Vicious, p.24Part #16 of Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard
They pulled up to Spencer’s house, and Spencer entered the key code into her gate. “Be right back,” she said, dashing inside.
Emily sat back and gazed at Spencer’s lawn, which was covered in a fine layer of frost. Even though she’d been there a thousand times since, all she could think of, suddenly, was the seventh-grade sleepover, when she and her friends and Courtney had convened on this very street. She could almost hear their words verbatim: I’m so glad this day is over. I’m so glad seventh grade is over. And then, from Mona Vanderwaal: Hey, Alison! Hey, Spencer! It was hard to imagine that a second DiLaurentis twin had been watching from the window the whole time. Waiting. Scheming. And that, hours later, Courtney would be dead.
Three months before, Real Ali had been officially sentenced to life in prison. Emily had considered going to the arraignment, but she decided she didn’t need to see Ali again. Still, she sometimes woke up in the middle of the night, certain that Ali was out there. Something about all of this felt unfinished. Emily wished she could have made Ali understand exactly what she’d done to them. But maybe she needed to let that go. Ali was crazy. She didn’t listen to reason.
“What the hell is that?”
Hanna pointed at something on the DiLaurentis’s curb. There was a jumble of candles, several stuffed animals, and a few bouquets of flowers wrapped in cellophane. A vanity license plate propped among them read Alison in glittery pink letters.
Emily’s insides seized. Another Ali shrine? Really?
Aria made a disgusted face. “Wonder how long that’s been up.”
Spencer swung back into the car with her camera, then glanced where the girls were looking. “Oh, yeah.” She made a face. “That. Amelia says it went up right after Ali was sentenced to life in prison.”
Emily squinted. “Three months ago?”
“Uh huh,” Spencer said.
Aria clucked her tongue. “I can’t believe there are still Ali Cats.”
“There probably always will be,” Emily said softly. She perused Ali Cat boards every so often, astonished at how many people still sympathized with Ali’s plight. “But we also know that the FBI has it under control. No one’s talking to her in prison. And no one is going to hurt us.”
“Damn right,” Hanna said. She glanced at Emily in the rearview mirror. “We won this time.”
Emily’s phone beeped. She looked down at the screen, feeling suddenly worried. Maybe it was being back in Rosewood, maybe it was being here, in front of Ali’s house, but she couldn’t help but think she’d just received a new text from A.
But it was from Laura. Miss you, chica, it said. Hope you’re having fun!
Emily looked up and smiled. She typed back that she missed Laura, too. Laura would never be Jordan, she knew. No one would be Jordan. But maybe that was okay. Emily was just happy going with the flow, seeing where things with Laura went.
Spencer cast one more glance at the Ali shrine, then shrugged. “You know what? Who cares if the Ali shrine is there. People can love Ali all they want. We have better things to do.”
“Hells yeah!” Hanna whooped, shifting into drive. “We have a premiere to get to!”
And just like that, the four of them took off, leaving the Ali shrine—and maybe Ali herself—far behind. To Emily, it felt like a huge moment. They were going off into their new lives. Into a world where they were understood and safe. Into a world where they could be anything they wanted.
And into a world where they’d always have each other.
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
The four blank cinder-block walls gave Alison a lot of time to think. Hours upon hours—she had no sense of time—days upon days, months upon months. Who knew how long she’d been in here? Her psychiatrist wouldn’t tell her, almost like it was above her level of privileges to know. Her psychiatrist barely told her anything, actually, except to push a Dixie cup full of pills to her and watch as she swallowed them down. The pills did little to help her sleep or even buoy her mood. But they didn’t cut through her scheming mind, either, so Ali dutifully took them. She wanted to be the perfect patient. She wanted them to fall in love with her like everyone else.
The psych ward in the prison sucked, but another year of this, maybe two, and she’d be moved to a different psych ward outside a prison. She’d done her research. She knew what the protocol was. And in a basic mental hospital—well, she would practically have free rein. She’d lived long enough inside The Preserve to know how to work the system. All she had to do was hold on for a little bit longer. Endure the pills, deal with the leather straps that sometimes tied her down, get over the freaky moaning in the middle of the night. Get lost in her head, thinking of the way she was going to change things next time.
She thought about everything that had gone wrong. Enlisting Nick. Choosing the wrong Ali Cats. Relying on her mother. Not checking and double-checking every detail. Next time, she would be smarter. Flawless, in fact. She’d find different Ali Cats. Snag a better Nick. Become a perfect Ali. She had already lost all the weight she’d put on to conceal her identity. Here in prison, she had better doctors, and they’d treated her burns more properly than Nick’s nurse had, and her skin was looking better, too. She’d gotten a fake tooth to replace the one she’d pulled out. She was on her way to being Ali D again—the brilliant, beautiful, perfect Ali D. The girl who could make anyone do anything. Including scheme for her. Kill for her.
Carry out her every wish.
She measured her days by mealtimes and pill times and lights-out, but she knew this wouldn’t be forever. Soon enough, said a voice in her head as she envisioned Spencer, Aria, Emily, and Hanna. Soon enough, I’m coming to get you all.
So this really and truly is the end of the PLL saga, and I’m beyond grateful that I have been able to live and move within Rosewood for nine lovely years. I owe this to the brilliance of the people at Alloy Entertainment, including Les Morgenstein, Josh Bank, Sara Shandler, Lanie Davis, Katie McGee, Kristin Marang, Heather David, Romy Golan, and Stephanie Abrams. You guys have been invaluable to work with all these years, and I hope the fun doesn’t end!
Thank you to everyone at HarperCollins, past and present, who championed Pretty Little Liars and made it a success. Much gratitude to Jen Klonsky, Kari Sutherland, and Alice Jerman for your keen insights. Thanks also to all of the dedicated PLL readers, tweeters, blog writers, and fans—I love you all. Love to my parents and Michael for your constant support. Kisses to Ali, the original A, and Caron—I had so much fun at the PLL season finale event in March. Thanks to Gennaro Monaco for the great new website and Theo Guliadis at Alloy for diligently and enthusiastically tweeting the PLL episodes (and posting awesome content!). Huge hugs to Kristian, naturally, and love to little Henry—when this series began, I couldn’t imagine you, but now that you’re here I can’t imagine life without you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Photo by Austin Hodges
SARA SHEPARD is the author of two New York Times bestselling series, Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game, as well as the Perfectionists series. She graduated from New York University and has an MFA from Brooklyn College. Sara’s Pretty Little Liars novels were inspired by her upbringing in Philadelphia’s Main Line.
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PRETTY LITTLE LIARS #16: VICIOUS. Copyright © 2014 by Alloy Entertainment and Sara Shepard. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen.
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Sara Shepard, Vicious
(Series: Pretty Little Liars # 16)
Vicious by Sara Shepard / Mystery & Detective / Young Adult have rating 3.6 out of 5 / Based on25 votes