The Billionaire's Mask

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Chapter 8

ALAYNA

The awkwardness was undeniably in the air, the world seemed to take its time spinning and everything seemed to be in slow motion. Well, who would be feeling comfortable eating with a person whose attitude changes faster than the clock’s hand ticks?

Surprisingly, the dinner went on smoothly… so far. As anxious as I always was, I couldn’t help but wonder if he liked the food, and yet looking at how he emptied the bowl of soup, my anxiety decreases an inch.

I cleared my throat. I wanted to ask him why he asked me to eat with him. He doesn’t socialize with people but he could actually eat with someone, comfortably, that was something to wonder. I was also thinking this might be the first time he shared tables with somebody.

“Stop staring.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.” I looked away quickly. I ate a spoonful of my food. “Uh, if you don’t mind me asking—”

“I was also wondering why you still haven’t,” he said but continued to eat his food delightfully. I bit my lip. He really had a gorgeous pink lip. I swallowed. Too bad, he was wearing a mask. I searched for any mark of scar that might have slipped out a little but all I saw was his smooth pore-less face. Maybe he had hidden his scar faultlessly.

Or maybe not...I’m not even sure if he really has a scar there, and I’m just doing what he thought I love doing. Assuming. Geez, this is crazy.

“I told you to stop staring,” he scowled.

I thought my heart just stopped beating. I gulped. “W-uh, why, uh, why umm...”

“Are you having defective speech right now?”

“Uh, Master, I was wondering why you asked me to eat with you,” I said briskly then closed my eyes emphatically.

“Why do you ask?” he asked then ate another forkful of his beef.

“It’s just... you know, uh... you don’t go outside your room and never meet with other people and... I just noticed that you can eat comfortably with someone...” I pressed a hard line on my lips. I just can’t stop myself from being so curious. “How can a person who seems to hate humans eat comfortably with a human?”

He laughed as if I just said something very funny. “I’m not sure if it’s either funny or insulting that you’re like describing a life of a beast,” he commented with chuckles in between his chew.

Just because I used the word human?

“Well, to feed your curiosity, I eat with Oliver every single night, Miss Hart.”

I gasped. “Oh, really?” I twitched my lips, still wondering. “But, isn’t he a family? Of course...it’s, um, perfectly fine to eat with someone you’re related to. Right? I mean… I am not even your relative, so...it’s still a wonder for me.”

“Yes, that’s also true. Can you please talk straight? My head is going to explode hearing you speak like that,” he exhaled sharply. “I keep asking myself why I ever allowed you to invade my private life.”

“Why do you keep saying that private life thing? I didn’t know a bit about you.” I shook my head in disbelief. “If I was going to get in your private life, this is not how it’s supposed to be. It’s not about eating together or getting inside your room. That’s not private life!”

He smirked, “See? You can talk straightly. That’s how who you are, nosy and presumptuous.”

“Ugh! I really hate you!” I said tightly, clenching my fist under the table.

“You sounded and reminded me of my sister, that’s probably why I still allow you to keep bugging me around. Elga was so much like you,” he said.

I cleared my throat. “Really?” I muttered. Oh, so that’s what he saw in me. He reminded me of his sister.

Just like a sister.

I felt a pang of pain inside my chest. Was I disappointed?

“It’s her death anniversary today, and so was my mother’s.”

“Oh, I’m really sorry. I don’t know. I’m being so nosy. Uh, is that why you asked me to eat with you? You miss your family?”

He nodded. “Yes.”

“Oh God, I’m so stupid. I’m really sorry Mr. Peirce, I mean Master. It’s really hard to call you Master.”

“The dinner was great. Thank you, Miss Hart.”

I grinned, “You’re welcome. You know, Chef’s duty.”

“You can call me whatever you like.”

“Thank you. But, uh, I’d rather call you Master. Madam Lennie might hear me calling you whatever I like."

“I’m not going to repeat myself.”

“So... uh, if you need something you can just call me. Uh, and about the address, even though I still don’t get why you refused,” I paused, “But if you need it...just tell me.”

“You’re leaving?”

I jerked. Why was he so shocked? “Yeah, thank you for letting me share the meal with you and I’m sorry again about your Mom and sister.”

He nodded. “Oh, sure. I’ll leave the dishes with you,” he said then grabbed a book on the tall table next to the couch.

I put everything back into the food trolley. I watched him as he relaxed, his legs crossed and his attention was given to the book alone. When I was finally done, I pushed the trolley then excused myself to him. He did not answer. I hesitated as I stop myself in front of the door, hoping for him to glance at my direction, but he didn’t. I went out of the room quietly.

On my way back to the kitchen, Oliver was talking to the housemaids on the corridor. Ignoring them, I continued walking. Until I felt a hand grabbing my arm. I jumped out in surprise, remembering how I grabbed the Master’s hand. He was really upset. He must be really surprised when I grabbed him.

“Hey!” A smooth yet manly voice called. Oliver!

“Hi, Sir Oliver,” I smiled.

He frowned, “Did you wait for him finish his food? It’s kinda late,” he commented, checking his wristwatch.

“Uh, yes.” I should not tell him I ate with the Master.

“Inside?”

“Uh, yeah?” I laughed nervously, “I already saw him this morning, so I think he didn’t mind if I get in his room.”

“Oh really, I smell something fishy.” He grinned then crossed his arms over his chest.

“W-what? W-what do you mean?” I swallowed.

“Nothing,” he answered with a tease. “Go on, do everything you need to do, it’s about bedtime. Good night Alayna.”

“Good night, Sir Oliver.”

He nodded then he walked away. I sighed. I didn’t want to bother myself thinking about his impression. It’s only four days since I got in this house, but it felt like months. A lot of things had happened that one could only see in the movies.

I passed by two maids on the way and they suddenly stopped talking when they saw me. Weird. Were they just talk about me? Impossible. I should really stop thinking like this. I might become one of this people. Crazies.

I shook my head, shutting the paranoia away.

~~~

Lying on my back, staring at the ceiling, I felt empty. I was hoping my day five the next day won’t be too hectic. I still have eight hundred twenty-six days left ’til I complete my contract.

The Master was mysterious and enigmatic and all! Questions never left my mind, all it did was to add up another question.

Where did he get those scars? Had he been on an accident? Did someone hurt him? How did his sister and his mother die on the same day? Did someone murder them just like… just like my dad?

The most puzzling of all...

Why would he wear a mask? Dang, it! I’m going to be crazy! If I’m going to think about all these throughout my days here, I shouldn’t have asked him to go out of his cave. Asking him would be such a chore.

I exhaled in frustration.

Why do I even care? It’s not that I like him.

Maybe?

Ugh! Impossible. I’ve only known him for few days. He’s not even my type. I like funny guys, caring, sweet, thoughtful and someone who smiles a lot just like Oliver! He’s the type of man every woman should like. Why the hell am I thinking about love life right now? I’m crazy. I’m getting really crazy!

I doze off dreaming about the Master taking off his mask as the lights dimmed.

BRANDON

What the heck am I supposed to do? She wanted me to come out. This time, I know that I got the real person who could lead me to Annette’s whereabouts. I’d searched my whole life for her and finally, this very intriguing woman came into my house bearing the information I was dying to know. It became my life’s purpose. My fucking father’s mistress who ruined my life. She ruined my whole family’s life.

I couldn’t miss the chance of getting any information that could lead me to Annette. This woman named Alayna Hart had it.

The first time I saw her on my monitor made me think about her so much. She talked a lot like Elga. She sounded like her so much.

I remembered when Elga got angry when I didn’t teach her how to ride the bicycle. Of course, she only sounded like my sister but she was her opposite. My sister was shy when it comes to other people. She didn’t talk much and she won’t socialize with the other kids.

This woman is brazen and audacious. She’s loquacious and she didn’t seem to know her limits. Her nosy character irritated me so much to the point where I wanted to kick her out of my house, but I knew that I couldn’t let her go just like that. She was the only person who could help me.

What I couldn’t utterly understand was I like hearing her talk. I like her voice too much that I wanted to go out of my room and let her talk for the whole day, so I could hear her voice again. A voice that reminds me of my sister. My sister who died right in front of me.

I would never forgive the person who was responsible for her death. I clenched my fist in anger as I remembered how she died that night. She was screaming my name and she was looking right at me. I couldn’t do anything. I was weak. I was just a boy who only knew how to fuck his life, a boy who only lived extravagance and left his family alone in the darkness.

I could never relive everything; I could never bring them back. The least I could do was give them the justice they deserve.

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