But then, I hear the faint ringtone of my phone.
I frantically move in all angles to find it as it continues ringing. I search under the pillows, the sheets and the blankets, throwing them away. But it's nowhere there and it has stopped ringing. "Where the hell did it go?"
I lie back to my bed with my head and arms hanging on the edge as I heave a heavy sigh of defeat.
I can't live a day without my phone.
It rings again. My ears perk up. This time, it's clearer and I know it's nearer.
I bend my head down and scan underneath my bed.
And there it is! The bright glow of my phone!
I dip my head further down and wiggle my arms underneath to reach my phone as it continues ringing until I'm mere inches to finally holding it.
“Marga! Hurry up there and don't make us wait!” Mom shouts out.
“Coming!” I shout back.
I hold onto the headboard and stand up as my other hand clutch my phone in safety. I turn it on and a notification of two missed calls from Messenger shows on my screen.
Oh yes. I forgot to turn the Wi-Fi off last night. Now my phone's down to 53%.
I click the icon and the chat head pops up, showing the name and pic of Bryce Silvana. He sent me a message:
Miss you, babe😍😍😍
My lips turn upwards upon remembering him. The late-night chats we had the past month have developed into a secret relationship only he and I know. After that, we exchanged numbers.
I text him back:
Miss you too😘😘😘
I put my phone on top of my table and take a quick bath. I dry my hair and change into new clothes. It rings again.
GET DOWN. DON'T MAKE US WAIT.
What a letdown.
I hastily barge out of the room and down the stairs, forgetting my phone.
“,Good morning!” I greet them. I kiss Mom to the cheek and take a seat across her then start eating.
“It's afternoon, my dear,” she says. “What's that bruise on your cheek?”
I lied. “Fell off the bed, hit the floor hard.”
“And about last night? Nanny says you're drunk and you puked all the way here.”
I don't make a reply and let her continue. “You said it was 'class project'. Hm, doesn't sound like it. Your teacher called me last week.”
Mom pauses eating and looks me straight in the eyes. “She said you're always late and you sleep in class. And for that, you're grounded the whole sembreak.”
I freeze, my spoon and fork clattering on my platter. “No way! That's unfair!” I stand from my seat and stomp my feet as I go upstairs, banging my bedroom door as I lock it.
“Margareth, come back here! We're not done yet!”
I heave a sigh and flop down on my bed.
I hate Mondays.
My phone rings. I turn to see another message from Bryce on Messenger at 12:28.
Wanna hang out later??
I reply as quickly as possible and click the send button.
Kay, 9 pm
See ya later
After that, he's no longer active.
Isn't nine p.m. a little bit late?
But it's alright since I can finally meet him tonight!
I've switched into jeans and jacket. I slip my sneakers and pull my hoodie on. I place the giant bear in my stead, covering it up with a blanket. I lock the door and grab my keys. I open the window and jump into the backyard, landing softly so as not to make any noise.
I go out and hail a taxi to meet Bryce and make our relationship official.
I reach the place in no time. A lot of people are in there and I hesitate to enter as I pause to look around for Bryce. I can see a boy on the corner, holding his phone. I text him.
He picks his phone up as it beeps. He looks around and he sees me. He beams a smile and leaves his seat as he makes his way to approach me.
But he doesn't.
Instead, he approaches a girl and exits the diner.
And there, I see a man in his late fifties smoking.
He sees me.
As if recognizing me, he stands up and walks quickly…
My heels turn around on instinct, running as fast as I can.
Away from the man.
Away from 'Bryce'.
I've reported the incident to the police right after and they took me home safely and told Mom about my situation. From when I chatted with some guy online for the past month and ended up meeting him only to find out 'Bryce' was an impostor geezer known to be a human trafficker.
“That's all for now, the rest will be taken care of by us. Good evening,” says the police officer and leaves with the others.
Mom turns to me and embraces me as tears well up our eyes.
I blocked 'Bryce' and deleted my account; I even discarded my SIM and texted my friends to inform of my new number.
I haven't been using Messenger lately. I've spent days studying to make up with my grades. Maybe I can make another profile with a different name.
But it's a break for now.
I can't afford to risk my safety in exchange of attention. Plus, it's better to spend quality time with family and people you truly know in real life.