CHAPTER EIGHT

When Aria got home later that night Ella asked her to go out and pick up dinner. They didn't have much food to eat at home, so she had ordered food and asked Aria to pick it up. It wasn't a long walk to town, so Aria didn't drive. She just stopped to pick up their Chinese food and started her walk back home. As she was walking back home she heard a car approaching.

"Aria," She heard Jason's voice and turned to look at him, "Taking a study break?" he asked.

"Picking up dinner," she told him showing him the bags of food she was carrying. He pulled his car over to the side of the road and got out.

"Sounds like more fun than what I've been up to," he said, "I had to buy a padlock for my shed. Somebody broke in today," he told her. The guilt she had been feeling since She and Spencer broke in earlier that day started to weigh in on her. She had tried to push it to the back of her mind, but when he brought it up, it all came rushing forward.

Now would have been the perfect time to tell him. She could have told him that it was her and Spencer who broke into his shed, but something told her that right now was not a good idea.

"Really?" she asked trying to act surprised and hoping it was working.

"Yeah," Jason said.

"Well…it couldn't have been Mike. He…hasn't even left his room since Thursday," Aria said. She felt terrible even bringing her brother into it when she knew exactly what happened.

"I didn't go there," Jason said, "Listen I…I'm glad I bumped into you. I was hoping we could talk."

"Okay. What about?" she asked.

"The truth is I do care about your brother, but…I also care about you," Jason said, "And I wanted to tell you in the off chance that you might feel the same way."

Aria stood frozen as Jason leaned in to her pressing his lips against hers. Aria kissed him back but pulled back after only a few seconds.

"I can't do this," she said shaking her head.

"Why not?" Jason asked, confused. They had been spending more and more time together and he thought she was feeling the same way he was.

"I just have a lot going on right now," Aria said, "I'm sorry."

Jason watched as Aria quickly walked down the sidewalk as if she couldn't get away from him fast enough.

Later that night Jason was in bed watching TV when his phone went off. He picked it up from the bedside table and saw that he had a text message from Aria. Another text from an unknown number came right after that one. Jason opened Aria's first.

ARIA: Hey. I really need to talk to you about something so can you call me?

Jason really didn't know what to say. He did and didn't want to talk to her. He wanted to know what she had to say, but he was still upset about what had happened earlier. He wasn't mad at Aria, he was just kind of sad. He really thought that she felt the same way he did, but obviously she didn't, and he would have to get over that.

JASON: Can we talk tomorrow?

ARIA: OK.

JASON: Is something wrong?

ARIA: Kinda. But I guess it can wait.

JASON: I'll call you in a few minutes.

ARIA: Thank you.

Before Jason called Aria, he decided to check the other text that was sent to him.

UNKNOWN: I like taking photos too. -A

Attached to the text was a picture of Aria and Spencer in Jason's shed. They were both clueless. They had no idea that anyone else was in there with them taking their picture. They both looked terrified as they looked in different directions at the pictures hanging around. Jason didn't know if it was because of the contents of the photos or because they were afraid he would catch them breaking in. Maybe both. Aria was seeing pictures of herself sleeping. Probably thinking that Jason took the photos and probably drugged her or something.

Maybe that is why she was so freaked out when he kissed her earlier. Not because she had a lot going on, but because she was afraid of him. Is that what she wanted to talk to him about or was it something completely different? Did she want to talk about Mike or what had happened when he kissed her? He had no idea and he didn't plan on finding out tonight. He probably should have called, but he was upset, and he didn't want to take out any anger on Aria. He wanted to wait and calm down before he spoke to her.

It became harder to keep from talking to her when she started texting and asking if he was still going to call. And then she called him. Eventually she stopped, and Jason went to sleep. Though he knew he would probably see her at Rosewood High tomorrow. He was counseling some kids and she was there everyday being a student and all.

The next day at school Emily sat down across from Aria at lunch. Aria was completely spaced out until Emily started talking.

"I need to talk to you about Jason," Emily said.

"No, I need to talk to you about Jason," Aria said, though she was confused as to why Emily would need to talk to her about Jason, "He kissed me. And I didn't exactly push him away, but I told him I couldn't."

"Couldn't what?" Emily asked.

"I don't know," Aria said, "I just said that I had a lot going on and 'I can't do this'," she said with air quotes, "He looked kinda sad. I felt bad."

"Well, Spencer told me about all the creepy photos Jason has of you in his darkroom/woodshed thing and we went back there," Emily said, "Everything was gone. All of the photos and his equipment."

"Spencer told you?" Aria asked Emily, "I told her not to tell anyone until I spoke to Jason," Aria said.

"Well, I needed to go back in there and I knew you wouldn't go with me, so I asked Emily," Spencer said plopping down beside Emily, "The whole place is empty."

"Yeah, because he knew someone broke in. He probably moved everything. He told me he went to get a padlock last night when I saw him," Aria said.

"You saw him last night?" Spencer asked.

"And kissed him," Emily added without thinking.

"You're kissing him now?"

"He kissed me!" Aria exclaimed, "And yes I saw him. I wanted to tell him what happened then, but standing in the middle of the road wasn't exactly the right time. I texted him later and he said he would call, but he never did. He must have fallen asleep or something. It was pretty late," Aria said, "I was going to talk to him today anyway. You couldn't have waited one day to tell anyone? Less than 24 hours?" she asked Spencer.

"Not when he has that many creepy pictures of you," she said.

"You still could have let me talk to him first," Aria said. She got up from the table and walked out of the room.

When she got into the hallway Aria saw Jason talking to a student she didn't recognize. He looked over at her and she marched over to him.

"Can I talk to you?" she asked just as the other kid walked away.

"Hey, yeah, look. I wanted to talk to you," he started, but Aria interrupted.

"Why do you have those pictures of me?" she asked with no hesitation, "How did you even take them? Did you like climb a ladder up to my window?"

"Hold up. Your friends are the ones who broke into my darkroom?" Jason asked knowing who it really was. He wanted to see if she would tell him the truth or not.

"Well technically it's not breaking in if you have a key," Aria said, "And Spencer and I 'broke in'," Aria told him. She didn't lie to him, "But so what? The point is, we found the photos. Photos you didn't want found."

"Man. I swear this town never changes," Jason said, "People would rather sneak behind your back than ask you a direct question."

"I'm asking you a direct question right now. Why did you take them, and when?" Aria asked stepping closer to him as students started clearing the halls to get to their classes. She knew she was going to be late for class, but she didn't care at this point.

"I didn't. Ali did," Jason said.

"Why would Ali take pictures of me sleeping?" Aria asked.

"Got me," Jason said, "I don't know what goes on at slumber parties," he said, "Look, I found rolls of film in the house and decided to develop them. That particular roll I found in her room."

"Okay, well why was all of the equipment missing when Spencer and Emily went back?" Aria asked.

"Oh, so it was broken into twice?" Jason asked sarcastically.

"Jason."

"That equipment is expensive, so I moved it all into the house until I could get a new lock," Jason told her, "And the prints were gone because I was having them framed. AS a gift. For you."

"Oh."

"So…anything else you want to accuse me of?" Jason asked.

"Jason, you have to admit, this all looks really bad," Aria said.

"Yeah, I can see that," Jason replied before walking away.

After school Aria was sitting at The Grille waiting for Jason. He asked her to meet him there and she was nervous because of everything that had happened. She had accused him of spying on her and taking picture of her in her sleep, which he didn't do. And she had told him that she was the one who broke into his shed. She wasn't sure if he was mad at her about that. He didn't seem upset earlier, but she had more to say then than he did.

Aria kept checking her phone for the time when she was startled by Jason. He was always so quiet when approaching people.

"Mind if I sit down?" he asked. When Aria didn't answer he said, "Oh, come one, you're not still scared of me, are you?"

"You can sit down," Aria said, "And I was never scared of you."

"Yes, you were," Jason said, "Spencer and Emily got into your head and you got scared. I don't know where Hanna sits in all of this," he said.

"She's too busy with her dad's wedding stuff to have her mind anywhere else," Aria said, "But I'm not afraid of you," she told him.

"Anyway, I've got the photos here if you want to see them," Jason told Aria.

"Yeah," Aria said. Jason laid all of the framed photos on the table in front of Aria and she looked at all of them, "These are beautiful," she said picking one of them up. It was a closeup of her own face sleeping.

"Yeah," Jason said, "I didn't know Ali was so artistic."

"I don't even remember her even taking pictures," Aria said, "Ali was always the one in front of the camera."

"Are you nervous?" Jason asked noticing Aria twisting and twirling a drink stirrer between her fingers.

"Oh…it's a bad habit," she said putting the stirrer to the side, "Look, I know this isn't an excuse, but Spencer just wanted to know what was in there so badly and my friends have been through a lot. Some of it I don't even know about. We shouldn't have gone in there and they shouldn't have gone back," Aria said.

"I think we're all looking for answers," Jason said.

"So, have you found anything else of hers?" Aria asked.

"No, just the box," Jason told her, "You can take a look at it if you want. It's back at the house," he said, "Or you can just wait for the next break-in from your circle of friends and relatives," Aria chuckled and smiled at him.

"I'll come look at it," she told him.

Jason and Aria packed up the photos and took them out to Jason's car. Aria walked to the Grille from school so she didn't have her car with her. She quickly texted her mom that she was with Jason and would be home later before getting into the car with him.

"The box is in the woodshed," Jason told her.

"I'll wait here for you," she told him.

"Alright," he said, "I'll be back in a sec."

Aria walked up to the front porch and sat on the steps while she waited. While she was waiting she saw Toby's truck stop in front of the house. Spencer climbed out of the passenger's side and walked up to her.

"Spencer, what are you doing here?" Aria asked.

"Aria, you shouldn't be here," Spencer said, "Jason is dangerous and you know it."

"No, I don't," Aria said, "He just went back to the woodshed to get something and then he's going to take me home. Relax."

"What could he possibly have that you would want?" Spencer asked.

"Something he found of Ali's," Aria said, "I would have shown you either way, but you had to come barging over here like I'm with Ted Bundy or something."

"Aria, just come with me. Text him and ask him to bring the box to school tomorrow," Spencer said.

"Oh, my god," Aria said, "I don't have to listen to this," she turned and walked in the same direction that Jason had. About halfway to the shed she bumped into Jason almost falling over. He wrapped his arm around her to keep her from falling.

"Everything okay?" he asked, "You look a little flustered," he said.

"Spencer," is all she said, "Can we go in through the back door?" she asked.

"No, we'll go this way," he said, "If she isn't gone I'll make her leave. It's not a big deal."

"Fine," Aria said. The two walked back around to the front of the house and Toby's truck was gone. Spencer was nowhere in sight.

"See. Everything's fine," he said, "Now, do you want to come inside for a bit or do you want me to take you home?" he asked.

"I can hang out for a bit. I just have to be home for dinner," Aria told him.

"Sounds good," Jason said leading Aria into the house.

CHAPTER EIGHT- BREAK INS-RePosted