The Billionaire's Mask

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Chapter 2

ALAYNA

I quietly followed Madam Lennie as we marched through another corridor of the ridiculously large house. But I couldn’t help but over think about the Master. Does he still have a family? If yes, where were they? Why did they let him live alone a dark life in this house? Or maybe he was all alone after all. I shrugged. Why did I even bother? I should not be thinking about his life right now. I should worry about myself.

How do I get away with this? How am I going to answer him? How is it possible that I don’t have to see him in able to talk to him? What’s the point of talking to me if he’s going to fire me anyway? My mind was so full of questions that surely wouldn’t have answers.

We stopped by another wooden art sculptured door. It was a different room. The room was not the one I trespassed a while ago. “The master shall speak with you inside; you don’t need to knock. This is his study. You’ll find a white door upon getting in. Open the door and sit on the chair provided.”

I nodded. Her face was stone cold, she was looking at space, avoiding my eyes. I blew out a sharp breath. Things are getting weirder. What she just explained made me feel like I was visiting a prisoner. Anyway, I did what I was told, there might be a chance I won’t get fired if I obey quietly.

Madam Lennie’s stolid face vanished slowly as I close the door. The entrance actually looked sunny, in fairness for his gloomy lifestyle. I found the white door Madam Lennie was referring. I frowned. It was a simple door with a silver doorknob. I slowly opened the door with my already sweaty palm.

I gasped at the sight in front of me. It was a medium-sized empty room. There was nothing on the walls, and everything was painted in white, except for a computer and a telephone placed on a glass table. I bit my lower lip. The entire room gave me chills instantly, it was like an interrogation room for criminals. During the moment, I was sure the Master they were talking about wasn’t normal, he was a weirdo. Why would he put something like this in his study? Or is this even his study?

The telephone suddenly rang.

“Oh my God!” I yelped in surprise. I touched my chest for my Hart was abnormally pounding. All I could think about was to run, run for my life.

“Answer the phone,” a cold, stern voice suddenly spoke loudly. I looked up and found a large implanted speaker on the gray colored ceiling.

God. Why did I ever come into this creepy house? I swallowed. If I could only chew my nervousness like a delicious meal, I’d have a very happy stomach.

“I believe you were told to sit on the chair in front of you,” he spoke again. His voice doesn’t sound creepy at all. It sounds... melodious.

I stood still. What if the chair has a bomb?

“I told you to sit!” he repeated harshly. Oh my God! He could see me. He could see how nervous and afraid I was. I gulped and slowly walked towards the chair that was made of glass then sat down carefully. I blew out a deep breath. I’m still alive!

“Now, place the telephone to your ear, so I could hear you speak.”

He wanted me to talk? Why? I thought he was going to fire me? He could just tell me that I’m fired, right? Why did we need to converse with this? I reached for the white wireless telephone, then placed it on my ear.

“H-hello?” I greeted hesitantly, then bit my lower lip.

“Good girl,” he said, but his voice was still coming from the speakers and not on the telephone. I looked up again.

God, am I in the Big Brother house? I watched some episodes of it on TV, a reality show which you could only talk with the homeowner through a mouthpiece and speakers. I was sure it was something like this. I was getting a little conscious in my environment.

“Now, tell me, what is your name?” his baritone voice spoke again.

I swallowed, “I-m… my name is Alayna Hart,” I answered, not sure where I was supposed to look. So this was how they talk to the infamous Master Brandon? It was kind of annoying and very unprofessional.

“Hello, Alayna. Why did you come to my room?” Okay, that was straightforward, no?

“I was lost,” I said dryly.

“Yes. I guess that was it. But I believe Lennie already gave you an orientation. No matter how significant your reason was, you still broke the number one rule in this house. I can’t let an absent-minded employee work in my house. Weren’t you being cautious? I’m giving you one week to work; you’re going to give me what I want, then you may leave this house for good, Ms. Hart.” The tone of his voice didn’t even change.

My eyes widened, I bit my lower lip. Give him what he wants? What did he mean by that? “Sir… I mean, Master,” I shook my head and licked my lower lip, “may I ask, what you mean?”

“You’re not that smart as what’s written on your CV, are you?” I thought I heard a chuckle. What the—did he just laugh at me? Did he just tell me I wasn’t smart?

“I beg your pardon?” I clenched my fist under the table.

“I don’t like that tone, Ms. Hart.”

“Who cares if you don’t? What do you want from me, Sir?” He’s going to fire me anyway, why not talk back?

A soft laugh echoed from the speaker. Gosh, it sounded so beautiful. His voice was beautiful... And delicious. I imagined him as a very handsome man. I swallowed. I shook off the thought immediately.

“Name your price,” he muttered, his voice back from being stern.

What? I couldn’t believe it! His gloomy lifestyle suits him very well. He had a bad character. He wanted me to name my price? How insulting! Did he mean sex? How dare he!

“I’m not who you think I am. I’m not going to give you what you want!” I answered firmly.

A hard laugh escaped on the large speakers. “Do you think you are my type, Ms. Hart?”

“W-what? What did you say?”

“But, I admire the guts. No one ever dared to talk to me like a brat for a long, long time. It was kind of... appalling. One thing I despise in a person.”

“You’re full of bullshit, Master! ” I cursed. Hands down! I don’t think I should care if he was going to fire me or not. I could still get a job outside, could I?

“You did not answer my question, Ms. Hart. Do you think you are my type?” I imagined him raising an eyebrow.

The face of the man in the painting flashed in my mind. He can’t be that man; it could be another person. His brother or his father, maybe? There’s no way a face that angelic was this dangerous bastard.

“You wouldn’t ask me something kinky if I’m not your type,” I talked back.

He chuckled. “Kinky?” he asked unbelievably in the middle of his soft chuckles. “Good point well made, Ms. Hart, but unfortunately, you are not my type,” he muttered.

I gripped the phone tighter. “Then, why ask me something like that?”

“Something like what, Ms. Hart?”

“Something like... I don’t need to say it.” I looked down at my lap, knowing that he could see me.

“Say it.” It was more like an order.

I gasped. I don’t know why electricity came through me then traveled through my whole system. How could he even do that, just by hearing his oh-so-sexy voice?

“Sex.”

I squeezed my eyes shut. A long silence dominated the whole room after I said the forbidden word in my dictionary. It was my issue for the last three years. I can’t take any people who use sex for their own selfishness. I don’t want to remember any of the bitter memories I had suffered for a long time.

Another soft and delicious laugh popped after a few seconds of silence. Instead of a disgusting one, it was very sweet and melodious! The image of the man under the shower came across my mind again. Ugh! I shouldn’t be thinking about it! That was the first time in three years that I haven’t felt any disgust with a naked man. I shivered. He made me feel... hot.

“Is that what you are thinking up to now?” he chuckled, sounding amused. Was it not what he meant? “I think, you’re actually funny, Ms. Hart.”

Embarrassment enveloped me. If it wasn’t what he meant, then what? I decided not to talk anymore. Damn! I bit my lower lip, hard.

“That was actually... a fine proposition, Ms. Hart, but you’re not really my type.” His voice was back to being tight and dangerous.

“Ms. Hart?”

I cleared my throat, “Yes, Master?”

“I didn’t think you were that kind of woman. I’m very disappointed,” he said.

I closed my eyes and tried to imagine him. The image of the portrait was what kept appearing in my mind. “It was a mistake,” I said, dryly. “I just assumed.”

“What made you assume? Anyway, I don’t like to hear any of your shit. If you’re just some unskilled chef out there, I am firing you right now. But, I need something that only you can help me. The reason why you are here in my house.”

The computer suddenly turned on. An image of soup in a bowl suddenly popped up on the screen. I know that soup. It’s a different soup because of its color, it was green because of the ingredients I couldn’t recall up until now. Every time I attempt to make it, it’s ending up a disaster. It was actually an Italian dish with a little touch of a French taste. There was only one person in the world who knows how to actually cook it, it was the woman from my past. It had been two years when she taught me how to cook it. But, I don’t exactly remember how.

I swallowed. What does he want from it? Was he trying to steal the recipe? A billionaire like him?

“What do you want from it?” I asked.

“Good. Judging your question, I believe you remember that soup. I want you to make one for me,” he demanded like it was so easy.

“What? I-I, I can’t... I—”

“Why not?” he scowled.

“Why not? Because it isn’t mine and I forgot how to cook it. How did you even know about this soup?” I frowned. “Only two people know about that, the woman I knew from Venice and me.” Or maybe not, maybe the woman finally decided to spread it out in the whole world.

“That’s why I’m giving you a week to recreate the soup. Name your price!” he gloated.

Is that what he meant by that? “I-I can’t. I told you, I forgot.”

“Then, tell me where she is!” he grumbled.

“What do you mean—the woman?” What was her name again? God! Why was he making a fuss about it? “I... I don’t know where she is.”

“You are useless!” he shouted. “Get out of my house because you are fired!”

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