Beneath The Mask [On Hold]

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Chapter 9

✱Blake's POV✱

I was angry.

Scratch that.

I was livid and I'm not sure what was the cause of this. Was it the argument with my father, or Danielle acting as though she belongs in this family or the fact that my lovely elder brother siding with my father, everytime? I don't know.

That was why I agreed to join Olive and the others to the club on a Sunday evening.

As I sat by the bar, drinking some tequila and mescal, I heard a familiar voice next to me say, "Can I have a glass of clear water please?"

I looked to my side to see Emma standing there wearing a shiny purple- or is it dark blue- dress? Don't ask me colors or fashion. Not the right person. She was wearing clothes, that's what matters.

Wait a second, Blue is wearing blue. I laughed at my own joke. Yup, I'm definitely drunk.

As soon as she saw me her face twisted as though she had tasted something sour.

"Make that a Whiskey on the Rocks." She said to the bartender as she sat next to me.

"I never pegged you as a whiskey girl, Blue."

"You don't know me, Ryder."

"I don't, do I?" I slurred.

"How drunk are you?" She said looking at me with amusement.

"Not much."

"Yeah sure..." She was not buying this. Obviously.

"I haven't drunk that much... yet"

"Does that mean that you're a lightweight?"

Sadly, she is right. I am an extremely lightheaded person. I get drunk very easily and I hate that.

I just nodded.

I heard her mumbling something about enjoying this.

"Can I know what motivated you to get so drunk when we have college tomorrow?" She asked once she got her drink.

"I was angry. At my dad, brother and -"

"Wait. I didn't think you were actually going to tell me. Don't tell me now. Tell me when you're sober if you feel like it. I don't want you spilling personal matters when you're drunk."

"Fine" I said and turned back to my drink.

Maybe her phone rang because she picked it up and spoke into it- more like screamed into it. But I still couldn't hear her. The noise and music in the club ate her voice up.

Once she hung up she turned to me.

"That was Olivia. Apparently, she and the others aren't coming. Olivia and Ryan are going on a date, Ben is at a family dinner and Sophia doesn't want to come. Smart girl." She said as she rolled her eyes.

"Why did you become a dumb girl and come then?"

She narrowed her eyes at me.

"I only came because Olivia wanted me to be the designated driver."

"Then why are you drinking, you dumb butt?"

"Stop calling me dumb, will you? And I am drinking just one glass and can hold my alcohol very well, unlike someone else here."

"Are you indirectly talking about me, Blue?"

"No Ryder, I'm directly talking about you." she countered with a small smirk on her face.

"How dare you?! " I started saying with a small smile on my face when I realized something.

"That bitch!" I yelled, getting up.

"What is it now Ryder?" She said, looking up at me with clear disinterest.

"I see what she's trying to do."

"Who?"

"Olivia. That bitch is trying to set us up."

"Woah! What makes you think that?"

"Think about it. She said that nobody was coming at the last minute so that the two of us will be alone. I'm sure she hasn't even asked the others about this. Also, on Friday, she made you take me from college. Why? I know that she and Soph still had a class, but why not let Ryan drive my car and take me to his place?"

"She told me that you and Ryan had a fight."

"Ryan and I never fought! I am going to kill that girl tomorrow."

"I'd join you, but unfortunately I can't afford going to jail." She shrugged.

"Does that mean we leave?" She continued.

"No. You can leave if you want to, but I'm staying. I still need to clear my head."

"As much as I would love to do that, I can't leave you here alone and drunk. So, I guess you and I are partying tonight."

And party was what we did.

〰️✱〰️

I felt the cool wind tousle my hair as I walked by her side down the pavement.

When we decided that we were gonna leave, Emma claimed that she needed to take a small walk, just to feel fresher and walk out the alcohol in her system. Which wasn't much but it was still there.

It was 12:48am and we had our first class tomorrow - today - at 10am. I already know I will be missing at least my first class of the day because of a beautiful hangover.

I turned to look at Emma who was walking next to me. She was looking up at the sky and smiling as though she and the stars just shared a joke. Does that even make sense?

I'll let you know that this is the drunk me speaking. Drunk me has no filter to his thoughts and talks and does wierd stuff.

She turned to look at me. Her eyes are beautiful. Exquisite. They remind me of the ocean and I don't just mean the colour.

She let out a laugh and said, "Ryder, you do realise that you're speaking out loud, right?"

"Shit. Since when?"

Not the eyes. Not the eyes...

"Well... You started off with telling me what the time was. Thanks for that, by the way. Then about when our first class of the day was and how you would skip it because if your hangover. You also spoke about how I apparently shared a joke with the stars and how you, when drunk, say and do weird things. "

Phew. Not the eyes.

"And how can I forget the eyes! They are beautiful and exquisite huh? And they remind you if the ocean?" She continued with a mischievous grin on her face.

"Shit"

At this point, she was laughing loudly with one of her hands on her stomach.

It was so easy to make her laugh. I wish I could laugh like that, without any care about the world. Sadly, I know I had lost that ability. It's been 4 years since I was able to laugh a real laugh. But as I looked at her laugh, I felt myself wanting to laugh with her.

I don't really understand Emma Sparx.

Usually, I'm easily able to see a person for what they are, but it wasn't the same with her and that made me angry. Maybe that was what made me say those things to her the other day.

I don't know her and even if I was right, she didn't deserve being talked to like that. Nobody does. That reminded me that I hadn't apologized about that to her yet.

"Um, Blue?" I called out hesitantly.

"Yes, Ryder?" She said, her laugh now brought down to a smile.

"I'm sorry for everything I said the other day."

My words took away the smile from her face. Her face was emotionless as she swallowed and said, "It's alright."

She tried to quicken her pace, maybe too hey away from me. I grabbed her hand and pulled her back and said, "No, it's not. I had no right to say all that shit to you. You were right, I don't know you, so I have no right to judge you."

She just stared at my face like it was some tough math problem she was having trouble solving. Then her eyes drifted to something and lit up.

"I'll forgive you if you buy me ice cream." She said, beaming.

Yay! The smile is back!

Behind me was an ice cream parlor which was apparently open 24/7.

"Sure."

The bell jingled as we walked in. Emma ordered a chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream with a waffle cone and I went for a death by chocolate sundae.

After taking our ice creams and paying for them, we took a seat by one of the huge windows.

"I'm bored." I said, looking at her.

"Hi bored, nice to meet you, I'm Emma."

"Very funny. I'm actually very bored."

"But I thought you were bored, did you change your name in a minute?"

"Why are you so damn annoying? I'm the drunk one, I should be the annoying one. Yo know what? I won't even try to explain anymore, let's play something."

"Like what?" She asked, raising an eyebrow.

"20 questions?"

She laughed. "This is super cliche. Okay, but what if one person asks the other person a question they don't want to answer?"

"Then they say the code word. We keep a code word. Our code word will be... 'strawberries'."

"Strawberries?" She said while trying to stifle her laugh.

"Yes, Blue. Strawberries. Do you have a problem with that?"

"Nope. None at all."

"Good. I'll ask you the first question..."

Like that, Emma Sparx and Blake Ryder began their first step to a possible friendship.

Did I just explain the situation from a third person's point of view? Shit. I'm more drink than I thought.

Nah, I'm probably just overthinking things.

〰️✱〰️

I woke up with a terrible hangover. I looked around the oddly familiar room only to realise that it was the room Blue told me to take a shower and change in the other day.

Thankfully, I remembered my way around, so I made my way down to the kitchen and sat on one of the chairs next to the island.

"Good morning Sunshine! I see the sleeping beauty is finally awake."

"It's too early for you to be so energetic."

"Darling, it's 10:45." She said, with a teasing smile.

"Exactly, it's 10:45 - wait it's 10:45! Shit I'm late for my first lecture"

"Your first lecture is almost over, so if you want to make it to your second lecture on time, I suggest you go take a shower, I'll give you some clothes."

I tried to do so, but my hangover made me press my head to the marble island I was sitting in front of and close my eyes.

I heard her sigh and come inside the kitchen. A few minutes later she was poking my arm to get my attention. I lifted my head to yell at her for disturbing me when she pushed a glass of what looked like lemonade in front of me.

"It helps with the hangover, drink it, I'll prepare some pancakes you can eat once you're done drinking this." She said with a small smile.

I took a sip of the lemonade and looked up at her with my barely open eyes and asked, "Why the hell are you being so nice to me?"

"Don't tell me you forgot last night, Ryder. We made a deal that we would try to be friends."

Of course I remembered. That was another problem with me drinking, I remember every single thing that happened when I was drunk once I'm back to being sober.

"I remember. I just didn't think we were actually gonna work on it."

"Well we are, so suck it up." She said, looking at me over her shoulder with a smile.

By now I'd finished the glass of lemonade and was definitely feeling much better.

"Then Blue, your first duty as my friend is to make me chocolate pancakes." I demanded while looking at her.

"Sure, your majesty."

"While I'm making this, you should go brush your teeth." She continued.

"Nah. I'll just do it later."

"Ew no. You're not eating breakfast without brushing your teeth. So get your ass to the washroom in the guest room and brush your teeth or you're not getting any pancakes."

Her words made me get up immediately to go and brush my teeth.

"I would make it quick if I were you! Unless you want to eat your pancakes cold!"

"No need to be a bitch. I'm going." I mumbled under my breath, which she apparantly heard because she immediately yelled, "Did you say something Ryder?"

"No! I didn't say anything!" I yelled back.

As I went into the guest room, I felt a small smile make it's way to my face.

No. I can't let myself smile. I can't let my gaurd down. Especially not to someone I just met. Letting my gaurd down will only lead to me getting hurt and nothing else. There's no way I'm letting that happen again.

That's why I made a vow to myself that I would never let Emma Sparx, or anyone for that matter, inside these walls I've built.

That's the only way to keep myself safe.

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