The Billionaire's Mask (mask #1)

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Chapter 25

ALAYNA

Oliver and Betty went back to the house next door after the afternoon snack to prepare for our hot spring, but I already felt that something wasn't right. Oliver and Brandon were troublingly quiet during our snack, exchanging odd meaningful gazes as if they were hiding something. Betty didn't seem to notice since she was busy talking about her.

I also overheard that Cassius was coming, too, but I didn't hear the rest. Why would Cassius come here? I thought Brandon and Cassius didn't get along? Was that why his mood changed? I thought this was supposed a vacation.

I followed Brandon upstairs, and he was still silent. He took off his shirt in annoyance I knew he was keeping inside. He sighed softly as he sat on the edge of the bed. I sat next to him, then stared at his stoic face.

“Hey…” I touched his knee.

“Hey.”

“What’s wrong?”

 “Nothing.” He held my hand then brought it to his lips, and he looked into my eyes then gazed at me as if it was going to be the last time we're going to see each other. He seemed troubled by something I couldn’t understand. But I couldn't ask him for I knew he would refuse to tell me he was thinking, but I was beginning to feel the frustration.

“I think I need to pack for our hot spring.”

Brandon didn't answer, but he pulled me to him instead, crushing my body against his.

“I love you, Alayna,” he whispered out of the blue. “I don’t think I told you this yet, but I do.” He breathed on my shoulder.

I felt my heartbeat increased by his words alone. I still haven't told him that I loved him yet.

“Brandon, can you tell me what's going on with you? You’re making me nervous.”

His lips touched my shoulder. “Nothing, I just can't imagine myself without you…”

I parted from him a little and gazed at his beautiful eyes. I couldn’t explain the emotion he was giving me, but he looked as if something was troubling him. I knew there was something. He was like this since we arrived.

“Where else will I go? I'm not capable of leaving you unless you told me to.”

“I won't,” He smiled weakly. “except for this afternoon with Betty. I will come in the evening, I promise. I'm afraid I have to tell you to pack all of your things because we're not going to stay here tonight.”

I frowned. That was a surprise. “What? Why not? This place is amazing.”

“Yeah, something came up. I just can't tell it to you right now, but we've got to stay somewhere else. I knew a place. I'm sorry. It's not how I planned it.”

“Is that about the job? Things you left to do I Manhattan?” I asked curiously. Too bad I wouldn’t even experience slumbering in this large bed. I stroked the bedsheet under my palm. He noticed my gesture.

His throat let out a low vibration. “Don't worry. We could still go back here.”

“Then, I need to pack and then enjoy the rest of the day tonight,” I sighed.

“Do you need help?”

“Of course,” I smiled.

Dejectedly, I packed my personal things back into the suitcase, trying not to show my disappointment to Brandon. How badly I wanted to stay. I was looking forward to spending the night with him and even imagined myself in every corner of the house.

I knew from the very start how secretive Brandon was. What did I expect? I als0 didn't want to pressure him to tell me everything. I mean, it was his choice. I was the kind of person who wouldn’t nag things to his boyfriend as long as he was not cheating. We stayed in the penthouse for another hour, then we were ready.

Brandon looked at his watch. “We still have time,” he said. “Why don’t you come with me for a moment?”

“To where?”

“Just come.” He grabbed my hand, twining my fingers with his, Brandon took me to another stair, but it was narrower and a bit dimmer. It seemed to be leading in the attic, I guessed.

“Where do this leads? Hogwarts?” I joked.

He laughed. “You'll see.”

The stair wasn't long until we reached another small white door. Brandon opened it with a key from his pocket then he slowly pushed the door.

He brought me to a glasshouse, and we stumbled upon a miniature garden of fully blossomed lilies, yellow bells, daffodils each of them trimmed like green clouds and more. A live fountain made of stone and bamboo was found at the center.

 I gasped in admiration. “Wow, this is amazing…”

 “This was my mother's sanctuary. It is well maintained until now. I didn't want to abandon what my mother cherished when she was still alive.”



Ann Margarette

Edited: 05.09.2019

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