Beneath The Mask [On Hold]

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Chapter 14

✱Emma’s POV✱

After the whole prank incident, the rest of the group also came to my house and we all decided to watch a movie together.

After a while, Ryan said that Theo and he had to leave. When asked why, he hesitated.

After pestering him - more like threatening to cut off his balls in his sleep- he gave in and said that they both had a match tonight. He then went on and explained about how Ben, Theo and him fought in boxing matches and earned money.

That brings us to now where Theo and I are in his car, on our way to the gym where their match was. The others would first go to Ryan’s house so he could collect his stuff and then join us in the gym. Apparently Theo had a permanent room there and he kept all his stuff there.

I watched with wide eyes as we pulled into a very familiar parking lot of ‘Rico’s Ring’. No, not this place. I turned to Theo with pleading eyes, “Please tell me that this is not where you guys fight.”

“No it’s not. I just brought you here to show you the place. Of course it’s where we fight. Why else would I bring you here?” He shot back sarcastically.

I just gulped and looked out of the window as he parked his car.

“What’s wrong with it? It’s not illegal or anything like that.”

“I know.” My voice came out in a hoarse whisper as I tried to push back the images of that day. The day I began hating this place.

“You alright?” He asked me, attempting to keep his face emotionless while doing so, but you could see the concern in his eyes. I don’t think he realizes how his eyes always give away what he’s feeling. They express what he tries to hide.

“I’m fine. I just-” My sadness turned into anger and hurt when I saw 2 familiar figures standing a bit far from where Theo was parking his car.

“Quick question. Which is the one language you don’t know at all?”

“There are a lot, but I guess one of them would be French.”

“Perfect. You said that you and Noah were planning to meet this Saturday right?”

“It’s my turn now!”

I glared at him.

“Yes, we have decided to meet this Saturday.”

“Well, you’ll meet him today.”

“What?! Are you saying that he’s here?” He said, looking around, trying to find Noah as he pulled in to a parking spot.

I just nodded and got out of the car as soon as he stopped it. I was speed walking towards the two idiots when I heard Theo’s voice call out from behind me.

“Wait for me!”

I ignored him and continued walking until I was a good distance from them for them to hear me.

“You two better have a good reason for being here!”

The two of them stopped talking and turned towards me with their eyes wide.

They both are in deep trouble.

“Babygirl? What are you doing here?” Carter asked.

“You don’t get to ask me questions.” I said, glaring at him. “I’m gonna ask this once and I better get the truth. What are you doing here?”

Carter stayed silent. I knew it. I was hoping that they would just be running some errand for Mike, but deep down I knew it.

“He has a fight later tonight.” Noah said, once again confirming my suspicion.

“I’m gonna deal with you later.” I hissed at Carter and turned towards Noah.

“Why would you help him with this?!”

“I only pretended that I was helping him! I called you a million times. I even texted you.”

That was when I realised that I hadn’t switched on my phone after switching it off earlier while watching the movie.

“You did what?! You fucking traitor!”

“She deserved to know Carter!”

“It was my choice! I would tell her when I wanted to!”

“And when would that be Mase?!” I questioned him.

“I... I don’t know.”

“Pourquoi êtes-vous venu à cet endroit après tout ce qui s’est passé la dernière fois?! [Why would you even come to this place after everything that happened the last time?!]” By now, I was yelling. Thankfully, the parking lot was quite empty as there was still time for tonight’s matches to begin. Even the rest of our friends weren’t here yet.

Thankfully, the idiot got a hint and responded in French.
“J’ai besoin de l’argent Em. Maintenant qu’il est à la maison, il utilise tout l’argent. Il a même mis la main sur mes économies. [I need the money Em. Now that he’s home, he’s using up all the money. He’s even got his hands into my savings.]”

“That fucking leech.” I cursed. “Carter, ne puis-je rien faire pour changer d’avis? S’il vous plaît. Je ne peux pas supporter l’idée que vous vous battiez à nouveau ici. [Carter, is there nothing I can do to change your mind? Please. I can’t bear the thought of you fighting here again.]”

“Pas de babygirl. J’ai pris ma décision à ce sujet. Je ne comprends pas pourquoi vous réagissez autant. [No Babygirl. I’ve made up my mind about this. I don’t get why you’re overreacting so much.]”

“Je réagis de manière excessive? Carter, tu n’étais pas celle qui a dû emmener sa meilleure amie qui a été battue en pulpe à l’hôpital. Ce n’est pas toi qui as dû consoler sa mère quand elle se blâmait continuellement pour son fils presque mourant. Tu n’étais pas celle qui avait affaire à sa meilleure amie sans aucun souvenir de qui il était. Tu n’étais pas- [Overreacting? Carter, you weren’t the one who had to take her best friend who was beaten into a pulp to the hospital. You weren’t the one who had to console his mother when she continuously blamed herself for her son almost dying. You weren’t the one who had to deal with her best friend having no memories of who he is. You weren’t-]”

I couldn’t breath anymore. My breathing turned into pants while I tried to get some air into my lungs. But it was of no use. It was as if all the memories of that day had become the hands which were choking me.

“Hermosa, take deep breaths. Deep breaths.” I heard Noah say as he pulled me into a hug.

I clung to him as I tried to calm myself. Once I knew I felt better, I pulled away and smiled at Noah.

“Thanks Osito.”

“Anytime Hermosa.” He winked at me. I turned to Carter again.

“I’m sorry about that rant. It’s just- I’m scared Mase. I don’t want to almost lose you again.”

Without saying anything, he just pulled me into a hug. “I know Babygirl. To be honest, even I’m very scared and I understand why you’re scared. But I was 14 back then. I’m 19 now and definitely better at this now. You see, I had an awesome trainer.” He said, pulling away from the hug to grin at me.

I laughed. “That you did.”

“You alright now?” He asked.

“Yeah. Mase, at least tell me that you’re just fighting upstairs.”

“I am. I promise that I won’t go downstairs this time.”

“Who are you fighting anyways? Is it someone who was there before?”

“I’m fighting some guy titled ′ Storm ’.”

“Storm?” Theo, who had stayed silent all this while, spoke up.

“Yeah. You know him?”

“Yes. I’m Storm.”

Well, this match is going to be interesting.

“Wait, who are you?”

“I’m Blake Ryder.”

“Carter. Carter Mason.” Said Carter while sizing him up.

Ugh. Boys.

“If you’re Carter, then you must be...” Theo said, turning towards Noah.

“Noah Rodriguez.” Noah said with a tight smile. “Hermosa, let’s go and buy the tickets.”

“But what about the others?”

“Please...” His voice was down to a whisper now and had become pleading.

“Fine, let’s go.” As soon as I said that, he started pulling me by my arm towards the ticket counter and away from the two opponents of the day.

“All the best to both of you! May the best idiot win!” I called out, turning my head back to look at them while being pulled away.

We were done buying our tickets and we’re in our way inside, but Noah still hadn’t spoken a word.

It was never nice when he’s quiet, so I decided to change the topic.

“How’s Mr. Fluffy doing?”

“I don’t know. The other day, I had a family dinner so I left him under Meg’s care. She lost him.”

“How did she manage to lose a rock?”

“Ask her. Don’t worry, I took my revenge.”

“What did you do Noah?”

He gave me a sheepish smile and said, “I may or may not have put a rat in her closet.”

“You did what?! How are you even alive right now?” I said while laughing.

“I haven’t faced the aftermath of it yet. She was out the whole day doing God knows what. I wonder what the state of her closet will be. The worse it is, the better.”

At this rate, my ship will sail when we’re 80 years old.

“The worse the condition of her closet it is, the worse it is for you.”

He grinned at me. “Let her do her best.”

Before we could take our seats, I saw Theo sitting on one side of the ring with the others.

“Come on, I’ll introduce you to the others.” I said and dragged Noah with me towards them. After the introduction, I saw Noah and Olive giving each other shy glances.

No. This cannot happen. Don’t get me wrong, i don’t have a problem with Olive. It’s just that my ship will sink even before sailing.

Emma, you have no right to say that they shouldn’t get together. It’s their choice.

But my ship...

“Em!” Olive’s voice brought me out of my thoughts.

“Yes?”

“I was saying that we all should probably take our seats. The first match, which is Blake’s is about to begin. Where we you lost?”

The land where you mourn for all the sinking ships.

“Nothing. Let’s go.”

They just laughed and went towards a cluster of seats that were empty, but Ryan stayed back, saying that fighters weren’t supposed to sit among the audience. I turned towards Theo, “All the best.”

“Though I might not need it, thanks.”

I grinned. “What makes you think you won’t need it?”

“He hasn’t lost one match till today. That’s why.” Ryan said, slinging an arm over my shoulder.

“Either ways, best of luck.”

“Thank you.” He said, nodding.

Once I went where the rest of my friends were seated, I sat next to Noah who had saved a seat for me.

When Carter came in, his eyes began scanning the crowd until they landed on me. I smiled reassuringly at him and mouthed, “You’ve got this”. He smiled back at me and nodded. Noah turned to me and said, “Who do you think will win?”

“I think it’s pretty obvious, but let’s see.”

〰️✱〰️

In the end of the match, as expected, Carter won. This obviously bruised Theo’s ego because as soon as they were allowed to leave the ring, he went to where Ryan was sitting, spoke to him for a few seconds and then stormed out.When asked, Ryan said that he had gone to Ben’s apartment to which he had a spare key.

After speaking to Carter and Noah for a while, I decided to go and talk to Theo. Ben have me his address and I left in Olive’s car. They had come in 2 cars, so they wouldn’t have a problem getting to Ben’s place later.

Once I outside the door of Ben’s apartment, I began kicking it because my hands were full. One hand had a first aid kit in it, whereas the other one had ice creams in it.

“Who is it?” Theo’s voice called out from inside. Without saying anything, I continued to kick the door, knowing that he wouldn’t open the door if he knew it was me.

It took me 2 minutes of kicking the door for his majesty to finally open the door, just slightly though.

“Who the fuck- ugh, it’s you.” He said, rolling his eyes. He made a move to close the door when I stuck my foot in the gap, stopping him from doing so.

“Let me in Theo. I come bearing first aid. You look like you need it.” I said, looking pointedly at his bruised face.

He glared at me. “Go away.”

“Nope. I even have ice cream with me. We wouldn’t want the ice cream to go waste now, would we?”

“Leave.”

I sighed. “Okay, I’ve had enough of waiting for you to open the door.” With that said, I kicked open the door and went in like I owned the place. Once I was in, I turned to Theo, who was still glaring at me and asked him where the kitchen was so I could keep the ice cream in the fridge.

He sighed and showed me to the kitchen. After keeping it in the fridge, I told him sit in the living room while I fixed his face. He again glared at me when I said that.

Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy annoying him?

“This is going to hurt a bit.” I warned him as I brought the cotton swab with an antiseptic liquid near his face.

“This is not my first time Blue. I know.” He replied while giving me a pointed look.

While I was applying some cream on his face, I gently asked him, “Why are you angry?”

“Weren’t you there? You saw it.”

“I still don’t get why you’re so angry.”

“I’ve been fighting at Rico’s Ring for more than 2 years Blue and till this day, I hadn’t lost even one fight. Now this newbie comes and ruins my reputation. Of course I’m pissed.”

“Firstly, Theo, Carter isn’t new at this. Secondly, it’s just one match. Just because you lost this one match doesn’t mean you’ll lose every single one in the future. You can take this in two ways. You can either be angry and crib about it or you can strive to make yourself better. Learn where you went wrong and fix that mistake. It’s not choice.”

“I get you. But I don’t even know where I went wrong. I gave it my best Blue.”

“Someday Theo, you’ll be better, then you’ll know what went wrong. Until then, just try harder.”

He nodded in understanding. “By the way, what was all that yelling in French about? You purposely asked me which language I didn’t know, so that when you yelled at him in that language I wouldn’t understand.”

“Strawberries for the question, yes for the statement.” I mischievously grinned at him.

He shook his head at me and was about to say something when my phone made a sound, indicating that I had a new message.

The words in the message made my blood run cold.

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