It's been two week since my brother's gone missing. He never left a letter or a text, nothing. Thirteen days ago, my parents filed his disappearance to the police. They called his friends and their parents and it all came back negative.
Before the police arrived to investigate, I went inside Lucas' room to check for evidence. I found some that looked a bit suspicious and used my phone to take the pictures. I tried not to take anything, but there was a pile of intimidating letters that I found in the back of his closet along with a bag of money. Those I took, but I left everything else behind. The box filled with pictures and holding those letters are currently hiding under my bed, labelled 'extra bras and panties' with the actual stuff on top to cover it up in case someone decides to snoop around in my room.
And right at this moment as I peek out the crack of the door, all I can think of is how the police might have found that box under my bed. I can't let them take it.
"Officer Johnson, what a lovely surprise," my boss exclaims. "What can I do for you?"
Shit. He's probably here to ask questions. More questions, more probing. God, can I get a break here please? I just want to work like the simple barista I am, then go home and try to figure out where I can find my brother!
"I'm looking for Maddison Horts. Is she here?"
I tug at the roots of my hair. No no no. Please leave me alone. Just stop this please.
"I'll go get her for you Officer."
The next moment, the door opens and my boss stands in front of me. "The police is here. I assume to ask more questions. Take the time you need, but I want you behind the counter after you're done there. Am I understood?" she ends sharply.
She hesitates. "I'm sorry about your brother, Maddie. I'm sure he's out there somewhere."
I nod in appreciation. That's all I'm getting these days. "I hope they find him soon" and "He's sure to come up soon! The police are working hard to find him!" They all say these things and they're starting to become meaningless promises now.
When I walk out, you wouldn't believe my surprise. Next to the Officer, I see the one and only Jason Orman. Number one jackass, but totally hot. Jay, Lucas, and I used to be close. When one cries for help, two would come running. In school, those two were the two jocks attached to the hip. Since they had the same interest and were in the same grade, they were able to share things they wouldn't share with me. It doesn't feel great, but I still loved them both anyways.
As for Jay and I... we actually used to be a thing. Lucas wasn't okay with us dating in the beginning. In fact, he stopped talking to us for a whole week. He came around, but threatened to castrate Jay if he ever hurt me. Nowadays, I wouldn't mind that happening.
"Mrs.Horts, I'm Officer Johnston and this is Officer Orman. We have some questions we'd like to ask you inquiring your brother Lucas."
I nod and direct them to the table all the way in the back. When Officer Johnston and Jay- Officer Orman- sit down, they fire right into the questions.
"Mrs.Horts, do you have any enemies?"
"Have you ever received any threatening notes before?"
And the questions go on and on. Until one comes up, making me pause.
"Do you hate anyone currently?"
I hesitate and glance at Officer Orman. He tries to keep a blank, but I can see some guilt in his eyes.
As he should!
I clear my throat. "Yes I do."
Officer Johnston looks between us and sighs. "Mrs.Horts, did you know your family recently received a threat about you?"
I freeze. Everything stops moving and every sound is drowned out. A threat... for me? I don't understand. I have always steered out of people's ways and do what I've been told. I'm the good girl; the girl who's nice to everyone and does a good job at... well almost everything (except arguing).
So what could I have done to frighten my whole family?
"... Mads, can you hear me? Maddie, it's me. It's Jay. Please, come back."
I get sucked back into reality and stare into a pair of warm brown eyes. When I realize who it is, I flinch back and glare at Jay. He runs a hand through his hair and backs away.
I direct my attention to Officer Johnston and ask him what it said. He gives me a printed copy and I take it with shaky hands.
Dear Maddison Horts,
I'm sure you and your family have heard about the disappearance of your brother. My condolences. But back to my point.
Maddison Horts, I want you here in front of me in a week. Seven days from when you received the letter. If I don't see you... well you can imagine just what's going to happen to your brother.
I hope to see you soon.
The blood splatters on the paper makes me drop it. Oh god, this whole letter doesn't even make any sense! I don't know who sent this or where to meet this deranged person! Wait... how does this person know I've even read it? Is someone stalking me right at this moment?
Does that mean they know about the box?
"Hey, Mads, calm down. Deep breaths okay? Let's do it together." Jay breathes in and I do it with him. He breathes out and I follow.
Once I feel my heart isn't about to explode, I realize that Jay actually helped me out. I clear my throat and ask, "Are we done here, officers?"
"For now, yes. Thank you for your cooperation, Mrs.Horts," Officer Johnston replies with a nod.
I go to put my apron on until Jay puts a hand on my forearm. "Mads, won't you please-"
"No," I say sharply. "You did what you did years ago. And Lucas may be okay with you, but I'm not."
"It's Maddison! To you, it's Maddison!"
"Alright. Maddison," he says, emphasizing on my name, "I know what I did to Lucas wasn't good-"
"Will you please let me talk?" he asks frustrated.
I throw my hands in the air. "Fine! Talk! Talk about how my brother trusted you to drive him home safe and sound! Talk about how you promised that despite the massive storm that night, you would still bring him back! But what happened, huh? You got into a car crash and he had to stick in the hospital for a few months while you got out with just a fractured wrist!"
By the end, I'm out of breath. I didn't shout, but I did attract some attention. Jay stays quiet even after I'm done. I shake my head and whisper, "I'm sorry."
I walk away before he has the chance to say anything else to me. What happened years ago happened. My brother could've died that night and it was all because Jay wanted a few drinks.
And that to me, is unforgivable.