The Billionaire's Mask

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Chapter 22

ALAYNA

I woke up at exactly three at dawn then I went back to my room to pack up a few things I needed for our trip. Brandon was still asleep when I quietly exited his room. It was indeed a peaceful night. He just stayed on his side of the bed and slept soundlessly. I was looking for more cuddling, but I decided not to bother him.

It was only four in the morning when I came outside. The sky was still dark. Oliver was standing next to black SUV. He was only wearing a gray shirt and sports shorts, completely ready for this exciting out-of-town trip. He was setting the suitcases in the car’s compartment. I frowned as I didn’t see Brandon.

“Good morning, Ollie,” I greeted, my voice still raspy, but I smiled. I put down the backpack I was carrying on the ground for it was a little heavy. I exhaled in relief.

Oliver grinned back, “Wow, someone’s happy,” he chuckled. “How’s your first night with Brandon?”

I smiled meaningfully but I get what he meant. “It was one of the good sleep I ever had,” I told him, crossing my arms over my chest, raising an eyebrow.

“Oh, come on, Alayna,” he said, snapping his hands on his sides. “I don’t want to miss the fun. Brandon won’t say a thing.”

“But, we really just sleep peacefully.” I shrugged. And talked about our past love, and he showed me his true self.

“Oh, okay? Um, how about fondling? Kissing? Anything?”

“We kissed,” I murmured. My cheeks were suddenly heating up. Why was he even interested?

“That’s great! Congratulations, I’m proud of you. Now, let me help you.” Ollie picked up my backpack then he merged it to the other bags in the compartment.

I frowned at the sight of our luggage. “That’s a lot of baggage. I thought we’re only going to stay for one-night-two days?”

“I’m coming with you, Alayna. Betty’s coming too, but we’re going to meet her later. She and I are going to stay in a different place so you could have your privacy.” He informed. “All done.” He said, then he closed the compartment.

“Yeah, I heard. It’s just you know—too much?”

He laughed, “Brandon has plans. You’ll know later. He just packed alright.” He grinned, wiggling his eyebrows.

I laughed, “Okay. Where is he?”

“He’s inside the car. Get in.” Oh really? I didn’t notice him maybe because the car window was tinted. “Welcome to paradise.” Ollie opened the door for me.

My heart almost melted at the sight of Brandon inside. I smiled, biting my lips. It wasn’t a dream. I slid into the car and sat next to him. I could already feel the warmness of his presence. He was only wearing a casual sleeve shirt and a twill short the same as Oliver’s, realizing that I overdressed. I was wearing a yellow floral dress as if I was going to a party.

I wanted to hug him, but Brandon’s expression wasn’t pleased with all.

“You didn’t wake me up this morning,” he said icily.

Oh, that. “I’m sorry. I just don’t want to bother you.”

“She’s right. You need a good sleep.” Ollie later came into the driver seat then buckled his seatbelt. “Guys, I still need to pick Betty up. You don’t mind right, Brandon?”

“No,” he replied.

I sighed and I touched the side of his unmasked face. “Hey,” I called. I shifted his face on my side then pecked on his lips. He just stared back at me.

“You’re right. I should’ve let you know.”

“I just—missed you,” Brandon claimed me by squeezing me against him. “Promise you’ll enjoy every minute of our trip.”

I nodded then buried my face on his neck. “Yes.” I inhaled his scent. “You smell so good.”

“Are you guys sure that nothing happened yesterday?” Oliver chuckled. “Okay, are you ready?” he said.

“No, I told you already and yes, we are ready,” I said, then Oliver gunned down the car engine.

Brandon didn’t seem to mind when Betty saw him for the first time. She was waiting in front of her house when we came to pick her up. He never met Oliver’s fiancée before, but during Brandon’s absence, he found out about Betty. Betty’s a tall slender raven-haired girl just right above her shoulder. She’s also half Japanese.

Betty knew about Brandon’s situation. She wasn’t surprised at all to see him wearing a mask. I’d met her once and I already liked her. She sat in front beside Oliver and smiled pleasantly at us. Brandon didn’t show a response so I just greeted her back.

“Oh, good morning. It’s great it’s great to see you again, Alayna,” she said. “Thank you for including me to this trip.”

“It’s great to see you too, Betty. It’s not my idea. Ollie here just doesn’t want to have fun without you,”

She grinned, “He’s so sweet, isn’t he? I really hope the Master don’t mind,” she said then she looked at Brandon who’s busy looking at the people walking outside. I elbowed his side a little.

He looked at us. “Oh, I’m listening, and yes, anything for Oliver. I don’t mind.” He responded in a stern voice. He shifted his eyes again outside and watched the people on the streets. I rested my head on his shoulders and wrapped my arms around his body until I realized how much I fell in love with the man next to me. I love him. I’m in love with him. He changed himself so we could be together and so he could give me what I wanted. Any woman could love a man like Brandon. I closed my eyes and smiled at the warmth of his body against mine.

I opened my eyes and realized that I fell asleep when the car stopped in an airfield. Oliver and Betty were the first to get out of the car then I noticed a light aircraft with the Grethe and Elga branding in front of us. Of course, Brandon’s not going to fly in a public plane. We were going on a private trip, hence the private airfield.

“What’s wrong?” Brandon asked. “Let’s go.”

“Oh, yeah, sure. Nothing’s wrong.” I was just overthinking. Then, we came out of the car. There was no sign of other people around, except a new guy beside Oliver.

“Alayna, Brandon come on!” Oliver shouted at us from afar and then he and Betty, and the other guy stepped on the plane.

“Who’s that guy with Oliver?” I frowned.

“It’s his co-pilot,” Brandon informed me.

“Ollie can fly a plane?” I asked surprised.

“Yes.” and then he grinned.

Oh. That man just had a lot of talents. “Wow. Just wow. He can do anything. He takes care of you. He cooks for you and then works for your company then he can fly a plane? Add the fact that he has still time to date. Are you sure he’s not Superman?” I laughed.

Brandon chuckled. He seemed very proud of his older cousin. “He really is a great man. I almost relied on my whole life to him. He learned everything for me,” he said, then he sighed. His eyebrows furrowed as if in pure sadness. Maybe Oliver was also one of the reasons why he wanted to live a normal life.

“Oliver seemed to rely his whole life on you, too. He’s also lucky to have you. He wouldn’t learn everything like this if it’s not because of you, right?” I asked, grinning at him.

He smiled, “Yes. You have a point.”

~~~

We arrived Oregon, Portland after a couple few hours. A white SUV was already waiting for us in for us when we arrived at the airfield probably still owned by Brandon.

“Good morning, Mr. Katrakis.” A man in his late forties and in a black suit greeted Oliver than his eyes automatically set on Brandon. “How are you this morning?”

“Good morning, John.” Oliver patted the guy’s shoulder. “Greet your boss. He’s our one and only Chairman of Grethe and Elga Enterprises, Brandon Lucien. Brandon, this is my right-hand man, John.”

John gaped at him with widening eyes. He stared at Oliver until he finally spoke to Brandon, “It is a great honor to finally meet the man I’ve been working for many years. Master Lucien, I’m John Harper.” Mr. Harper extended a hand to him. He sounded astounded to finally see the one and only Master. “You don’t know how much I’m delighted to meet you.”

“You’ve been a very good right-hand man to Oliver and to me also. It’s my pleasure.” Brandon flashed out a small smile then shook his hand. “And this is my girlfriend, Alayna.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Harper.” I pumped his hand, too.

“No need for formalities, Ma’am. Call me John. Shall I take all of you now to your destination?” he asked as his sight shifting on the cousins.

“Yes, please, John.” Oliver initiated, then he enveloped his arm around Betty’s waist and kissed her temple.

John opened the door for us. Oliver and Betty stepped in first.

“Your network is a lot bigger than I thought,” I whispered to him.

He grinned, “I know but it’s the first time I saw John in five years. He was a secretary before and now he works for him as his executive assistant man. He’s also working for my company. Oliver used to hand over the job to him, including Annette’s case,” he explained.

God, Annette. The mysterious woman famous for her one of a kind soup until I found out that she was his father’s mistress and also a Katrakis. There was a lot more to look on about Brandon’s life.

“I thought you said you don’t trust someone easily but you actually entrusted almost a lot to a person you didn’t see for five years?” I matter-of-factly said. I didn’t want to ask about Annette.

“I trust Oliver more. I just don’t see John, but I talk to him often.”

“Master Brandon?” John called Brandon while holding the door.

“Okay. Come on. I’m excited for what you have in store for me!” I giggled.

He chuckled, “Yeah. Of course.”

The sky in Oregon at the moment was seriously gray as if there was no color, except for the tall trees as high as the mountains and it seemed like it was going to rain in any second. It was very quiet, the road. There were few houses along the highway and they were literally miles away with another. Only a few people walking on the streets. I’d never been in this part of the US. To be honest, it looked like a place where there were killers in the cinemas. Like, the Wrong Turn for example.

Brandon was silent on every drive. He just kept on staring on the streets or in the thick gray clouds unbrokenly. I didn’t want to ask him what he was thinking but his quietness had been bothering me.

We turned into another road path. I could see the beach on this side of the road, but it looked too dull probably because of the gray sky. Why did he choose this place? I was excepting that he would bring me to a lovely sunny and dry place where we could stroll around—maybe not stroll around, but at least something sprightly. It was so gloomy at this part of Portland.

When we turned left again, I noticed that we were suddenly approaching the residential area, fortunately. At this part, the trees weren’t as tall as I saw on the road. The ocean was still in sight and the houses weren’t gloomy anymore. They were beautiful small townhouses—unlike the ones we saw earlier. I was beginning to see people around.

A few minutes later, the car finally stopped, but Brandon was still silent. We were supposed to have fun, right?

“Hey.” Oliver cut the stillness.

“Oh, hey…” I responded.

“Come on, we are here. This is where you and Brandon are going to stay,” said Oliver as he was pointing the house in front of us. A lovely massive penthouse in the middle of the woods. Great.

“Wow. Is this for real?” I asked in amazement.

He laughed, “Yes, but John, Betty and I are going to stay in that house.” He pointed out another house—a smaller version of the one in front of us.

“Brandon, are you okay?” Oliver asked, his brows furrowed. He seemed to notice his cousin’s quietness as well.

“Yes. I am okay. I’m sorry,” he uttered.

“You’ve been very quiet,” his cousin observed. “Anyway, let’s pack up!”

“I just don’t remember when was the last time I went here,” said Brandon in a low tone. “Come on baby, time to pack.” He kissed my cheek then he stepped out of the car after Oliver and Betty. It was the second time he called me, baby. I bit my bottom lip as I let the words linger in my ears then I followed him outside.

“Brandon, John’s going to help you for your things. There are also housekeepers we can call if you need one. Our snack is already prepared at the dining, and as for Betty and I, we’re going to our own place. I need a shower.” Oliver told us.

“We’ll see you both at lunch,” Betty said with a smile.

I chuckled at the sight of the two. They looked so cute together. I also noticed how sweet Oliver was to her as he was always kissing her. I loved seeing them together.

“Yes. Thank you, Ollie and Betty.” I told them.

“Master Brandon, Ms. Alayna, shall we go?” John lifted our bags and brought it inside with him.

“Brandon, help John with the other bags,” I called Brandon who’s now speaking to his cousin. “John, I’ll carry my bag, thank you. Please?”

“Sure. Here it is, Ms. Alayna.” He gave me my knapsack then I clung it on my shoulders.

Brandon hurriedly followed us inside as we briefly parted ways with Oliver and then he helped John with the other baggage.

“Alayna, are you ready?” he asked softly, his expression changed promptly. He didn’t look bored or bothered at all just like earlier. He leaned forward and pressed a kiss on my forehead. “Come with me upstairs after our snack. I can’t wait to finally have you alone,” he whispered in my ear, sending pressure to my ear, making me shiver.

“Really?” I flashed out a playful grin. “And what are we going to do?”

“You wanted to know me better, right? You’re going to see the real Brandon Lucien, now.” He professed, then winked at me. He walked into the house first, leaving me open-mouthed.

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