Chapter 1: The Mysterious Masked Man

-Lyra's POV-

Today is so peaceful, having some relaxing, hot coffee as the rain pours in Florida.

My name is Lyra Eri, or as my friends call me, the Girl of Simplicity. It's pretty obvious on why they call me by that kind of title. I like charms, little dolls, or any object that is just like what they call as 'cheap' and simple things.

Also my style during hangouts and such. My clothes have some prices that are a bit

high, almost like expensive clothes, but usually mine were, all simple color, patterns, and just the right one that can make myself comfortable. But my friends told me that they were good in sense.

Even though some people take me as a normal, fashionable, and a talented person. On the other side, I am practically a geek. I am a blogger, an anime fanatic, and a gamer at heart. Every time I got home from school with all that stress and stuff, I just eat, relax and watch on YouTube. Particularly, I always watch Cry.

Cryaotic as it stated in his channel, a let's player and a reader. Cry as a let's player is somehow just an ordinary guy who just play games in his own way, he says what he has to, or even to just comment about the game. Cry as a reader is a guy who reads with a voice that made fans melt as his voice was suave and serious. He reads what he likes best and tries to put himself into the character's shoes. It is always based on the horror category, like Creepypasta and Nosleep.

To me, Cry is somehow my inspiration. One thing that I really like about him was that he always act as his natural self and never changing it. Even though he is on some tough times due to stress from his major popularity on YouTube, typically his fans.

I also watch his live streams during Saturdays, Late Night with Cry and Russ. Doing a stream video before the actual, to see how Cry schedules it with his friends on what games to play until the wind-down hour. During streams, I also do blog about it on parts that are funny. I posted them on blog, so as my followers. I do some art on leisure time, I mostly sketch about Cry, or any character that I create or even my favorite one, and just add his mask on the side, depending on what view do I like best.

On the next day, July 21st, I popped out of bed early about 8 o' clock in the morning. Prepared my breakfast, after that I went to the bathroom to take a quick shower, change of clothes and heading over to the dining table to eat what I prepared usually, French toast with maple syrup, and black coffee, with some coleslaw as a side dish. After that I grabbed my jacket and my backpack and head over to a supply store nearby my university dormitory. It's about a few blocks away from it.

I bought a binder notebook, some highlighters, and pens. Just the usual things I need since I am still fresh on the other supplies that I need for projects and stuff. Going to start a new semester, so it is really necessary.

As I went out of the store, I recklessly bumped into someone, dropping my supplies. I kneeled down to get them, the man insisted on helping me, as I try to get a good glance of his face, it was covered by a mask, not to mention, it's Cry's mask.

"I am so sorry! I didn't mean to bump into you recklessly!" I said as I kneeled down to get my stuff. He also kneeled down to help me get some stuff away from my spot.

"No worries! Here let me help you." He insisted as he picked them up and gave them to me. My highlighters, my binder, and my pens, now all in one place. Good thing I didn't lose anything.

"Thank you very much! And my apologies again for me being reckless." I stated.

"It's all fine! You're welcome friend!" He said as he patted my shoulder. Somehow it's very familiar...the voice is that...Cry?

"Uhm...I have a question. Since well, no one is here around this part of the block." I said as I look up to him but I ended up looking away. Too nervous to say it.

"Oh! Well, what is it then?" He said as he smiled simply, I could see it below his mask.

"P-Please don't run away, but...are you Cry?" I said as I hesitated myself from him, my nervousness took over me gradually. I saw him scratched his head and sort of look down.

"Yes. Well since you put it that way, let's go where there are less people around. Your place I guess if that's ok with you of course." Cry said as he puts his right hand in his pocket and his left hand scratching the back of his head, nervous I guess. Great thing I'm not the only one.

"S-Sure! It's ok with me. I'll make you some coffee." I said in a cheerful but shaky tone.

"Great! Just uh-direct me to your place! I'll drive." Cry insisted. I nodded and he invites me in his car, it's sort of a sports car, I think.

As I got in, he started the car and I start giving him directions to my dormitory building. He seemed so quiet. It feels awkward meeting him in person. I know the feeling of a fan girl but right now it's very different. I feel like it's just a normal day like this is all normal as heck. After a few minutes of driving through the short traffic, we finally arrived, I showed the guard my identification, with Cry being my guest. We passed through, after the guard greeted us a good day.

Cry parked the car beside the entrance of my dorm building, Dorm Bldg. 5A. He turned off the engines and went out of the car. I was about to go out. Then Cry suddenly stopped me there for a moment.

"Hey. Let me open that for you. Ladies should learn to wait right?" Cry said with a serious tone. He opened the car door for me and assisted me out. Then grabbing my stuff, insisting that he wants to assist me.

"Thanks Cry." Those words only popped out of my head, nothing more, like my mind was in a mere shock.

"No problem. The gentleman should always do the honors after all." Cry stated.

"You don't have to be so formal, act natural Cry. Be yourself." I said as I smiled slightly towards him. With him smiling back simply as I can see it below his mask. Cry also chuckled a bit. Like in one of his let's plays.

"Alright, anyways let's go to your dorm room and have some coffee." Cry stated. He let me go in first in the elevator and went up to the 9th floor where my room is. As we went out, it looked like Cry was in a state of awe as the corridor looks like in one of those hotels. Well my university always loves and cares for the students' dorm needs. I pull out the keys from my bag and unlock the door.

"Make yourself at home Cry." I insisted. I turned to Cry and his head turned left to right, seeing that my dorm room is well, like a hotel room. Great thing I enrolled in a good university where my mom recommended me.

"S-Sure, I'll sit here then.." Cry stated as he sat on the living room couch.

"Anyways I'll make some coffee, be right back Cry." I said as I head over to the kitchen.

"Ok then! Be careful there." Cry shouted.

-Cry's POV-

Man, what a nice place she got here, the university really is something. It soothes the atmosphere when I arrived here. I settled her school needs by the table, and beside it was a workspace full of sketches. All of them are sketches of me in a mask. Wow, she sketches pretty well. Now that she found out that I was the youtuber named Cry, I should let her get to know me more.

She seems so normal seeing me, a plain, normal day for her maybe. She's different from those fans that I have to control all of the time. That I have to avoid those since I am not much of a people person. I am just an introvert who enjoys video games and all that. Not much of a sociable type.

But somehow meeting her is really, a different kind of day for me. I should chat with her more once she's done with making coffee. I looked into her sketches a little more, she's good for just an ordinary student. So talented.

Suddenly I heard the click of the coffee machine coming from the kitchen. Coffee's done.

"Coffee's ready! Here is some brown sugar and creamer on the table if you want some." She said as she settled down the cup of coffee in front of me with the creamer, brown sugar and her cup of coffee.

"Oh! Thank you." I said, as I started putting in some sugar and creamer and mixed it all in. I started drinking the coffee as I look at her sketches some more, coffee is so good with the atmosphere. It's also a rainy day in Florida so I really need to drink something hot anyways.

"I see you're starting to look on my sketches there, well it wasn't that much of a thing." She stated.

"It's pretty good actually. But anyways may I ask for your name?" I said as I put the cup on the table gently and looked at her with my mask on.

"The name is Lyra. But on the blog, my alias is Lyri." She stated as she smiled frantically.

"Lyra it is, please to meet you." I said. I was thinking that since we're starting to get to know each other, I should, take off my mask then.

"Please to meet you too. Well Cry, since you rarely go out of the house, what do you do then?" Lyra asked. I know this is wrong for me but, I should show her. First time of showing my face to one of my fans. But it feels like, she's just another person that I just want to be friends with. Like just a casual chit-chat and what not. But before I answer her question, time to take the mask off.

"Well not much, and it would be alright if you call me Ryan instead." I said as I finally took of my mask and put my glasses on. As I turned to Lyra, her face was in shock, with flushed pink cheeks.

"C..Cry..." She stuttered gradually.

"What is it Lyra? Something wrong?" I begin to question her.

"No! It's just that, well you never show your face to any of your fans. Why'd you show me?" Lyra stated and looked away from me.

"Well, I feel like I should, since I could trust you now." I said as I stood up and patted her gently.

"Really?" Lyra said as she looked at me with those gentle emerald eyes of hers. She really concerns about that. Since I said that I won't be showing my face at all. But I trust her now as it is and I am going to keep it that way.

"Yes, I do. Lyra..." I said as I looked at her back and patted her head. She looked away from me, her face was covered in pink puffs, and she was blushing all along. There's already a heads up. She likes me.

"Thank you, R-Ryan...even though you showed me all of it, I would still keep it a secret from the others." Lyra stated. I could see her precious smile. Proving that it would be alright.

After a few minutes of talking to each other, we just drink our coffee on a cold night in Florida, we enjoyed ourselves, she even took out her iPad and played some games that involve logic. While me, I just went to my phone and started exploring it. Who knows my phone might have something useful that I don't know much about. As I was browsing through continuously, I saw Lyra took out her phone. I saw it set on camera.

"Lyra, what's the phone camera for?" I asked, if I jumbled into a curiosity.

"I was thinking maybe that, we should take a picture together, so I could remember the day we met so suddenly. But as promised, I won't spread it." Lyra said as she was about to put the phone away, but I hesitated her. I grabbed her hand and smiled instead, after all I just want her to have a memorable day.

"Sure thing Lyra, let's have it then." I insisted. With Lyra's look on her face, she was blushing. But our eyes met, her emerald eyes made her look so adorable. Lyra started the camera and putted it on a phone stand she has customized on her phone. She set it on timer then we started to position.

Lyra, sitting beside me on the right side and I closed in my head to hers to be part of the picture. And it clicked. Picture taken.

"Thanks Ryan." Lyra said as she grabbed her phone, and set it as her wallpaper.

"I know what you're thinking Ryan, but don't worry, no one ever borrows my phone from me. So it's safe." Lyra stated. I haven't even stated it but she went ahead of me. What a logical being. But now, it's my turn. I practically pulled Lyra, making our gap close between us. I took out my phone, and flipped the camera to my view.

"Ryan, w-why are you hugging me s-so sudden?" Lyra stuttered.

"Why something wrong about hugging you?" I asked.

"It's nothing really. It's just, it will look a bit awkward." Lyra blushed. Somehow, she kind of looks adorable from this angle. Too adorable for being a college student.

"To be fair, I also want a picture of us. Come on Lyra." I insisted. Lyra just hugged back instead, somehow she seems hesitant. I could even feel her body shaking a bit.

"Fine, go ahead. L-Let's get this over with." Lyra stated. I posed the camera away from us a bit till I see a better view on my screen, then took the picture. I looked at my phone wherein the picture turned out perfectly. Then when I turned to Lyra, she was holding her phone, and I took a little peek of her wallpaper. Seems she placed our picture as a background.

Judging the look on her face, she's just like a kid happy to have her little doll. So adorable. Her flushed pink face, so cute that it made me chuckle. Time to tease her a bit then.

"Lyra, I know what you're doing. But why are you blushing? Your face is flushed pink. Is there something up?" I questioned with an amusing tone, teasing a college student. Perfect.

"N-Nothing! Nothing at all Ryan! Just the heat that's all." Lyra stated.

"Yeah, so raining is the new sun for you then?" I smirked in front of her. I even give her an evil smile.

"Ryan! Don't be such a tease! You're so mean." Lyra said as she crossed her arms and looked away from me blushing still. What do they call these in the anime? Oh yes! A tsundere.

"Okay okay. I'll stop now. But anyways, Lyra, if I may ask, when is your school day?" I questioned.

"Oh that! It's on Wednesday this week. Why?" Lyra asked in a state of confusion.

"I was thinking, that if you want I could take you to school then take you back home every day, well if that's ok with you of course Lyra." I said as I scratched the back of my head while looking up.

"But Ryan…won't that affect your YouTube side? Since well I might think you have some videos of let's play to do at this current point of time." Lyra stated.

I started thinking about what Lyra said. It is true but only a little bit. I just want to have some time for myself too. I can't be on YouTube forever like that. I also have to set limits for myself and try to enjoy my life a bit more. Besides I met a new friend who is my fan but very different.

"It's alright. I have a lot of free time for video making and editing. I just need some time for myself too you know. Need a breather, just sit back and relax. Enjoy the day." I said as I lean back on the couch comfortably beside Lyra.

I decided to hold her hand and looked at her. She looked back too. Her emerald eyes gazing towards mine, showing a soft smile right at her, she blushed.

I feel like being such a tease all day towards her. But still, it was cute. For a college student, she is gifted with beauty and a simple personality. It suits her very well. Just by looking at her, I felt my heart beat. It felt different, like something inside me is causing me to have like butterflies in my stomach. Maybe Lyra is new to me, being just calm and, straightforward that's all. No fan girl screams, no abnormalities of the situation.

"Ryan? You alright you seem spaced out?" Lyra asked me as she gazes at me, being curious but, her tone seems to be low. Worried about me I guess?

"Oh! Yeah I am practically fine. So Lyra…uhmmm…" I scratched my head while thinking of the next thing to say man I am a bit shaky on the words today.

"What is it Ryan?" Lyra asked as she looks up at me with those emerald green eyes of hers.

"H-How old are you exactly?" I asked.

"Ahh! I am twenty years old. Why are you asking?" Lyra tilted her head a bit.

"Oh nothin'! Just bein' curious." I sticked my tongue out teasing Lyra a bit.

So twenty years, almost at my age. I am twenty-four exactly, only a minimum age gap between me and her. She's a great person, just being casual. But also adorable, of course. A thought came up to my mind.

'Do I like her?'

-Lyra's POV-

Something's fishy with Cry today, somehow asking my age. I know he's older than me, around twenty-four years old. Besides that, asking about my dormitory building and room, insisting himself to take me to school, and fetching from school to take me back.

I know he's being kind and all but it's a bit too much. I am much of an introvert to the people around me normally, especially when they start doing some stuff for me. I don't want Cry to have his schedule mashed up because of me, but he really insisted that he wants to. I should give him my thanks.

I grabbed Cry's sleeve from his shirt and pulling gently and repeatedly to get his attention. Cry turned to my direction, looking down at me.

"Ryan…" I started to stutter a bit.

"Lyra?" I hugged him instead. I couldn't think of a sentence to relay to him. I am too nervous to say thanks to a man with a mask on YouTube playing games and such. As I still remained hugging him, I felt his body shaking a bit. Maybe he's stressed out, since those recordings can sometimes reach him until morning or maybe late at night.

"Lyra, is something up? You ok?" Cry asked.

"Yeah it's just that. I want to thank you Ryan, a lot." I just remained hugging him burying my face on his shoulder. Somehow I felt like, Cry is hugging back, but very gently. His right hand, stroking on the back of my head, while the other hand is wrapping around me warmly.

"No problem Lyra." Cry said in a soft, gentle heavy voice. His voice is serious. Now I am a bit curious. Curiosity kills me deeply. As we both let go, I looked at my watch, 6:30pm. I gazed back at Cry, his face is flushed pink. Is he somehow, embarrassed about that?

"Hey Ryan.." I called making the spaced out Cry turned to my direction.

"Ahh! Yeah what is it?" Cry asked.

"You're supposed to go home right? It's a bit late." I stated.

"What time is it already?" Cry asked as he scratched his head.

"It's already 6:30pm." I stated.

"Oh I should. But is it alright if I stay here for the night? I somehow felt comfortable when I am here, that I feel so relieved from all the stress that I have." Cry stated, no wonder his backpack is there on the side. I might think it's something else inside. Well if it makes him relax when he's in this atmosphere. I wouldn't mind letting him stay.

"It's alright with me. I have a spare bed there in my room. You can spend the night here and relax for a while. I know how stressed you are from editing the videos you record." I said as I gave him a smile.

I blushed as I gazed again at his mask less face, messed up brown hair with those blue eyes of his doing well with his glasses. Do I really have feelings for Cry?

After he settled his bag on the bed, Cry and I sat down on the couch playing with my iPad. Suddenly Cry lay down on my lap with a cushion. Rain started to pour, as I hear drops landing on the surface of the balcony.

"So Lyra, if I may ask, is Florida your hometown?" Cry questioned. I noticed his gazed pass my eyes. His glasses glaring by the lights around the room.

"Not really, I lived with my family originally in New York. I was just here for a new experience, a new leaf here in Florida." I said as I stopped playing and put my iPad away. Instead I just want to converse with Cry.

"Oh really? Welcome to Florida then!" Cry exclaimed.

"Thanks, but, so far I love being here in Florida, it makes me active around here." I stated as I gazed at him and smiled naturally.

Suddenly Cry holds the side of my face, his lukewarm, soft hand. Which it made me blush only a bit, as I felt my face heating up slowly, he looked back at me smiling as he removed his glasses and settles it on his chest gently.

"Do you love someone Lyra?" Cry asked, as I felt the heat on my cheeks gradually coursing through. My mouth started to stutter.

"W-Why are you asking this so sudden, Ryan?" I said as my mouth gradually stutters and my face is warm. Nervousness started coursing all over my body, like I can't take it.

"Sorry about that, my curiosity took over me." Cry stated as he started to sit properly on the couch and scratches his head like a confused animal.

"Well as they say, 'curiosity kills the cat', and you my friend are a feline." I said, teasing him as I play with my hair, twirling it and trying to make myself comfortable on the couch while giving the look of tease in front of him.

"Shut up I know. I am silly." Cry said as he smiled in front of me with his glasses glaring in front of me shunned by the light.

"Yes you are. Silly pants." I said as I looked away from him and chuckled that I couldn't keep it in.

"Anyways, I was thinking that, maybe I could tour you around Florida if you like? It's sort of an offer since you'll let me stay in for the night." Cry stated. A tour around Florida with Cry. I would love to tour around since I haven't had any time to go around ever since I went in the university a year ago. Plus this would be an opportunity to spend time with a famous Youtuber, Cryaotic. Man this is going to be so memorable.

"Is it ok with you? Since well, I technically didn't explore much around Florida since I came here." I questioned, Cry patted my shoulders and smiled.

"Sure thing, at least you need time to enjoy before you start your semester." Cry stated. Well he's right at that point. I spend my summer reading books at a nearby bookstore just a few blocks away from my dormitory. I always read there until night comes and never thought of exploring Florida for myself to know the place.

"Uhmm… Ryan…" I said as my throat starts to get a bit stuck that I couldn't say anything. The nervousness of mine took over me very well. I know he's being a kind guest here in my dorm room but, I don't want to let him stress out more. Since he records and edits every day for the fans to see his progress of a certain game.

"Yes Lyra?" Cry said as he gazed at me seriously that suddenly send some chills down to my spine, that his gaze somehow turns me on as it locks on me.

"T-Thank you, I really appreciate it." I said as I look away from Cry without hesitation, I couldn't take the gaze, even though that he's just a normal person like all of us, for me, there's something about him that I came to like but ended up being shy instead.

"No worries. Now go to sleep we have a big day tomorrow around Florida." Cry said as he tries to lighten me up from my nervousness. He went with me to the bedroom and pounce on our beds, then getting ready to sleep.

"Well good night Ryan, and thanks again." I said as I looked over Cry and gave him a simple smile. I couldn't urge myself to move until I lay down and went fast asleep.

-Cry's POV-

Lyra went fast asleep, looks like she wasted herself pretty well throughout the day, even though we had coffee, which I didn't sip that much. I couldn't say anything back, don't want to wake her up from her good sleep. Until now it's still raining. I hope the sky clears up tomorrow for me to tour around her.

I try to lie down on the bed, it was comfy, the pillow was soft, and everything was so smooth and comfortable to relax in. I try to take a snooze, but I can't, even just a small sip of the coffee was effective. Toss and turns around the bed I couldn't make myself sleep, instead I wait for myself to tire myself out, so I put out my phone and just went tapping and tapping random stuff.

After that, I realized it was already 2:00 am on my phone. Then I heard a moan, I think it was Lyra, maybe having a nightmare. I decided to check on her. I went out of the bed and gone over to Lyra's.

She's shaking, hugging a pillow very tightly. I sit beside her and touched her forehead, she wasn't having any sickness. So it's nightmares possibly. I lay my hand gently on her shoulder and shaking her to wake her up.

"Lyra…Lyra…" I called out softly, no response. I shaked her once, twice, thrice. Then suddenly she waked up in shock, about to shed a tear on the corner of her eye.

"R-Ryan.." Lyra said as she pounced on me and bury her face on my shoulder, crying, she had a nightmare that I can't ask her normally while she's in this pitified state. She even tugged my shirt from behind, fiercely as she continues to weep.

"Lyra, what's wrong? Tell me." I said as I just hugged her back and tried calming her down, rubbing her back gently and let her remain in my arms. She didn't respond. She's like a traumatized person, is her nightmare that harsh to experience? Or near death like the superstition that once said if you fall out of a cliff in your dream that is suicide, you can die in real life?

"Shhh...Lyra...calm down...I am here just..stop crying, it will be alright." I calmly said as I comfort her, trying to ease herself up again. Seems that nightmare had great affect on her. I wonder what she saw in there.

"I-I dreamt of...you...laying down on the floor slowly...with a knife struck to your chest, you saved me from a...guy...who tried to kidnap me. Why am I dreaming this...thing...so suddenly.." Lyra said as she tried to breathe, and started to stutter a bit. Her tears still continued to flow on her face.

Me, killed by a man who tried to kidnap her. I don't want to imagine that. I might traumatize myself same as her. Right now, cradled in my arms like a little girl that needs comfort, she just needs protection. I feel like, if I let go right now, she's going to be fragile, that she can be penetrated by a bullet.

As I think about it, Lyra suddenly hugged me more tighter than normal, realizing I spaced out. Maybe she just needs to sleep with someone.

"Lyra, you want me to sleep beside you? So you can sleep easy." I suggested, she let go of me and looked up at me, then nodded. I dragged my finger across at the bottom of her eye, wiping out the last tear. I smiled at her.

"It's going to be alright. Don't cry anymore ok?" I said as she just gazed at me and nodded two times gently. I settled Lyra on her bed, and I went in the blanket beside her and tucked us both in.

"Ryan, is it really alright that you sleep here with me?" Lyra asked. I turned to her and saw her face flushed pink again.

"Why? You don't want me to make sure you sleep easy?" I questioned, with her face now pure red. Was it something I said? Still it makes her adorable, wait..what? I realized that I am saying like cute things to my fan. Why does it feel like, she's just a normal and chill type of person, despite the fact that fangirls are obsessed with me that I should be weirded out about it. But, I don't feel weirded out around her. It's somehow a different feeling. But...anyway..

"No it's just that..you sleeping with me just because of my nightmare, you're too generous to do that, plus I just got to know you today. I know this day is like sort of a miracle for me to meet one of the people I idolize about. I feel nervous about it right now." Lyra stated. It's true though, but for me to meet a fan like her, is just like meeting up with a normal person in a normal day.

"A simple girl, a shy type but also an outgoing person, it fits you perfectly." I complemented her as I pulled her into my arms gently. Just to tease her a bit, I know what I am doing but, I feel this is so different.

"What?! Ryan! Don't be so mean, geez.. It's really making me nervous you know." Lyra said as she looked away from me, she couldn't even maintain eye to eye with me for a long duration. I win.

"Fine, let's go to sleep now ok? We still have to tour around Florida." I stated as I just snuggled in with her, she still remained in my arms as it is, few minutes without reply and she suddenly hugged back and snuggled in for her comfort.

"Alright. Good night, and thanks Ryan." Lyra said softly.

"For what?" I asked.

"For everything..." Lyra's voice started to drift away as she sleeps peacefully, remained hugging each other. Lyra looks so fragile, like I don't want to leave her like this and let her remain suffering.

"Don't worry Lyra, I won't let you down. You're gonna enjoy tomorrow, and I know it. Sleep peacefully." I said as I gently pat her head, brushing my fingers through her hair gently.

I will make sure you'll enjoy Lyra. At least I could get to know you even though we only met today. I feel that, we will bond perfectly. That we will be just normal people who socialize as it is. I don't look at you as a fan, I look at you as a person who is talented and gifted, admiring me for just being an introvert who likes to play video games.

All I could say is, right now, I feel different inside. Am I nervous right now? Is looking at her turns me on at this point? My heart feels, different, my mindset, my thoughts. It's all jiggled up and turned about. Only one explanation to what it is this feeling right now.

'I have feelings for Lyra.

My fan.

The one who admires me.

Now I felt the same.'