Beneath The Mask [On Hold]

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Chapter 13

✱Blake's POV✱

Never in my life had I tried to control my laughter as much as I did when I saw the faces of my father and Colton when Emma and I entered the dining room.

Surprisingly, the man who forced us to join this dinner wasn't here yet. I'm sure he's in his room practicing the questions and insults he wants to use on Emma.

"You're joining us for dinner?" Colton asked me, excitement shining in his eyes.

Good job Colt, you're doing great at hiding your emotions.

I explained to him about what happened and he also told Emma the same thing I told her.

"Where's Danielle?" Colton asked dad.

"She won't be joining us today. Hey aunt isn't feeling well, so she's gone to take care of her."

Thank God. I don't think I could deal with her today. Dealing with just my grandfather is more than enough for today.Thankfully, the devil hasn't come with his wife. She is just as bad as her husband.

We all decided to take our seats before the devil came, otherwise he would make us sit how he wanted us to sit and that would not be pleasant.I made sure to take a seat next to Emma.

My grandfather came into the dining room, nodded at us and took his seat at the head of the table. And then began the torture.

He decided to start speaking as soon as the there first dish was served.

"Ms. Sparx, it's wonderful that you decided to join us."

I heard Emma mumble 'like I was given a choice.' before looking up at my grandfather and smiling and saying, "It's wonderful to be here, Mr. Ryder. Thank you for inviting me."

"That's nice to know. Tell me, Ms. Sparx, what subjects are you majoring in?"

"Dance and Music, sir."

"Did you join this college because dance and music are actually your passions or just because you weren't smart enough to join an actual college?"

"Father, what-" My father tried to interrupt.

"It's alright Mr. Ryder, I'll answer his question." Emma said, looking at my father with a smile.

"I joined this college and decided to major in dance and music because I love dancing and singing. Also, if you don't mind me saying, Mr. Ryder, I think it's wrong of you to believe that people choose arts just because they aren't smart enough."

My grandfather called a maid and started talking to her, probably ordering her to bring him his wine from the cellar. If that's what he's doing, then it's a sign that he's getting pissed. That's understandable because he doesn't like it when people question him.

I quickly turned to Emma and said to her lowly, "Blue, we can leave if you want. Trust me, you say the word and we'll leave."

"No Theo, I don't want to go just yet. This conversation is getting interesting."

I sighed. The day I start understanding why this girl does the things she does, will be the last day of my existence. That's how long it's going to take.

"Coming back to what we were speaking Ms. Sparx, you said that my belief is wrong, why do you think so? Because according to me, the people who decide to go to an art school are just kids who are dumb. They can't go into any good field, so they decide to claim that they have a passion towards dance or literature and join an art school."

That one was directed at me. I don't think he'll ever stop giving me hell for choosing literature over business.

Asshole.

"I disagree, Mr. Ryder. Just because one decides to choose any form of art as a career does not mean that they aren't good at anything else. It's just because they want to follow what they're passionate about."

My grandfather just narrowed his eyes at her. Wait, he doesn't have anything to say. Did Emma Sparx just manage to leave my grandfather speechless?

This girl definitely is something.

"Well, Ms. Sparx, I see that one opinions differ when it comes to career options. Speaking about career, do you work anywhere?"

"Yes sir, I work in the editing wing of Woods Publishing."

"Woods Publishing? Isn't that where Blake wanted to work but was never good enough?" He asked my father. They both started talking amongst themselves in low tones. My grandfather had his usual cunning look, whereas my father looked pissed.

Emma turned to me with raised eyebrows. "You want to work in Woods Publishing?"

"I guess. Being an editor in the Woods Publishing has always been my dream job."

She nodded and was about to say something in reply when my grandfather called her again.

When will this man decide to stop talking?

"Ms. Sparx, I noticed that you have a tattoo."

"Yes sir, I do."

He was talking about the one in her forearm. I've noticed that she has two more tattoos, one on her hip and another on the back of her neck. I wonder if she has more. I need to ask her about that sometime.

"I find tattoos very disrespectful. Why would you permanently scar your body like that? Haven't your parents thought you any respect?"

Do you understand now why I hate him as much as I do?

"No offense sir, but I don't appreciate you dragging my parents into this."

"Why shouldn't I? All I'm saying is that they haven't done a good job raising you. You are only 18 years old and you already have a tattoo and you don't go to a proper college. It's a disgrace. I'm sure your parents are very disappointed in you. Where do the work, by the way? They must be earning a lot to get a delinquent like you into a college."

"My parents are dead."

What?! I turned towards her with my eyes opened wide. She looked back at me with a small sad smile

Her parents are dead? She's an orphan? But she doesn't seem like it. She's always smiling and happy.

My grandfather looked slightly surprised too before his face came back to whatever is it's normal state.

"Oh, so you're an orphan? I should have guessed. You orphan kids have no respect and no purpose in life. You-"

That's it. I'm done with this.

"Grandfather!" I yelled, standing up quickly, causing my chair to scrape the floor." I don't know why Blue isn't saying anything about this, but I'm not letting you talk to her like that. I'm not going to sit quiet and let you insult my friend. This dinner is over."

With those words said, I left the dining room and strode to the garden.

I was sitting on one of the cold marble benches in the garden, when someone came and sat next to me.

Blue.

"How'd you find me?"

"There's this really cool thing called following someone. In this, you-"

"Shut up."

She laughed and looked up at the sky. I decided to interrupt the silence and ask her, "Why didn't you say anything to him?"

"Sometimes, Theo, you can't just argue with them. There are times when you have to answer the people who try to insult you by hurting their ego."

"What do you mean?"

"Think about it. Your grandfather is used to people listening to him and cowering at his words. Just the situation of someone taking back to him, questioning him infuriates him."

Now that I think about it, she's right. That man is used to all of us just listening to everything he says and letting him treat us however he wishes.

"You never told me that your parents were no more." I said, still guilty about all the things I had told her.

"It never came up." She shrugged.

"I said such horrible things about you."

She laughed. "Awwww. Is the Blake Ryder going soft on me?" She cooed, bringing her hand up to pull one of my cheeks.

"What the fuck?!" I swatted her hand away. "Sometimes I forget how fucking annoying you are."

"On a serious note, why didn't you tell me?"

"What was I supposed to say Theo? Hi, I'm Emma Sparx and my parents are dead?"

I gave her a grim look.

She sighed and continued, "Look, from where I am, everybody knows what happened to my parents and I'm constantly shown pity. Here, nobody knows who I am, my past, nothing. That feels good, refreshing. Besides, it's not like I know everything about you, right?"

"You're right. I'm sorry."

"Don't be." She smiled at me and looked back at the sky. For a while, both of us just sat there, looking at the stars.

That night, despite the cold, our comfortable silence kept us warm.

〰️✱〰️

Today is Tuesday. The day we are supposed to perform our waltz in front of Ms. Vaughn.

I hope we do well. It scares me that we haven't practiced even once in our costumes, I just hope everything's gonna be alright.

Today, Ms. Vaughn was making us perform in the theatre. We weren't allowed to see anyone until our performances were done and vice versa.

Obviously that means that I have absolutely no idea how Emma looks. For all I know s she could be looking like a

But all the thoughts of her looking ugly vanished when I actually saw her. She looked beautiful - no, she looked regal.

I was never one to believe that putting on an extravagant gown or makeup could make a woman truly beautiful and I still am not. But I couldn't help but notice how beautiful- No. I'm not doing this. This girl is still the same person who spilled two drinks on me the day we met and loves to annoy the shit out of me.

[A/N: She wasn't wearing the crown.]

She came and stood on the opposite side of the stage. The music began and so did it acting. I went up to her and and held out my hand, asking her for the dance. She smiled and put her hand in mine. We made our to centre of the stage and began dancing. Both of us did our best to portray the whole 'Love at first sight' theme.

The performance went just how we planned it. I was afraid that not practicing with our costumes on at least once would be a trouble, but it fortunately wasn't.

When we were finished, Ms. Vaughn just stood up from her seat and announced to everyone that we would be getting out grades and next topics in our next class and that we were dismissed.

〰️✱〰️

The two of us were in the parking lot when Emma turned towards me.

"Wanna hang out at my place for a while?"

I thought about it. I had a match later tonight, but other than that I was free.

"Sure. By the way, how do you think we did?"

"I think we've done quite well. What matters is that we've given it our best."

"You're right. You looked alright in that gown today."

"Just alright?"

"Yes, just alright."

"Well, you looked just alright too." She said with a grin.

"Nice to know."

Once we reached her house, she told me that I could use the same room as the previous times if I wanted to take a shower.

It was when I opened the door to the room that I knew of her true intentions of inviting me to hang out. As soon as I opened the door and stepped in, I felt something disgustingly sticky and stinky being poured on me.

That bitch.

I heard laughter behind me. I turned around to see Emma standing there with her phone in one hand, obviously recording this, and the other clutching her stomach as she laughed her ass off.

"You crazy bitch!"

"That one's getting old. Go buy some new insults Theo. This wouldn't have happened if you hadn't challenged me to a prank war the other day."

Oh shit. I had completely forgotten about that. I think it showed on my face because her next words were, "You'd forgotten about it, hadn't you?. I'm pleased to have reminded you then."

I narrowed my eyes at her. "The classic bucket on the door, I see. From today, Blue, I'd sleep with one eye open if I were you."

"Yeah sure. I'm so damn scared right now. Go clean up. You stink." Saying that she left, still laughing.

She's taking me lightly. I think she's forgotten that Antonio was my best friend. We grew up playing pranks at each other.

I'm going to make her regret pulling this prank on me.

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