Beneath The Mask [On Hold]

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Chapter 15

✱Emma's POV✱

Every story has a villain. The villain of my story, Nicolas Santiago Rodriguez. Yes, Rodriguez. He's Papa Rodriguez's brother. To say that I hate him would be an understatement. I would do anything to kill that man. Two years ago, after that horrible night, he had gone MIA. That was why Mike's message saying that he could probably be back, got me rushing to the Headquarters.

I burst into Mike's office where a few people were gathered. They all had worried looks on their faces. When Mike saw me, his face morphed into one of relief, "Thank god you're here."

I nodded and walked towards him, "Where's the note?"

He handed me a piece of paper which seemed to be torn hastily. Before taking the note in my hands, I asked him, "You've already gotten it checked for fingerprints right?"

"Yeah. There was nothing on it. Not a single fingerprint."

I once again just nodded and looked down at the paper.

Emma Sparx, it's been a while hasn't it? Tell me how you're feeling right now. Are you shocked? Surprised? Scared? You should be very scared. You didn't think I was permanently gone, did you? I'm not going to stop coming after you until I kill you. It's been two years since I killed him. How's life without Elijah or as you liked to call him, IJ? Must be bad. After all, he was the only person who knew everything about you. Let me tell you this, Emma Sparx, nothing makes me more happier than seeing you and the people you love suffer. Nothing. I will take everything away from you, kill all your friends and then kill you.

-N.S.R

I took a deep breath to calm myself after reading the note. When he mentioned IJ and my friends, I got so angry I almost ripped the note apart. Then I reminded myself that it was evidence and that I couldn't destroy it.

I handed the note back to Mike and he kept it in its original place in the briefcase before pulling a file out of it. "This is the file of his case from two years ago. After doing some research, we have found multiple faces is multiple countries that might be him, but we aren't sure. Look at this." He called us towards the computer on his table.

He played a few CCTV footages. It was easy to recognise him in each of the footages. In one, he was wearing a huge beard and a fake mole, in another one, he was either wearing a fat suit or wearing too many clothes and so on. In every case, I was easily able to recognise him because of his eyes. Those golden brown eyes that almost always had a cunning look in them gave him away.

"It's definitely him." I confirmed after looking at all the videos he showed.

"We can't be completely sure, Em."

"What do you mean?"

"We can't declare and announce that he's back only by receiving a note and looking at a few faces that might not even be his." Before I could object, Mike continued speaking, "But that doesn't mean we won't investigate this. For now, there will be a small group investigating this. Emma, do you think you can lead this?"

"Yes. Definitely."

"Good -" Mike was cut off by Ethan, one of the most annoying people in the world. I'm not exaggerating. That guy, for some reason, finds happiness in annoying the crap out of me by talking absolute shit. On regular days, I manage to simply fight back with a bit of sass but today is so not the day.

"Woah! Why does she get to lead the case? I'm elder than her and she's a girl! A fucking weak girl! Besides, it's not like she did a very great job the previous time. Elijah is dead because of her!"

Okay, this guy has pissed me off. Before anyone could say anything, the little boot knife which was almost always tucked in my shoe was at his throat. "Listen here you idiot, I might be younger than you, but I've definitely worked harder than you to come as far as I have and don't you ever again say that girls are weak. This girl here can slit your throat in less than a second and she won't hesitate to do it." I said to him with a low voice.

He gulped and slowly nodded. "Good." I said before removing the knife from his throat and backing away from him.

Mike cleared his throat and continued, "Anyways, as I was saying before I was interrupted, Emma, take this file. Later tonight, after we inform the board about everything, I need you to prepare your crew and begin the investigation tomorrow. Nobody is going to take this man lightly this time. I need every single person who will be working on the case to work with complete dedication. We must not let him slip away this time. We lost two of our best agents because of him, we need to stop him before he does more damage."

The board? Shit. We can't, at any cost, tell the board about any important lead we get in this case, which means that we can't tell them everything.

"After Emma and I speak with the board, who I've already told to assemble in the main meeting room, she will pick out the members who will be a part of this mission. All the best to all of you. Emma let's go."

"Mike wait. I need to speak to you before we go to the board."

"Okay then." After sending everyone out, Mike came and sat across me on his seat. "What is it you wanted to talk about?"

"It's about what Mr.Ryder told me."

Mike sat up straighter at my words. Then I told him everything.

〰️✱〰️

"This is so fucking sick! Are they out of their fucking minds?!"

"Language." I warned him like he always did to me.

"Oh shut up. You swear way more than me and how can you tell me something like this and not expect me to freak."

"You are supposed to be used to things like this." I shrugged.

"Yeah right." He snorted and continued,"I'm so pissed right now. These people are the ones who are supposed to take care of this agency the most, instead they're ruining it by selling it away to that asshole. Is there anything else?"

"Yes there's more." I said and went ahead to tell him about the rest of the situation. It took me 10 minutes of beating around the bush to finally tell him the whole thing. Once I was done, he stood up fast, causing his chair to tumble and fall, and banged his hand on the table.

"I'm going to kill them! Who the fuck do they think they are?!" I was tempted to mock warn him about his language, but I stopped myself knowing that it wasn't the right time. "First they want to sell away the agency, now they want to kill you?! I'm going to fucking kill them before they even lay a fucking hand on you!" With those words, he began taking long strides towards the door. I quickly stood up and went and blocked his path.

"Where do you think you're going?"

"I'm going to rip their heads off, fix them on poles and show everyone what happens when they try to-"

"Mike, this is not you. Calm down." I told him, being as soothing as I could.

"Calm down! I'm not going to calm down! They want to kill my daughter! I'd rather die than let that happen!" He yelled. I stared at him in shock. After a few seconds, when he registered the words he said, his eyes widened. After a few seconds of awkward silence, he cleared his throat, took a deep breath and said, "Is there anything else or is that all?"

I shook my head. I had made sure to tell him everything. From how the board was planning on giving the agency and all of its agents to Nichasshole for a good sum of money to how they're planning on killing me because they know that I'll be one of the people who will at no costs allow this and that if I was gone, they'd be able to easily manipulate the rest of the agency. Now, anyone who knows my friends and I will know that this plan won't work because no matter what, even my friends won't let the agency become some drug dealing agency or some crap like that.

He sighed and went back to his seat and sat on it. "What do you say we do now? We will have to give them some information if not all. If we give them all the information, Nicholas and the board will be one step ahead of us always."

"We will give them information. Just the unimportant and, when necessary, incorrect ones."

"Won't they know that they've been given incorrect information?"

"I'll handle that."

"Fine then. That's what we'll do. Let's go now. You're going to speak to them for two reasons. One, I'm pretty sure I'll burst if I make a conversation with them and two, I'm not sure what all to exclude. I'll leave that to you."

"Sure." I said, chuckling.

As we made our way to the door, he called out my name and I hummed, signalling him to continue.

"Just so you know, once this is over, I'm going to kill one of them."

"One of them?" I asked him with a smile.

"Yeah. I'll get the privilege of killing only one of them. Your friends will kill me if I kill all of them myself."

We both laughed at his words and walked out to the hallway.

〰️✱〰️

We both were walking back to his office when Mike spoke up, "That went better than I expected it to."

I snorted, "What did you expect? Fireworks and explosions?"

He just looked at me with narrowed eyes while I grinned at him.

"How are you so calm about this anyways?"

I took a deep breath and asked, "About what? Nichasshole being back or the board wanting to kill me just so that I'm not an obstacle while they turn the agency into an illegal hellhole?"

"Both"

"Honestly Mike, I'm scared. But only because he's back. After the damage he's done the past two times, I'm scared about what he'll do this time. The fact that the board is also out for my head doesn't really scare me. I know that they're indirectly working together, but their motives are different and the board is definitely less powerful than him."

"You're doing a good job in hiding it." I smiled at his words, but the smile dropped when he continued, "but you must be used to doing it by now considering that you hide your actual emotions everyday."

I suddenly found the walls very interesting. By now, we were back in his office and he was sitting on his seat while I sat across him. "Emma, it's alright to let people know how you feel." He said softly.

"I don't want to talk about this." I said, still not meeting his eyes.

He sighed and spoke, "Fine, I'll let this slide for now but remember Em, you can't keep bottling up your emotions. Now tell me, have you decided on your team yet?"

"Yeah, pretty much."

"Good. Now go and hand them the slips and tell them to meet you tomorrow in the training room. But only after your classes for tomorrow end. You're not missing college."

"Boo." I frowned.

"Suck it up young lady. Go on now. Shoo. I have some writing I need to do." He said, pulling out his journal.

"Ah there's the infamous journal of Michael Wood. How did you even get into the habit of writing it everyday?"

"You know I'm not going to tell you that. Why do you bother asking me every single time you see it?"

"Because this girl here hopes that someday you will consider her worthy enough to trust her with it." I replied, being a bit dramatic.

"Oh shut up and get out of my office. I'll tell you someday."

"Gee, rude much?"

"Very much. Out." He said with his face set in stone and his hand pointing towards the door.

I rolled my eyes and started walking towards the door when he called my name. "You know that you have to take Ethan in your team right?"

"What? Why?" I whined childishly.

"Because even though he's annoying he's a good agent."

I groaned and nodded my head, "Fine, I'll take the asshat in, but if I end up killing him, it won't be my fault." He gave me a look and told me to leave after wishing me good night.

〰️✱〰️

As soon as I shut the door of my house behind me, I felt my facade crumble. I slid down the door to the floor and pulled my knees closer to my body. I felt my shoulders shake as tears poured down my face. I don't know how long I stayed like that, but I was brought back to reality when I heard some noises from inside. When I quietly went closer, it sounded like someone was trying to break in. Though I couldn't see the person's face in the dark, it was obvious that he was a guy, a quite tall one at that.

Ten seconds later we were on the floor next to the window, with me pinning him so his face would be squeezed to the wooden floor and his hand was pulled back in a painful grasp.

"Ow ow ow what the fuck?!"

Wait.... I know that voice.

Oh shit.

I quickly got off him and switched on the lights. There lay Blake Ryder, groaning and clutching his arm in pain.

"Are you an idiot?!" I yelled at him.

"Me? You are the fucking crazy idiot! Why the fuck did you pin me?!"

"Oh I'm sorry that I don't appreciate people breaking into my house at-" I paused to look at the time in my watch, "2:13am? 2:13AM! Why the hell were you breaking into my house at 2:13 in the morning?!"

"I just wanted to stop by and see how you were doing." He shrugged looking away from me.

"Seriously?! Forget me, even the walls don't believe a word you said."

He rolled his eyes and said, "I got home a little late and ended up getting into a fight with my father. He pissed me off so I left the house and came here. Does that answer satisfy you?"

I went closer to him and sniffed his breath. "Woah what the fuck?" He asked, stepping back with wide eyes.

"You apparently went home not only late but drunk too."

"Pshhh... No!" He said, pushing me away. I just raised an eyebrow, unamused. When he saw my face, he sighed and said, "Yes I did drink, but only a little bit."

"In case your dumb self has forgotten, let me remind you. You cannot hold your alcohol. You get drunk after drinking even a little bit of it."

"Oh really? Ooops...?" He looked at me sheepishly. I smacked my forehead. I can't believe I'm stuck with this drunk idiot again. I looked outside the window to see his car parked there, diagonally. Great, not only did he get drunk, he also drove while drunk. He is so gonna get yelled at. Not now though, I'll yell at him in the morning. Right now I need to put his drunk ass to bed.

"Were you crying?" He spoke innocently, bringing me out of my thoughts which were planning how to get him to sleep.

"No, I wasn't." I immediately denied.

"You were. The tear lines are still visible on your face." He came closer and put a hand on my cheek. "You shouldn't cry, it makes you look so sad. I don't like sad Emma, happy Emma is very nice. She makes everyone smile. Why were you crying?" He said, tilting his head.

I wasn't sure if I was supposed to awe or laugh. He looked so cute with that innocent look in his eyes and his tilted head. I almost laughed because I knew by his words that he was incredibly drunk and that I would have fun witnessing his hangover in the morning.

"It's nothing," I told him softly, "come on, let's get you to bed so you can get some sleep."

"Hmmm... Bed sounds good, sleep sounds good..." He was knocked out as soon as his head hit the pillow.

Even though it was a little over 2:30am, I found it hard to fall asleep after the day I had, but after a while I finally managed to fall asleep.

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