Behind the Mask
Lee Tao walked into the crowded room of his new class he noticed a tall blonde girl was in the seat next to his and he felt his heart sink. A white girl, he growled, why couldn't it be a nice Chinese girl? Not that he wanted a girlfriend, not after his mother. She looked at him and grinned, that stopped him, he had expected her to glare at him, or to move as far away from him as she could. Her shirt was buttoned to the throat with a black leather choker over the top of the crisp white fabric. Her skirt was past her knees and if she stood up it would cover her shiny black shoes. Her hair fell about her face, and fell down to her waist; it looked limp and unhealthy. Her bright blue eyes were warm and brimming with life, like the sea it mirrored. She was wafer thin, and her skin was a pasty white. But her eyes radiated such life it was easy to overlook.
She seemed to brighten when he sat down.
“Hi” She said, tilting her head to the side and grinning. He stared at her; she got a little flustered, “I’m Tiara, Tiara Butler”
“Shut up” he replied, her face fell instantly, and she looked away, though to him it seemed like a trained habit.
She was bright to everyone, though she didn’t attempt to talk to him again; he was stunned when she stood up for him.
“Whoa, great we got an Asian Emo!” one of the guys joked, the rest of them laughed, Tiara thumbed.
“Man, he fails as a ninja, hah what a freaking joke; I bet they kicked his sorry ass outa China” he continued.
“Shut the hell up Erick, just cause you’re jealous, you know, about how his actually an attractive male” she commented, he looked at her.
“OMG you like tiny Asian penis!” she looked at him with an evil smirk.
“Actually sweetie I just like penis full stop and since his the only one in the room with one, well, you can see the attraction” she continued writing, not looking up to see Lee staring at her.
At the end of class he approached her.
“I didn’t ask you to do that” he whispered, in a menacing tone, she looked at him innocently.
“I don’t know what you mean” she continued cleaning her desk, he grabbed her shoulder, her eyes widened in fear, it brought back bad memories, that expression.
“Why did you defend me?” her face fell back into composer, but she shook.
“Once again I don’t know what you’re talking about, all I did was simply insult someone else, if it crossed some line to you, I’m awfully sorry” she replied without looking at him.
“…Stay out of my life!” he turned on his heel and left, when he looked back, she was in her seat shaking like a leaf.
He felt the urge to go back and comfort her, but he fought the strange urge… he had lunch to eat.
She came to the lunch area ten minutes later, though she had no food, she simply sat and watched the crowds like he once had, he had even worn the same expression, one of innocent sadness, that was before his mother left, then he tasted hate. The wind picked up her hair before she could stop it, a patch on her neck showed, it was an ugly purple of a fresh bruise, and he laughed internally thinking of ways she had managed that. She saw him laugh in her direction, instead of looking upset, she smiled, and he felt the need to hurt her some way, why should she be happy? Why not him? In the end he turned away, shunning her attempt to befriend him again.
He didn’t see her for the rest of the day, but thoughts of her plagued him. He saw her leave for home; she walked slowly, as if relishing a simple walk. She didn’t look around her she simply looked ahead lost in her own little world. He envied her, how he wished he could escape the crushing hate and pressure, the anger, the rage, how he wished he could disappear into his own little world and find bliss of a single moment. Snorting at the stupidity of his thoughts, he turned to the direction of his house. Who cared about a spoiled rich white girl? His father was sitting inside when he got home, he was pale.
“Father, what is wrong?” his father looked sadly at him, he was a child worker, he helped children with bad living situations.
“It’s the case I have now, the victim refuses our help” he said sadly shaking his head.
“It must be really bad, father, for you to worry so much” he met the older man’s eyes, a mirrored copy of his own.
“It’s the worst one so far, we fear for their life… but their family ties are too strong…” he looked away, never before had his father actually worried for the life of a client.
“Is there anything that can be done?”
“Nothing, she is over the age of consent”
“She?” now Lee was worried, his father never let anything slip, this time his reaction was dull.
“Keep it to yourself” he cleared his throat “how was your first day?”
“… It was ok, I’m stuck next a white girl and she annoys the hell out of me”
His father chuckled.
“What’s so funny old man?” he growled, happy to see his father smile.
“Who are you calling old man, I’m fitter than you!” he laughed.
“Sure, sure I think you’re dreaming dad” the two locked eyes and let out bright laughs.
That night, Lee lay down thinking of the girl, Tanya, Tara, something like that, and sighed. She had seemed so scared when he grabbed her, but then he recalled the grin she gave him when they first met, Tiara, that was her name. He had to admit it was cute, she was cute. But that was all; she had nothing to do with him she was a pesky rich white chick who smiled at everyone.
When he woke up in the morning he glared at himself in the mirror, what in god’s name was wrong with him? How could he dream of her? He snarled at the memory of the dream, how she had blushed when he kissed her, how she had cried his name in pleasure as his hand slipped up her top… he shook himself, what was he, five? Damn.
After a quick breakfast he ran to school, he was almost late to his first class, music. She was already there, writing, once again, on that same sheet of paper. She noticed him and grinned then turned back to her work, covering it as he sat down.
“Hi” she said, though he could tell she expect no answer, she got none.
“Hey Tinkabitch what the hell are you doing?” a male from outside yelled, “white trash girls are meant to be working the corners!”
“Then why are you here?” she replied without blinking, it took the males a moment to think it through.
“You fucking Whore!” he yelled, walking into the classroom he grabbed her and pulled up by her hair, she didn’t cry out, but she whimpered “Think you’re so tough now you fucking white trash whore?!”
“You should put her down” Lee said without thinking, he was seeing red you didn’t do that to women.
“Shut the fuck you China town reject, this got nothing to do with you!” he snarled, his attention never wavering from the trembling girl.
“I said to drop her” the redneck looked at him now; he was just behind the attacker, so he had to drop Tiara to see him.
“Lee its ok, leave it be” she whimpered, the male laughed darkly.
“Aw look at that, the trash are in love” he snickered, she whimpered as the male pulled her hair tighter “you wanna save your little boyfriend, you do a favour for me” Lee looked on in disgust as he forced her head to his pelvis and went to lower his zipper.
Lee let his fist fly and it hit the male in the jaw, he smiled darky when he heard the snap. The male glared at him and ran, blood dripping from his face. Lee turned to Tiara, she was stone faced, unable to do anything but look at nothing. He touched her shoulder and she flinched, covering her face with her arms.
“It’s ok now, you’re safe, his gone” she looked up at him and he saw her tears, she reached out and wrapped her arms around him, clinging to him tightly. He rubbed her back while whispering “It’s ok now”
“Th… thank you Tao…” her voice wobbled.
“No problem… it’s ok now”
“… it’s never ok” she said in a dark tone then forced a bright smile “Thank you” she said it so brightly he forgot about the last comment, she rushed down the hall.
It was then he noticed the paper on her desk, it had somehow remained on the table during the attack. Everyone started to walk into class so he stuffed it into his pocket, not wanting the others to see it. She didn’t return to that class, the only hint that she had been there at one stage was her cream coloured bag. He picked it up and sat it beside him. After the bell rang she walked in slowly she nodded at him, grabbed her bag and stumbled out, he watched in fascination. She didn’t ask for her paper.
He didn’t see her at lunch, he suspected she went home, good, he already thought too much about her as it was. But the thing was, not seeing her made him think about her more, after all, her absence was made more apparent. He sighed, when the hell did he start to care about her, why? He needed to talk to his father; he needed to go to straight to the source. After a particularly long day he was glad to be home, there were no traces of Tiara in his house. His father was exercising when he got home, so he decided not to bother him about Tiara just yet. Sitting in his room, he did his homework and just before he was done, he remembered the paper in his pocket. He was about to pull it out when father called him to dinner.
“Hey Lee, how was your day?” Lee hesitated a moment before telling his father about the incident.
“You did a good job son, I’m proud… I’ll have a chat with the school”
The rest of the meal was full of small talk, he was staling he knew it, but it was something he had never asked before.
“What’s wrong son?” Lee coughed; he had been thinking of Tiara again “what is her name?” He asked meeting his eyes.
“… I don’t know what you’re talking about dad”
“Sure, sure son, whatever you say” he smirked and finished his tea.
“… I have homework to do Dad” his father laughed.
“You better go do it then” Lee clenched his teeth, how in god’s name could he like her? He laughed at the idea, it was so stupid.
When he got to his room he pulled out the paper. He read through it twice, each time he felt like the biggest dick on the planet, he had assumed her world was perfect, he ran out to find his dad. He was gone, there was a note on the counter Lee read it, his large hands shaking.
There was an emergency at work that needed my attention, I’ll be home soon.
Lee glared at the clock, surely his dad would be home soon, he thought. It was much later that night when he heard his father come in, he has someone with him.
“Lee?” he heard his father and turned around quickly, he froze when he saw her. She was badly beaten, her lover lip swollen and bleeding, her eyes favouring purple bruises. Her once long hair was cut in massive ugly short chucks. She was shaking.
“Behind the Mask” he said, she nodded slowly, he assumed it hurt for her to do so.
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