Beneath The Mask [On Hold]

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Chapter 10

✱Emma's POV✱

My jaw was hung open as I stared at the grey eyed at the monster in front of me.

The monster who was scarfing down the chocolate pancakes which were drowning in chocolate syrup.

"What do you seem so surprised about?" Ryder asked.

"I'm not sure if it's the quantity of chocolate syrup in there or the speed at which you're eating." I replied, my eyes still wide open.

If you think that I'm exaggerating about the quantity of syrup, you're wrong. The chocolate pancakes have become the cereal and the chocolate syrup has become the milk in his bowl.

Yes, he's eating the pancakes in a bowl to make it more convenient and with the quantity of syrup he's poured in there, the bowl is necessary.

"The quantity of syrup I have used is perfect. It's not too much."

"Sure..." I drawled.

"I think I'm gonna get late for even my second class because I still need to go to my house and pick up my bag."

"That won't be necessary, when I realised that you weren't going to wake up any time soon, I called Ben and asked him if he could go to your place and get your stuff and your car to campus. He agreed." I shrugged.

"Oh okay. Fine then."

"You're welcome Ryder." I said mockingly, with a sarcastic smile.

"Whatever."

Once we were done eating, I told Ryder to take a shower and that I'd have set out some clothes on the bed by the time he'd be done.

After doing that, I went to my room and picked out my own clothes for the day, which included a pair of dark blue jeans, a black top and a brown coat, and went to take a shower.

Just in case you forgot, let me remind you today is the day I need to go to Alexander Ryder's office to collect the files he told me about on Saturday.

When I made my way downstairs, I saw that Ryder was already waiting for me by the stairs.

"You're going to college, not a business meeting." He said, looking at me with his eyebrows raised.

"Actually, no. I'm not going to college, I'm going to a meeting. I'm just dropping you off to the campus."

"Hold on. You're telling me that you work?"

"Yes Ryder, I work." I replied whilst rolling my eyes.

"Where?"

"Woods Publishing."

"Woods Publishing? Wow."

Woods Publishing was the company Mike owned. It was his cover job and mine was in the editing wing there.

After that, he didn't speak much. He seemed to be lost in his thoughts.

We were in my car and on the way too the campus when I got a call from Noah. I didn't want to cut the call, so I put it on speaker.

"¡Mi hermosa! Save me!" Noah's voice screamed through the phone as soon as I received the call.

On hearing his words, I got scared for a second, but then I heard Carter's voice laughing in the background and I knew that everything was fine and that they they were just fooling around. These kids have no time sense.

"What's wrong Osito?"

"There is a monster following me!"

I sighed."Does the monster have red hair and green eyes?"

"Yes! This is not the time to ask me about the features of the monster! Tell it to stop chasing me!"

"What did you do to trigger the monster?" I asked, knowing that he would have done something.

".... Nothing?"

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY 'NOTHING', YOU DUMBASS! AND DON'T THINK THAT CALLING EMMA WILL SAVE YOUR ASS. I'M GONNA KILL YOU TODAY!!! YOU HAD THE AUDACITY TO EAT UP MY CEREAL! MY CEREAL! " Megan's voice yelled.

"Holy Fluffing Flapperdoodles. Emma, this beach is gonna kill me today."

Him calling Meg a bitch apparantly made it wise because the commotion got worse and I could barely make out a word.

"Fluff? Beach? And what the hell does Flapperdoodles mean?" Those words from Ryder reminded that I wasn't alone and that he was with me.

"Noah doesn't swear. So he makes up words similar to the actual words. I think you can figure out what to fluff and beach mean. As for Flapperdoodles, I doubt that even he knows the meaning of that." I explained to him.

His face got a look of realisation on it.

"Guys! Can you cut it out?!" I yelled, having had enough of their yelling.

Déjà vu anyone?

After almost a minute they were finally quiet when Carter decided to ask, "Hey Babygirl, isn't today your meeting with Alex-"

"Yes, it's today. I'm actually on the road now. I just need to drop off a friend to the campus and then I'll be on my way. I've put the phone on speaker to make it more convenient." I cut him off on purpose, not wanting him to say the name.

"We're not friends yet." Blake mumbled under his breath.

"Not the point." I told him, giving him a subtle glare.

"Oh. Which friend is this?" Megan's curious voice spoke through the speaker.

"His name is Blake Ryder."

"Wait a second, isn't that guy the one you poured Gatorade and coffee on?" Megan asked.

"Yes. This bitch here thought it would be a good idea to pour both of those on me." This was the first time Ryder spoke addressing my friends and that was to insult me. Wow. Just wow.

"Hey! You deserved it! And I also gave you a shirt to change into." I defended myself.

"Whose shirt did you give him Emma?" Carter's questioning voice asked.

Oops.

"Noah's?..."

"That sounds like a question to me, Babygirl, not an answer."

Have I told you ask that Carter is really good at this. He can squeeze out any kind of information from you. It's not the words he uses. It's the way he makes himself sound.

"Fine! I gave him your shirt. But that was only because Noah's wouldn't fit him."

"Emma! How many times have I told you that I don't like anybody except you wearing my clothes?! I will take away all of my clothes that you have -"

"Noah? Are you alright?" Megan seemed to be asking Noah.

"Noah?" Carter was next.

"Guys, what's wrong?" I asked, concerned.

"Noah's just staring off into space without saying a word." Megan seemed to be freaking out.

Aw... Ship.

Not the time, you dumbass.

Right.

"Osito? Honey, what's wrong?"

"Emma, what did you say your new friend's name was?"

Before I could say a word, Ryder cut me off, "I am very capable of introducing myself. I'm Blake Ryder. Nice speaking to you, friends of Blue I don't know."

I heard Noah inhale sharply.

"I need to go."

That was followed by footsteps, maybe it was Noah leaving the place.

Something is definitely wrong. It's very out of character for Noah to behave like this. What could have made him behave like this? Unless.... Oh shit. I swear to all the gods above, if this is what I think it is, I'm gonna kill Blake Ryder.

"Mia, do you have any idea what that was about?"

"I have my suspicions. Listen guys, I'll talk to you later, alright?"

"Wait-" I didn't let Carter continue as I cut the call.

I turned my gaze to Ryder.

"Blue, you look like you're about to kill someone."

"If my theory is right, there is a person who's gonna end up dead. You. So answer me honestly, Blake Ryder, did you have a friend called Antonio when you were younger?"

"...Yes. How'd you know that?" He answered hesitantly.

"Noah Antonio Rodriguez. His parents enrolled him in school with his middle name, Antonio. They had their reasons, but that's not the point. Noah Antonio Rodriguez is the guy you humiliated in front of your entire school and then left the next day."

He seemed shook. His usually emotionless eyes now held sadness and regret. Well, that is gonna get him no-fucking-where.

I should hit this guy. Beat him into a pulp.

No, I need to calm down. If I punch him now, I will definitely break a bone or two. I'll just punch him some other time, when I'm calmer.

Luckily, I'm not sure for whom, we had reached the college campus.

"We have reached. Now get out." I said emotionlessly, looking straight ahead.

I think he knew that speaking even a word right now would get him in a lot of trouble, because he quietly just got out of the car.

"Are we still on for practice later?"

I spoke too soon.

"Do you have a death wish?" I asked, looking at him.

"I'll let you calm down. We'll practice tomorrow, at my place, we have a ballroom. Bring your gown. Well be doing a costume rehearsal." He was back to being emotionless.

I just nodded and sped off.

〰️✱〰️

I was walking out of the main office of the Ryder Industries with the deadly files in my hands when I got a call from Carter.

"Hey, you done with the meeting yet?" Carter asked me, sounding scared.

"Yeah. Why? What's wrong?"

"Noah has locked himself in his room and isn't opening the door to anyone."

"I'm on my way."

〰️✱〰️

As I weaved across the hallways, many people greeted me, but I just smiled at them, not having the time to stop and say hello.

At one point, I even bumped into Mike, who immediately stopped me and asked, "Why the hell aren't you in college?"

"My friends are more important to me than college." With those words, I pulled my arm from his grasp and walked faster than I was walking earlier.

Once I reached my destination, I knocked on the door. Exactly 2 seconds later, Aunty V opened the door, clearly panicking.

"Emma! You're here. Please call him out, sweety. He's locked himself in his room. He's not saying anything except that he didn't want to talk to anyone. We don't even know what happened. He just came home with tears in his eyes. I'm so scared.What if-"

"Don't even think about that, Aunty V. Noah's gonna be fine. I'll try to talk to him."

I made my way to Noah's room and knocked on the door.

"I already told you all that I don't want to talk to anyone!" Noah yelled from the other side.

"Osito, it's me. Can you please open the door?"

After a few seconds, I heard shuffling inside the room and the door opened.

I went in and sat next to him on the bed. The fact that he had cried was evident due to the tear marks on his face.

He rested his forehead on my shoulder and closed his eyes.

Just when I thought that he had fallen asleep, he spoke softly,

"You didn't have to come."

"I wanted to." I whispered.

After a few minutes passed, he spoke again,"Why?"

"He ruined me, Hermosa. I had to go through so much because of him." By now he was crying again.

"All those months.... All those insults.... All those beatings.... I had to take in all of those because of him, why did he do it?!"

I just hugged him, not really knowing what to say to make him feel better. He hugged me back and buried his face in the crook of my neck.

His voice came out muffled as he spoke, "I know he had a reason. Blake would never do something like that just out of spite or arrogance. I know that he just wanted to push me away, but it still hurts. It hurts that he didn't, even once, look back to see how much damage he had done."

After that he just held me tight without speaking a word and I tried my best to console him. It hurt to see him like this. He just looks so sad, it breaks my heart.

I am definitely gonna punch Ryder.

That was something I wanted to do since I learnt about what happened, which was 4 years ago, but Noah didn't let me. In fact, he didn't even tell me the name of the so called best friend, knowing that I would hunt him down and hit him.

I don't care about what reason Blake Ryder had to hurt Noah, I'm gonna punch the guy and I'm gonna punch him hard, because no one hurts my best friend and gets away with it. No one.

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