While making her way towards the teachers' lounge, a lot of people approached her asking her if it was true that Brandelyn Carroll had joined their band. News sure travels fast, Lucinda thought. She assured all of them that Brandelyn hadn't threatened them and that they definitely weren't a 'private gang band' (where had that come from?).
She knocked on the door politely and entered after she was told to. There weren't many teachers in the lounge, but there was Mr. Gibson, her old coach. He was happy to help and promised to give her a list of available teachers tomorrow.
Feeling pleased, she skipped towards her classroom. Now, let's hope that none of these teachers have bad breath or are cougars (she still didn't understand where Colin got that idea from. Mrs. Mitchell seemed innocent, not to mention married). They could be an official band by tomorrow! If everything went well of course. Lucinda couldn't help but think about Brandelyn's gang. She hadn't quit yet, that much was sure. She didn't know much about gang protocol, but if it was anything like in fiction they would've known if Brandelyn had quit. How would the gang react if they found out that Brandelyn had joined a band? If only they took it out on Brandelyn and not on Colin, or her and Fai. That might sound a bit mean, but why should they be punished for Brandelyn's decision? She still didn't even understand why the redhead had agreed to join. Just yesterday she had grabbed Colin by his collar and threatened him and now they were friends? If friends was the right word. She sighed. Then there was still the matter of her parents of course. She really did have to tell them soon. If they didn't hear it from her, surely someone else would notify them. That would be bad. Really bad.
Until Brandey had transferred to their school, Fai had never been approached by his classmates. Today, he had been approached many times. Apparently when a gang member joins your class, an unsocial bookworm doesn't seem so intimidating anymore.
He wished he could be a bit more like Colin and let everyone know that the new girl wasn't as scary as she looked. He trusted Colin and his judgement, so he knew that the girl couldn't be that bad.
In the past two hours he had tried talking to her, but whenever he even looked in her direction, someone from his class would suddenly jump in front of him and talk to him about their life problems. Why did they think he'd care?
So, by the end of the school day, he still hadn't spoken to Brandey since lunch. He didn't like that. He knew what it was like to be without friends and he hated that someone else had to feel that way. Thus he quickly followed her out of the school.
''Please don't tell me you're also a stalker.'' Brandey said when he had caught up with her.
Fai looked at her in confusion, but realised she must be talking about Colin.
''No worries, I won't learn your schedule by heart.''
Brandey looked at him with wide eyes.
''Not that Colin knows your schedule by heart, I think,'' he ruffled his hair, feeling quite uncomfortable. ''He knows Lucinda's though. But just so he could ask her to join his band at least five times a day.''
He wasn't sure if that made Brandey feel better.
''They sure don't want you to talk to me.'' Brandey said, obviously referring to their class. Fai sighed.
''It's ridiculous. Before you transferred I was the pariah and now they want to be my friend. Like hell I want to be theirs.''
''I've heard people talking that we're a private gang band.'' Brandey informed him, a tiny smile at her lips.
Fai laughed at that.
''What does that even mean?''
Now a big smile broke out on Brandey's face. Fai felt a bit proud at breaking her wall. Not that there was much left, since Colin had torn it down. It's just that she still put up a defence whenever she was around people she wasn't comfortable with.
''There are also people who believe that I threatened Colin to let me join your band.''
Fai laughed harder this time.
''More like the other way around, with him stalking people!''
Brandey let out a laugh, but quickly covered her mouth with her hand. She looked around to see if there was anyone there.
''You have to go the other way. If they see you...''
Fai nodded in understanding. They said their goodbyes and parted ways. Fai's phone rang. To his surprise (he didn't even know why he was surprised to see the caller's name) it was Colin.
''Did I just see you and Brandey laugh?'' He obviously couldn't see his friend, but he knew he was grinning.
''So now there's just Lucy left.''
Fai raised an eyebrow at this.
''What do you mean?''
''Well, I'm sure you've noticed that she doesn't really like Brandey much.''
So Colin had noticed. To be fair, it would've been strange if he hadn't. Just on look and he could tell your entire life story.
''I'm not sure if it will be that easy to convince her...''
Again, Fai knew the blonde was grinning.
''Oh, you know me. I can be very convincing.''
With that, he hang up. Yes, Colin could be quite convincing, but in the few days that Fai had known Lucinda, he knew she could also be rather stubborn.
Brandey had been surprised to see Fai catching up with her. At first she had thought maybe Colin had told him to, but then she remembered that it had seemed like had wanted to talk to her the last two hours. Their classmates didn't like that, so they had tried everything in their power to stop that from happening. She was surprised to learn that the class had never spoken to him before her transfer. Not that he seemed very popular, but compared to her he was a Hollywood actor. It was clear to her that he was trying to make conversation, which she appreciated and decided to not let the interaction die. She soon realised that they were getting closer to the playground where she was supposed to meet Blake and the others and told Fai that they needed to part. If they saw him, especially after what happened with Colin two days prior... Who knew what would happen.
Thus they said their goodbyes and parted. Brandey was feeling rather nervous upon meeting her gang. What if they had somehow found out about the band?
They were already there when she arrived, which was unusual. This made her heart beat even faster than before. Did they...?
''Brandey, there you are.''
Blake's expression was grim. Brandey feared the worse.
''The Falcons have Sean. We're leaving at midnight.''
With those words he turned around, the gang following him out of the playground. Brandey's heart was by now about to jump out of her chest. This was it. No friendly negotiation like two days ago. They had Sean and they were going to pay.
Things were looking up for Colin. His band was complete, Lucy had texted him that Mr. Gibson would give her a list of available advisors tomorrow and Fai and Brandey got along. Sure, Brandey was still in her gang and he feared what Blake would do when he found out that she had joined his band and then there were Lucy's parents who didn't know that she had quit track. Still, things were looking brighter than when he had first arrived at his new school.
He excitedly told his parents all about his new friends and band mates. He let the little details out, obviously. No need to worry them. If the twins were already freaking out about this, his parents would explode.
Later that evening he was bored, so he decided to see what Fai was doing. His friend didn't pick up though, and instead of calling him until he did so, he decided to call Lucy. She did pick up.
''Everything alright?'' she sounded worried. Maybe she thought that the gang had found him.
''No. I'm bored to death.'' he exclaimed dramatically, while rolling around on his bed.
It was quiet for a while on the other side of the line, until Lucy sighed.
''Jesus Col, you really scared me there.''
''I can't call my friend when I'm not in danger?'' he grinned. He knew she was rolling her eyes about now.
''Who are you talking to?'' Colin heard a male voice ask his friend, though it was too young to be her father. Probably an older brother then. Oh right, her older brother had posted that video of her on Youtube, didn't he? It was probably him then.
''Colin.'' Lucinda replied.
Great. Even among his friends' families was he known as a stalker.
''Yeah, him.'' After that Colin didn't hear the voice anymore, so he figured he had left.
''Stalker boy? Really?''
''Well, you do know my schedule by heart.'' Lucy retorted.
''I've got to go, my parents are calling me. See you tomorrow. And don't get into any trouble!"
Colin stared at his phone for a while. All of his friends seemed so sure that he was going to get into trouble. Okay, he did have a knack for that, but still. They shouldn't worry so much. Even though he himself was also anxious about what was going to happen next. He wouldn't tell anyone though. They were already in panick mode, didn't want the level of anxiety to rise any further.
At eleven o'clock in the evening, Brandey wished her parents goodnight and went to bed. Or at least that's what she made them think. With her phone and knife in her pockets, she skilfully climbed out of her bedroom window. The lights were turned off so that her parents wouldn't suspect a thing. Or so she hoped.
It wasn't even funny anymore how many times she had sneaked out of the house like that without her parents knowing. It just proved how much they really cared.
She quickly made her way towards the playground. Thanks to the gang, no kids ever played there anymore. Brandey often wondered why they didn't demolish the place. It was well known that it was only used by gangs.
Just like that afternoon, they were already there. There was the usual quick man hug and then they were off. Brandey didn't even have to try to mask her nerves. She had become a professional at it these past few years, especially the last. You should never let them know your scared. Not your opponents, not even your so called comrades. If they have any gain in it, they'd turn on you just like that. Brandey had seen it happen and she had learned from it. If there was anything she had gained from this experience, it was that she had become tougher and she knew how to protect herself.
They arrived at the abandoned warehouse that was used by the Falcons as their hideout. Blake tossed her a gun. It was carry how well it fitted in her hand. She had shot twice, but never at a person. Never. She would not become a killer like Blake.
Blake motioned for them to follow him. They all obeyed. Sometimes she wondered what would happen if she didn't. She was different from the last guy that had quit. Maybe they'd just let her go?
They entered the warehouse. Unfortunately, despite all her praying, the Falcons were right there. Sean was nowhere to be seen. Blake pointed his gun at their leader, Miriam, who grinned as if she had run into an old friend.
''Why, Blake, what a lovely surprise.''
''Don't play games with me, Miriam. Where is he?''
''You mean your little minion? We didn't take him.''
A bullet flew right past her head. It wasn't a miss though. Blake had intended it to go that way.
''But Blake, I'm not lying. Why would I take a dead body with me?''
Brandey felt like throwing up. Sean was dead? She had actually liked Sean. He wasn't as intimidating as the others were and he was the easiest to talk to. He was the only one she could talk to. She felt her legs trembling, but she quickly composed herself. Never show fear.
''You're going to pay for this, Miriam.''
Another shot was fired from his gun. This time it hit her arm. Both gangs now jumped into action. Brandey quickly threw herself behind a pillar. She had never been in a real gunfight before. What was she supposed to do? Was she going to die?
She closed her eyes and tried to stop the tears from flowing. Why oh why did she have to join them last year? From behind the pillar, a Falcon appeared. He wore a wicked grin on his face.
''Hello little girl. Scared aren't we?'' he pointed a gun at her head. Brandey closed her eyes in fear. This was it. She wondered if she'd be missed. Maybe Colin and Fai would be sad that she had died, but would they mourn her? They had hardly known her. She heard the trigger being pulled and a gun being fired.
There was no pain. Was this what dead felt like? No, she should have felt the bullet hit her. She carefully opened her eyes. Blake was standing in front of her, his gun hanging loosely in his hand. The guy from before was lying on the ground. She didn't even dare look at him, knowing full well that he wasn't alive anymore. Instead, she focused her gaze on Blake, who looked angry.
''Get a hold of yourself, Brandey. If you have a death wish, just throw yourself of a bridge.'' he walked off. Brandey tried to slow her breath down and get a hold of the situation. She didn't hear any guns going off anymore. What she did hear though was a siren. Oh no.
''Get out of here, now!'' Blake commanded. ''If anyone gets caught, don't you dare mention the gang's name.''
Brandey was not planning on getting caught though. She was not responsible for this mess, but who would believe her? Colin would, but it's not like the police were going to listen to him.
She ran as fast as she could, along with Blake and Hannah.
''Split up. Get back to your homes.'' Blake ordered. The two girls did as they were told and parted ways.
Just get home!
Brandey had never felt so relieved to see her house. She didn't hear any sirens anymore and knew she was safe. Without any difficulty she climbed up on her roof, opened her window and climbed inside. Her parents were still downstairs. They had no idea that their daughter had been in a gunfight and if it was up to Brandey, no one would ever know.