Alison and Jenna sniffed at each other; they tussled briefly over Lady Gaga and when it was over they both thought they'd won. Alison wanted her. She wanted her weak, and she wanted her strong. And this is the story they told:
Jenna: "I thought I was being original..."
Alison: "You still have time to pick something else. Maybe I'll see you there?"
Jenna: "I know who you'll be."
Alison: "And you'll surprise me."
Jenna knew who Alison was before they started talking. Alison still had no idea. And Alison thought Jenna would wear something else; she had no idea she'd just confirmed Jenna's costume for all time. The story of Jenna is a long and tragic one, but it begins here: When Alison warns her, and she disobeys.
Alison received a strange text message then, from a stranger: "I'm watching you," the text said. She turned around, 360 degrees, looking at all of her friends: They were consumed with their costumes. And when she'd come back to where she started, there was the burlap baby-face mask, staring right at her. Inches away. She hissed, bucking forward: "Freak!" But the creature didn't move. Alison's life was like that, but no one ever knew.
Alison: "You think I'm photogenic? My grandmother was a sweater model. I look like her? Of course, she's old now and she smells terrible. But I don't have to see her much because she lives in Georgia. My turn!"
Ian: "It's HD, so... The image is perfect, right?"
Alison: "I like what I see."
Ian laughed, sweetly. Spencer and her sister appeared downstairs. Melissa loved her sister's acceptance speech, which Alison knew wasn't easy. Spencer just wanted the speech to be good.
Alison: "I guess that's what happens when you've got a perfect older sister."
Melissa: "No, Alison, that's what happens when you're a Hastings. I didn't make the rules. Besides, Spencer deserves to win. Her agenda is top-notch."
That was the story Melissa told. It was important that she say these things to Alison, in front of Alison; it was important to say these things in front of Ian. To Ian. Spencer was impressed. Alison was bemused; she knew how much the sisters hated each other. She knew how much you could hate.