One of Us Is Next

Check out our episode here! One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

Friday, March 6

A reporter is interviewing two girls outside Bayview High School. There has been another death, reminding everyone of Simon Kelleher, the student who, in a bizarre form of revenge, tried to frame four of his classmates, Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy and Nate, for his murder, which was actually a suicide. One girl is deeply upset and worried that the school is cursed, the other is stoic and wonders if she should really be talking to the reporter. Ten weeks earlier on a Reddit subforum, Vengeance Is Mine, user Bayview2020 connects with user Darkestmind. They both knew Simon Kelleher and have a lot in common.

Monday, February 17

Maeve is sitting at her usual table at Café Contigo. Her phone keeps going off with texts from her sister, Bronwyn, with college suggestions. Still a junior at Bayview High, Maeve isn’t ready to make that decision, unlike her sister who had her Yale applications filled out in kindergarten. With Maeve is Knox Myers, her friend and former boyfriend. They mutually decided to break up when they realized they really weren’t romantically compatible. Addy is bustling about waiting tables, trying to get everyone served before Cal State Fullerton’s baseball season opener begins with Cooper debuting as starting pitcher. Nate comes in and sits with Maeve. Even though his relationship with Bronwyn is on-again-off-again, he has turned into a brother figure for Maeve. With them is Luis, Cooper’s best friend and Maeve's current crush whose family owns the café, and Phoebe, Maeve and Knox’s classmate and part time Café Contigo waitress. They’re all watching the game and Cooper is spectacular, but ultimately his team loses. Maeve tries not to see the loss as a sign of bad luck, but ultimately spends the evening thinking of her childhood leukemia and of Simon Kelleher. He's a memory most would like to forget; however, his death and failed revenge plans forged strong friendships within the Bayview Four and now they're all moving on with their lives.

Tuesday, February 18

After her father passed away, Phoebe, her mom, younger brother Owen and older sister Emma moved to a small apartment. The apartment is tiny and though they are physically closer together, as a family, they’ve never been further apart. Owen lives in his video games and Emma throws herself into tutoring. Where once Phoebe and Emma could read each other’s minds like twins, now they are like polite strangers. Emma drives Phoebe and her annoying friend Jules to school. Jules is crushing on Nate and would love to be there for him in his latest breakup with Bronwyn. ((Girl... no. Stop.)) As they pull into the school parking lot, Phoebe gets a text to meet someone at the bleachers. Dashing away from Emma and Jules, Phoebe meets up with Brandon, the hot superstar quarterback. He might be good on the field and fun to make out with, but in Phoebe’s words, he's "basically an asshole.” They are getting handsy when they both get a text from an unknown number... “Still missing About That? I know I am. Let’s play a new game” with a link. Brandon checks out the link. It's rules to a game of Truth or Dare. One person at a time will get a Truth or Dare text and will have 24 hours to reply. Pick Dare and a challenge will be issued; pick Truth and one of their secrets will be revealed. As Phoebe and Brandon start making out again, Phoebe gets another text. “Phoebe Lawton, you’re up first! Text back your choice: Should I reveal a Truth, or will you take a Dare?

Wednesday, February 19

Heading from the mall and cutting through a construction site, Knox is on his way to his internship at Until Proven, the law office that helped Nate last year when he was falsely accused of Simon's murder. The office is busy with people at every desk, folders piled so high people can hide behind them, including Eli Kleinfelter. Knox idolizes Eli, and wants to learn his ways as he seems to have everything: good looks, good job, good woman, respect, intelligence - the works! But Eli doesn’t even know his name. Between tasks, Knox checks his phone. It's going crazy with group messages from his four older sisters. After a little while it stops, but then one message pops up from an unknown number.... “Tsk, no response from our first player. That means you forfeit. I expected better from you, Phoebe Lawton. No fun at all. Now I get to reveal one of your secrets in true About That style.” Knox waits in anticipation. Phoebe is an open book! She’s a social butterfly, everyone likes her, what could she have to hide? Another message pops up revealing that Phoebe slept with her sister's boyfriend. Knox is dumbfounded. He didn't even know that Emma has a boyfriend and didn't think that Phoebe would do something like that. Another message suggests that in the future, you should choose Dare.

Thursday, February 20th

Maeve is dwelling on the texts about Phoebe. They’ve never been friends, but know each other from the café. Maeve even has her number and thought about texting to see if she was okay, but thought it felt too nosy. Speaking of nosy, Maeve feels something dripping from her nose. It's blood. She rushes to the bathroom as cold dread fills her. Leukemia relapses always start with a nose bleed. She can’t do this again, so she heads to school determined to ignore it and not tell anyone about it, not even her parents. The school is buzzing about Phoebe’s truth. At lunch, Phoebe and Jules are sitting together and Emma is nowhere to be seen, but that isn’t unusual. Knox sits next to Maeve at her table. He can’t get his head around Emma having a boyfriend in the first place. One of Brandon’s friends, Sean, also an asshole, tries to stir up trouble, saying he wouldn't mind if Brandon shared Jules with him or even doubling up. Then he calls her a whore, but she insults him right back. Maeve doesn’t like what she is seeing and stands up for Phoebe, then Sean is sent to the principal's office. Phoebe stops by Maeve’s table on the way out, Lucy, a girl at Maeve's table, says she's going to tell Principal Gupta about the cell phone game, which would prompt her into instigating her no phone in school policy. Phoebe stops by the table and tells Lucy, “Don’t. You. Dare.”

Inside their tiny apartment, Phoebe is helping Owen prepare for the school spelling bee. Normally she wouldn’t bother but guilt over Emma and realizing Owen isn’t frozen at age 9 when their dad died spurred her to help him. Phoebe hasn’t seen Emma since her Truth was revealed. She's been ignoring her texts and sleeping at a friend's house. However, as Phoebe and Owen discuss the spelling and meaning of BIZARRE and BAZAAR, Emma comes home and she looks awful. Sensibly Owen goes to his room. Emma asks why Phoebe slept with Derek, a boy she met at Model UN over the summer and who dumped her when school started again, but Phoebe doesn’t have a good answer. She was drunk, yes, but alcohol doesn’t control her actions. She’s hurt about the rift between her and Emma after their father’s death and sleeping with Derek didn't help. Emma blows up. Derek was her first and only. He was special. Phoebe has had a few sexual partners, viewing sex as a natural extension of a relationship if it feels right. Emma never wants to speak to Phoebe or Derek again and then storms into their shared room. Phoebe leaves the apartment. Sitting in the park alone, Phoebe scrolls through her missed messages. Jules checked in. So did Maeve, which is a first. Brandon wants to hook up, so she deletes that text and his number, the jerk. There's another message from Unknown, too. The game is still on. As hurt as Phoebe is, she understands the pull of About That and this game of Truth or Dare, you can’t help being curious.

Saturday, February 22

Down in his basement, Knox is playing video games with his oldest sister Kiersten. Deciding to break for lunch after a pretty graphic kill, they head to Wing Zone, a chicken wing hot-spot with an inflatable chicken mascot on the roof which snooty locals love to complain about. On the way out, they run into their dad who is hiring more Until Proven exonerees since Nate is working out so wonderfully. Knox is jealous of the esteem his dad has of Nate, but it’s not Nate’s fault that he just isn’t the type of boy his dad likes or relates to. On the drive over to Wing Zone, Knox checks his phone waiting to see if a message from Unknown comes through. Nothing. As much as he shouldn’t care, he anticipates the next round of Truth or Dare. At Wing Zone there is an unusually large crowd outside. Someone has stuck the Bayview High Wildcat mascot's head on the head of the Wing Zone chicken. Matthias, the loner goth kid from school, is there and points out to Knox in not very subtle tones that someone was Dared (wink, wink) to do it. Suddenly, Knox’s phone is alive with messages. Unknown is congratulating Sean Murdock on a Dare well done. Sean is an asshole bully and Knox hates that he's getting all these accolades from their peers for a stupid dare.

Thursday, February 27

Bronwyn is back in town and hanging out with Maeve at the café. Maeve isn’t going to tell Bronwyn about her nosebleed or the second one as it will ruin her visit. It’ll be okay… just don't think about it. They’re talking about Nate and how Bronwyn still loves him but thinks they are broken up for good this time. Sure Bronwyn, that's what they all say. Awkwardly she heads to a mathletes reunion with Evan, the guy she dated when she and Nate broke up for a little while last year. He wrote bad poetry and pined for her after they broke up. Yikes. After Bronwyn leaves, Maeve gets her laptop out and looks up Simon's old social media usernames. She finds his Vengeance Is Mine forum has moved URLs and a user called Darkestmind has been talking with a user called Jellyfish. Just then, Luis comes in and sits with Maeve and the flirting is strong! He even asks about her boyfriend, Knox, but he's an ex and now just a friend. Luis raises an interested eyebrow at this information. His father calls him to work in the kitchen and Maeve is about to go back to her laptop when Phoebe stops at her table. Maeve offers her shoulder to cry on or just to do something together. Phoebe points out Luis likes her and she should do something about it. Maeve also shows Phoebe the Vengeance Is Mine thread, but when Maeve refreshes the page, most of the thread is gone. Only one post remains and in it, Darkestmind claims to be the one responsible for the new fans at Bayview High.

Friday, February 28

Sitting alone in the room she and Emma share, Phoebe dwells on her mistake with Derek, her relationship with Emma which she desperately wants back and her dad. Phoebe texts Jules, hoping to make plans for that evening to have some normality. As she leaves their room, there is a knock at the door, which is strange as they hadn’t buzzed anyone in. After checking the peephole, Phoebe shoos Owen to his room and lets Brandon in. Brandon is an absolute asshole and tries to force himself on Phoebe, saying that it’s his right and she should submit. Slapping him and shouting for him to get out, he leaves. That night, the café is heaving. Ashton's having a pre-bachelorette party with all her friends, including Cooper, so half the town has turned up to see him. Nate and Bronwyn are there and getting along very well again, though things start to cool when Evan turns up uninvited and then Jules comes in, straddles Nate, and kisses the bejesus out of him. From the curtained entryway someone snaps a picture and as Jules leaves, she mouths to Phoebe, always take the Dare.

Friday, March 6

A reporter is interviewing Principal Gupta about the death of a student. The reporter wants to link the death to the reputation of gossip at Bayview High but Principal Gupta states the school has changed and operates a zero gossip and bullying policy. It’s a very different school from 18 months ago.

Monday, March 2

At the Until Proven office, Eli finally asks Knox his name after he shows some administrative initiative. Continuing about his intern work, grabbing coffee, ordering pizza, sorting death threat mail... wait, what? Eli gets death threats regularly, there’s even a folder for them, but this is the first Knox has ever opened. He’s shaken but more concerned for Eli. After his shift, Knox goes to the café to hang out with Maeve. When he gets there, he notices a large bruise on Maeve’s arm, but she dismisses it and tells him about the new revenge forum she’s found which deletes posts after a few hours. She’s going to monitor it as she thinks it could be linked to Unknown’s Truth or Dare game. As they are talking, Owen stops by for takeout and says hi. Maeve has gotten to know him a little since becoming friends with Phoebe. As Owen leaves, an intense looking guy walks in and starts asking for Phoebe. The situation gets tense, Luis and his brother Manny come out of the kitchen, muscles rippling, and the guy leaves. Just then, Maeve gets a text. Probably Bronwyn. Nope, “Maeve Rojas, you’re up next! Text back your choice: Should I reveal a Truth, or will you take a Dare?”

Tuesday, March 3

The next day Maeve is sitting in the café, thinking about the text from Unknown and finding another bruise, another symptom of her leukemia returning. She tried to set up some tests with her doctor without her parents knowing, but as a minor, she needs their consent. Luis interrupts her for an outing, taking her to the arboretum. They stroll along and Luis makes it very obvious he likes-likes her but Maeve mucks it up. Later that evening with time to respond to Unknown nearly up, Maeve calls Knox. She wants to look into how someone would hide their number. She gets a ping from a notification service that there are new posts in the Vengeance is Mine forum. User Jellyfish has finally calmed down, but Darkestmind is very active and their phrasing is near exact to Unknown's texts. With five minutes left before her decision time is up, Knox asks what she is going to do. Maeve doesn’t want to play the game.

Phoebe is waiting for Emma at school so they can both head to Owen’s spelling bee. A girl who is friends with bullies Sean and Brandon, Monica, points out to Phoebe an ad on the notice board. It’s one for Emma’s tutoring but this one has been doctored offering a threesome service and Phoebe's Instagram handle. Phoebe is trying not to react when Emma reaches past, gives Monica a look and tells her she’s trash, no sorry, she's in the way of the trash. Ha! At the spelling bee, Phoebe checks her Instagram account. It’s inundated with DMs and sleazy comments. She deletes them all, except the one from Derek who wants to talk. At home, there seems to be an easy truce, but when Owen comes in begging Phoebe to invite Knox over to play video games and mentions how Brandon came by, there is a misunderstanding about Brandon and Emma and Phoebe. Emma storms out, Owen is upset his family is so broken and Phoebe doesn’t know what to do. Suddenly there's a text from Unknown. Maeve hasn’t played the game and a secret is revealed. Oh… Ohhhhh! This is bad. Phoebe tries to call Maeve but can’t get through.

Working late at Until Proven and having left his phone in the copy room, Knox hasn’t seen Maeve’s Truth. There are hundreds of texts, but before reading them, he returns Maeve’s missed call. She’s crying and full of apologies, Maeve said she only talked to one person and that was Bronwyn who wouldn’t say anything and there is context! What is it Maeve? “Maeve Rojas dumped Knox Myers because he can’t get it up.” Knox hangs up on her. He feels sick and shaken. Leaving Until Proven with a confused Eli in his wake, Knox texts Maeve back telling her to go to hell.

Wednesday, March 4

School is not fun. Maeve is getting disgusting comments from assholes like Sean but Knox is taking the brunt of it with a defaced locker and posters everywhere. He won’t talk to Maeve, but she desperately wants to apologize. Phoebe tells her to not give Unknown attention anymore and block the number. She reaches for her phone to do just that. Later, sitting in the café, Maeve is distracted and doesn’t realize it’s closing time. Before Mr. Santos leaves, he offers to make her any dish she wants; however, Luis steps in to cook for her instead, but she has to help. The scallions and the sexual tension are heating up, and they finally kiss! Yay! And are interrupted by dear Manny. Embarrassed about mauling Luis's face, Maeve runs out. And she didn’t get dinner…

Thursday, March 5

Phoebe is having a good day. Emma is sick so there's no awkwardness at breakfast and she gets the car! She’s looking cute in her favorite skirt and spending some time with Jules, who actually is an asshole so that’s not so great. Phoebe sees all the posters and bullying Knox is dealing with and feels sorry for him. She hates the gendered double standards, she’s slut-shamed for having sex and he’s shamed for not having sex, yet Derek and Maeve seem to be fine. With a flash decision, Phoebe suggests she and Knox cut health class last period and head to the mall for coffee. She tells him about Derek getting in touch and generally they have a nice time. As they leave, they run into Jules and Monica. A few ugly comments and evil glances later, Phoebe heads to the car and cries for fifteen minutes at the loss of her childhood friend. Knox heads to Until Proven via the construction site shortcut again. On her way home, fire trucks and police cars fly past her. ((Cue the sirens!!))

Sitting with Addy and Phoebe, Maeve is helping construct favors for Ashton and Eli's wedding and getting advice about Luis. Both Addy and Phoebe think she needs to go for it, and she probably didn’t maul him. Ashton comes in with the mail, chats for a few minutes and goes to get changed. Addy had received a brochure for a summer camp counselor position in South America teaching English to kids. She wants to look into teaching and thinks this will be a great opportunity plus... travel! She invites Maeve along, and she really wants to go, but she's not sure if she’ll make it… Ashton comes rushing back in, puts the TV on where the local news are reporting an accident at a construction site next to the mall. One teen injured, one dead. Ashton calls Eli who confirms Knox is okay, but in the hospital. The boy who died is Brandon Weber. Phoebe faints. At the hospital, Knox is a mess. He's covered in bruises and cuts and has a concussion. On the news, Sean is saying that Brandon fell and he saved Knox who was running after Brandon by punching him in the face. Knox doesn’t remember what happened, but knows that’s not true. Face punches aren't for safety.

Sunday, March 15

A reporter interviews Brandon’s father who calls for accountability. “There’s always someone responsible.” One day later, on the Reddit subforum Vengeance is Mine, Darkestmind has started a thread. They are calling out Bayview2020 who is ghosting them. Darkestmind threatens to let everything go up in flames, just to watch them burn.

Monday, March 16

Emma and Phoebe have been giving Knox rides from school in the week since the accident. Knox is feeling better but still looks beat up. Sean is acting like his best friend which is disconcerting and confusing. Phoebe went to Brandon’s funeral and didn’t recognize the person described in the eulogy. On the way home from school, Phoebe asks Knox over to play video games with her brother. While he’s off being owned by an 11 year old, Phoebe goes into her and Emma’s bedroom. Emma is sitting on her bed, laptop open, crying, with a tumbler of "water." Emma insists it’s only water. She never drinks, but she’s slurring a little. Owen kicks Knox’s butt, but during one session something triggers a memory for Knox. It’s of Sean holding his phone videoing something at the construction site and he shouts at Knox for being there. Strange.