Alison grinned, and asked after Aria's mother; nobody knew what she meant but Aria.
Lucas slammed into Alison, slopping soda on her shoes. He shivered and whimpered and rubbed at her shoes, and she hissed at him until he stood. It was just an accident. "Is that what the doctors told your mom and dad at the hospital? I've heard the stories about you, Hermie."
Mona was watching, and Mona was paying attention. Lucas straightened his back and said his name, aloud, but Alison kept walking. This is the story she told:
"You'll always be Hermie to me. Do you still have both? Come on, girls." Only Hanna asked, because only Hanna would ask, so she explained: "Parts, Hanna. He's half-guy, half-girl." Mona was paying attention, and Mona was watching.
"One day she'll get what's coming to her," he said. Mona heard that part too. Mona made a decision, then.
Spencer's victory was announced a few minutes later; Alison didn't say anything, but her smile took the credit. Two votes up.
Alison looked adorable in her "One More Time" costume; Alison looked hard and silly and mean in her Lady Gaga. Spencer's body was long as a swan. She saw a burlap baby outside the window, and jumped into the air. Alison watched longer than the rest.
Downstairs, Spencer's doorbell was ringing; she didn't want to go alone so they all went down together. Alison kept Aria back, pinning her against a wall.
Aria: "Ali, I'm kind of dealing with a lot right now. Can you cut me some slack?"
Alison: "I knew your dad would talk to you out of it..."
Aria: "I'm so over thinking about this. I just want to go to a movie, and bury my face in a vat of popcorn."
Alison: "You committed to this party, Aria. There's gonna be a gazillion people there.
Aria: "Nobody's gonna miss me."
Alison: "I will."
Aria: "Well, I appreciate that, but..."
Alison: "You know, it wasn't easy scoring you an invite. A week ago Noel Kahn didn't even know your name."
Aria knew that; she understood the story Alison was telling. But the next bit caught her by surprise anyway: "I didn't tell the girls about what happened. I'm sure you appreciate that. Are you sure we're the only ones who saw them? I'd hate for your mom to find out from someone else..." Aria couldn't believe it; Aria could easily believe it. Both.