Rosewood was the picture-perfect portrait of suburban America. Boutiques, restaurants, thriving businesses, and seemingly happy citizens flourished the charming town. The tree lined streets are flanked by traditional, two story houses. The picket fences are all white, the lawns are green and flowers are abundant. The news paper boy always delivers the local paper to every home exactly at 6:00 a.m. However, whenever I walked outside to grab the newspaper, the headliner titled Still Missing. It had been a year since Alison went missing. It was an awful day.
I walked inside and stood in the middle of her unfurnished room. The door of my empty closet was open and I could see my reflection on the long mirror that my mother hung on the back of my bedroom door. I had a ballet-dancer's frame, straight black hair, and pouty lips. I thought I was pretty, everyone told me I was.
My mom, Ella, knocked on the door and then entered. Ella was an attractive, well-read and liberal mother. However, it was so hard keeping a secret away from her. It was too hard.
"It's like starting all over again." I told her.
Ella sat on the built-in window seat in my bedroom.
"You still have your friends here." she replied.
I sat next to my mom. I always thought of us as best friends instead of daughter and mother.
"We've been gone for two whole years. That's a really long time." I told Ella.
"You five were inseparable. Those feelings don't just go away." she told Aria. She was talking about Spencer, Emily, Hanna, and I.
"I still think about her. Every day of my life." I said.
"Call your friends. I', sure they miss her, too. Especially this weekend." she said as she handed me my phone.
Mike, my brother, then barged into my room. Mike was an all-boy, all-energy type person.
"Hey, I need a ride to lacrosse!" he yelled.
We all walked downstairs. Mike started ripping through the unopened boxes. Byron, my Dad walked in.
"Lacrosse is today?" Ella asked Mike.
"I just talked to Chad. First tryouts are like, right now!" Mike screamed from across the living room. He was always very loud.
"I'll take him. It'll give me a chance to swing by the campus and reconnect with some of the faculty.
I gave him an add look--a look of concern.
"I'll take him." I told her father. She didn't want Dad to meet with Meredith again, after what happened between them.
Mike and I went into my father's blue Honda Civic and drove to the school curb.Mike hopped out.
"What time am I picking you up? I asked him. He ran off, but luckily I was able to catch him.
"Six---" Mike said as he ran off.
As I waited for Mike I drove around Rosewood only to find movers going into Alison's house. Alison lived in a pristine Victorian home. I looked at the mailbox that read DiLaurentis. I looked back up at the house and the curtains drew, the flower boxes were being emptied, and the porch became bare minute by minute. The house was vacant. After that moment of reflection I kept on driving--it was too hard. I glanced on the clock. It was only 4:15. I picked up my cell phone. I scrolled through my address book and landed on Emily. I was reluctant at first, but then I decided to call her. The phone kept ringing and ringing and ringing. It was the voice mail box. I hung up the phone.
I drove past Hollis college and looked at the sidewalk. It drew back a memory. A terrible, terrible memory.
A strong wind blew outside of the barn and the thunder rumbled in the distance. It was 2006, then. The lounge was filed with tween-girl posters and Pottery Barn lounge furniture. This made the rustic barn the perfect spot for out slumber-party.
We--as in Emily, Spencer, Alison (who had went out for a bit), Hanna, and I--were listening to "Sexy Back" by Justin Timberlake. It was the number one hit at the moment. We danced and laughed. then a sharp crack of lightening ripped through teh bar. The lights flickered and then went out. We are obviously frightened. The music then died out. We tumbled to the floor and lighted candles and turne don flashlights. We then screeched as a disturbing knock on the wall from outside the barn became louder and louder and louder.
"There's something out there." I said.
Spencer grabbed the phone.
"The line's dead." Spencer said.
The handle on the barn door turns, but when the door opened, there was no one there. Slowly, we walked toward the open doorway huddled together. We peered outside, but then some dark figure lunged out from the darkness. We all screamed at the top of our lunges, but it was just Alison. She always did stuff like that.
"Gotcha!" Alison yelled.
Ali stood in the doorway of the barn. I viewed her a beautiful, smart, and popular girl. Whenever she hung out with you, you felt very cool and popular.
We all sighed in relief as Alison walked in and tossed her sleeping bag on the floor. We all sat on the floor in a circle. The barn is lit by the candles and glowed in the middle of the circle.
"You know there's nothing to be afraid of. It'll all be fun and games tonight," Alison told us, "It's the secrets we share that bond us."
We all fell asleep minutes later.
I flickered open my eyes. It was around midnight. Emily and Hanna were sound asleep. But as I looked closer I saw that one of the sleeping bags were empty. The storm ahd past. The door in the barn was wide open. I walked to the door and looked outside. I saw Spencer.
"She's gone," Spencer said with a puzzled look on her face, "I've looked everywhere."
Alison was gone.