Beneath The Mask [On Hold]

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Chapter 4

✱Blake’s POV✱

After changing my shirt, I headed over to the music hall. Once I reached there, I saw that Emma Sparx also had the same class.

I saw her sitting with Ben. Oh great! She even steals my friends now.

I hate that girl. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have to change my shirt.

Maybe, I did provoke her... And she also gave me a shirt.... But it was all her fault to begin with. But it was also my fault..... No. Too much thinking is not good for the health.
This time, I made sure to take a seat as far away from her as possible. Even if that meant that I have to sit alone for the entire class.

After a very long lecture about the history of music, she asked if anyone wanted to come and sing in the front. When she saw that no one was ready to do it, she called Emma to the front.

I immediately looked down to my book and stared writing a poem I had thought about earlier, as if it could save me from listening to her annoying voice sing.

But as soon as she started singing, I realized that only an idiot will not want to listen to her sing. She was a wonderful singer. But, that does not make her a good person. Not at all.

I was listening to her sing, but after a while, when I observed the lyrics of the song, memories flooded my mind and my legs started shaking. I started feeling light headed as I tried to force air into my lungs. I got up and stormed out of the music room before the panic attack got worse.

I stepped out the first door I could find hoping that some fresh air could help. I am such an idiot.

As I was doing so, I heard the bell ring, signalling the end of class. Great, Just great. All I can hope for now is that nobody decides to come out this door.

I slid against the wall and sat down as I felt goosebumps rise all over my skin and my breathing become shallow. I began to see stars as my vision tunneled and all my senses began to fade as I felt myself falling into a world of abysmal darkness.

And then, there was warmth.

I felt a sense a warmth fill me as I was brought out of my world of darkness. I realised where I was, but I still couldn’t control my breathing and shaking.

I was on the floor and there were a pair of ocean blue eyes in front of me. I watched her pink lips move, but I couldn’t understand what she was saying. I let my gaze drift over her face. She was beautiful. I felt entranced by the way her brown hair was shining in the sunshine, the way her eyes glistened, filled with worry. I furrowed my eyebrows together, confusion coming over me as my hearing came back to me, washing over me like a tsunami.

“Hey, I need you to breath for me, alright?” I let her words register and tried to do as she asked me to. But as much as I tried, I couldn’t bring my breathing to a control.

“This is not working. Okay, listen to me, I want you to look around and tell me 3 things you can see.”

I did as she said and tried forced the words out of my mouth,

“T-t-trees.... A-a b-b-bag.... Y-your sca-scarf”

“Okay, now I want you to focus on one thing around you.” She said.

“Y-your eyes.”

“Good, now can you tell me what colour they are?”

“They’re ocean blue.” Once I said that I realised that my breathing had slowed down and I had stopped shaking.

“Perfect. Now, take a deep breath.”

I followed her words and took a deep breath. I felt her shuffle a bit and then hold a water bottle in front of me.

“Here, have some water.”

I took the bottle from her hand and chugged how much ever I could in one breath.

I looked up at the girl who helped me again and it finally registered in my mind who it was.

Emma Sparx.

“You fine?” She crouched down again and looked at me with worry filled in her eyes.

" Yeah, I’m fine.” I brushed her off.

“I don’t know Blake, that was one of the worst panic attacks I’ve ever seen-”

" I’m fine, seriously.” I cut her off.

“Look, I know you hate me, but -”

“Emma, drop it. I said I was fine, didn’t I?” I snapped looking at anywhere but her face.

I heard her take a deep breath and get up and hold her hand out in front of me.

I looked up at her with confusion before getting up on my own.

She sighed and said,” Well, I gotta go. I have a class. I guess I will see you later.”

“Later?” I questioned.

“Yeah, Olivia told me that all of us are gonna have lunch together at some café nearby or something like that.” She shrugged.

“Oh! Of course she did.” I mumbled under my breath.

“Let’s not be bitter about that.” She said with a teasing smirk.

With those words, she gave me a two-fingered salute and left.

I spent my free fourth hour in the library. Once the bell rang, I made my way to the main entrance of the college where we all had planned to meet.

Lunch went pretty well. We all went to the same café we used to go last year and by we I mean Emma included. The worst part was that she fit in perfectly with the group. She seemed to have this aura around her that just makes everyone like her. Somehow, I don’t seem to be affected by this aura.

But I guess I need to be a little less bitter about her. I mean, she did help me with my panic attack earlier. I wonder how she did it though. She seemed like she knew what she was saying, which just makes it more suspicious. Anyways, what’s it to me?


After lunch, all of separated and went to our respective classes. Turns out, I share this class with Ben, Olivia and - you guessed it- Emma. We all took random seats together, knowing that it wouldn’t matter right now because Ms.Vaughn is just going to change it later anyways.

After 5 minutes, exactly on time, Ms.Vaughn entered the classroom with the permanent scowl we all had grown accustomed to over our Freshman year.

I heard Emma mumble a ‘What’s up with the scowl’ to Olivia and Olivia explain to her about how Ms.Vaughn is one of the strictest teachers and nobody seems to ever impress her. It’s actually true. Throughout last year, all of us had tried extremely hard to impress her, but to no avail.

“Good day everyone, I am Ms.Vaughn, your dance teacher for this year. This years classes, just like last year’s, will be divided into 2 types: theory and practical. Today, as you all can see, you have a theory class. But we shall not be doing much today. The pattern of the classes is printed on your schedule, and as you can see in it, you shall have a practical class tomorrow.

Now coming to your assignments, this entire year, you will be working in pairs.” This statement caused whispering to start across the studio.

“Before any of you ask your friends to become your partners, I shall let you know that I will be choosing your partners for you. But before I announce that, let me explain how this will work. In the first class of every week, you will be picking up a chit. You will get 2 weeks worth time to prepare. By the end of the second week, you will have to present a routine related to the topic you have received. The topic you receive may be anything. It might be a dance form, an emotion or even a story for that matter. How you will introduce it to your routine is completely your idea. I will give you marks based on co-ordination, choreography, chemistry, talent and accuracy to the topic. Every topics score will add up and make 80% of your final result. So, do not take these assignments lightly.“she said sternly.

“Considering that there are correctly 5 boys and 5 girls in this class, it will be easy for me to make the pairs. The following are the pairs you will be working in for the rest of the year:

Owen Morris - Annabelle Smith

Logan Rogers - Ava Gibson

Benjamin Miller - Olivia Crawford

Jordan Barnes - Harper Matthews

Blake Ryder - Emma Sparx”


Are you serious right now?

“Professor, is there any way by which we can change our partners?” I heard a girl - I think Ava- say.

“No, unless you’re ready to fail your Sophomore year here, there is no way you can change partners. Also, tomorrow each of these pairs shall be performing a small routine on no topic in specific. You can call it a way to start a new academic year.”

“But Professor, that is unfair. We have only one day to prepare a routine and perfect it....” Another girl, who I’m pretty sure is, Annabelle whined. Ouch. My ears hurt.

“Ms.Smith, I am going to rephrase myself from earlier, no whining about any project unless you want to fail your this year. You are majoring in dance and this is your Sophomore year. You have to take things seriously whether you like it or not. You don’t even have any Dance Form Restrictions, so I don’t see where the problem is.”

As if on cue, the bell rang and Ms.Vaughn quickly dismissed us and told us to come prepared tomorrow.

All of us quickly rushed out. As I was walking down the hallway, I heard a voice say,

" Ryder!“.

I turned around and saw Emma Sparx walking towards me.

“Sparx” I acknowledged.

She took a deep breath before saying,

“Look, we both don’t want to work with each other. But, for the sake of our grades, we need to work together whether we like it or not. So, lets make a deal. We will work together and present our assignments on time. But, other than that we will not poke our nose into each others lives. Deal?”

I considered this. At first, I wanted to put up a fight, but then I realized that she actually had a point. No matter how much I hated my father I did not want to disappoint him.


She raised an eyebrow and said,
“You actually agreed? Without putting up a fight? Well, this is surprising. I thought that I would have a tough time convincing you to say yes.”

“Don’t test me Sparx.”

“I’m so scared. P-please don’t do anything to me.“she said with fake fear.

“Anyways, we need to make up a routine and present it tomorrow. When and where do we practice?” She continued.

“Now is fine. We can just go to your house and choreograph something.”

“Wait. Why should it necessarily be my pla- Oh whatever! You got a ride?” She asked.

By now we had already reached the parking lot. I pointed to my car and said,

“Yeah. You lead the way and I’ll follow you in my car”

She nodded and got into her car. I did the same and then we left.

On the way to her house, with her in the front and me following her, only one thought flew around my mind,

this year is going to be extremely painful and tiring with her around.

God, please help me.

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