demons. And she was so happy that Carolyn was sleeping in their shared bedroom again, too, not shying away from Emily because she might get lesbian germs. It hardly mattered that Emily was no longer in love with Maya. Nor did it matter that the whole school knew she was g*y or that most of the boys followed her around hoping they might catch her randomly making out with a girl. Because, you know, lesbians did that all the time.

What was important was that her family was going out of their way to accept her. For Christmas, Carolyn had given Emily a poster of the Olympic champion Amanda Beard in a two-piece TYR racing suit as a replacement for Emily’s old poster of Michael Phelps in a teensy Speedo. Emily’s father had given her a big tin of jasmine tea because he’d read on the Internet that “uh, ladies like you” preferred tea to coffee. Jake and Beth, her older brother and sister, had pooled together and gotten her the complete L Word series on DVD. They’d even offered to watch a few episodes with Emily after Christmas dinner. Their efforts made Emily feel a little awkward—she cringed at the thought of her dad reading about lesbians on the Internet—but also really happy.

Her family’s 180-degree attitude adjustment made Emily want to try harder with them, too. And maybe her mom was onto something. All Emily wanted was for her life to go back to the way it had been before all this A stuff happened. Her family had been going to Holy Trinity, Rosewood’s biggest Catholic church, ever since she could remember. Maybe it could help her feel better. “Okay,” Emily said, climbing out of bed. “I’ll come.”

“Good.” Mrs. Fields beamed. “I’m leaving in forty-five minutes.” With that, she padded out of the room.

Emily stood up and walked to her big bedroom window, resting her elbows on the sill. The moon had risen above the trees, the dark cornfields behind her house were blanketed in untouched snow, and a thick sheet of ice covered the roof of her neighbors’ castle-shaped swing set.

Suddenly, something white streaked through a row of dead cornstalks. Emily stood up straight, her nerves tingling. She told herself it was just a deer, but it was impossible to know for sure. Because when she squinted harder, there was only darkness.

Holy Trinity was one of the oldest churches in Rosewood. The church building was made of crumbling stone, and the little cemetery out back had messily arranged head-stones that reminded Emily of rows of crooked teeth. Around Halloween in seventh grade, Ali had told them a ghost story about a girl who haunted her younger sister’s dreams. She’d dared Emily and the others to sneak into this very cemetery at midnight and chant, “My dead sister’s bones,” twenty times without screaming and running away. Only Hanna, who would’ve streaked naked through the Rosewood Day commons to prove to Ali that she was cool, had been able to do it.

The inside of the church smelled just like Emily remembered, a strange mix of mildew, pot roast, and cat pee. The same beautiful but slightly scary stained-glass windows, all depicting biblical stories, lined the walls and the ceiling. Emily wondered if God, whoever he or she was, was looking down on them, horrified that Emily was in such a holy place. She hoped he wouldn’t send Rosewood a locust attack for this. Mrs. Fields waved to Father Tyson, the kindly, white-haired priest who had baptized Emily, taught her the Ten Commandments, and gotten her hooked on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Then she grabbed two coffees from the bar that had been set up next to a large statue of Mary and led Emily toward the stage.

As they settled in behind a tall man and his two young children, Mrs. Fields looked at the music program. “Up now is a band called Carpe Diem. Oh, fun! The people in the band are juniors at Holy Trinity Academy.”

Emily groaned. Between fourth and fifth grades, her parents had sent her to Camp Long Pines, a sleepaway Bible camp. Jeffrey Kane, one of her counselors, had a band, and they performed the last night of camp. They covered Creed songs, and Jeffrey made the goofiest, most contorted faces, like he was having some sort of godly epiphany. She could only imagine what a Catholic school band called Carpe Diem would be like.

Twangy chords began to fill the room. Their view of the stage was partially obscured by a large amplifier, so Emily saw only a scruffy-haired guy playing drums. As the instrumental progressed, Carpe Diem sounded more emo rock than Creed II. And when the singer started the first verse, Emily was surprised that his voice sounded…good.

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