Hello darlings! Glad for an update finally? Sorry it took so long again, but I have 3 other stories that I'm working on, and, unfortunately, they're just as important as this one is. So I hope that you like this chapter, and please review! Enjoy!
Previously: Aria and Ezra decide that they can't do anything about either Jackie or Mona until something forces them to. Earlier on, Mona and Jackie had both, separately, threatened to out their relationship. With Mona had been Noel Khan when she did this. Aria doesn't know why Mona would be threatening her relationship but it's obvious to her why Jackie would. Byron was on his way over to Ezra's office to investigate when he ran into Jackie. She dropped a not-so-slight hint that Aria is dating someone older, although she never said Ezra's name. Byron became extremely suspicious of Aria, and he had his hand on the door handle of Ezra's office when his co-worker wanted him to look at something. Soon it was time for Aria and her school to leave campus, and when on the bus, nearly the time they reached the school, Mona decided to be cruel and hinted that something major would be in the paper next week. Aria obviously thought that it was about her and Ezra, and decided to call a girls' only meeting for the four of them. It was time to do some revenge planning.
"What's the plan for revenge?" Hanna bounces up and down eagerly on my bed, her eyes mischievous with the idea of revenge.
I grin, "Hanna, it's not like we're planning the girl's death; settle down!"
Spencer pipes up, "Aria, I don't think we should do anything drastic. All Mona has done is threaten you. I'd bet she doesn't even know it was Fitz-"
"-you were talking about. Want my advice?" Spencer asks in a rush. Her mouth is open and her thinking cap clearly on as she is about to state what she believes is best.
Hanna beats her to it, "No one wants your advice, Spence. You're too logical."
"T- Too-" Spencer stutters angrily, "I am not too logical." On her face is a mask of rage, but hidden behind it is the obvious humor.
Hanna bursts out giggling and Em follows suit, hiding behind her hand as not to completely offend Spencer. As Spencer continues to glare at the girls with mock rage, I go over ideas in my mind. When I deem that none of them will do, I decide to ask Spencer her opinion.
"Oh, alright. What was your idea?"
"One of two things. First, we could wait out Mona's threat and make sure that she's bluffing. But that could potentially be harmful, because what if she isn't bluffing? And second, we could threaten her back. What does Mona love more than anything else in the world?"
"Popularity," Hanna says simply, obviously still sulking at the idea that she will have to choose Aria over Mona. It's obvious that she'd rather not choose either way.
Spencer grins, "Exactly. And if we have some dirt, which I'm sure you do, Hanna, we could threaten her popularity. If she's that desperate to stay in her secure position as of now, she won't out you two, Aria."
It sounds like an idea, but is not ideal. I frown, frustrated, "I don't know. I just want Mona and Noel out of my love life, but I don't know how to do that. Um, by the way, I have something else I need to tell you all," I say nonchalantly, picking at my fingernail polish.
"What is it?" Emily asks, worried. Her eyebrows are creased with concern as her chocolate brown eyes stare at me.
"Jackie Molina knows about Ezra and I," I blurt out, "I don't know how, but she does and she's also threatening me. It isn't just Mona, guys. It isn't only one bump in the road; it's a whole mountain. What am I going to do?"
"Damn," Hanna curses, her eyes widening with surprise. "Damn, that's bad."
"Okay, let's lay low for a while. Let one or the other make the first move; then we can decide how to act. Aria, I think that it would be best if we just wait. Even though it may be frustrating that they are both threatening you, it may only be threats. There may not be anything behind it," Emily advises, her deep dark eyes staring into mine.
Seeing the maturity in her words, I start to understand where her and Spencer are coming from. However much I dislike the girls' and Noel's threats, it would be extremely unwise to act upon them now. I'm not sure of anything, and acting because of their simple threats could secure the ideas that they have in place. It may hand them the whole truth, of which they right now only carry a wisp.
I finally nod after a minute, "Deal."
A week after the morning after our S.O.S. meeting at Aria's house, I walk into my kitchen where my mother is concocting up our breakfast and burning toast.
After lounging in my bed for nearly a half an hour and then hesitating in front of my closet, I finally picked out what to wear: A short jean skirt that barely brushes the middle of my thighs, and a simple hot pink v-neck T-shirt. To top it off, I threw on a necklace or two and some Dolce & Gabanna suede lace up platform booties, or in other words really high heels that are really expensive. The profits of living in Rosewood.
"Hey mom," I grin, glad that it is a new day once again.
She looks up. Pieces of my mother's silky black hair sweep across her tired face. Her warm brown eyes look at me happily, and she pauses what she's doing to talk. I slip into a bar stool and watch her get back to work.
"Hi, honey. How did you sleep?" She asks, mixing batter for what appears to be pancakes.
"Pretty good," I answer, watching the batter sizzle as she slops it onto the griddle. The pale brown glop slips from the spoon and lays in a heaping pile on the hot pan.
A minute later, my mom asks, "Would you mind grabbing the paper, sweetie? Your father will want to read it and I forgot to get it."
My father, lieutenant colonel Wayne Fields, has been living at home for the past three days. After having come home with short notice, my father has no work ahead of him quite yet. He had been working in Afghanistan for a while, but is not needed there anymore, so is able to be home for the next week at least.
It is obvious that my mother, Pam, is excited that he's here. She's been cooking breakfast every morning, doing all the chores, and still finds time to relax with him. I, too, am extremely excited that he's home. Without the father figure in my life, it's been a little unstable. I missed playing games with someone at night, because my mother always had to work. But now that dad is back, I can play Trouble, Life, Memory, etc. with him and still not get bored. He's there and understands me. He listens intently and offers me advice. I missed him tremendously. And now I'm glad to have him back, at least for a short while.
Hopping down off the stool, I grin, "Sure."
The cool air outside is crisp and fresh. I shiver as I walk down the drive, admiring the light of the new day on the way. Few cars drive past, thus making the neighborhood quiet except for the happy chirping of the birds in the trees. I reach down toward the rough concrete to retrieve the bag of newspaper from its place, whistling with happiness as I do.
By the time I get back inside, my father is already downstairs.
"Hey kiddo," He grins, his brown eyes twinkling the second they set sight on me. I can't help but smile back at his enthusiasm. As his eyes travel down they notice the paper I hold in my hand. He continues, asking, "What's that?"
"Your daughter was kind enough to grab you the paper today," Mom answers for me. Shaking my head and smiling, I head over toward my dad. After setting the paper down on the table for him to read, I give him a hug.
"Okay; It's all done. Get out your plates everyone, because breakfast is served," Mom sings happily, bringing the food over to the table.
Five minutes later we're in the process of eating. My mom is asking what I plan to do today, Saturday, and my father is reading the paper. Suddenly, he gasps and we stare at him as his face morphs into shock and confusion. After a minute he lifts his eyes too grimly look at us.
"Aria had a secret relationship right under her parent's noses? I just can't believe it," He shakes his head, unbelieving.
My eyes grow wide and I nearly snatch the paper right out of his hands in attempt to see what it says. I nearly shriek, "What are you talking about?"
Turning the paper around so that I can see the article, my dad explains, "It says here that Aria is having a secret relationship, and that her parents disapprove. it doesn't say who it is that she's dating, but it's anonymous and has a lot of information. Did one of you girls post this about her to get revenge of some sort?"
His eyes pierce mine and I'm having trouble controlling my expression as I answer, "No."
"Tell my why this is here, then," He demands.
I can't take it and longer. I reach forward and take the paper from its place where he set it on the table, jumping up in the process.
"I've got to go," I yell over my shoulder, "Have a nice day; I'll see you later."
As I race out the front door, I slam it behind me, cutting off my mother's pleading cries to know where I'm going.
Mona went too far this time. She has got to be stopped.
It's peaceful and quiet in my room until the banging starts on the front door downstairs. I hop out of bed and trod down the stairs, coming to the door first. Opening the smooth oak door, I find Emily on the step.
Holding up newspaper, she declares, "We need to talk." There is fear in her eyes as she steps into the house, and I'm sent into a nervous state.
Five minutes later we're sitting on the floor of my room, flattening the crunched newspaper. My stomach feels queasy, and I can't read the paper; I don't want to. And yet I do.
"Read it to me," I demand, but then go back on my word, "Wait; don't! Or... yeah, would you read it out loud? But-"
"Calm down already; I'm reading it to you whether you like it or not," Emily laughs wryly. Taking the newspaper in her hands, she begins to read:
"It was gossiped about all through Rosewood High School, being that Aria Montgomery wouldn't go out with any of the boys that asked her. And she had a lot ask her. People began to wonder; is she lesbian? Or just not interested? Is she already seeing someone? After asking around, no one knew about Ms. Montgomery having a boyfriend; they all thought she was single. But with an anonymous tip, we've learned otherwise. Ms. Montgomery is seeing someone behind not just her parents' backs, but the whole community's. Who is this mysterious guy? The source of the tip, who wishes not to be revealed, never mentioned that. But the person did say that Ms. Montgomery was seeing someone older. The person claimed that Aria "was ranting about breaking up with this man in order to 'live a little' until she is 18." Is that some sort of clue? Why would she have to wait unless her parents dislike this man? So any guesses, Rosewood? Let's see who can figure this mystery out first."
"Oh, no," I groan as the reality of the situation sets in.
Emily's expression is sympathetic as she stares at me. She says, "Ten bucks that Mona was the anonymous tip."
"Or Noel," I say. "I don't think Meredith would have done this. She's one for more straight-to-the-point facts, and she would tell my parents first thing."
"Plus, didn't Mona threaten you about newspaper or something last week on the bus ride home from Hollis?" Emily points out.
"Yeah," I moan. "This calls for action. What do we do?"
Emily shrugs, "I still don't think that there is much we can do. Mona never mentioned his name, and only said that he was older. And from the quote, that was probably guessed. I'd say its a safe bet that she doesn't even know who it is. I think she's probably just trying to scare you."
An hour later Emily is out my door and headed home. Quickly, I pack up and leave as soon as she does. Neither Ella nor Byron notice as I slip out of the house.
The car ride to Hanna's only takes all of five minutes on a usual day, but the tracks that I have to cross have a 209 car train on them today. So the short trip was extended to be twice as long.
When I arrive at Hanna's, I slam the car door and stomp up to the front door. Before I can knock or ring the doorbell, the large white door flies open.
"Aria!" Hanna's mom, Ashley Marin, gasps. After catching her breath from the scare, she smiles, "I'm assuming you want to talk to Hanna?"
"That would be great if I could," I answer sweetly. Inside, however, I'm nervous and thrashing like a tidal wave; I'm impatient as ever.
She smiles and her perfect teeth shine in the light as she says, "Of course." Turning her head, she calls into the house, "Hanna! Aria's here to see you!" She looks back at me and with a swoop of her hand invites me in.
Stepping into the grand foyer, I look to the left and up the stairs, where Hanna is descending in three-inch platform heels and a long brightly colored dress. Her hair is up and out of the way in a messy bun, and her makeup is perfect as ever. She grins when she sees me.
"Hanna, I have a meeting now, so you two keep out of trouble. Any preferences for dinner? I'll be home around seven o'clock," Mrs. Marin asks her daughter.
"Chinese," Hanna automatically answers.
"Great. Then we'll have dinner later, sweetie. Have a nice day. Aria; nice seeing you," Mrs. Marin smiles at me and rushes out the door and to her car.
Hanna turns to me as soon as the door shuts, demanding, "What is it?" She bites her lip nervously.
With my eyes wide and fearful, I show her the newspaper, reading it to her. She exclaims over it, saying how rude it was of Mona to do such a thing. Then the glint of devilish fun comes in my eyes.
"Aria, don't! I know that look; I'm not gonna do it," Hanna fires back, already opposed to the idea that is forming in my mind.
"But you don't even know what I was going to say!" I pout, creating my best puppy dog face for her to see. She has to give in; she has to.
She shakes her head as she weighs the options. Does she side with Mona or me? Decisions, decisions. Finally, she says, "What were you going to say?"
"Well," I smile, "I was hoping that you would tell me a little something about Mona that would stop her threats. A little blackmail might do the trick. Remember, it was Spencer's idea, not mine. And anyway, I would owe you for life," I grin sweetly, hoping that my begging might actually work.
"Arggh! Seriously? Mona's been my best friend for all of sophomore year and you just want me to throw that away?" Hanna asks, conflicted with herself.
I grin sheepishly, "Well I was hoping... Plus, I've been your friend since middle school. We all have," I point out.
After much hesitating and begging, pleading and yelling, Hanna finally gives in. She sighs, looking at me.
"Fine. But just remember; you asked for it."