I woke up from the insistent buzzing noise of my phone. I was contemplating if I should check it right now or later, plus I was pretty sure it was not something urgent since it was freaking weekend for crying out loud.
Covering my ears with a pillow, I chose to ignore my phone. I shut my eyes again and forced myself to return to slumber. For today, my whole plan was just to stay inside my room and catch up with the games I missed playing these past few days.
But then, my phone repeatedly buzzed again, and this time, I grabbed it and slid my finger to open the menu screen.
I was surprised that I had a few notifications on my phone, and it all came from the new message chat group. The chat group name was Detention Peeps. I was also notified that Deena created the group.
I clicked it open and found Deena's message.
THEQueen: Hello losers! I created this group because a certain someone forgot to mention where exactly are we going to meet on Monday. Please don't tell me that we're planning to get detention again. Hope someone could advise.
Then there were a few notifications that Deena changed our names in the group and replaced them with some random names.
I was named Rapier.
Tay – Soccerpunch
Rina – Gothchic
Dylan – NumberOne
Yuno – NewGurl
I back read the messages wherein Rina firstly replied to Deena.
Gothchic: For starters, I am not a goth. Just because I prefer to be alone, I'm a goth already. Can you change it?
THEQueen: Fine! You're emogirl now. Want me to change it now?
Gothchic: You're hopeless!
Then Rina sent a gif where a certain girl was shaking her head and rolling her eyes in annoyance.
To annoy Deena, I typed my message while a grin broke on my lips.
Rapier: You do know that we don't use rapier in fencing, right?
Dancing ellipses appeared on the screen indicating that Deena was typing.
THEQueen: Whatever, Rayven! This was just a random codename that popped up in my mind earlier. Can you all just chill?!
Soccerpunch: TBF I like my codename here. Nice one, Deena!
Rapier: Oh please, Tay! Don't encourage her.
Deena sent a thumbs-up emoji after Tay's message. Then I saw that Yuno began typing her message.
NewGurl: Hey! Sorry just woke up. Does anyone know a vacant room we could use?
NumberOne: We could use the Music Room. No one uses it every Monday. The Music Club always practices from Tues-Friday.
NewGurl: Are you part of the Music Club?
NumberOne: Actually no. But I help them from time to time.
TheQueen: Oh please! Can you NOT flirt in here?!!
I think that was my cue to intervene before this thing escalated again to something.
Rapier: So Music Club it is on Monday! See you guys next week!
Gothchic: Actually, we might see each other later.
Gothchic: I heard from my mom that there will be a Town Hall meeting later for all the residents of La Orden. The mayor will be a giving speech about the recent disturbances in our town.
Soccerpunch: I guess this is serious now if the mayor is going to give a speech later.
A knock on my door interrupted me from replying to the group. I placed back my phone again on the drawer beside my bed.
The door was pulled open and my dad's figure entered my room. He looked dressed enough like he was going somewhere. He was wearing checkered long sleeves and jeans.
"Hey Tay, quickly hop into the shower. The mayor is calling a town hall meeting…" So Rina was right. "….it will promptly start at 10 AM. Come, go on now. I'll be going next to Yuno's."
He pulled open the door again and went to Yuno's when I heard another round of knocking. I rose from my bed reluctantly and went to the bathroom.
Yuno and I were on the backseat of the car while Yuno's mother was beside my dad in front. Dad was driving us to the municipal hall. I saw from the window that a lot of cars were going on their way in the same direction as us.
Dad found an available slot on the parking area despite the forming congestion in the area. We climbed out of the car and went inside the municipal hall.
Entering inside, a man greeted us holding a directional artcard for the town hall meeting. We followed the direction and found ourselves inside the large auditorium of the hall.
The auditorium was brimming with people already. I saw some of my classmates together with their parents looking for available seats which were mostly occupied.
Yuno's mom found available seats and led us there and plopped ourselves onto it. We were far back, but we still had a better view of the stage. There were seats up front for the guests which were already filled by some important people. I spotted the chief of police of La Orden, and to my surprise, our principal, Dr. Floyd Manuel.
"You know this is unnecessary. The mayor could just post a live video to address his constituents," I started.
"Maybe the mayor wants to assure the public that everything is okay. Face to face interaction helps in reassuring the people despite the string of missing teens are mostly connected," Yuno replied while looking also at the people up on the stage.
Then the mayor arrived on the stage and all conversations were hushed. All eyes were in front anticipating his speech.
The mayor was somewhere in his 50's already with receding hairline. He was wearing a gray suit and waved at his audience. Before grabbing the microphone, he shook hands with the people on stage also.
"Good morning, La Orden!" Mayor Victor Alonzo prompted. "First of all, I want to apologize for calling this surprise town hall meeting. What's worst at 10 AM!"
The heavy silence was cracked with laughter from what the mayor had said.
"I called everyone here because I know some of you already heard the news that two students from La Orden Academy and recently a student from La Orden Memorial School went missing. I rest assured you that our town's police…" He looked at the chief of police where he rose from his seat and nodded at the mayor. "…are doing their best to find these missing teens. I want to be honest with you; this might or might not be connected. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, okay? I will give you an update on this. But this is to inform everyone that our streets are still safe. Our families in this town are still safe in their homes. We all aware that the crime rate in this town is very low compared to other neighboring towns. Maybe sooner or later, these kids will pop up soon."
"So no one still reported about Chad," Yuno complained.
I turned my attention to my stepsister as the mayor move over to the next part of his speech which he gave suggestions on how to protect the kids.
"Sad to say but the authority is not yet aware of Chad's disappearance."
"I feel sorry for him. We have to do something."
I held Yuno's hand and softly grip it. "We are doing something. If our hunches are correct, we might have enough evidence that will point out to the suspect or suspects of this case."
Yuno gave me a weak smile and looked back again at the stage. "I just noticed that there are no women on stage even on the city councilors."
"Yeah, women seldom win public positions in this town. But I remember that there was one woman in the councilors' line up the last term. But that was the last of it."
"Problematic. But I hope there should be a lot of women standing up despite the odds."
"Well, I'm pretty sure one of these strong women in the auditorium can do it. They just need a little push, I guess."
The meeting ended after one hour. I stretched my legs and trailed after my family. Wow, this was my first time calling us all four a family. So far for the past few weeks that Yuno and her mother stayed in our house, it was smooth sailing. Yuno's mother gave the house the missing warmth from my deceased mother, while Yuno and I got along pretty well.
We were in the corridor where my dad was talking with some of his friends. I saw in the corner that Yuno was busy looking at her phone while her mother engaged in some small talks with other people.
Scanning the crowd for a familiar person, I spotted Caden just walked out from the auditorium. This was my chance to join his brotherhood.
I chased after him and grabbed his shoulder. He was surprised by it and turned around. When he found out it was me, he flashed me his creepy smile again.
"Oh hello, Rayven! Nice seeing you here."
"Nice seeing you also. Are you with your parents also?"
He nodded at me and pointed at his parents who were also engaged in a conversation.
"So, it was a nice surprise for greeting me. Since I usually do the greeting part when we meet," Caden pointed out.
I gave a nervous laugh at him. "Well you see, I thought about your offer before. And…"
"And…" He arched his brow while looking at me expectantly.
"And I have decided to accept your offer to join your brotherhood."
His surprise was very obvious in his facial expression. "Wow! That's great! You don't know how much I've waited to hear your yes."
"Oh, there's a but."
"I just have one condition before joining you. If I'm going to join, I want Tay to be included also."
He paused and thought for it for a few moments. "Well, if that's what it takes, then I'm fine with it. Plus he fits on the qualifications also."
Qualifications? There were qualifications before I was chosen? But I didn't blurt it out. I would ask him later about this.
"Great! So when are we going to meet?"
"Tomorrow, we can start your initiation." He bid farewell to me when his parents approached him.
I quickly tapped on my phone and message the group.
Rapier: Tay and I are in!
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