Home > Wicked (Pretty Little Liars #5)(8)

Wicked (Pretty Little Liars #5)(8)
Author: Sara Shepard

But maybe he was going to apologize for all that. Maybe he was going to apologize for dropping her cold this past fall without getting her side of the story…and for dropping Hanna for Isabel and Kate for three whole years.

Mr. Marin patted her arm awkwardly. “Listen. This fall has been terrible for you. And I know testifying at Ian’s trial on Friday must be creating stress for you. And I realize that Kate and Isabel moving here was a little…abrupt. But Hanna, this is a huge life change for Kate. She abandoned her friends in Annapolis to move here, and you’ve barely spoken to her. You need to start treating her like family.”

Hanna’s smile drooped. It felt like her father had conked her over the head with the mint green soap holder on the porcelain sink. Kate certainly did not need Hanna’s help, not one bit. Kate was like Ali: graceful, beautiful, the object of everyone’s attention…and incredibly manipulative.

But as her dad lowered his chin, waiting for her to agree with him, Hanna realized there were two little words he’d left off of his last statement. Two words that were very indicative of how things were going to be around here from now on.

Hanna needed to start treating Kate like family…or else.

3

ARIA’S ART SCENE DEBUT

“Oh, ew.” Aria Montgomery wrinkled her nose as her brother, Mike, dipped a piece of bread into a ceramic cauldron of molten Swiss cheese. He swirled the bread around the bowl, pulled it out, and licked up a long, gooey string of cheese that hung off the fork. “Do you have to turn everything into a sexual act?”

Mike smirked at her and kept making out with the bread. Aria shuddered.

Aria couldn’t believe that it was the very last day of a very weird winter break. Aria and Mike’s mother, Ella, had decided to treat them to homemade cheese fondue with the fondue set she’d found in the basement under some boxes of glass Christmas ornaments and Mike’s Hot Wheels racetrack. Aria was almost positive the set had been a wedding present for Ella and Aria’s father, Byron, but she didn’t dare ask. She’d tried to avoid all references to her father—such as the weird hours she and Mike had spent with him and his girlfriend, Meredith, at the Bear Claw ski slope on Christmas Eve. Meredith had sat in the lodge the whole time, doing yoga stretches, nursing her small-but-obviously-pregnant stomach, and begging Aria to teach her how to knit a pair of baby booties. Aria’s parents had only officially separated a few months ago, at least partly because Mona-as-A had sent Ella a letter telling her that Byron was cheating on her with Meredith, and Aria was pretty sure Ella hadn’t gotten over Byron yet.

Mike eyed Ella’s bottle of Heineken. “You sure I can’t have one little sip?”

“No,” Ella answered. “For the third time.”

Mike frowned. “I’ve had beer before, you know.”

“Not in this house.” Ella glared at him.

“Why do you want beer so badly?” Aria asked curiously. “Is Mikey nervous about his first date?”

“It’s not a date.” Mike pulled his Burton snowboard beanie lower down on his forehead. “She’s just a friend.”

Aria smiled knowingly. Amazingly, a girl had fallen for Mike. Her name was Savannah, and she was a sophomore at the public school. They’d met in a Facebook group about—big surprise—lacrosse. Apparently Savannah was as obsessed with the game as Mike was.

“Mikey’s going on a date at the mall,” Aria singsonged. “So are you going to get a second dinner at the food court? Mr. Wong’s Great Wall of Chicken?”

“Shut up,” Mike snapped. “We’re going to Rive Gauche for dessert. But dude, it’s not a date. I mean, she goes to public school.” He said public school like others would say sewage-filled pit of leeches. “I only date girls with money.”

Aria narrowed her eyes. “You’re disgusting.”

“Watch it, Shakespeare-lover.” Mike smirked.

Aria paled. Shakespeare was Mike’s nickname for Ezra Fitz, Aria’s quasi–ex-boyfriend—and ex–AP English teacher. It was the other secret Mona-as-A had tormented her about. The media had tactfully kept all their A secrets private, but Aria suspected Mike had found out about Ezra from Noel Kahn, his lacrosse teammate and Rosewood Day’s biggest gossip. Aria had made Mike swear never to tell Ella, but he couldn’t resist dropping a few hints.

Ella speared a piece of bread. “I might have a date coming up, too,” she suddenly blurted.

Aria lowered her long fondue fork. She couldn’t have been more stunned if Ella just told her she was moving back to Reykjavík, Iceland, where her family had spent the past three years. “What? When?”

Ella fiddled with her chunky turquoise necklace. “Tuesday.”

“With who?”

Ella ducked her head, revealing a thin strip of gray roots at her scalp. “Just someone I’ve been talking to on Match.com. He sounds nice…but who knows? It’s not like I know that much about him. We’ve talked mostly about music. We both like the Rolling Stones.”

Aria shrugged. As seventies rock went, she was more of a Velvet Underground girl—Mick Jagger was thinner than she was, and Keith Richards was downright terrifying. “So what does he do?”

Ella smiled sheepishly. “I actually have no idea. All I know is that his name is Wolfgang.”

“Wolfgang?” Aria almost spit out a bite of bread. “As in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?”

Ella’s face was getting more and more flushed. “Maybe I won’t go.”

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