Disclaimer: I do not own Pretty Little Liars. It belongs to Sara Shepard. However, I do own the plot to this story.
Characters: Ali/Spencer/Emily/Aria/Hanna/Ezra/Byron/Ella/Mrs. Fields
Pretty Little Liars
Try and Relax
Having someone tell you that your best friend was found, dead, is never an easy thing. Rather you're a queen bee, or not, it's rather it's your parents who tell you, or someone else, it's all the same. It hurts. You can't hide the pain of being told that your best friend, someone you had so many memories about, is dead. There's just no hiding it.
What makes it even harder about losing a friend, is losing them when you were going through a rough patch. It's harder to lose them when you were fighting. When you've stolen a boy that they loved just because you were jealous and wanted to show them how much power you really did have over them. It doesn't help when you are hiding a secret from them as well. It doesn't help when you know something that may have saved them from what happened. No promises, though.
Alison DiLaurentis tossed her mane of blonde hair over her shoulder as she stepped onto the sidewalk outside of Rosewood Day. She took a deep breath, maintaining her composure. Although she looked ready to take on the world, she just wanted to curl up into a ball on the inside. The star was not ready to face what would be on the other side of the heavy front doors.
"Hey, Ali," Aria Montgomery said softly as she, Hanna Marin, and Emily Fields walked up beside her. "You ready for today?"
"Of course I am," Alison snapped, the nerves in her stomach getting the best of her. Aria back down. Ali sighed and hooked her arms through Aria and Emily's, with Emily taking Hanna's arm. "Let's do this."
Together, they entered the school and were met with the stares of the students. Ali shot everyone who looked at them a cool look. Tomorrow was the viewing and funeral of Spencer Hastings. Ali had assumed that there would be people who stared, but not everyone in the main hall.
The four girls were stopped in the hallway by the new guidance counsellor. She looked to be in her mid-thirties, with pitch black hair and brown eyes so dark that they looked black. Ali wrinkled her nose at what she was wearing. The woman was way too young to wear pants that stopped just above her ankles and the black shoes with the knee high white socks.
"I just wanted to let you girls know that if you would ever want to talk or need anything, anything at all, then just stop by and see me," she said in her soft, kind voice.
"I'm sure we'll be fine," Ali replied, glancing at Emily, Aria, and Hanna.
"Thanks, though," Emily spoke up. The guidance counsellor studied them for a moment.
"Well, alright, then. I'll just be on my way," she replied and disappeared down the hall. The four girls ducked into the bathroom. Ali shooed out the girls who were in there.
"I hate preppy people," Ali muttered as she studied herself in the mirror.
"She was just being polite," Emily said, leaning against the sink. Aria fixed her shirt while Hanna just stood there, staring into space.
"It's her job, Em. She's just doing it because she's getting a pay check every two weeks," Ali replied. Emily went silent. "Look, girls, you have to learn who's actually being sincere and who's faking. Her? That was faking, not sincere."
"Then who's sincere?" Aria asked. Ali moved on to fixing her hair.
"We have to stay together. No one knows what we're going through, so there's no one to trust but each other," Ali replied.
"If you say so," Aria muttered. Ali looked at her in the mirror.
"I know so, Ar," She replied. Aria avoided her gaze. They turned to exit the bathroom when Ali's phone chimed.
IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOU! –C
"Who's that?" Hanna asked as she paused, waiting for Ali. She shoved her phone into her bag and smiled.
"It's a secret," she replied, but, mentally, her mind was reeling with questions herself.
Aria eased the door shut behind her. In the kitchen, Ella and Byron were talking in low voices. All Aria wanted to do was curl up in bed and call Ezra. She snuck upstairs and to her room. She passed Mike's room and heard the music drifting out from beneath the door.
Aria eased her bedroom door shut and put her bag on her chair. She pulled her phone out and booted up her computer. She scrolled through her contacts and paused, her finger poised above Ezra's number, him smiling in the picture.
Aria pressed send and listened as the phone rang. She sat down in the chair and opened up the Internet Browser. Spencer's face looked at her, a picture she knew well. It had been their freshmen year school picture. Aria quickly exited out and bit her lip.
"Hello . . .? Hello? Aria?" Ezra was saying. Aria jumped.
"Oh, hey, sorry. I was just . . . lost in my own thoughts," she replied softly. There was a rattling noise on the other end of the line.
"That's understandable," Ezra replied after a pause. "How are you holding up? I mean, with all that's happened?" Aria sighed.
"I'm not exactly sure. Ali's kind of keeping everyone sane. I don't see how she does it. Em's . . . well, she's dealing. Hanna's not saying much, surprisingly," Aria mused, propping her feet up on her desk.
"Hanna's lost a lot," Ezra replied. Aria sighed.
"We all have," Aria told him.
"You never answered my question about how you're holding up," Ezra pointed out. Aria heard him rummaging for something.
"I'll be better once whoever did this is either dead or serving a life sentence in jail," Aria muttered.
"And do you know who did it?" Ezra asked. Aria paused. Of course she didn't.
"No, I don't," Aria sighed.
"Just try and relax, Aria, everything will turn out to be okay, alright?" Ezra asked.
"Yeah," Aria muttered.
Emily blankly stared out the window of her living room as her mom bustled around, cheerfully chatting. Emily didn't hear a single thing she said. She felt like she was in a fog. She felt like she was barely even there.
She had had swim practice after school, but she hadn't had it in her to go. Ali had dropped her off instead. She'd promised she'd call later and drove off. Now, at eight o'clock at night, Emily wondered if she really would. It wouldn't have surprised her if she didn't.
On that note, however, her phone chimed. She and her mother both jumped and looked at it like it was an alien object. Emily snatched it off the table. Ali's picture flashed on the screen, followed by a text message:
MEET PARK IN TEN –A
"I have to go," Emily said, distracted. Her mom looked at her worriedly.
"It's dark and late," she said.
"I'll be with the others," Emily replied, standing. Don't wait up; I'll probably stay at Ali's."
"Alright, I suppose. Um . . . I'll call or you call, okay?" To make sure you're safe?" her mom fretted. Emily tugged on a coat.
"Um . . . yeah, sure," she said and hurriedly ducked out the door to go and meet the others.
Hanna crossed the street, heading towards the park. She shivered from the cold and kept looking around. She felt like someone was watching her. No, you're just paranoid, Hanna thought to herself. Still, with Spencer's boy being found just a little over a week ago, it still scared her.
Hanna looked around for Ali, Emily, and Aria. She spotted Emily and Aria and started towards them. They didn't' see her. Hanna felt someone grab her wrist and cover her mouth, muffling her scream.
She was pulled into the bushes. Once released, she sprung to her feet, unsure what she would do, but she would do something. She found herself face to face with Ali. She had a smile on her face.
"Did I scare you?" she asked happily. Hanna covered her face with her hands.
"Jeesh, Ali! Spencer's . . . body was just found and now you do that? Hanna asked. "It's just wrong!"
"Get over yourself, Han. Nobody is going to hurt us if we just stick together," Ali said simply. I'm with you and Aria and Emily's together. Just stay with someone, buddy system."
"And if I can't?" Hanna questioned. Ali looked far away, suddenly, like she was at some different planet.
"Then don't go out," Ali said after a beat. Hanna nodded. Of course, that simple. Easier said than done, though. "Let's go meet the others." She managed to move to leave, but Hanna grabbed her wrist.
"Um, Ali?" she asked. Ali looked at Hanna's hand. She released the other girl.
"What?" Ali asked, looking slightly annoyed.
"Have you been getting any . . . um . . . texts?" she asked. Ali's brows furrowed.
"I get texts all the time. You're going to have to clarify what you mean a bit more," Ali replied.
"Okay, um, how about unknown callers? They sign them with a single 'C'?" Hanna elaborated. Something flashed across Ali's face, but it was gone before Hanna could determine what it was exactly.
"Of course not. Someone's just messing with your head," She replied simply.
"Maybe," Hanna mused as Ali started to leave. She looked back at Hanna.
"Coming?" she asked innocently.
"Yeah," Hanna replied, scrambling after Ali.