My eyes widened in shock and I think my jaw just dropped. What the hell was that? I scratched my temple as if it’s ever itchy. I didn’t understand the man at all. The transition of the attitude from being conversational to being rude was just unbelievable.
I watched him swiftly wipe his lips with the napkin provided. Was it something I said? Something I did? Was it the food? I sliced a piece of sandwich then pop it in my mouth, I closed my eyes then opened it again. No, of course, it’s not the food. Who was I kidding? He gets mad without an inch of reason anyway.
He stood then took his steps away from me. My feet seemed to have a mind of its own, followed him in a flash, just in time to stop him from opening the door.
“Wait!” I yelled as I grabbed his arm.
“Don’t touch me!” he shouted then pulled his arm back, his voice was like a great imitation of Belle’s Beast. My Hart skipped a beat.
His masked face looked down on me, glaring and breathing heavily. I staggered back steps.
“Rule number two: I. hate. being. touched.” he said tightly and icily. I shuddered at the sound of his voice. I felt ashamed and disgusted by only grabbing his arm. Was this another reason why he hated going out of his room other than his hiding-from-the-whole world game? He hates being touched?
I swallowed then looked away. I felt so embarrassed. I never felt so dominated my whole life. I used to be the one who solves things myself. I worked hard for my twelve adopted siblings and my sick Mom. I was their hero, yet here, I felt like I was the slave.
I breathed a sigh of sadness, realizing how I crossed the line. I asked myself how much proof do I need to believe that our world was way too different than I thought it was.
“I’m so sorry, Master. I was wrong. It’s not going to happen again.” I shouldn’t have had asked him to come out of his room. The master was right all along. “It’s better for you to just stay in your room.”
He scowled, “What? What did you just say?” he asked halfway out of the door.
Oh my God! Did I say it aloud? “W-what? I didn’t say anything!” Liar! my conscience screamed.
He exhaled sharply, gritting his teeth. “If hating you can be a rule; I’d be happy putting it on number one. You are very brazen and presumptuous. You need to behave.”
Master Brandon stepped forward then lowered down himself to my height. He was too tall compared to a five-three feet height. He leaned over to my ear then breathe on my neck, “Someone should teach you, Miss Hart. It’s a shame, I can’t,” he whispered. Electricity flowed all over my body by his words. I gasped at how my body reacted to him. He didn’t even touch me. I don’t know if that was even possible. Unless of course, he was using a black magic spell on me.
My inner self-chuckled with my own thoughts. What’s up with me thinking that a billionaire would use a black magic to make my knees tremble if he could do it effortlessly?
Master Brandon pulled back then he turned around, “Don’t forget the address, Miss Hart. I need it for dinner. Don’t bother with the lunch. Oliver will take care of it.”
He got away just like that. Leaving me breathless and unsettled.
It was about afternoon when Madam Lennie came to my kitchen while I was preparing dinner for the almighty master.
I’d been ill at ease for the last few hours. The thought of me, being attracted to him was something beyond my understanding. He was too dark, he’s very enigmatic and he’s wearing a mask. How could I possibly be too attracted to a human like that?
“You seemed unease,” she noticed.
“Ha! Ask your precious baby boy who hides from the whole world!” I answered while stirring the corn soup I was making.
“That smelled nice, ” she commented, then smiled.
“I know why you are here, Madam Lennie.” I rolled my eyes and sighed sharply.
“I just came here to check on you. How did it go with the Master?”
“Since when did you became so friendly?” I spun around then faced her. “He’s a terrible Master! How dare he say to my face that I needed to behave? He has to tell that to himself! What’s wrong with him? He didn’t even eat his breakfast. He just walked out on me!”
Madam Lennie chuckled softly, “I think you like him,” she grinned.
I flushed, “What? I hate him. Not to mention his hateful words that if hating me can be a rule, he’ll put me to number one!”
Madam Lennie continued to giggle. What’s wrong with this person?
“Why are you laughing? You are just like him. One moment he would laugh with me, next thing I know he suddenly turned into a grumpy old man!”
“The Master laughed?” Her eyes widened in surprise, but her eyes were sparkling.
“Uh, not really. I think he didn’t want me to see him laugh. Weird.”
“Goodness gracious, it’s been a long time since the Master locked himself up. You are the first person who was able to let him out for a decade. What does he look like?” she asked.
Oh! I gasped. I remember I was not supposed to say anything to Madam Lennie. I promised him to keep my mouth shut. Unfortunately, I just told her half of everything. What’s to hold back? “He’s tall and...” I swallowed, “He’s fine and healthy.”
“He’s fine? Are you blind young lady? The master is good looking, isn’t he?” I thought so by looking at the half of his face, but I should really not tell them that he was wearing a mask. Wait? Madam Lennie didn’t know what he looked like? I thought she was allowed to come in his room? Tsk. I sighed. I bet he was being hideous with Madam Lennie too. Well, there was one exemption, Oliver.
“Shh! Don’t say that out loud. He might hear you. It might get into his head. Tsk.” I clicked my tongue. “Why do I care anyway?”
“Because you like him, obviously, ” she crossed her arms around her chest.
“No. I don’t. His character is not even a consideration.”
“You made him smile, Alayna. I’m more than happy to hear that.”
“I think he was just bullying me,” I smirked.
“I’m still so happy that he smiled. He saw something special in you, that’s why he kept you. He won’t bother himself this much just for a piece of information,”
“I think so too.” I bit my lower lip. I slipped my hand in my pocket and felt the paper on my palm. The piece of paper that he needed. A sheet of paper to Annette’s whereabouts.
“I should go now, Miss Hart. I still have a lot of things to do. Hurry up with that soup,” she uttered.
“Yes! Madam Lennie.”
I went to the Master’s room at exactly six in the evening. It was his usual dinner time. Tonight, I cooked spicy tangerine beef and a corn soup. Hoping he’d like it. This was written in the notebook that Oliver gave me anyway.
I knocked thrice. “Master, your dinner is here,” I called loudly.
I didn’t bother waiting for an answer. I pushed the door open then drag the food trolley in. The room was surprisingly bright when I entered. I didn’t notice that his room was too neat and huge. It looked like another house inside a house. He even had his own living room.
“Master? Hello?” I called, but he didn’t answer. The silence was deafening.
“Master?” I sighed. “The soup is going to get cold, Master?” I walked toward the bedroom but it’s just an empty bed. My shoulders fell. “Ugh, God. I really need a message. My shoulders are killing me,” I complained as I massage my own shoulder.
“You should get one.” I jumped in surprise upon hearing his husky voice behind me. When did he come in? I spun around to see him. He was wiping his wet hair with a white towel, but I still couldn’t see his face, because he was covering his it with a towel.
My forehead furrowed in confusion. Is that a scar on the right side of his chest? I gulped. Man, of course, I noticed how sexy he was, he even had a V on his waist and how perfect his abs were, but I just couldn’t take my eyes off his scar. It was an ugly scar and It was... huge.
“I’ll give you a pass to the spa I owned near the office building. Do you know where my company is?”
I nodded, “Y-yeah. I know where it is.”
“I’ll give you cards and gift certificates.”
“Oh—really, the—thank you,” I searched for his face, but I couldn’t see him. Until he put his mask again on the right side of his face. The scar on his chest was somehow connected to his neck. I covered my mouth with my palm. What happened to him? Did someone hurt him? Because it doesn’t look like a scar you get from an accident. It looked like a burned scars… on purpose.
My knees were trembling. But I didn’t let him notice that, of course. “I, uh, Thank you for your generosity.”
“What’s wrong?” he said, then he put on a shirt.
“By ‘nothing’ did you mean my scar?” he smirked. “I need you to go out of my bedroom. Unless you want to watch me put my pants on? Wait for me in my living room.”
“Oh, okay.” I bit my lower lip.
It didn’t take him years to get out of his room, thankfully. He sat on the couch in front of me. He looked normal, but not too normal as well, just a barefoot man in his black shirt and gray sweatpants. He was still wearing his mask. Does he have a scar on his face too? Is that why he kept on wearing a mask?
“Here,” he handed me gold cards and gift certificates to Grethe and Elga Salon and Spa.
“Thank you. Do you mind if I ask you something?”
“Just do your usual,” he said.
“What are Grethe and Elga?” I asked.
“It’s not a what. It’s who,” he corrected.
“Oh, who are they then?”
“Too hungry for information, Miss Hart?”
I swallowed. Why did I felt guilty? “It’s okay if you don’t want to answer.”
“It was my mother and my sister’s name.”
“They died eleven years ago,” he informed bitterly.
I felt all the blood on my face just backed away. “Oh, I’m so sorry. It must be so hard for you. How about your father?”
“I don’t talk about him,” he said firmly, his brows furrowed.
“Oh, okay.” I bit my lip. “My father is dead and my mother is still alive, she’s sick.”
Wow. So, here we are, Alayna. Exchanging unfortunate information with the beast.
“I’m sorry.” He said.
“It’s okay. I have twelve siblings to take care of her at home. Twelve adopted siblings.”
“You’re the breadwinner?”
I nodded, “Yes. Since my father died.” I sighed, “He was murdered. I’m sorry. I’m talking too much.”
“You always talked too much, Miss Hart,” he commented matter-of-factly.
“Oh, before I forgot. Um... I have Annette’s address in my pocket.” I slipped my hand in my pocket then grabbed the piece of paper.
“Wait!” he stopped.
“Why?” My hand automatically pushed back into my pocket.
“Keep it. I don’t think I’m ready, yet.”
“Ready for what? I thought you need this?” I frowned.
“Just keep it. Please, for now?”
I don’t understand. What’s holding him back? “Why? You said you want to look for Annette?”
“Not now. Do you have my dinner?” he asked, diverting my attention, I suppose.
“Uh, yes. It’s here. You should eat this while it’s still warm.” I pretended to not notice his way of changing the subject.
“You don’t mind, right? Joining me for dinner?” he doubtfully asked.
I chuckled, “Not if you’re going not to walk out on me.”
“I won’t. I promise.”
I nodded with a wide smile. “Sure.”