A/N: huge thank you to ayone who reviewed, making my day full of sore throats better.
Disclaimer: I only own my OC's and the plot.
Chapter 3: To Kill A Mocking Girl
"I thought about how there are two types of secrets: the kind you want to keep in, and the kind you don't dare to let out."
― Ally Carter, Don't Judge A Girl By Her Cover
Magic Wands-Crystals (flashback-Ali&Hanna)
Magic Wands-Black Magic
Ida Redig-Shout (Amber and Hanna-car)
Korn ft. Noisia-Let's Go (flashback-Wilden&Amber)
"Whose idea was this again?" Hanna moaned as she swatted at yet another a bug that got a little too close.
"Emily's mom," Spencer answered, ducking under a branch. Amber held up the next one for her, making Spencer send her a thankful smile. Amber just replied with a wink and kept walking.
"The shed was me. My mom just said we should do something for us," Emily corrected.
"Well, couldn't we do something without mosquitoes?" Hanna sneered, swatting more bugs away.
"They're not mosquitoes, they're gnats," Aria informed her.
"Whatever! They're small and annoying, and they're flying up my nose," Hanna grumbled, making Amber snort.
"Well, they're attracted to your perfume. And your hair product. And your lip gloss," Spencer rattled off with a smirk on her face.
"So, what are you saying, I attract flies?" Hanna asked, partly offended.
"Gnats, Hanna," Amber sighed with a roll of her eyes.
"Why do I feel like this is the wrong way?" Emily interrupted.
"No, this is it. I remember that tree. It's the halfway point. There's 136 steps left to the shed," Spencer assured, pointing at tree right next to them.
"Have you been out here since... Alison?" Emily asked curiously.
"Me? No. No way," Spencer said vehemently, shaking her head.
"But you remember that tree," Aria drawled.
"You guys, it's not that weird. I mean, we came out here in eighth grade like, every day...even after," Hanna defended.
"I think this is totally the wrong place to do this. Whatever you call it...shrine," Spencer waved her hand.
"It's not a shrine. It's just a place to remember Alison. What's wrong with that?" Emily asked, hurt.
"Doing it way out here makes it look like we have something to hide," Spencer said.
"You're worried what other people think?" Emily fired back.
"Well, aren't you? Do you really want to give that creepy Detective more reasons to question us?" Spencer questioned.
"Am, Hanna, why are you so quiet?"
"I'm trying to keep the bugs in my nose and out of my mouth," Hanna said. Amber didn't answer, just continued to look around the woods.
"You're allowed to have an opinion on this," Emily said gently.
"You want my opinion? I say we hold off and not remember her 'till we know for sure she's not still here!"
"What?" All four girls turned to look at her.
"What are you talking about?" Aria asked.
"You think she's still alive?" Emily asked hopefully.
"Hanna, they found her body," Amber said.
:Stop. I'm officially scared. Can we just not..." Aria trailed off, shivering. She shrunk back into Amber, who put her arm around the small brunette.
"You know, you asked for my opinion. I don't believe she's really gone," Hanna said thoughtlessly, swinging her arms around.
"We went to her funeral!" Spencer yelled.
"Yeah, and when we left we all got a text from her," Hanna said.
"It wasn't her. Someone is messing with us," Emily pointed out.
"How do you know? And what about all those nasty messages? I mean, how does this 'A' person know stuff only Ali knew?" Hanna questioned, looking around at all of her friends.
"Okay, this conversation is giving me a hive," Aria shivered again, scratching her arm.
"That's a bite. Mosquito," Hanna informed, sass heavy in her voice.
"Spencer, have you gotten any more messages?" Emily wondered.
"Haven't you?" Spencer asked dully, rolling her eyes exasperatedly. Branches rustled, making all of them look around at the should-be still woods.
"What was that? Did you hear that?" Emily asked anxiously, looking around.
"Yes, Emily we heard that. We're standing right next to you," Amber scoffed.
"Hello? Is anybody out there?" Hanna called.
"It's probably a rabbit," Spencer shook it off.
"Hello?" Hanna continued, looking around eagerly, trying to find anything that stood out.
"It's a rabbit, Hanna. It's not gonna answer you," Spencer hissed.
"Can we just get to the shed?" Emily asked, bouncing on the balls of her feet. More branches rustled, making them all jump again.
"Okay, that is definitely not a rabbit. Someone's out there."
"Let's turn around," Emily suggested. As they all turned to leave, their phones rang.
Hanna walked into her house, Amber at her heels. Walking into the kitchen, still clad in some of Amber's pj's, she froze at the sight they were greeted with.
"Morning," Wilden drawled, clad in only a towel wrapped around his waist.
"Where's my mother?" Hanna questioned, immediately remembering the conversation she had had with Amber.
"I guess she ran upstairs for somethin'. I'm trying to figure out what makes this stuff spreadable. You want a waffle or somethin'?" he continued.
"No, we don't want waffles Darren. What are you doing in this house, dressed like that?" Amber sounded like a disapproving mother. Before he could retort, Ashley walked in, stopping as she saw the looks on both of her daughter's faces.
"There she is," Wilden smiled, his face brightening, "It's a canola oil!" Amber ignored Wilden as he spread the 'canola' oil over whatever kind of breakfast he was making, preferring to give her mother her best combination of 'what the hell do you think you're doing' 'what the hell is this' 'why the hell are you letting him in our house' 'oh my God Hanna's seeing this' looks. Ashley shifted, looking over at the detective.
"Darren, why don't you get dressed? I'll take care of breakfast."
"Yeah," he agreed, before leaving the kitchen and going upstairs.
"So what, he lives here now?" Hanna asked incredulously.
"Take out the milk," Ashley ordered, ignoring her question.
"Is this a permanent thing?" Hanna continued, her voice rising.
"Would you keep your voice down?" Ashley hissed.
"God, it was one pair of sunglasses, and they were last season!"
"Han-," Amber began.
"Hand me the waffles," Ashley interrupted.
"Mom, you don't have to do this," Hanna said.
"Do what?" Ashley questioned, feigning ignorance.
"Squeeze his grapefruit," she said, making Amber cough to hide her chuckle.
"We will talk, after breakfast," their mom said sternly.
"I don't eat breakfast, and neither do you. Okay, that's Amber," Hanna sneered.
"Look. Until he gets the store to drop the charges for your shopping spree, we're not kicking anyone to the curb. The last thing we want is an enemy on the police force," Ashley advised.
"I get it, okay? But I didn't count on having to buy him a father's day card, either."
"Hanna!" Ashley whipped around, making her two daughter flinch. She sighed, much calmer as she continued to speak.
"The situation is delicate. By the way, if you're buying anyone a card, it should be me."
Aria went up to Spencer's locker, looking at all of her books.
"Russian History?" she asked, surprised.
Spencer looked up, "Yeah."
"How many AP classes does it take until your brain explodes?" Aria questioned rhetorically.
"I'm already drowning in here," the taller brunette muttered as she swapped out her books.
"Why, what's drowning for you, B+?"
"First paper's due Monday and I've written two words," giving Aria a look, she slammed her locker shut.
"Well, what's going on? Hey, you're not still freaked out about what happened in the woods yesterday, are you? Look, we do not have to do this thing for Ali until we figure..." Aria trailed off, referring to the day yesterday, when Amber had taken the girl's out to a shed a ways away into the woods, to commemorate Alison in their own way, by building a small shrine for her. Someone had been following the girls in the woods. Obviously, the only suspect was their new not-so-friendly neighborhood stalker, 'A', who just so happened to know all of their dirty little secrets.
"No, it's not just that. It's...It's everything. Is there any chance your family wants to adopt me?" Spencer asked hopefully.
Aria scoffed a laugh.
"I love you Spence, and so does my family, but trust me," she said with a chuckle, making her friend groan.
"You're right. What about Amber?"
"Oh definitely, but-," she trailed off as she caught side of Jenna, being lead down the hall by Toby. He connected eyes with the two girls, before continuing down the hall.
"He's back too? When did that happen?" Aria hissed as she and Spencer were joined by Hanna and Emily.
"Maybe she needs help sending radioactive e-mails," Hanna muttered.
"Yeah, or he may be sending a few of his own," Emily said darkly.
"Hanna," the blonde of the group turned around, sucking in a breath when she realized it was Wilden.
"Cops on campus too," Aria sassed, making Wilden look at her.
"I just spoke with your principal, asked if we could have a chat."
"No, I have to get to class," Hanna said, beginning to walk away.
"Don't worry, you've been excused. Let's go," Wilden ordered, though he kept up the polite facade.
"I keep coming back to this ninth grade shaft, of you and Alison on the steps," he began, pointing at a picture from one of the old year books.
"What about it?"
"Well, you made a lot of changes between ninth and tenth grade. Lost some weight, started styling your hair like Alison's."
"Is that a crime?" she challenged.
"No, just an observation."
"No, she helped me make those changes."
"Did she, really? Did she ever regret it? Start seeing you as her competition?" he practically accused.
"Nobody competed with Alison. You'd be stupid to even try," Hanna scoffed.
"Ask him. You'll never know unless you ask. Now," Ali urged, making Hanna step forward hesitantly.
"Um, Sean? Did you hear about the party at Noel Kahn's?" stupid, stupid of course he has, Hanna thought.
"I heard," he said hesitantly.
"I don't know. I was thinking about going, so I'm just wondering if you want to go too, with me," she offered hesitantly.
"Everybody's going. She's going, I'm going. Why aren't you?" Ali said, once she saw the look in his eyes. She caught his stare, silently urging him to say yes.
"Oh, yeah, no, I guess I am," he offered a quick smile.
"What about this guy? Did she ever talk about him?" Wilden asked, snapping Hanna out of a flashback. She looked up confusedly.
"Stay with me, Hanna. It's important."
"Why? What's the point?" Hanna asked miserably.
"The point is, I'm trying to flesh out the details of that summer."
"So you can ask me how much weight I lost? By making it look like Hefty Hanna wanted Alison dead so I could replace her?"
"I'm not questioning you as a suspect, Hanna. We're just having a chat. Besides, one can't underestimate how much the past informs the present," he said.
"Really. So, you're still that same party boy you were in the class of '96? Did you call me down here to do keg stands?"
"Wow, looks like somebody's been doing their own homework," he said, grudgingly impressed. More like she remembered the parties Amber went too and the five girls had followed her, along with the pictures. Amber had a lot of pictures.
"I like to know who's joining us for breakfast. And, by the way, my tenth-grade picture isn't even in that yearbook. I had mono and missed the deadline. Now, my makeup picture is in my living room, which you must have seen while you were wearing a towel. Is that how the police build their cases these days?"
Amber stared furiously at her phone's screen.
Way to go, Am, nailed it. Maybe I should give Jason a call, see what he thinks of your reunion with Rosewood's finest.
Attached to the text was a picture of Amber and Wilden, sitting in the restaurant, and then another picture of Amber kissing Darren's cheek as she left.
She remembered her and Wilden's conversation yesterday, at the restaurant.
Darren remained silent after her offer, his eyes pensive as he watched her carefully, though his fingers turned and laced through hers. He gently tapped his thumb against the pulse of her wrist, before lifting her hand and pressing a dainty kiss to the jutted blue vein. He smiled.
"You really are desperate, aren't you Amber?" he set her hand back onto the table, leaning closer.
"I'd quite like to keep living, sweetheart. We had great sex, but Jason's scarier," she sneered at his words, her eyes hardening.
"Jason doesn't own me, Darren-,"
"No but he did put me into the hospital for a week," he smirked.
"I haven't seen Jason in over a year."
"That may be so, but with Alison's body being found, I don't have a doubt in my mind he'll back. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, maybe in a month, it doesn't matter-,"
"Neither does he. All that matters is you're taking advantage of my mother's desperation, and her tough spot. Hanna is 16, she's allowed a couple of mistakes. Lord knows we did a hell of lot worse when we were in school. You cut me some slack, I'm asking you to do the same for Hanna and her friends." Wilden pressed his lips together, running a hand over his eyes.
"Hanna stole sunglasses, the best I can do is make sure no one else finds out about this."
"It was a one pair, Darren she can work it off, pay for it, hell I will pay for it!" He held up a hand.
"Amber we both know it was more than a pair of sunglasses, that's just all she was caught for. She's a smart girl, they all are, just like you were. Fortunately, they've picked up more than just your sass over the years," Amber scoffed, making him glare, "however, you weren't involved in any murder case, nor did you steal anything. You only got sucked up into the wrong crowd, which, admittedly, I was apart of, but the least I could do was keep you out of trouble. You cleaned yourself up well enough, Amber, and I'm happy for you. I'm sure you don't want Hanna and her little friends to know the extent of the 'fun' you used to have as well as Alison did. You've always been good at keeping secrets-,"
"And if you've forgotten, I still remember yours," Amber interrupted coolly, making Wilden smirk wider.
"Let's face it, Amber, we could destroy each other, but it's so much easier when we communicate. Your mother was desperate, yes, but it's not like I can just back out, saying I changed my mind or that her other daughter decided to take the load."
"Fine," Amber locked her jaw, leaning forward until there was only inches between their faces. To anyone looking at them, they would look like a couple, whispering quietly to each other, oblivious to the real world.
"Ease out, tell my mother she's too old, or that you've suddenly gained a conscience, whatever I don't care. I'll give you a week." Abruptly, she stood up, gathering her purse and putting a bright smile on her face.
"It was nice to catch up Dare. We should do it again sometime," she leaned forward, pressing her lips to his cheek.
"Remember Darren," she pulled back to look at his face.
"I like to win," she pressed her lips softly to his, though both of theirs stayed open. Her eyes sent a cold shiver down his spine as she pulled back and gave him a shark smile.
"Think about it."
Amber sat on the counter of her mother's kitchen, ignoring Ashley's annoyed glare. Wilden merely hid a grin, winking at the blonde when Ashley turned away. Amber smirked inwardly, knowing she had her answer. Hanna came down the stairs, putting the last of her makeup into her purse. Amber got up, moving to the mirror to stand next to her sister in front of the floor to ceiling mirror. She fluffed Hanna's curled hair, humming approvingly as she sniffed Hanna subtly.
"Mm, you smell good." Hanna smiled at their reflection, turning to kiss her sister's cheek.
"Thanks, the perfume is yours," she said sweetly, making Amber snort.
"Of course it is. Tell Mona hi for me, and that the three of us need a spa-shopping day, my treat. Give her, Sean and the girls my love." Hanna nodded, turning to hug her sister.
"How are you getting home? If there's any drinking, I will pick you up," Ashley said, making Amber internally roll her eyes.
"I could take you, if you don't mind riding in the squad car. I wouldn't use the cuffs," Wilden offered with a smirk. Hanna gave him a half smile that obviously said 'screw you'.
"I'll be fine, thanks," she pressed another kiss to Amber's cheek before waving to her mom, walking out.
"Well," Amber blew out a sigh.
"I believe I'll go now. Got stuff to do, shows to watch," she smiled briefly at Wilden and her mother, making sure to give Darren a look as she gathered her Burberry jacket and her purse, making for the door. Wilden turned to Ashley as the door closed, catching the disapproving look on the older woman.
"What? It was a joke," he defended feebly. She didn't say anything, just turned back to cleaning the dishes.
"So, have you heard from the store? Are they prosecuting or...or not?" she asked, all business-like.
"No, I haven't heard, but I have a call into them, so..." he leaned forward, catching sight of Hanna's bag. Or, more like what was inside it. He slowly pulled out a bracelet.
"What are you doing?" Ashley asked sharply.
"Where have I seen this before? It's nice. Is that from you?" he wondered.
"Alison gave it to her," she said indifferently, though she watched him like a hawk.
"That's right. She mentioned that at school today," he mock-remembered.
"Why were you at her school?"
"I was interviewing Hanna again. That's my day job," he said as if she were stupid.
"Why was my kid being questioned a second time?"
"Because she's close to the victim, and because kids keep secrets."
"Not mine. And if you're thinking she knows more than she's letting on, you're out of line. Sticky fingers is a long way off from what you're talking about," she hissed.
"Okay, easy mama bear. It's just a routine investigation," he held up his hands.
"Well, then you're gonna need a search warrant to go through her purse." They stared at each other for a few seconds before Wilden cleared his throat.
"So, can I help with dinner?" he stood up, walking around the counter.
"Yeah," she picked up the pizza box he'd brought over.
"Have it someplace else. Breakfast, too," he fought a grin, accepting the pizza box quietly. He walked out, heading to his car. He unlocked it, falling in and throwing the the pizza into the passenger side. Pulling out his phone, he dialed the familiar number. She picked up on the second ring.
"Hey, it's me. Yeah, she fell for it. Might make her a little worried when I don't come back, but I don't think she'll make a fuss." He smirked at the response.
"You want pizza?"
Hanna blinked rapidly, trying not to let the tears fall. She couldn't believe Sean had literally told her he didn't want to sleep with her. All she wanted was to go over to Amber's and have her big sister hold her and tell her that Sean is an idiot, and then Amber would tell Hanna about all of her failed relationships in high school to make her feel better. Amber didn't have these problems in high school, Hanna recalled bitterly. Amber had been the queen bee of high school even when she was in middle school.
"Hanna!" Mona smiled, before quickly recognizing the look on her best friends face.
"Hanna, what's up? Hanna!" she began to follow the blonde, watching her as she unlocked Sean's car.
"Wait, why are you taking Sean's car? Hanna!" Hanna drove off, slamming on the pedal.
Hanna began to sob. She couldn't find it in her to care much that she had crashed Sean's car, only the pressure of what she knew what would be the consequences. She slowly stepped out, wrapping her arms around herself and began to walk away. She pulled her phone out, calling Amber.
"Hey Han, how goes the partying?" Hanna let out a cry at the sound of her sister's voice.
"Hanna? Hey, what's wrong?"
"Can you come pick me up?" she sniffled.
"I'm on my way," Amber promised, not even questioning why Sean wasn't driving her. Hanna made sure to walk far away from Sean's car so Amber wouldn't see. When her sister's familiar car pulled up Hanna climbed into the passenger seat, not even waiting for the car to come to a complete stop.
"Hanna? Oh my God, what happened?" she questioned worriedly.
"Can we just go?" Amber didn't answer, just turned the car around, heading back to her apartment.
The five girls stood again in the woods the next day.
"Alison wanted us across the street so she could have it out with Toby. Ali had something on him," Spencer said.
"Besides being a total perv who peeped in our windows?" Hanna asked.
"Yeah, something way bigger, and she was threatening to tell everybody. That's why he took the fall for us," Spencer paced as Amber sat on a fallen tree, pulling Aria and Hanna down to sit on either side of her.
"Why are you waiting until now to tell us?" Aria fired as Amber put her head in her lap and her feet in Hanna's.
"I don't know. Ali made me promise, and...I guess I was scared. I thought if we never talked about that night again, it would just go away," Spencer mumbled, making Amber and Hanna scoff.
"Well, it's not going away. Not unless we toss our phones and join the Navy," Hanna grumbled.
"Look, there's five of us and one freak sending messages. If we just talk to each other like this, I feel like it makes it easier to deal with everything," Emily suggested.
"I think Emily's right. There's way too many secrets. We shouldn't do this in the middle of nowhere. We should do it where we can see it every day," Aria agreed, looking at her friends.
"You mean, like, somewhere in school?" Hanna raised her eyebrows.
"No. In town. We should ask if we can put a bench somewhere. Wait, and you know what? Whoever did this to her, if they're still in Rosewood, we should make them look at it every day, too," Aria scowled as she thought about it. Hanna sneered a little.
"What, you hate the idea?" Spencer asked as Amber yawned.
"No. No, I just...I had a rough night," Hanna said, not looking at any of the other girls as she played with the laces on Amber's heels. The branches rustled loudly, making them all look around. Amber hopped up and was the first to run, the other four following only seconds later.
"Look," Hanna grabbed Amber's arm, making the blonde look at their feet. Inches away from her feet was a bracelet.
"Is that yours?" Spencer asked Hanna as they all looked over the two blonde's shoulders.
Heeyyy guys. So again, this was supposed to be up yesterday, but it was so late I just decided I would post it today.
Anyway, all mistakes are mine and please review!