The Billionaire's Mask

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Chapter 9

ALAYNA

“Good morning, Alayna. I didn’t expect you to be this early,” Sir Oliver said, grinning. He was leaning on the door with his arms crossed around his chest. I got used to him appearing like a mushroom anywhere I’m at.

“Hmm...” I held up an arm because I was about to taste the pancake syrup I made myself. I circled my tongue as I savored the taste of the strawberry syrup. My most favorite flavor of all.

“I think this is good,” I commented. I put three layers of pancakes on a plate then poured the strawberry syrup on top. Sir Oliver was still watching as I placed bacon and egg to another plate. “And I don’t plan on being late again.” I murmured, untying my apron.

“He doesn’t eat cut-and-dry scrambled eggs unless it’s omelet,” he remarked. I frowned.

I was jealous of the fact that some people could effortlessly choose what food or which type of cooking should they eat. Back home, we didn’t have any choice but to make use of what’s inside the kitchen.

“Really? Okay, I’ll take note of that, Sir Oliver. Thank you!” I removed the eggs and then left the bacon alone.

“You really don’t have to call me ‘Sir’, Ollie would do,” he answered. I glanced at his direction, it seemed like never moved an inch.

“Oh. Err, you’re the Master’s cousin so...”

He chuckled, “Just Ollie. Let me help you.” I watched Ollie as he transferred the plates to the food trolley then opened the fridge and took a pitcher of water and a lemon. He sliced the lemon into thin strips then dropped the slices on the water, “Give him this, every Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. He works out after breakfast and today are Wednesday.”

“I thought he never go out—oh, of course, he has his own gym in this house. I’m so silly.” I laughed.

“Yes.” He smiled. “All done! Off you go.”

I nodded, “Sure, thank you.”

“You know you should go out sometimes. Sunday is your rest day and I’m in charge in the kitchen. Haven’t seen you close to the house’s main door since you came here,” Ollie called when I was about to push the trolley.

“I haven’t thought of going out. My family, my relatives, and my friends are all in Kansas.” But he had a point though. Just because I serve a person who loathed the world, didn’t mean I should imprison myself in his dungeon too.

“I could tour you around Manhattan this weekend if you like.”

I gasped, “Really? The Master gave me cards and certificate to the spa. Maybe I could use it then, but I’ll let him know, of course. He might look for me.”

Ollie’s forehead wrinkled, “He gave you a pass to the spa?”

“Yes. I was a little surprised, but who am I to refuse?”

He nodded, “What did I tell you? He’s a good man.”

I grinned, “Yes. I think so.”

“For now, you should take those to him,” his hand motioned to the food trolley I was holding, “while it’s still hot.”

“Thank you, Ollie, for helping me.”

“Don’t mention it.”

I pushed the trolley outside then walked through corridors again. It was very quiet as usual. The light was still dim and warm; it was only five thirty in the morning. But the early bird should be awake by this hour.

Knocking thrice, I didn’t wait for him to open the door. I half expected that he won’t be around. No one would feel that he was around anyway. The dim light in his room added the feeling of coolness inside. I decided to put his breakfast on the mini-table where we ate.

I slightly lowered down the air cooler then I sighed. Should I wait for him or not? What’s he doing at this hour? Maybe he was in his study room. I tapped my finger on my lap as I stood impatiently.

“Ah—” I jumped as I heard a door slammed. My eyes looked for the sound’s direction. It was another unfamiliar door. The Master finally came out wearing a gray muscle shirt, wet on the chest part, a towel on his shoulders and a navy blue jogging pants. I could never be wrong when I say that door leads to his gym.

I cleared my throat on the sight of him. He looked gloriously wet and glowing with his own sweat. He was panting heavily; his eyes were piercing directly at me. “Alayna,” he muttered, almost out of breath.

“Uh... Um, I just—I brought you your breakfast.” I mouthed as I licked my lower lip. Gee! My lips suddenly felt dry.

“Hmm... Thank you,” he said, then he walked towards me.

How could he work out wearing a mask? Weird. No one is allowed to enter his room unless he’s expecting me, or he’d been alerted that someone is about to ’intrude’, then he has every reason to stick his favorite object on his face. I’m crazy. I should really stop thinking about the mask and get used to it.

“You can leave, Miss Hart,” he commanded.

“Uh...” I should tell him about going out this weekend with Ollie. “Master... I’m just going to take a short break this weekend.”

“It’s fine, I won’t call you on Sundays,” he matter-of-factly said. Of course, no good employer should call you during your rest day.

“Thank you, Master. Ollie wanted to tour me around Manhattan. Of course, only if you allow. I’m also planning to go to the spa,” I informed, smiling.

“Oliver asked you out?” he asked, sternly.

“No. Yes. I mean, it was only because I didn’t go out since I got here,” I explained. The Master exhaled sharply.

“Can you not go alone?”

“Oh, no,” I frowned, “Of course, I can. He was only being thoughtful. It’s okay, I could go by myself.” I looked down at the floor then sighed. Why was he being so grumpy about this? He wasn’t thinking I’m dragging his chef out of his mansion, was he? I paused. God, of course! If Ollie and I come out together, no one would cook for him. I was so inconsiderate.

He shut off his eyes then breathed in deeply. “No. Of course, you can go with Oliver. I can’t allow you to stroll around Manhattan alone. This is a very big place. You can’t go around on your own.”

I grinned, “Thank you, Master. Oh, you should eat breakfast. I’m sorry I was late. Ollie told me that you work out after breakfast.”

“No. I don’t work out after breakfast. I work out before.”

“Oh, maybe he just twisted that out.” I couldn’t stop grinning, too excited for Sunday.

“You can leave, Alayna.” He sat down on the chair in front of his food. His shoulders fell, and he was breathing heavily.

“Master? Is there something wrong?”

“Please leave, Alayna,” he ordered with bated breath. “Nothing’s wrong. I’m fine.”

“You don’t sound fine to me,” I answered suspiciously.

He stared up at me. His eyes softened, “What did you do to me?” he whispered, almost out of breath.

I frowned, “M-master, did I do something against the rule?”

“Everything you do was and is against the rule.”

I sighed. I didn’t know how I managed to change his mind like this. Well, I could go freely to his room, but he permitted it. He had let me see him and he didn’t protest, I mean, of course, he protested a bit. I could talk to him like this, while the others talk to him inside his big brother’s room. Yes, I had broken every rule.

“I’m so sorry if I’ve been so nosy. I just can’t help it. I don’t want to pretend that I like what was happening in your house. I’m being talkative again, am I?”

He looked away then genuinely grinned. He looked so beautiful, like a scene from a beautiful movie. “But you do understand what’s happening around here, Miss Hart,” he uttered. He exhaled deeply, but it sounded like a sigh of relief for me. “What I don’t understand is why I am allowing you to break everything.”

“I—I think... Hmm, I was only being so presumptuous like what you said. I’m sorry if I make you feel uncomfortable. I might as well practice obeying your rules from now on.” I bit my lip. The thought of not having to see him made me so damn sad. There was something in me that wanted to get in touch with this man every day. I felt like, I wanted to take care of him and needed to protect him, even though I didn’t know what’s going on with his life.

“It’s okay, Alayna.” I’d heard him called me by my first name a lot this morning. I wasn’t sure why, but I loved it when he says my name.

“It’s not like I’m letting my guard down, but I am now giving you the right to go inside those other rooms whenever you need to. That is if you won’t find me here. I assume you know where these doors,” he motioned to one of the doors, “lead.”

I looked around the room. The door on the left side of the living room leads to his study a.k.a Big Brother’s room. The door on the right leads to the gym

“Except, of course, the door beside my bed. That’s my bathroom,”

I flushed. I suddenly remembered the day I saw his backside under the shower. “Uh, right.” I chuckled anxiously. “Let me just repeat that, I am allowed to go inside those rooms?”

“Yes. Only if you won’t find me here.”

I hesitated. “Why?”

“You are like a storm, Miss Hart. You like to wander around, and with your very nosy character, everything could happen.”

What? I don’t think I understood what he meant, “Uh, okay?”

“You can leave now, Miss Hart,” he instructed as he pulled the plate.

“Uh, Master? Am I not going to wait for you to, uh—finish your breakfast?”

“You heard me.”

“Oh, I’ll just ah, get the plates when you’re done.”

He did not answer, instead, he opened the lid of the breakfast I served him. Well, I guess I should go back later. I walked towards the door slowly, still all ears, in case he had any comments about the food. I kept walking. As I was about to walk out the door, he finally spoke.

“Alayna,” he called.

I stopped, still facing the door.

“Oliver is a good man,” he said unexpectedly, it made me spun around.

“Master?” I asked with my forehead furrowed.

“But, I don’t like to share.”

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