Beneath The Mask [On Hold]

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Chapter 5

✱Emma’s POV✱

I had always believed that dance was a form of releasing stress. In fact, many times it has worked really well as a stress buster. But, for the first time in my life, dance is giving me a terrible headache.

Well, that is if you don’t count the time I was trying to teach Carter how to Waltz and he dropped me while attempting a dip which ended up with me having a bump at the back of my head.

Get back to the topic Emma....

Right. Sorry...

Currently, I am getting so annoyed at the grey eyed boy sitting in front of me that I want to strangle him. The reason not only being that he was rejecting every idea I came up with and not giving any of his own ideas. This is the second strike.

The first strike was when he, after coming to house, asked where my parents were and when I said that I don’t live with them, he had the audacity to say that I was a ′ Daddy’s little princess who was trying to prove to him that I can live on my own’ - his words, not mine.

One more strike, and Blake Ryder is soo gone.

Yeah, this is me being my overdramatic self, please don’t mind.

“Ryder, come on. Your not liking any of my ideas and you’re not giving any either.”

“Blue, I already told you, I am not a choreographer. You come up with an idea and the steps and I follow them and make the act perfect.” He shrugged.

“Ugh! You’re so annoying. I come up with the idea, I choreograph the routine and you say that you just following it will make you the one who perfected it. Damn, could you get any cockier?”

And that was when the bulb above my head decided to glow.

What if we had a dance-off?

That way, we won’t have to fake any kind of lovey dovey crap and it will be easier to plan and learn the steps in such a short notice. We just had to act as if we were challenging each other, which I feel won’t be that difficult considering how we behave around each other.

I explained my idea to Ryder and was not surprised when he agreed to go ahead with it.

Yay!!!!!!!

*Does a mental victory dance*

I showed him to a guest room and gave him a pair of Carter’s sweatpants and wife beaters he could change into. He said that it would take him a while since he wanted to take a shower, something about not wanting his sweat to smell like coffee and Gatorade, so I told him the directions to the dance studio- yes, this house has a dance studio, get over it- and went to change my clothes.

After changing into a pair of yoga pants and a tank top, I went upstairs with 2 water bottles in my hand to where the studio was.

I set everything up and started stretching. 5 minutes into stretching, I heard someone clear their throat behind me.

I turned around to see Ryder standing there awkwardly. I told him to come inside and we both started warming up.

We decided to dance on the song ′ Dance Off ’.

2 hours later...

We were both sweaty messes when we were sitting on the wooden floor of the studio and sipping from our water bottles. We were done with the choreography, it was, like I had expected, easier because we both put in our own steps for our singles. I believe that Ryder had lied earlier when he said that he couldn’t choreograph, because he did give really good input into the chorography. Or maybe he’s just not very confident about himself. Either way, I have to admit that he is a really good dancer.

“Hey Blue, I think we’ve done a good job, don’t you?”

“Definitely. Now it’s all on how we perform tomorrow and Ms.Vaughn’s opinion on it.”

“Yeah.... Wait a second - You have a tattoo?” He said as if it was the most surprising thing in this world.

He was looking at the lotus tattoo I had on my right forearm. I don’t understand why he didn’t see this in the past 2 hours.

“Tattoos. Plural.” I said, amused.

Am I the only one enjoying this?

“I won’t believe you unless you show the others to me.”

“Nuh uh. Not happening buddy. We just met today and we already dislike each other. A lot.”

He just narrowed his eyes and turned his back to me.

〰✱〰

Once I was done having dinner, which was Mac & Cheese, if you want to know, I dragged my body upstairs and fell on my bed. Just as I was about get my much needed sleep, I heard my phone buzz indicating that I had received a messaged.

It was Carter, claiming that he wanted to FaceTime me.

Ugh! Damn you Carter!

I begrudgingly got up and switched on my laptop and accepted his call.

“Carter, there better be a good reason why I’m denying myself of sleep and talking to you.”

“I want to have The Day Talk.” He said, his face etched in sadness.

His words woke my sleepy ass up.

You see, whenever one of us had a bad day, we would have, what we called, The Day Talk. I know, it’s a lame name, but we were 8 years old when we made this up, cut us some slack and I also know that we could have changed it over time, but we never found it in us to do it because it held a valuable piece of our childhoods. Anyways, in this Day Talk, we talk about what made our day bad, what we were guilty about doing, what we regret about this day and so on. One important rule about this day was that it doesn’t matter if only one of us has had a bad day, both of have to speak, no matter what.

“You wanna go first?” I asked gently.

“No. You go first.”

“Okay then. Today started off horribly. I got up feeling terrible. You know, it being IJ’s birthday and the voice in my head that kept screaming that he would have been able to celebrate it if it weren’t for me. Then I lost my cool at college today with Ryder. That’s the thing I regret. The fact that I took out the anger and hurt I was feeling, on him. I mean, even if I had a good reason to, it was wrong of me to react that way. So yeah, I regret that. ”

He just nodded, looking distracted.

" Mother and Father got into a huge fight today. He just doesn’t understand us. He thinks that he can just waltz back into our lives and that everything will be fine.I told him that we would have been happier if he wouldn’t have come back and he just left after that. Mother is holed up in her room crying. She didn’t even come out for dinner and I feel like this is all my fault. I don’t understand why Mom loves him soo much. I have already accepted that he will leave like he does all the time. I tried to explain this to her earlier, but she claims that it’s different this time. I just don’t want to see her hurt again. I’m really scared, Mia.”

My heart clenched after listening to what he had to say. I tried my best to console him. I think it worked because 5 minutes later he looked much better than he did earlier.

“Listen, I was wondering if tomorrow, after your meeting, you could stay for a while so the 4 of us could hang out.”

“What meeting?” I asked, confused.

“Noah didn’t tell you? He said that he would.”

When I denied it, he said, “I’ll talk to him tomorrow about it. I should have known that that idiot would forget to tell you. Anyways, this evening, Mike told us to tell you that tomorrow there is a meeting with supposedly very important people and that he wanted you there, well I believe what he said was that he wanted his ‘best agent’ there.”

“Did he say at what time it would be?”

“Yeah. The meeting is at 11:45.”

Shit. My only class for the day, which is dance, ends at 11:00. It will take me half an hour to reach headquarters and I still need to ask Mike what this meeting was about. I guess I’ll just go there directly from the campus. I’ll anyhow have to change my clothes after class, that time I’ll just change into formal clothes.

" Okay, I’ll be there. And sure, after the meeting we can all hangout for a while. That won’t be a problem.”

After that we said our goodbyes and I welcomed sleep with open arms and a bunch of imaginary cookies.

〰✱〰

The next morning I woke up in a good mood. I went straight to the gym once I was done brushing my teeth.

After working out and training for an hour, I went and took a shower. After a lengthy shower, I went through the file Carter had sent me. It was the case he was currently working on.

Last week, a lady was found dead in her house. It seemed like she had shot herself. But her background said that she wasn’t involved in anything that would include her having a gun. She was just a middle school teacher.

When we went to inspect her house, the lock of the front door was perfectly intact which meant that if she was murdered, the person who killed her was someone she let into the house. There were also no signs of struggle in the house or on her body. I guess I’ll just ask Noah to check deep into her personal life. That might give us a hint on whether this was a murder or a suicide.

I picked up my phone to call Noah when I noticed the time.

10:30

Oh shit!

I raced to my closet and put on a pair of leggings, a sports bra and a hoodie over it. I put some formalwear in my duffel bag, picked up my other bag, put on my shoes and left the house.

Thank god that I have only one class today. Otherwise I’d have to miss classes to attend the meeting.

Once I park my car in the closest parking lot to the Theaters Department, I start making my way to the dance department.

When I go inside the studio, my eyes immediately drift over to Ryder. He was sitting with Ben and Olivia. I go over and plop down next to them.

“Hey” I say chirpily.

“Hey” Both Ben and Olivia say.

“Hey Ryder” I repeat for him being sarcastically sweet.

“Hey Blue.” He say in the same tone.

I grin.

“So -”

I was cut off by Ms.Vaughn entering the studio and standing in the middle.

“Good morning class. Let’s directly get on with your performances because after that you still have to pick your first topic. The order in which you will be performing will be the same order in which I read the list yesterday. That makes Owen Morris and Annabelle Smith the first.”

One after the other everyone performed until it was finally our turn.

For the dance, I took of my hoodie and tied it around my waist. I saw Ryder and the other boys of the class gawking at me. I rolled my eyes at them. So annoying.

I looked at Ryder and raised my eyebrow. His cheeks reddened and he turned away, ashamed to be caught checking me out.

Until now it was annoying, but now this is fun.

Thankfully, everything in our performance went as planned without any problems. After our performance we went back and sat with our friends. To say that they were impressed would be an understatement.

“Girl!!! I didn’t know you were soooooooo good. I mean, I knew you were good considering you got into the college in Sophomore year, but I didn’t expect you to be that good. Blake and you compliment each other soo well.” Olivia squeaked.

“Silence” Ms.Vaughn said as she took her place in the centre of the studio again.

“Today, I am extremely disappointed with all of your performances. Most of the performances were shaky. There was no co-ordination. You are majoring in dance. You must have some seriousness. You are lucky that I am not grading you on this performance. But if this is how you all are going to perform then I will have to fail you in this class. I understand that you had only one day to choreograph and perfect this routine, but if you are going to take dancing as your career, there are going to be times where you will have to choreograph and perfect a dance within lesser time than I have provided you with today. I honestly felt that all of you did a horrible job today, except one group.

Blake Ryder and Emma Sparx.” She looked at us. “The two of you have done an average job. I can sense a lot more potential. But the idea was good and there was good chemistry between the two of you. I feel that you could do a lot better.” She continued giving us a nod in the end.

At her words, Ryder and I looked at each other proudly, content and happy that she had liked our performance.

“Now, I need you to come up here and pick your topics in the same order in which you performed. ” She said holding out a fish bowl full of chits.

We all went in the said order and picked one chit each.

Ryder picked out a chit and we went back to where we were sitting. When he opened the chit, his eyes widened in fear. When I asked him what was wrong, he said nothing and just turned the chit so that I could see what was printed on it.

Waltz

Oh fuck.

Ryder better know waltz or I swear to god I will lose it because I have no patience to teach one more person how to waltz.

I have been remembering god a lot since yesterday, I might as well just become a Catholic.

If just 2 days in this college has made me pray to god so much, I wonder what I will have to do to survive the rest of the year here. I think living in a church will be enough right.

Now that is something I will not be looking forward to, just like my year or more in this college.

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