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PS, Missing In Action
Everyday, they did the same thing: Riley would walk out her house, and Lucas would leave 1 second after. As Riley got in her car, she would wave at Lucas. They would both drive away. Riley would drive to her job in the city as a 9th grade teacher, where she works with her Uncle Josh, who happens to be a principal at that same school. Lucas drives to his job at BabiHart Law Offices, which partners with the NYPD, in downtown New York, where he works as a detective for the NYPD’s investigation division.
At the end of the day, the two have dinner together at either one’s house. They talk about their day, about the latest news, about life….about each other. One of them leaves the other’s house and goes right next door to their house they call home. Then they each get ready for bed and talk to each other all night until one falls asleep. That was their routine that had been in place since they graduated college and moved into the same neighborhood. They always knew what, when, and how everything was going to happen.
Until, she left.
One morning, Lucas was waiting outside for Riley as she was going to take her brother Auggie to school that morning, since he was spending the night. Lucas waited for almost 30 minutes, thinking that maybe she was getting a little more dolled-up than usual. But, he waited, and waited, and waited, until eventually….she never came. He rang her doorbell. Auggie opened the door while only in his boxers and a tank top and his “Mr. Googly” socks.
“What do you want?”, he said in a tone that acknowledged a lack of sleep for Auggie.
“Auggie, is Riley awake?”, Lucas said.
“It’s 9:45, and she hasn’t called, or texted, or anything.”
“I don’t know, let me check upstairs.”
The 17 year old walked around the house calling out “Riley!” to see if she would answer. Lucas began doing searching of his own. He went into her bedroom which was on the first floor. He walked into her room and saw that she wasn’t there. Yet her phone was. All of the sudden, he saw something on the side of the case. He saw a mini red mark. He turned the case over and found many more red marks, as if they were stains of blood. He then pulled the covers off the bed and found more blood stains. He finally noticed a note on the closet door that said this:
“You can’t help her now. I’ve got her. Don’t try.”
Lucas ran out the door to see Auggie standing there.
“Did you find her Lucas?”
I walked into work that morning with a decaf latte from McDonald's and a McGriddle in a bag. I was tired, and I needed a boost. I had been working on a case for the past 3 weeks and I was close to reaching the end when the power in my apartment went out. So, I had to wait until 3 am until the power came back on. Finally, I finished the case at 5, and got dressed at 5:02.
I went straight to my office, saying hi to those who said hi to me, and waving to those who waved to me. I arrived at my office door to see my “brother”, Zay, standing there with our mutual friend, Lucas. Lucas didn’t seem himself that morning, though. He seemed more tense than usual.
“Hey guys. What’s going on?”
Zay hesitated at first, but then finally had the guts to say…
“Riley’s gone missing.”
I dropped the bag with my McGriddle in it and my coffee which spilled all over my white tank top and black shorts that had black stockings attached under it. It felt like hours since Zay told me Riley went missing. But it had only been a few seconds until I got back to reality.
“Zay, Maya, you’ve gotta help me find her.”
“Lucas, I know we have to, but our schedules are jammed packed and...”
I stopped Zay mid-sentence.
“Not anymore, Zay.”
“Maya, we have to finish that case on the Vandal from downtown.”
“We can finish that later. Right now, Riley is our priority.”
“Maya, I know Riley is important to you, but we have to finish this ca…”
“ZAY! It’s finalized. We are putting the other case off until we find Riley. Let the press know. Now. Get out the word to every source you can think of. Now. And get me a new shirt!”
I stormed out the room. I informed the office and they got on the case right away. I told Lucas to take a break from working for a while. Missing his girlfriend was one thing. But discovering the case behind dead bodies while your girlfriend could be dead is even worse.
For the next 5 hours, I began passing out flyers, talking to the news, alerting people on social media about what happened, and to alert me if they knew anything. Together, the police chief and I came up with some plans on how we were going to find information. We came up with the idea of me going undercover at the school that RIley works at to see if we could find any evidence about Riley. I would be going in as a substitute while she was gone, which made this the perfect way to spy on people.
I had my mind set on Riley. And I couldn’t move on until we found her.
The word got out, and people began to speculate the situation. They began saying that I was the guilty one for Riley’s disappearance, when in reality I wasn't. Although Riley’s parents, Cory and Topanga Matthews were fond of me, they began to speculate the situation in their own way as well. They began to agree with 76% of the Greenwich Village population, who said that I, Lucas Friar, was guilty. The other 24% said that they disagreed. From all this, the Matthews’ went to court with the Minkle Law Firm against me and BabiHart Law. I was proven innocent until proven guilty of murder or some other crime.
The next few weeks would be living terror for BabiHart, me, and the entire city of Greenwich Village. There would be riots, vandalism, looting, murders, and more.
“All over a measly disappearance?”, you might be saying.
When the city wants to be right, they’ll do anything they can to get their way. No matter who or what dies.
It had been 3 and a half months into the case my niece, Riley. And I was getting worried, especially after the riots. It took a month and a half for Greenwich Village to recover from the massacre that we call riots. I know that I’m supposed to be the cool and young (ok, 28 is close to old, but don’t judge) family member, since everyone else was so freaked out. I was supposed to be the one who would calm everyone down in this time of terror.
Me and Riley worked at the same school, and we had a new substitute coming in. Not everyone knew, but Maya, my old girlfriend from college, was coming in as a substitute and undercover as well. She and I hadn’t really talked after our breakup during my first year out of college, and her sophomore year in college, but we would still show up at the same Matthews’ family parties and celebrations. It was kind of awkward, though.
It was Thursday, November 16, 2017. All the students in Riley’s class were sad, and scared. A lot of students didn’t even show up since they were so traumatized from Riley’s disappearance and the riots that followed. But, as they say (whoever they are), the show must go on.
“Now, students, I know that you all, might be a little shaken up, but we still must let the school days go on. So, I would like to bring your new substitute. Ms….”
“Carpenter. Ms. Sabrina Carpenter.”, Maya said as she walked in.
The students began to mumble and whisper about her, and I even started to chuckle at the thought of that alias name. I silenced them right away.
“Now, I want you to treat the new sub as if she was Riley. Don’t think just because Riley isn’t here means that you can have an easy day. Alright? I will hand the class over to Ms. Carpenter now.”
I walked out the classroom and straight to my office. I took out my cell phone and went straight to my ”ADT: Home Security” app. I made sure that every room in the house was safe, including the room where I was holding my cousin Riley’s…..
I knew that Josh expected me to fit the part of a teacher while working at his school, but it was hard. Although I was more mature as an adult now, my childish side grew inside of me. Instead of teaching the history lesson Riley had for her students, I took each of her four classes out for a day of water gun fighting and pizza from Little Caesars that I ordered before I came to school. It was kind of hard to enjoy the day after Josh came out and busted me and the kids in Riley’s fourth class. But, let’s just say, the kids loved me even more. I never knew I could have that much fun with 9th graders before that day.
At the end of the school day, I rode home with Josh. He and I rode over to Topanga’s, which was Riley’s mom’s cafe in downtown Greenwich Village. We had dinner there together, just like our old dates. I got the chicken parmesan, and he got the BLT, but with extra B and no LT.
We began talking about the undercover work that I had done that day.
I told him about the many runs that Mr. Gardner, the Spanish teacher down the hall from Riley’s classroom, had been making. Each time, he would have another trash bag in his hands. I also told him about Ava, Auggie’s wife for 11 years. I saw her peek into the room a few times when the students were pretending to work. And every so often, when I went to the ladies room, she would just stand there with her hood covering her dirty blonde hair, texting someone on her phone.
Finally, I told him about Sarah, my friend from high school, whose child, Francesca Vianaldi, is enrolled at the school. Although she was helping to set up for the junior dance that day, she had seemed really suspicious when she would glance at Riley’s brother whenever she passed the door as they were pretending to work. There was also Josh who would pass by but I didn’t consider him a suspect.
“Well, I’m glad that you at least have something to report back to the chief.”
“Yeah, I guess. It still doesn’t help with that feeling of knowing I’m taking Riley’s place while she’s disappeared.”
“I know, Maya. But, on the bright side, you know that you’re doing Riley a favor. She always wants you and the rest of her family to be strong, no matter what situation. And when you have to break down, you can always build right back up.”
“Josh, that was really deep.”
“I know. I just got it in this text from Riley’s phone.”
I nodded. We both ate our food for 10 seconds, until we looked at each other and realized what he had just said.
“Josh….I know you didn’t just say that you got a text from Riley’s phone.”
“If I did, would that help you in finding her?”
Josh and I quickly got up from the table. We dropped off $20 at the counter before leaving to go to Riley’s townhouse. We opened the door with the key she gave me. We walked straight into her room, which the police had originally marked off to indicate that you couldn’t enter.
We walked around the room, trying to find the phone. Eventually, Josh found the phone in one of Riley’s many purple cat jackets.
“So how do we get the phone out, Maya? If we touch it, our fingerprints will lead the police straight to us.”
“Don’t worry, we can just take the coat to Chief Johnson. I’ll make sure to give it to him tonight.”
“Alright, alright. Well, I gotta go. My girlfriend is waiting for me.”
“Yeah. Sophie Miller.”
“Wow, the same girl who rejected on the night of my first date. Shocking.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever. You don’t see me acting the same way about your boyfriend. Oh wait! You don’t have one.”
“Josh, I suggest you stop talking now before the next murder case becomes yours.”
“I’ll go start the car then.”
Josh walked out. I begin examining the room, all of it’s simple and complex parts. I examined the blood stained walls, which I knew were just plain white before this. Riley and I always tried to paint our rooms. And we decided we would both paint them white so that we could have walks to experiment with. Most of her walls were covered in Tumblr photos, quotes, and pictures from high school, except for the blood stained walls. She was reserving that for me so I could paint her one of my masterpieces, as she called them.
I walked over to her closet and examined all the clothes in there. Some of them were clothes that she had since senior year, since she managed to stay the same weight and size, including my favorite overall skirt that I had since 8th grade. I saw the graduation gown she wore at her promotion out of college. I almost messed that day up for her. I was getting to close to the edge of the balcony where I was sitting that day. Then, I fell over the bar. She began laughing very hard into the mic, and snorted for the whole audience to hear. But then I did it after her, and we both shouted “RING POWER” for everyone to hear.
I began to flashback to a lot of these memories. They became so overwhelming that I began to break down right there. I fell down on my knees and cried for 5 minutes straight. Once I got myself together, I walked out of the house. Josh was standing outside waiting for me. I began to break down in tears again. He hugged me the entire time. After that we left the house. He dropped me off at home.