Jodie was staring out the glass windows at the bright green golf course. It was a soothing sight as her mind ran around like the information superhighway. Upon her arrival, her thoughts had morphed from the horrible idea of playing golf to a stream of plans for her company’s next big move.
The silent brainstorming was something Jodie did so often that it became a habit whenever she got bored. And at that very point of time, it was the best way to entertain herself during the long wait. Unfortunately, the moment her ideas were slowly closing in on a good strategy, a stranger decided to interrupt them.
“Hi,” he said.
“Hello,” Jodie replied.
“Jodie. Take a seat,” Jodie said, forcing herself to be courteous despite being rather annoyed at the interruption.
Zach took a seat across her, but shifted nervously like a fresh graduate at his first job interview. Deciding to be nice to this particular competitor, Jodie asked, “Are you new at Skypeak? I have not seen you before.”
“Relatively new,” Zach answered with a chuckle.
“Your name doesn’t ring a bell either. What is it that you do?”
“I’m… on a sabbatical.”
The pause, along with a quick glance at his attire, was all she needed to know that he was the man the rich wives were gossiping about the other day. Zach was the one that did not belong, and Jodie had a feeling he would make more enemies than opportunities at Skypeak.
“So, how do you like the clubhouse so far?” Jodie asked.
“It’s nice,” Zach paused and then as casually as he could, he asked, “do you know anyone in this room?”
His question bounced off the four walls and Jodie spotted the regret in his face almost immediately. She also noticed how Richard stopped tapping at his phone for a second, just as someone shifted behind her. Everyone was listening, so she lied, “Nah. You?”
“No. I only know of the members of Skypeak,” Zach replied a little softer than he did earlier.
“Sometimes it’s better to know of someone than actually know someone,” Jodie pointed out. And as she did, the other three returned to whatever it was they were doing.
Zach nodded his head but he did not seem to have a verbal response, so Jodie tried to think of another question. She was not great with questions, as she preferred communication that did not come with awkward moments of silence. Words were her friends, but only the written kind. And to her surprise, they came to the rescue at that slightly awkward moment.
It started with the sound of two different beeps coming from behind her, followed by a short melody over at Richard, then a flashing of light from under Zach’s coat, before her very own phone vibrated in her pocket. As she pulled it out and read the message, Matthias and Guinevere were already out the door as Richard swaggered after them.
‘Meet at the golf course entrance,’ read the text message.
Not hesitating, Jodie got up. She decided to wait for Zach, since he seemed to be in a desperate need of a friend. Jodie didn’t mind his company either, because he was normal. She honestly missed how that actually felt.
Just as they exited the lounge, Jodie’s phone began to vibrate again. She noticed Zach casually checking his phone, before deciding that she wanted to take the call in private.
“You go on ahead. You know where the entrance is, right?”
“I’ve been there,” Zach replied.
“Right, of course,” Jodie quickly said with a smile.
Zach gave her a nod before walking ahead. The moment she knew he was out of earshot, she attended to her Publishing Rights Manager.
“What now?” Jodie asked.
“Brown Oak Pub wants to sue Castel Castle for plagiarizing one of their authors.”
“Brown what publishing?”
“Brown Oak Pub-”
“Never heard of them. Tell this newbie we will be suing them for defamation.”
“I’ll get to it, I’ll-”
“Tell them that if they still want to pursue their ridiculous claim, we will make sure they never step foot in this industry again.”
There was no reply from the other side of the line and since Jodie had nothing else to say or interrupt, she ended the call with, “Get to it.”
The moment Jodie turned her attention back to what was more important, her competitors were no longer in sight. Grunting, she hurried after them with a jog. Once she made it to the entrance to the golf course, she saw four golf carts lined up at the bottom of the stairs.
Standing tall at the side of the first cart was Ms Leona, the president’s assistant. She gave Jodie a thin smile before saying, “We were waiting for you. Kindly hop on so we can get going.”
Ms Leona did not wait for Jodie to respond as she entered the first cart and waved for the driver to go. The second cart that followed after her had Guinevere at the wheel, and Zach shrugging apologetically at Jodie in the passenger seat. Not wanting to be left behind, Jodie quickly shuffled down the stairs and found herself in front of the two remaining carts.
One had Matthias and the other had Richard, both waiting for Jodie to take a pick. Jodie would have preferred a ride with the not-so-flashy Zach, but he was no longer an option. One of these two had to do and Jodie had to choose.
(For the chapter list, visit here.)