Beneath The Mask [On Hold]

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Chapter 8

✱Emma's POV✱

🎶 It's just a drop in the ocean

A change in the weather

I was praying that you and me might end up together

Its like wishing for rain as I stand in the desert

But I'm holding you closer than most 'cause you are my heaven 🎶

I shut off the music as an attempt to make Mike talk to me.

"I don't get why you aren't telling why we're going to be meeting this businessman in this Gala." I exclaimed, turning in my seat to look at him.

Carter was sitting in the back and watching our exchange with amusement.

"You, not we. He wants to speak only to you." He finally uttered.

"What do you mean he only wants to speak with me? Why exactly does he want that?"

"He hasn't told me, okay? He has personally gone through your files and then demanded to see you, claiming that he only trusts you with this problem."

"Oh. Wait... How did he get access to my files?"

"Geez. How many questions do you have? He recently became a part of the board and already holds a very high position."

"That explains it. One more thing, won't him meeting me reveal my identity to him?"

"Like I already told you, he is a part of the board, so he can be considered a part of the agency. That makes it alright for him to know your identity."

"Fine. Do you atleast know his name?"

"Of course I do. His name is Alexander Ryder, the CEO and owner of the Ryder Industries."

I froze when he said this.

"Does he, by any chance, have a son who goes to the college you have sent me to?"

"Yes, his youngest son does. He is also a Sophomore like you. I knew his name, but I'm not getting it now."

"Blake. His name is Blake."

"Yes. Blake! That's the name. Do you know him? Are you friends?"

"I know him and we are nowhere close to being friends."

"What? Why not? I've met the kid before, he's a good guy."

"Oh look! We almost reached!" I exclaimed, eager to change the topic.

By now you would have already guessed that today is Saturday, the day of the Gala and we are on our way to the venue.

Mike is driving and I am seated on the passenger seat whereas Carter is sitting in the back. Carter is wearing a blood red suit and Mike is wearing a black one. I am wearing an emerald green gown with spaghetti straps and a slit along my right leg.

You might also be wondering what I meant by my identity being revealed. You see, in the underworld, I'm known as the Phoenix, none of them know my real name or how I look. This was done so that in case I wanted a normal life in the future, I could get out of this world easily.

I'm extremely nervous right now. Maybe it's because this is the first time I'm meeting a client alone. Can he be called a client is he's a part of the agency? I don't know.

When we got out of the car, Mike handed the keys to the valet and we made our way inside.

As soon as we went in, Mike told us to stay out of trouble and went to socialize with other guests. Carter and I wasted a good 5 minutes by the table which had starters laid extravagantly on it.

"May I have this dance, milady?" Carter turned to me and said poshly when a new song began.

"I would be delighted to, my lovely gentleman." I replied in the same way.

We both laughed as we made our way to the dance floor. We were talking and laughing when a voice behind us said, "Excuse me, I'm sorry for interrupting you, but I saw you two enter with Michael Woods. Do you know where he is?"

The man looked like he was in his mid- fourties, but his eyes looked so eerily familiar. When I observed him properly, I immediately knew who he was. His son looks just like him.

"I believe you're Mr. Ryder?"

"Yes, but how do you know that?"

"I'm Emma Sparx. Michael told-"

"Mr. Ryder! I have been looking for you!" We heard Michael say, as he approached us.

"Mr. Ryder, meet Emma, she is the one you wanted to speak to." He continued.

Mr. Ryder turned to me in surprise and said, "You're the Phoenix? But you're so young."

I laughed and said, "I believe that age is just a number, Mr. Ryder."

"I'm sorry if I offended you. I didn't mean to."

"Oh no, I didn't take any offense in your words. I get the whole 'you're so young' thing very often." I said with a smile.

Carter introduced himself to Mr. Ryder and then left with Mike who claimed that we should be left alone to speak.

"Walk with me, will you, Ms. Sparx?" He said to me.

"Sure, Mr. Ryder and please call me Emma."

He suggested that we should talk outside, so we made our way outside, towards the lush garden.

"So.... Mr. Ryder, Mike told me you wanted to speak to me about something important." I started awkwardly, trying to start the conversation.

"Emma, what I'm about to tell you, I want it to stay between us. For now at least."

"That will depend on what you have to say, Mr. Ryder."

And then he went on to tell me and to say I was shocked would be an understatement.

After agreeing to meet him in his office on Monday to collect the files and assuring him that I won't be telling anyone about this yet, I made my way back inside to enjoy the rest of the night.

Thankfully, neither Carter nor Mike asked me what my conversation with Mr. Ryder was about.


The drive back to the headquarters was filled with Carter and I trying to convince Mike to let Carter, Megan and Noah come to college with me.

"Come on Mike,. You are being partial. Don't Noah and I deserve a social life too?"

I laughed at that comment of Carter. Yes, I had told Carter a word to word description of what Mike said the other day.

"I already said this the past 10 times and I'm gonna say it again. That will not be happening any time soon!"

Knowing that he wouldn't melt without us going through with the next step, we both looked at each other with devilish looks and looked back at Mike with puppy dog eyes.

"Please Mike..." We both said together.

"Don't give me those eyes! Don't give me those- Fine, damnit! I'll think about it." Her said, finally giving in.

Carter and I exclaimed in happiness and gave each other a high five.

Mike just mumbled something about stupid kids always getting it their own way.


We opened the door to Noah's family's apartment to hear the theme song of 'The Suite Life of Zach and Cody' playing. I ran to the living room where Noah and Megan were watching it.

"Make way for the queen!" I exclaimed as I went and sat on the sofa and propped my legs on the table in the middle of the living room.

"Seriously guys? This is a show for teenagers." Carter whined from behind us.

"Um Mase? Technically, we are still teenagers." I said, my eyes glued to the television screen.

"I meant that it's supposed to be watched by kids. You are 18 year old detectives, not kids."

Noah, Megan and I turned and gave him an 'are you kidding us?' look.

See what I did there?



"Okay! We'll watch this show, but first we need to change our clothes." He said looking at me.

"But..." I tried to protest, feeling lazy.

"No buts Emma. Go change now." He says sternly.

"Geez, so bossy." I mumbled under my breath.

"Did you say something babygirl?"

"Nope. Nothing at all." I said, flashing him a fake smile and then turned to Noah.

"Hey, the clothes I'd left here last week are still in your guest room, right?"


I went and changed into some sweatpants and t-shirt that was too big for me.

After me, Carter went in to get changed and I took back my position on the sofa.

I think he secretly hoped that we would watch something else, because once he came back and saw is watching the same thing, Carter groaned and rolled his eyes before joining us on the sofa.

After a while, Noah asked us if any of us we wanted some lasagna.

"Me! I want some!" I said, exited. What can I say, the thought of food just makes me very happy.

You had dinner less than 2 hours ago.

Does it seem like I care?

It doesn't, but it should.

I repeat, I don't care.

Stupid subconscious.

Does talking to me subconscious make me seem crazy?

We all do it right?

"Here you go." Noah said, handing me a plate with mouth watering lasagna on it.

"Did Auntie V make this?" Carter said looking at Noah with expectant eyes.

Valencia or Auntie V, as we like to call her, is Noah's mom. She is a pure Spanish woman by heart and she loves Megan, Carter and I like her own children. She's one of the sweetest people I know.

"Yup. She made extra earlier because she knew that you guys would eat some even though you would have eaten at the Gala."

I just grinned at him and said, " You know that you would've done the same."

"I never said I wouldn't."

Just as I was about to take a bite, I realised something horrible.

This plate wasn't mine.

I mean, we all have that plate, don't we?

The one plate, though the same as others, that fits perfectly in our hands.

Or is that only me?

I had one of those in each of my friend's house.

"Osito... Why haven't you given me my plate?"

He looked up from his plate, his mouth filled and cheeks puffed like a squirrel.

"Oops..." He attempted to grin, but it just looked creepy because of the sauce around his mouth and on his teeth.

"Don't talk with your mouth full, you dumbass!" I heard Megan scold him as I made my way to the kitchen.

By the time I was back, Megan was sitting on top of Noah and was eating from his plate while Carter held his hands down.

Damn... I missed these idiots.

That was how we spent the rest of our night.

Not sitting on Noah and eating his food.

We spent it laughing at each other's stupidity and watching some more random episodes of random shows.

I have the best best friends in the world.

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