Chapter 3

Early today Emily, Spencer, Hanna, and Aria went in the woods to go to a shed where they and Ali used to go to. They wanted to find a way to honor her and move on together. Their conversation got onto the topic of this 'A' person. Then Hanna dropped the bomb that she thinks Ali is still alive and messing with them with the 'A' texts, since she's the only one they told that stuff to. He three girls were shocked she thinks that. The main person they thought was 'A' was Jenna but Hanna pointed out that, 'A' was WATCHING us, which rules out Jenna. They made it halfway there when they got another 'A' message. They all were scared and immediately left.

Now Aria is sitting at an outside table with her mom and dad. She brought How To Kill A Mockingbird because she's only about 60 pages away from finishing it. When her mom left Aria and Byron, Arias dad, alone to get another poppy seed bagel. That's when Byron asked his daughter something that caused her body to freeze.

"Do you like your teacher?" He asks.

"What?" Asked Aria.

"Do you like your English teacher?" He reiterates.

"He's um, okay." Aria said nonchalantly despite her heart beating faster thinking of Damon.

"What's his name again?" Asked her dad.

"Mr. Salvatore." She replies then quickly changed the subject back to the biography her dad recommended.

She asks what it's called so she can get it and he tells her that there is a copy in his office at Hollis. This is one of the first times Aria is actually having a please tell conversation with her dad since she found out about his affair with a student. That's when it went to hell.

"Byron?" A familiar voice asked.

He looked surprised and said, "Hi, how are you doing?"

"Sorry to interrupt." The blonde woman said.

"No, no, no, that's okay." Byron says.

Aria then finally looks at her dad with a disgusted, shocked, and hurt look. That was the women she caught him with. Meredith.

He looked at Aria and then back at the blonde with a faint smile saying, "Aria this is Meredith Sorenson. She's a fellow teacher in my department." He then gives her a significant look and says, "This is Aria, my daughter."

"Oh! Aria! Hi, of course you are." Meredith says then turns to Byron and asks, "Have you gotten my message?"

He looks at the door to see if Ella is coming back yet. Then turns back towards Aria and Meredith.

"Yes, I did. Sorry I haven't gotten back to you yet." He says.

Aria looks at her dad as Meredith says, "That's fine they just need he referral by Monday."

"I'll get to it once I'm back on campus. Is there an email or..." He asks.

She pulls out a folder and Aria watches as her dad copy's down an email. Meredith then turns to Aria.

"How does it feel to be home?" She asks Aria, "It must be dull here after being overseas."

"Not really." Aria snarks annoyed at the blonde.

Meredith's smile never vaulters.

"I'll uh, send that before lunch." Byron said.

"Thanks," Meredith says and then flirtatiously bites her lip and says, "I'm so glad I ran into you."

He just smiled and Aria looked on still in shock as the blonde leaves with a few parting words.

"Why hasn't she graduated?" Aria asked.

"I told you, she has. She's a teaching Assistant and works across the hall from me." Her dad responded.

It was obvious that their little family brunch was ruined.

The next day at school Aria left her locker and passed Damon in the crowded hall.

"Good morning." He smiled at her.

"Hi." She grinned.

Aria then turned to watch him walk to his class. She bit her lip as her eyes couldn't stop from going to his ass. Once Damon reached the door to his class room he turned to look at her. He smirked as he entered causing her to smile. She loved his smirk.

Aria then walked over to Spencer who was at her own locker looking kinda lost in her head. She helped pick up some of the books that fell out of Spencer's locker. Spencer is taking almost all AP classes. Her parents are putting a lot of pressure on her. They then talked about what happened the other day in the woods. They stopped walking when Jenna walked in front of them. But it wasn't Jenna they were focused on. It was the boy on her arm. Emily entered the hallway with the girl who moved into Ali's old house, where her body was found. Hanna, Emily, Spencer, and Aria remember the night Ali set the garage on fire. Jenna was inside. They remember running when they saw him carry her out of the burning garage.

The new girl asked, "Who's that?"

"Toby Cavanaugh. He's older, used to come here. His parents sent him to some kind of a reform school." Emily answered.

"How come?" The girl, Maya asked.

"He, uh set fire to a garage. His stepsister was inside." Emily said as they continued walking.

"Should I be scared?" Asked Maya.

"No." Emily said.

"Okay, see you later." Maya left and Emily went to her friends.

"He's back to!? When did that happen?" Aria asked urgently, and surprised.

Hanna said, "She probably needs him to send radioactive emails for her."

"Or he is sending some of his own." Spencer said.

Detective Wilden walked over to the girls and pulled Hanna to talk with her. Making Spencer, Emily, and Aria worried.

When Hanna returned after an hour of talking with Wilden, they girls asked what he wanted. She told them they can talk at lunch then left for the bathroom before class started. Once Hanna left so did Emily and Spencer. Aria was left by the lockers. She saw Damon enter his classroom and quickly snuck in behind him before the door closed.

Damon set his coffee on his desk and turned when he heard Aria.

"Hey." Aria said.

"Hey, are you here to ask about the homework assignment?" He asked, even though he knew she wasn't. His eyes looked her up and down taking in how amazing she looked. She looks better every time he sees her.

"Do you have plans this weekend?" Aria asks walking closer to him.

He chuckled, then said, "I think we should talk about the homework assignment."

"So you do have plans?" She asks as he sits in his desk chair.

She walked even closer to his desk as he said, "I don't."

"Well there's this opening at the gallery where my mom works, I promised to help out so... If your free..." She was saying but Damon stopped her.

"I'm not so sure it's wise to hang with you and your parents." He said with a smile, "Parent teacher conference over free wine?"

She laughed and said, "Fine, bad idea." She stepped up to his desk now and asked, "What if we met up afterwards?"

Damon was picking up his coffee but stopped before he could drink any and his stupidly hot and mysterious smirk spread across his face. That caused her to smile at him.

"I'll tell my parents I'm at Noel Kahns stupid party." She continued.

Damon laughed and then quickly schooled his features and said, "Maybe you should, go to the party." As he drank his coffee.

They have yet to break eye contact.

"And tell me, why... Would I want to do that?" She asked.

"So your classmates don't suspect that you've lost interest in them, and your friends." He said as he set his coffee cup down.

Her beautiful lips twitched up as she shook her head and she looked into Damon's clear blue eyes and told him, "Too late."

Her hand was on his desk and she slowly moved it so that their pinkies were touching each other, much like the first time she came into his classroom after they found out who the other was. They both looked at their hands and then into the others eyes again.

When there was a knock on his door and it opened they pulled their hands apart. "Damon I want... Sorry, excuse me." A lady walked in and stopped talking when she saw Aria.

"It's fine, Mrs. Welch." Damon said and stood up grabbing a paper from his desk.

"Are we clear on the homework assignment?" He asked Aria, handing her the paper.

"Yes, totally. If I have any questions I'll reach out to you." Aria said as she took the paper and fake read it.

"Great." Damon said.

Thank you, Mr. Salvatore." Aria said smiling for show and because of the thrill she can get from saying his name like that.

Aria then walked out of class and Damon followed her to close the door. He watched for only a second as she swung her hips and walked away then looked at Mrs. Welch.

Spencer went to her sister, Melissa's, ex-fiancé, Wren, to ask him to tell her family he was the one who kissed her the other night. Sadly her family makes up their minds on people and sticks with it. She left quickly after he told her he might've fallen for the wrong sister.

At the school Emily was in the locker room getting ready to change out of her swimsuit when her boyfriend, Ben surprised her. He tried to kiss her but she kept telling him he shouldn't be there. Then he started to be more aggressive and not take no as an answer. Emily was shouting at him to let go and get off when suddenly he was shoved off her by someone else. It all happened quickly but she then saw Toby shoving Ben against the wall. She broke up with Ben on the spot and grabbed her stuff and left.

Aria went to her moms gallery with the supplies she asked for. What Aria didn't expect to see though, was Meredith there talking and laughing with her mom. Aria found out that Meredith was coming to the opening tonight. When her mom went to the back with the supplies Aria turned to Meredith.

"You can't come tonight." She said.

"Why not?" The blonde asked.

"You know why not, and so do I. My mom doesn't though." Aria said.

"I don't know what your talking about." Meredith said with fake innocence.

"I saw how you looked at my dad yesterday. Try to find someone who is actually available." Aria said to the blonde who was getting on every last one of her nerves.

The blonde left with nothing more to say.

That night was Noel Kahns party. Emily went with Maya, and Hanna was basically glued to the wall as her boyfriend, Sean played a game with some guys. Spencer however was at home, copying her sisters old paper for her AP history class. When her mom and sister returned from the country club Melissa told Spencer that Wren called and told her that she went down to see him. Melissa thought Spencer went down there for a different reason than to clear her name though, she called Spencer pathetic and went on her way. Spencer then sent in her AP History assignment that used to be Melissa's.

Aria and Spencer arrived at the party a little later and the four friends met up outside. They talked about Toby and why he was in the locker room. Spencer mentioned them catching him peeping at them and Allison changing the night of the Jenna thing but then Emily mentioned that they didn't see him, Ali did. The three girls told Emily that Toby wasn't a good guy but she reminded them that he took the fall for them. Hanna left to talk with Sean and Aria left for her moms gallery, Maya came over with a beer for Emily and took her to go see the photo booth in the house. This left Spencer alone, she looked around her and noticed someone in the shadows. She then remembered something from the night of the Jenna thing. While firemen were putting out the fire she saw Ali talking with Toby. She heard Ali tell Toby that she'd make sure everyone knew something, causing him to flinch, then stormed off and told Spencer she handled it.

Hanna took Sean somewhere private and Emily was in the photo booth with Maya. When they took the last picture it was of them kissing. Someone came by and took the photos from the slot before the exited the photo booth. They assumed it was out of paper and left.

Meanwhile Sean stopped Hanna from going all the way. She asked why and he said he liked the old her not the new one that seemed... desperate. She told him to leave her alone and he left. Leaving Hanna alone to cry.

At the gallery Aria saw Meredith arrive. She walked over before the blonde reached her dad and mom.

"What are you doing here? Did you forget what we talked about?" She asked.

"You talked I listened." The blonde said.

Aria then said eagerly, "What didn't you understand? You need to leave, now."

"Listen sweetie, I'm not in high school. You don't have any say in this." Meredith said condescendingly and took the drink out of Arias hand then walked off.

Aria watched desperately trying to think of a why to stop this.

At the party Hanna saw Sean playing a game with the guys again. Her phone went off and it was a text from 'A'.

'Heads up, hon. Hefty Hanna never gets the guy. - A'

For so long Hanna has tried to be this new girl, not hefty Hanna. It seems like hefty Hanna follows Hanna everywhere. Hanna took the keys out of Sean's coat and left.

Aria left the gallery and went to Damon's apartment. She stood in front of his door for a few moments before knocking on the door. He answered and noticed Aria with watery eyes.

"Hey." He said, "I thought you were helping out with the gallery."

"I was," she said, "Can I come in?"

Damon looked a little hesitant and said, "I'm not sure that's a good idea."

Aria looked down and then said, "I'm s-sorry. This, this was..." She looked up and said, "a mistake. I shouldn't have come here."

He looked at her as she said, "I just didn't know where else to go."

"I'll see you on Monday." She said and turned away.

"Wait." Damon said before she left, he saw her at the end of the hall with a few tears slipping down her cheeks.

"are-are you okay? Do you need me to drive you home?" He stuttered, not sure what to do. He wants to comfort her, but it's really not appropriate. Although, nothing they've done is 'appropriate'.

She shook her head and said, "Thats the last place I want to be."

"Why?" He asked worried for the beauty in front of him, "What happened?"

"Can- can we just be here?" She asked stepping closer to him.

He smiled slightly and took her in his arms. She was short and her head fit right under his chin. They stayed like that for a while. He kissed her head a few times and rubbed her back as she gripped his shoulders.

They eventually ended up talking about her dad and his affair. He held her the whole time as she told him about finding out with Ali. Confronting him, moving to Iceland. Her still trying to see him and break up her parents marriage. He just listened and comforted her. When she eventually left he realized he is so close to plummeting off a cliff and falling in love with her. All he wanted to do was hold her, that's all he wanted tonight. He never felt that way with Elena. With her it was always, stop what your doing and listen or she'll be upset. With Aria he wanted to listen to her, he wanted to be there for her. He loved Elena and wanted to be there for her too but, he felt obligated with her. Tonight he just wanted to see Aria happier than when she came to him.

Meanwhile Hanna left Sean's car, which was blaring its alarm. After being crashed into rocks. Hanna walked away from the car and continued crying. She didn't seem to be hurt by the accident. Maya had dropped Emily off at home when she notice Toby on the porch of his house working on what seemed to be a motorcycle. She walked across the street and over to him. He didn't say anything while she talked, just say and listened.

"I didn't get a chance to... I just wanted to... Thank you. I mean... I'm not sure why you... It doesn't matter. Again, thanks." Emily said.

She then turned and walked away. He smiled slightly at that. Suddenly a voice broke the silence and he went back to working on the motorcycle.

"Why was she thanking you?" Jenna asked from her seat on the porch. Emily must not have seen her.

When Toby didn't reply she asked again, "Why is she thanking you?!"

He sighed and said, "It's not what you think."

The next morning at the shed in the woods the four girls were holding bags full of things and talking. Spencer told the other three about what she remembered of the night with Jenna. How Ali probably wanted them across the street so they couldn't we her have it out with Toby. They then said that if they don't keep secrets from each other and talked to each other this 'A' person won't effect them as much. Next Aria said that there should be a bench or something to memorialize Ali, not just for them but for the town. Plus so that her killer would have to look at it. Suddenly they heard a twig snap and ran off to see who it was, when they got there no one was there. However in the ground payed a purple cloth bracelet just like all of theirs, with Alison on it. She gave them all their bracelets and this one was hers.