Darren: "You should watch yourself on the roads out there."
Ashley: "What are you suggesting?"
Darren: "People are unpredictable, that's all."
Ashley rolled her eyes, and came back to her daughter.
Hanna: "What was that?"
Ashley: "That was ... A horny cop. But I think he gets it. I'm sure we won't see him again."
That was the story she told. Hanna wasn't so sure. People are unpredictable.
Spencer needed the most interesting costume; she needed to know she'd tried the best. Alison came over for a private chat, even though Spencer loved her least -- Aria was done hanging out, after their yogurt date -- and this is the story she told: "I've got a friend on the election committee. I thought for sure you were a shoo-in, but... They're still counting. It's going to come down to a handful of votes."
Spencer hyperventilated. Her parents were already planning the party, they'd booked half the club.
"Wake up, Spencer. The big sister act is just that, an act. And she's such a martyr with the Hastings family crap. She works so hard to be perfect because she doesn't want your parents looking beyond the glow of her halo. She doesn't want them to see you."
Spencer: "Melissa's just trying to survive in this family, just like me."
"Are you sure about that?" Alison asked, stabbing a pin into a cushion, like a voodoo doll. "Because it feels like she's winning, and you're not." Spencer was nearly weeping with fear; she wanted her weak. "Look. If you really want this, I can make it happen."
It wasn't that she wanted it, Spencer protested: She needed it. And that was all Alison needed to hear.
Byron was nearly shuddering when Aria made it home, looking for her mother. And this was the story he told:
"What you saw was the end of something, not the beginning. She's transferring out of my class. I won't see her again... I'm hoping that it's enough for you to realize that you don't need to tell your mom about this. I made a mistake. But it doesn't have to be any bigger than it is right now."
"Would you still think it was a mistake if I hadn't seen you with her today?" his daughter asked; he turned it on her too brilliantly even for Aria to see it happening: "All I'm thinking about right now is your mom, and this family. Aria, you have every right to be mad at me. I'm just hoping that this can be less about that, and more about protecting your mom."