Flawless. (Book Two)

Three: Is There An Amish Sign-up Sheet Somewhere?

Mona Vanderwaal put her parents Hummer into park but left the engine running. She tossed her cell phone into her oversize, cognac-colored Lauren Merkin tote and grinned at her best friend, Hanna. ”Ive been trying to call you. ”

Hanna stood cautiously on the pavement. ”Why are you here? ”

”What are you talking about? ”

”Well, I didn ask you for a ride. ” Trembling, Hanna pointed to her Toyota Prius in the parking lot. ”My cars right there. Did someone tell you I was here, or…? ”

Mona wound a long, white-blond strand of hair around her finger. ”Im on my home from the church, but job. I saw you, I pulled over. ” She let out a little laugh. ”You take one of your moms Valiums? You seem sort of messed up. ”

Hanna pulled a Camel Ultra Light out of the pack in her black Prada hobo bag and lit up. Of course she was messed up. Her old best friend had been murdered, and shed been receiving terrifying text messages from someone named A all week. Every moment of today—getting ready for Alis funeral, buying Diet Coke at Wawa, merging onto the highway toward the Rosewood Abbey—she felt sure someone was watching her. ”I didn see you at the church, ” she murmured.

Mona took her sunglasses off to reveal her round blue eyes. ”You looked right at me. I waved at you. Any of this sound familiar? ”

Hanna shrugged. ”I…don remember. ”

”Well, I guess you were bust with your old friends, ” Mona shot back.

Hanna bristled. Her old friends were a sticky subject between them—back a million years ago, Mona was one of the girls Ali, Hanna, and the others teased. She became the girl to rag on, after Jenna got hurt. ”Sorry. It was crowded. ”

”Its not like I was hiding. ” Mona sounded hurt. ”I was sitting behind Sean. ”

Hanna inhaled sharply. Sean.

Sean Ackard was her now ex-boyfriend; their relationship had imploded at Noel Kahns welcome-back-to-school field party last Friday night. Hanna had made the decision that Friday was going to be the night she lost her virginity, but when she started to put the moves on Sean, he dumped her and gave her a sermon about respecting her body. In revenge, Hanna took the Ackard familys BMW out for a joyride with Mona and wrapped it around a telephone pole in front of a Home Depot.

Mona pressed her peep-toe heel on the Hummers gas pedal, revving the cars billion-cylinder engine. ”So listen. We have an emergency—we don have dates yet. ”

”To what? ” Hanna blinked.

Mona raised a perfectly waxed blond eyebrow. ”Hello, Hanna? To Foxy! Its this weekend. Now that you dumped Seam you can ask someone cool. ”

Hanna stared at the little dandelions growing out of the cracks in the sidewalk. Foxy was the annual charity ball for ”the young members of Rosewood society, ” sponsored by the Rosewood Foxhunting League, hence the name. A $250 donation to the leagues choice of charity got you dinner, dancing, a chance to see your picture in the Philadelphia Inquirer and on glam-R5.com—the areas society blog—and it was a good excuse to dress up, drink up, and hook up with someone elses boyfriend. Hanna had paid for her ticket in July, thinking shed go with Sean. ”I don know if Im even going, ” she mumbled gloomily.

”Of course you
e going. ” Mona rolled her blue eyes and heaved a sigh. ”Listen, just call me when theyve reversed your lobotomy. ” And then she put the car back into drive and zoomed off.

Hanna walked slowly back to her Prius. Her friends had gone, and her silver car looked lonely in the empty parking lot. An uneasy feeling nagged at her. Mona was her best friend, but there were tons of things Hanna wasn telling her right now. Like about As messages. Or how shed gotten arrested Saturday morning for stealing Mr. Ackards car. Or that Sean dumped her, and not the other way around. Sean was so diplomatic, hed only told his friends theyd ”decided to see other people. ” Hanna figured she could work the story to her advantage so no one would ever know the truth.

But if she told Mona any of that, it would show her that Hannas life was spiraling out of control. Hanna and Mona had re-created themselves together, and the rule was that as co-divas of the school, they had to be perfect. That meant staying swizzle-stick thin, getting skinny Paige jeans before anyone else, and never losing control. Any cracks in their armor could send them back to unfashionable dorkdom, and they never wanted to go back there. Ever. So Hanna had to pretend none of the horror of the past week had happened, even though it definitely had.

Hanna had never known anyone who had died, much less someone who was murdered. And the fact that it was Ali—in combination with the notes from A—was even spookier. If someone really knew about The Jenna Thing…and could tell…and if that someone had something to do with Alis death, Hannas life was definitely not in her control.

Hanna pulled up to her house, a massive brick Georgian overlooked Mt. Kate. when she glanced at herself in the cars rearview mirror, she was horrified to see that her skin was blotchy and oily and her pores looked enormous. She leaned closer to the mirror, and then suddenly…her skin was clear. Hanna took a few long, ragged breaths before getting out of the car. Shed been having a lot of hallucinations like this lately.

Shaken, she slid into her house and headed for her kitchen. When she strode through the French doors, she froze.

Hannas mother sat at the kitchen table with a plate of cheese and crackers in front of her. Her dark auburn hair was in a chignon, and her diamond-encrusted Chopard watch glinted in the afternoon sun. Her Motorola wireless headset hung from her ear.

And next to her…was Hannas father.

”Weve been waiting for you, ” her dad said.

Hanna took a step back. There was more gray in his hair, and he wore new wire-rimmed glasses, but otherwise he looked at same: tall, crinkly eyes, blue polo. His voice was the same, too—deep and calm, like an NPR commentator. Hanna hadn seen or spoken to him in almost four years. ”What are you doing here? ” she blurted.

”Ive been doing some work in Philly, ” Mr. Marin said, his voice squeaking nervously on work. He picked up his Doberman coffee cup. It was the mug her dad used faithfully when hed lived with them; Hanna wondered if hed rooted through the cupboard to find it. ”Your mom called and told me about Alison. Im sorry, Hanna. ”

”Yeah, ” Hanna sounded out. She felt dizzy.

”Do you need to talk about anything? ” Her mom nibbled on a piece of cheddar.

Hanna tilted her head, confused. Ms. Marin and Hannas relationship was more boss/intern than mother/daughter. Ashley Marin had clawed her way up the executive ladder at the Philly advertising firm McManus & Tate, and she treated everyone like her employee. Hanna couldn remember the last time her mom had asked her a touchy-feely question. Possibly never. ”Um, thats okay. But thanks, ” she added, a little snottily.

Could they really blame her for being a rad bitter? After her parents divorced, her dad moved to Annapolis, started dating a woman named Isabel, and inherited a gorgeous quasi-stepdaughter, Kate. Her father made his new life so unwelcoming, Hanna visited him just once. Her dad hadn tried to call her, e-mail her, anything, in years. He didn even send birthday presents anymore—just checks.

Her father sighed. ”This probably isn the best day to talk things over. ”

Hanna eyed him. ”Talk what over? ”

Mr. Marin cleared his throat. ”Well, your mom called me for another reason, too. ” He lowered his eyes. ”The car. ”

Hanna frowned. Car? What car? Oh.

”Its bad enough you stole Me. Ackards car, ” her father said. ”But you left the scene of the accident? ”

Hanna looked at her mom. ”I thought this was taken care of. ”

”Nothing is taken care of. ” Ms. Marin glared at her.

Couldve fooled me, Hanna wanted to say. When the cops let her go on Saturday, her mother mysteriously told Hanna shed ”worked things out ” so Hanna wouldn be in trouble. The mystery was solved when Hanna found her mom and one of the young officers, Darren Wilden, practically doing it in her kitchen the next night.

”Im serious, ” Ms. Marin said, and Hanna stopped smirking. ”The police have agreed to drop the case, yes, but it doesn change whats going on with you, Hanna. First you steal from Tiffany, now this. I didn know what to do. So I called your father. ”

Hanna stared at the plate of cheese, too weirded out to look either of them in the eye. Her mom had told her dad that shed gotten caught shoplifting at Tiffany too?

Mr. Marin cleared his throat. ”Although the case was stopped with the police, Mr. Ackard wants to settle it privately, out of court. ”

Hanna bit the inside of her mouth. ”Doesn insurance pay for those things? ”

”Thats not it exactly, ” Mr. Marin answered. ”Mr. Ackard made your mother an offer. ”

”Seans father is a plastic surgeon, ” her mother explained, ”but his pet project is a rehabilitation clinic for burn victims. He wants you to report there at three-thirty tomorrow. ”

Hanna wrinkled her nose. ”Why can we just give him the money? ”

Ms. Marins tiny LG cell phone started to ring. ”I think this will be a good lesson for you. To do some good for the community. To understand what youve done. ”

”But I do understand! ” Hanna Marin did not want to give her free away to a burn clinic. If she had to volunteer, why couldn it be somewhere chic? Like at the UN, with Nicole and Angelina?

”Its already settled, ” Ms. Marin said brusquely. Then she shouted into her phone, ”Carson? Did you do the mock-ups? ”

Hanna sat with her fingernails pressed into her fists. Frankly, she wished she could go upstairs, change out of her funeral dress—was it making her thighs look huge, or was that just her reflection in the patio doors?—redo her makeup, lose five pounds, and do a shot of vodka. Then she would come back down and reintroduce herself.

When she glanced at her father, he gave her a very small smile. Hannas heart jumped. His lips parted as if he were going to speak, but then his cell phone rang, too. He held up one finger to Hanna to hold on. ”Kate? ” he answered.

Hannas heart sank. Kate. The gorgeous, perfect quasi-stepdaughter.

Her father tucked the phone under his chin. ”Hey! How was the cross-country meet? ” He paused, then beamed. ”Under eighteen minutes? Thats awesome. ”

Hanna grabbed a hunk of cheddar from the cheese plate. When shed visited Annapolis, Kate wouldn look at her. She and Ali, whod come with Hanna for moral support, had formed an insta-pretty girl bond, excluding Hanna entirely. It drove Hanna to wolf down every snack within a one-smile radius—this was back when she was chubby and ugly and ate and ate. When she clutched her stomach in binged-out agony, her father had wiggled her toe and said, ”Little piggy not feeling so good? ” In front of everyone. And then Hanna had fled to the bathroom and forced a toothbrush down her throat.

The hunk of cheddar hovered in front of Hannas mouth. Taking a deep breath, she stuffed it into a napkin instead and threw it in the trash. All that stuff happened a long time ago…when she was a very different Hanna. One only Ali knew about, and one Hanna had buried.

点击屏幕以使用高级工具 提示:您可以使用左右键盘键在章节之间浏览。

You'll Also Like