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Chapter 39: A Snowflake Made Special

clubhouse39

“I need a favour. Will it be OK to meet tomorrow?” Matthias asked over the phone.

“Yea, sure,” Zach replied. His boss was asking for a favour, how could he say ‘no’?

“Meet you at Axis Mall? There’s this coffee house at the main entrance.”

“Sure.”

Zach didn’t know why he answered the call. He could have pretended to be asleep. It was already four-thirty in the morning after all. Still, he was not the kind to avoid phone calls. Having agreed to lunch with Matthias, Zach set his alarm before hitting the sack.

The following morning, he was awakened by an early phone call. Prying his eyelids open, he grunted at the sight of his bedside clock. It was just beeping 9 a.m. For a brief moment, Zach contemplated on ignoring it. But despite his desire to return to dream world, his hand reached for his phone.

“Hello?” Zach answered dryly.

“Still asleep?” the familiar voice asked.

“Yea.”

“Do you know who’s calling?”

Zach took a quick glance at the screen. The caller was his ex-colleague.

“Yea. What’s up, Josh?” Zach asked.

“Want to have lunch today? Andy and I are meeting up.”

“I can’t. I have an appointment.”

“Ah, another time then.”

After the line clicked, Zach attempted to return to sleep. Unfortunately for him, it only made him more sluggish. Deciding it was better to get the day going, he pulled himself out of bed and got ready.

The coffee house was a popular joint. But it was merely a blur in Zach’s peripheral vision whenever he visited the mall. That Sunday afternoon, he found it full of people. After finding Matthias in the crowd, he had to slide between chairs just to get to him.

“Oh hey! I ordered for you already,” Matthias said.

Matthias had a habit of ordering in advance. It was a good thing Zach wasn’t a picky eater.

“No problem. What do you need me to do?” Zach asked.

“I’m supposed to meet Jodie after this. I need to hand her something. Could you stick around longer and give it to her instead?” Matthias asked while he took out a flash drive.

“Sure,” Zach said. He did not bother asking what was in the drive and pocketed it.

Shortly after, their food arrived. Zach wondered why it was necessary to have lunch over a simple request. It was not that Zach didn’t like Matthias, it was because Matthias was his boss and fellow contestant. Spending time with him outside of work felt strange. Didn’t Matthias feel the same way? They weren’t friends.

“So, what do you think about last night?” Matthias asked.

“Tiring,” Zach replied with a chuckle.

“I agree. Did you meet the hosts?”

“No. Who were they?”

“The Rogers of Rogers Talent Agency. You know them?”

“No.” Zach had not even heard of them.

“Well, they seem to know us. They even recognised me.”

Zach nodded. It did not dawn on him how strange it was, until Matthias continued.

“I heard them talking about you. Mrs Rogers said she wanted to meet you.”

“Why?” Zach asked. What made him so special?

“I don’t know. She talked about how Mrs Dune gave you a free pass as well.”

“Yea, that was a bit strange.”

“Mrs Dune gave me a hard time after you left.”

Recalling that day and what Matthias said about Mrs Rogers, there was something similar between those two encounters. Both ladies not only knew who they were, but they recognised them too.

“She knew us,” Zach stated.

“Coincidence?” Matthias said with a raised eyebrow.

Zach shrugged. He wanted to tell Matthias about his conversation with Mrs Dune, but then decided it was better to hold his tongue. If it had something to do with him, he wanted to be the first to know. And with that, the topic came to a close. There were several times when Matthias tried to bring it up again, but Zach was quick to end it. Perhaps that was why Matthias wanted to have lunch.

When they were done with their meal, Matthias said he would tell Jodie to meet him in the coffee house. Zach was fine with the plan and ordered himself a cup of coffee while he waited. During that time, he thought about what Matthias had said. Almost immediately, he had a sinking feeling. The only thing that managed to pull his attention away from the newfound knowledge was the conversation behind him.

The voices at the table behind his sounded familiar. After hearing the guffaw and the tsk-ing, he knew it was Andy and Josh. Zach wanted to turn around and greet them, but then they began talking about him.

“I know this sounds weird, but someone called me asking for information about Zach,” Josh said.

“Oh…” Andy simply replied.

“They said they would pay me.”

“I got the call too.”

“You did? I turned them down, of course.”

“Yea.”

“Who was that person, though? Should we tell Zach?”

“No! I mean, Zach doesn’t need to worry about this.”

“What do you mean? If someone is digging information about me, I want to know.”

“Well…”

“You didn’t.”

“What?”

“Tell me you didn’t betray our friend.”

“He isn’t really my friend,” Andy immediately replied. “Look, it’s not like I know a lot about him anyway. What could I say that would hurt him?”

Zach had the urge to confront them and find out more. What was the stranger’s name? How did the stranger sound? He could not find himself being angry with Andy at that moment. He was more curious and he was also afraid.

As he struggled to come to a decision on his next action, his phone beeped. Checking the message, he found Jodie asking if he was at the coffee house. Should he ask her to come over or was it better to meet her someplace else? Zach had to choose.

Next Chapter >
(For the chapter list, visit here.)

____________________________________________________________________________________________

The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2015 by Jeyna Grace.
All rights reserved. No part of the series may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from Jeyna Grace.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2015 in Original Works

 

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Chapter 38: Who’s Watching?

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In his schooling years, Matthias used to imagine what it was like to be one of the elite. He wondered what kind of friends he would have, and how many parties he would be invited to. As he entered the adult world, he began to realise that it was actually better to earn a million dollars than to inherit it. After all, the immature men acting like boys were a good example why.

When he finally managed to escape the noisy bunch, he heard his name being called. Up ahead was Guinevere, waving him over. The moment Matthias hesitated, she jumped to her feet and walked over to him.

“What is it?” he asked.

“I want you to meet somebody,” Guinevere said.

“Why? We’re working,” he stated.

“You love networking, don’t you? I’m giving you a chance.”

Guinevere did not wait for his reply as she held onto his forearm and led him to a table. There, a man in his late 60’s sat beside a woman many years younger than him.

“This is Mr Rogers and his wife. He’s the founder of Rogers Talent Agency,” Guinevere introduced.

He placed the food plate down and quickly extended his hand for a shake. Mr Rogers greeted him with a smile, but before Matthias could introduce himself, Mrs Rogers said, “Matthias, right?”

“Yes, how did you know?” he asked in reply.

“Oh, you know, word goes around,” she simply said.

Matthias was not sure if that was a good or a bad thing. What kind of words got around? Sure, almost everyone in Skypeak knew about the competition, but was there a weekly report? Were some people informed on who ranked better than who? He knew the whole thing was a game, but he didn’t know who was watching.

“You know the ladies, they love getting together to gossip,” Mr Rogers said. “What do you do, Matthias?”

“I’m a lawyer at Auctor Automobiles.”

“Oh, that’s right. No wonder she recognises you,” Mr Rogers replied, giving his wife a nudge.

“Oh?” Matthias simply responded. As far as his memory served him, his company had nothing to do with a talent agency. They were in completely different industries after all.

“Now I remember. Your company needed talent for an advertisement. The person in-charge pointed you out,” Mrs Rogers said.

“They did? What was their name?” Matthias asked.

“I can’t remember.”

The pair’s cover up was the worst cover up anyone could have done. It only made Matthias even more suspicious. He wondered if Guinevere spotted it too, so he decided to end their little meet there.

“I don’t have my name card on me, perhaps I could give it to you later?” Matthias said.

“Oh, sure. Here’s mine,” Mr Rogers replied, as he handed Matthias his.

“Thank you. I wish we could talk longer, but I need to get this plate refilled,” he added.

“Please, don’t let me stop you.”

Matthias gave a nod. He wanted to ask Guinevere to join him, but she was quick to say, “Me too. Let’s go.”

As they walked out of the pool area and into the hallway, he decided to raise his suspicions, “It’s strange, don’t you think?”

“What is?”

“The two of them recognising me. Skypeak has thousands of members, even if they know my name, why would they know my face?”

“They said they were doing an ad for your company, weren’t you-”

“We have never done an ad with that agency.”

“Maybe no one told you about it.”

“I would know.”

Guinevere shrugged and pushed the door to the kitchen open. Once inside, the headwaiter took their plates and handed them another. That was the end of their conversation.

The whole evening continued on the same way. Matthias would serve the food and dishes on plates and trays, and then get them refilled. He did not speak with any of the guests unless spoken to, and he did the job as best as he could… all the while bouncing different theories in his head.

By the time the party ended, it was way past midnight. He finally got to rest his feet around three in the morning. None of the five said much when they handed their uniforms in. Richard, who was following Matthias home, did not say a word about the task either. Just as they were making their way to the car park, Matthias heard a voice.

“We should have left earlier. My back is aching,” Mr Rogers said.

“I don’t want the boy getting into trouble. He won’t do nonsense if he knows I’m watching,” Mrs Rogers replied.

The couple was at the lobby, waiting for their car. Matthias would have walked right by, but what they said next made him stop.

“I wish we could have spoken to Zach,” Mrs Rogers added.

“You know that’s not allowed.”

“They used our party as part of the challenge. What were they expecting?”

“They were expecting you to keep your mouth shut.”

“Oh please, Mrs Dune spoke to him. She even gave him a free pass.”

Matthias remembered that day clearly – the day Mrs Dune let Zach off the hook but would not give in to any of his own solutions.

“Do you think this is a game?” Mr Rogers scolded. He looked furious, and then he whispered a series of inaudible words.

“What is it?” Richard asked, when he noticed Matthias glued to the spot.

“Nothing,” Matthias replied.

He did not stick around any longer and left before the Rogers discovered him eavesdropping. Once home, Matthias felt the need to share his thoughts with someone. He told Jodie about his theory when they first met, and he wondered if she would have a better insight to the new information. He also wondered if it was better to ask Zach if he knew what was going on, since Zach seemed to be the person of interest. In order to fall asleep, Matthias had to choose.

Next Chapter >
(For the chapter list, visit here.)

____________________________________________________________________________________________

The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2015 by Jeyna Grace.
All rights reserved. No part of the series may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from Jeyna Grace.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 23, 2015 in Original Works

 

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Chapter 37: Familiar Faces

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The uniform was pleasant. Still, she did not like it. It felt like she took a step down the food chain, and the group that was gathering outside were ready to take a bite. Perhaps she would go unnoticed. After all, her family wasn’t among the first class elite.

“Any idea whose party this is?” Richard asked, as they gathered in the kitchen with the other staff.

“Unfortunately, no. It’s a surprise you weren’t invited,” Guinevere replied. She did not intend for it to be a jab, but she realised it too late.

“Well…” Richard trailed off.

Guinevere would have apologised, but the headwaiter began handing out the large white plates of hors d’oeuvres. The waiters and waitresses before her swiftly placed the plates on their palms and strode out. When her plate was handed to her, she followed suite.

Richard was right behind her when she headed to the pool area. Matthias had gone ahead and disappeared among the guests. She did a quick scan of the crowd and spotted a few familiar faces. In such a situation, she was thankful she did not know everyone.

“Great,” Richard muttered from behind her.

Turning to him, she asked, “You know them?”

“Unfortunately, yes. Why wasn’t I invited? That’s the better question.”

“Perhaps your invite got lost in the mail?” Guinevere was genuinely trying to make him feel better.

“I doubt that.”

“Well-”

“Richy! You’re here!” a squeaky voice interrupted her.

Turning to the direction of the voice, Guinevere saw a young lady in a floral dress skipping toward them. Her voice was familiar but her face wasn’t.

“Why are you dressed like that?” the young lady asked.

“I’m sort of working,” Richard replied.

“Working? As a waiter?”

“It’s hard to explain. Whose party is this?”

“You weren’t invited?”

“I get too many invites, I don’t bother with most of them.”

Guinevere spotted Richard’s lie, but the young lady seemed naïve enough to believe him.

“Oh, how I wish I was in your shoes! It’s Ben’s birthday,” she replied with an annoying giggle.

“Ben Rogers?” Richard asked.

“Yup!”

“Rogers? Of Rogers Talent Agency?” Guinevere asked.

Richard nodded his head and the young lady finally noticed Guinevere. It was amazing how she managed to ignore her presence.

“They’ve signed top stars. So don’t try to embarrass yourself,” the young lady said.

“I know Mr Rogers,” Guinevere immediately replied.

It was not a lie. Mr Rogers was her father’s client. She had met him a few times when assisting her father. Guinevere was not a permanent staff in her father’s company, but she did tag along enough times to have met a few important people.

“Sure you do.”

“Your voice sounds familiar,” Guinevere stated.

“Well, you probably heard me over the radio. I have a few albums,” the young lady boasted.

“No, I’ve heard your voice elsewhere,” Guinevere replied. Putting two and two together, she finally knew who the young lady was. “You’re my sister’s friend, aren’t you?”

“Your sister?”

“Genevieve. Genevieve likes to put her calls on speakerphone.”

The snobbish smile on the young lady’s face immediately disappeared. There was a brief moment of awkward silence before Richard cleared his throat.

“I’ve heard a lot about you,” the young lady said.

“I’m sure you have,” Guinevere simply replied, before turning on her heels and stalking away.

She caught a bit of the exchange between Richard and the young lady as she left them behind. Apparently, the young lady still did not believe her words. But that was the least of her worries. If Mr Rogers was at the party, she would hate to bump into him. As much as she had heard from her father, Mr Rogers had a backward thinking and was very handsy. Unfortunately, the pool area was not large enough to hide from him.

Walking among the round tables at the far end of the pool, she found herself serving Mr Rogers and his wife. When he saw her, he smiled widely and gestured for her to take a seat. Immediately, Mrs Rogers wore an expression of disdain.

“Guinevere! Is this part of the Skypeak challenge?” Mr Rogers asked, as he eyed her from head to toe.

“The Skypeak challenge?”

“That’s what we’re calling it,” his wife responded.

“Oh, yes it is,” Guinevere replied with a thin smile.

“How’s it so far? I’ve heard a lot about it,” Mr Rogers said, as he placed his hand on her thigh.

“Good,” Guinevere answered. She shifted uneasily, thinking if she should excuse herself.

“If you need any help, just let me know,” Mr Rogers offered.

“That’s very kind of you.”

“I’m sure your family would benefit if you win. Especially with what’s happening,” Mrs Rogers chimed in.

“What’s happening?”

“I heard your father’s business is struggling,” Mr Rogers said.

“Oh, well, we’re doing fine,” Guinevere replied. Her father never told her that they were having problems. Either they were rumours or she was kept out of the loop. Guinevere liked to believe the former.

“But with your wedding and the Skypeak challenge, I’m sure things will work out,” Mrs Rogers said without a hint of sincerity.

Mr Rogers nodded and gave her thigh a pat. His wife was not oblivious to his actions, but she did not say anything. Guinevere needed to be her own hero. She knew excusing herself wouldn’t do, as Mr Rogers might find it rude. So, she thought of taking the attention away from herself.

“Would you like to meet the other Skypeak challengers?” Guinevere asked.

“Oh, what a good idea!” Mrs Rogers said in false excitement.

Guinevere turned to look around. To her right, she spotted Zach serving champagne to a group of chattering women. To her left, she saw Matthias manoeuvring through the rowdy crowd of young men. They were the closest to her, and Guinevere had to choose.

Next Chapter >
(For the chapter list, visit here.)

____________________________________________________________________________________________

The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2015 by Jeyna Grace.
All rights reserved. No part of the series may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from Jeyna Grace.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Original Works

 

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Chapter 36: Be My Guest

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Shutting his eyes, Richard emptied his mind. He wanted to escape reality and forget about life. The silence was inviting him to do so, but unfortunately, it only lasted for a while. Richard heard Zach taking a seat on the pool chair beside his, and his presence was hard to ignore. Without having to be told, he knew Zach didn’t like him very much, but he decided it was better to pretend naïve.

“Hey,” Richard greeted, opening an eye as he took a glance at Zach.

“Hey,” Zach replied.

“What’s up?”

“Nothing much. You?”

“Nothing much either.”

Richard wanted to keep the small talk going, but he noticed how Zach shifted uncomfortably from side to side.

“You… have something to tell me?” Richard prompted.

Zach did not seem to like being confronted, but he spoke his mind anyway. “I heard Jodie is helping you with something,” he stated.

“Oh, she told you?”

“No, not really. Guinevere got me involved, somehow.”

“Guinevere? I didn’t ask Guinevere for help,” Richard said.

How was Guinevere involved? Richard was not very keen to know. How much information Zach knew? That was more important Richard was not fond of people knowing about his personal problems. It was already uncomfortable having Matthias, Jodie, and Guinevere aware of his current one.

“Well, yea, I didn’t want to be a part of it either.”

“That’s between you and her,” Richard said with a chuckle. The conversation was not getting friendlier, but it wasn’t ending either.

“Right, of course.”

“So, what did she tell you?”

“Nothing. I was hoping you would.”

“Ah, curious, aren’t you? It’s just a family matter. No big deal. It’ll all be over soon,” Richard said.

“How is Jodie helping you with this?”

“Is somebody jealous?” Richard teased. He smirked and saw the opportunity to change the topic. He was not going to reveal any more – that was all he was sharing.

“I’m not.”

“You know why we’re different?”

“It’s obvious, isn’t it?”

Richard smiled and nodded. He then said, “You’re an open book, Zach. I like to keep my covers shut. You wear your emotions on your sleeve-”

“And you hide yours behind a mask,” Zach finished his sentence for him.

“Sad, but true,” Richard acknowledged with a smile.

He was not going to deny it. There were better words to use than the ones Zach had chosen, but there was no need to lie to himself when it was a fact. Hoping to end the conversation there, Richard silently sighed in relief when Ms Leona entered the pool area with Jodie and Guinevere.

Seeing Jodie, Richard had the urge to pull her aside and ask if she had retrieved the information he needed. But with Zach’s curious eyes watching, he decided to do it later. As Ms Leona waved them over, Richard casually got up and gestured for Zach to come along.

“Good afternoon,” Ms Leona greeted. “Today’s task is rather simple. There will be a private pool party tonight, and all of you will be waiting on the guests.”

“Do I know these guests?” Richard asked.

He was not worried about the task; he was worried if he knew the people at the party. If they were family friends, and a sinking feeling was telling him so, how was he going to respond to their questions and remarks? They probably knew he was part of the five bidding for Skypeak, but they would be more than happy to forget that fact.

“Maybe you do, but you shouldn’t worry about that tonight. Just focus on making sure everyone is happy,” Ms Leona replied.

Easy for you to say, you don’t know what it’s like, Richard thought.

“Now, if you would follow me,” Ms Leona added, turning on her heels. “You’ll need to change into your uniforms.”

“I hope they look much better than the last one,” Guinevere said.

Ms Leona did not respond as she strode alongside the pool area before turning into a hallway, leading to the kitchen. She began briefing them on the courses served and by the time she was done, they were in a staff lounge.

The staff lounge looked similar to the one he had been in before. This time however, the headwaiter was waiting for them with a stack of neatly folded uniforms in his arms. Ms Leona immediately gestured to him, and the waiter handed them the black and white clothing.

“What do you think of the uniform?” Ms Leona asked, turning to Guinevere.

Giving a thin smile, Guinevere said, “Acceptable.”

“That’s good to hear. But before you get changed, you will need to make a decision. You can choose which team to be on. Either the food or the beverage,” Ms Leona said.

“Food,” Guinevere immediately responded. “I can’t imagine getting red wine on this outfit.”

“Food for me too,” Matthias said.

“I guess I’ll go with beverage,” Jodie made her pick.

“Beverage,” Zach simply said.

Did it make a difference which team he chose to be on? Richard could not imagine himself waiting on anyone, so either team did not matter. It all came down to the people on the team.

Would it better for him to work with Guinevere and Matthias, or Jodie and Zach? Was it appropriate to hide behind Guinevere in the midst of familiar faces, or was it the right place and time to ask Jodie about his request. Richard had to choose.

Next Chapter >
(For the chapter list, visit here.)

____________________________________________________________________________________________

The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2015 by Jeyna Grace.
All rights reserved. No part of the series may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from Jeyna Grace.

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2015 in Original Works

 

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Chapter 35: An Outsider Again

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Blue number twenty-one halted at the bus stop. Knowing he had to wait a while before another blue twenty-one would arrive, he said, “My bus is here. See you tomorrow.”

He really wanted to go home. Working for Matthias was harder than working in his ex-company. The pay was more, but so was the work. Still, Zach was not in a position to complain. Hoping to catch the bus, Zach was ready to break into a jog when Guinevere grabbed his wrist.

“Wait,” she said.

Zach wanted to insist, but the bus was quick to decide he was not worth the wait.

“Looks like you need to catch the next one,” Guinevere simply said.

Heaving a silent sigh, the question of what Guinevere wanted was at the tip of his tongue. But before he could voice it, he spotted Wayne heading toward them.

“Gwen? What’s the matter?” Wayne called out.

“Finally! Zach here is really busy. It’s hard getting him, you know,” Guinevere replied.

Having no clue what was going on, Zach gave Guinevere a questioning look.

“Hi, I’m Wayne. Zach, is it?” Wayne immediately stretched his hand out for a shake.

Playing along, Zach took the handshake and answered, “Yes, I’m…”

He had no idea how to finish his sentence. What was he to say?

“He’s going to be in-charge of the food at our wedding. The chef we have now is giving me some problems. You don’t mind, do you?” Guinevere quickly said.

Completely bewildered, he was not sure on how to respond. It was obvious Guinevere was making up a story. For whatever reason, he didn’t want to be a part of it. Unfortunately, there was no way he could escape.

“I don’t mind. Is that all?” Wayne said.

“Hold on. I need to make a call,” Guinevere replied and walked away.

Where was she going? It seemed like she wanted to drag it out. Zach was certainly not up for it. He wanted to stop playing pretend.

“So, you’re a chef?” Wayne asked.

“Well,” Zach paused and took a quick glance at Guinevere. She was not lying when she said she needed to make a call. “I like food.”

Wayne nodded with a chuckle. “If you need to confirm anything, just do so with Gwen. I’m fine with whatever you put on my plate.”

“Yea, sure. I’ll do that.”

“Great. I’m actually meeting a friend, so I’ll excuse myself.”

“OK. It was nice meeting you.”

“You too,” Wayne said with a smile. He did not wait for Guinevere to get off the phone as he headed back toward the building.

When Guinevere finally ended the call, she turned to Zach with a wide grin.

“What was that all about?” Zach immediately asked.

“Oh, nothing. I’ll handle the food thing. You can just show up and take credit for it.”

“I don’t want to do that,” Zach stated.

“Just play along. If not for me, do it for Jodie.”

“What does Jodie have to do with this?”

“She’s helping Richard, I’m helping them. It’s complicated.”

No matter how complicated the situation was, he wanted to know. The three of them being tangled sounded improbable.

“Tell me,” Zach said, challenging what he thought to be fiction.

“Nah. It’s very messy. By the way, do you like Jodie? You’re always doing things for her,” Guinevere tactlessly changed the topic.

“What?”

For a brief second, Zach forgot the main reason why he was still talking to her. Her question was so unexpected that it caught him off guard.

“Please, it’s so obvious,” Guinevere added.

“Stop.”

“I knew it. You do!”

“What? No,” Zach immediately replied.

“You’re blushing,” Guinevere teased.

“I’ll pretend tonight did not happen. Goodbye,” Zach said and stalked off.

He was not going to put up with her any longer. He wanted to go home and sleep it off. Unfortunately for him, it was almost impossible to forget Guinevere’s words. If he was being completely honest, he was actually not sure how he felt. The uncertainty was enough to keep him awake.

The following morning, Zach received a text message from Ms Leona. She told him to be at the poolside after lunch. As he made his way to Skypeak, he took his mind off last night’s incident and wondered what the next task would be. When he finally arrived at the poolside, he spotted Richard lounging on a pool chair and Matthias taking shade under a large umbrella.

“It looks like the ladies are late today,” Richard said, when he saw Zach.

Having spotted a notice about the pool being closed for the day, it was no surprise that he found no other clubhouse member in sight.

“It’s very unlike Jodie to be late,” Richard added.

“Wow, you sure do know her well,” Matthias said.

“We’re best friends now. You know that.”

Matthias chuckled and shook his head. He then walked to the opposite side of the pool and took a seat. Zach could not help but dwell on the exchange between the two of them. It seemed as though they knew something he didn’t. In fact, he felt like the only one being left out. What did the four know that suddenly made them friends?

Curious, Zach wanted to find out. He was not usually a busybody, but Jodie was seemingly involved it in. Perhaps Guinevere was right. But whatever the truth was, he wanted to be up to date first. Since neither of the ladies were present, it was either Richard or Matthias. And Zach had to choose.

Next Chapter >
(For the chapter list, visit here.)

____________________________________________________________________________________________

The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2015 by Jeyna Grace.
All rights reserved. No part of the series may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from Jeyna Grace.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on July 2, 2015 in Original Works

 

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Chapter 34: Lie To Me

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On Tuesday morning, she received a strange call. On Wednesday noon, she found herself in a café. Guinevere never thought such a day would come, she never thought she would agree to it either. But she was curious as to why one of her least favourite people would want to meet her. All Jodie said was, “It’s not about me or you, it’s about someone we know.” And without hesitation, Guinevere said ‘yes’.

Guinevere contemplated that morning, on whether to be early, on time, or late. It was such a meaningless decision, but she could not help herself. She and Jodie had a mutual dislike for each other, and it resulted in her consciously wanting to protect her pride. Even if Jodie couldn’t be bothered with it, she was. In the end, she decided to be late.

When Guinevere entered the café, she found Jodie seated at the far corner. Stalking with her head up high, she waved for a waitress to follow as she headed to the table. Once seated, she ordered a salad and a cup of green tea.

“On a diet?” Jodie asked.

“For the wedding,” Guinevere replied. “Have you ordered?”

Jodie nodded and tapped on the tall glass of iced coffee on the table.

“What’s your reason?” Guinevere asked.

“I’m not on a diet,” Jodie stated.

Guinevere did not reply. Her pride had taken a hit. The conversation also started off cold and awkward, and she knew it would not warm up any time soon.

“Thanks for coming,” Jodie said.

“Well, you said it’s about someone we know.”

“Yes.”

“Are you going to tell me who?”

“This might seem strange, but…” Jodie paused. Guinevere noticed her hesitation, which made her even more eager to find out. Somehow, she knew Jodie hated their conversation more than she did.

“But?” Guinevere prompted.

“But I need your help with Richard.”

“What do you mean?” A series of inaudible questions continued on in Guinevere’s head. Where was Jodie coming from? Why her out of everyone Jodie knew? Heck, why Richard?

“Richard came to me and asked me for help. He needs some information from Wayne.”

Guinevere narrowed her eyes and asked, “Does this have anything to do with Richard’s family?”

Jodie nodded.

“Oh, so you know,” Guinevere said. She never expected Jodie to help someone like Richard. It was beyond her character, or at least, the character Guinevere concluded on.

“And so do you?” Jodie asked.

“Yes, of course. I’m guessing he wants to know what Wayne was doing with his father?”

“Yes.”

“You want me to ask Wayne? You know that’s-”

“No,” Jodie interrupted. “We both know him well enough to know that wouldn’t work. I just need your help to distract him while I retrieve the information.”

“How would you know where to find it?”

“He writes a journal on all his cases, and he keeps that journal in a safe in his office.”

Guinevere could not believe her ears, not because she was surprised that Wayne did such a thing, but because Jodie knew about something she didn’t. Wayne never once mentioned about a journal, and she was not happy about that.

Hiding her childish jealousy, she asked, “How are you going to access the safe?”

“I have an idea on what his password might be,” Jodie answered.

Immediately, Guinevere found herself struggling to tame the green-eyed monster within her.

“Will you help me?” Jodie asked.

This time, she hesitated to agree. Aside from the growing dislike she had for Jodie, who obviously knew Wayne better than she did, she was not sure if it was worth risking her relationship.

“You really have nothing to lose,” Jodie added.

“You might be right. But I’ll think about it,” Guinevere stated.

She ended the conversation there. She called for the kitchen to pack up her lunch, and left the café without another word. But that night, she surprised herself when she sent Jodie a one-word message: OK.

Guinevere agreed she had nothing to lose, and she wanted to help Richard. He was having a tough time and she felt sorry for him. She and Richard were probably more alike than Jodie. And if there was one thing she could be proud of that day, it would be that she understood the heartache of being be born with a silver spoon.

On Friday night, Jodie and Guinevere met outside of Wayne’s bank. The plan was for Jodie to meet up with Wayne, then have Guinevere call Wayne out of the building to buy Jodie some time. Ten minutes after Jodie had gone to meet with him, Guinevere got into action. It took a lot of pleading, but she managed to convince Wayne she had something urgent to tell him.

As she waited under the starless sky, pacing up and down by the side of her car, she saw a familiar face. He was walking by the side of the road, heading toward the bus stop. Hurrying to him, she asked, “Going home from work?”

Zach stopped in his tracks and turned to her direction.

“Oh, hi. Yes,” he simply replied.

“Were you told about tomorrow’s task?”

“No. I guess Ms Leona will inform us tomorrow itself.”

“I guess so.”

Guinevere was about to let Zach go, when she heard Wayne calling to her. In that split second, she felt a wave of panic. She never really thought of a good excuse as to why she called him out. Guinevere said it was urgent, but there was nothing urgent she could lie about.

Her mind was mostly blank, except for two words: wedding and Zach. How was she going to pull those two together? Did she really want to bring Zach into it? She knew that if she gave Wayne a lame excuse, he would find it strange and start questioning her. He might even end the conversation and return to his office. The options were limited. Guinevere had to choose.

Next Chapter >
(For the chapter list, visit here.)

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The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2015 by Jeyna Grace.
All rights reserved. No part of the series may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from Jeyna Grace.
 
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Posted by on June 25, 2015 in Original Works

 

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Dr. Slubgob’s Letters

Slubgob

The fireplace crackled softly in his quiet mahogany themed office. He had just returned from a class graduation ceremony and he was too lazy to move from his chair behind the desk, even if he was starting to get a chill from the lack of heat in the room.

He often blamed his age for his inability to stay on his feet for long hours, but it was simply a lame excuse. The fact was, Slubgob had grown to be rather sluggish after his retirement and it was not a trait to be celebrated, unlike his apathetic personality. Nobody could blame him though, for he had nothing else better to do these days. He was filled with head knowledge and the lack of fieldwork left him reading old dusty books to kill time.

Having surrounded himself only with books, Slubgob was rather surprised when he received the invitation to the graduation at Tempters’ Training College for Young Demons. He actually thought the invite was out of respect. But when he found his seat three rows from the stage, among the bored, agitated and noisy parents, Slubgob knew he was there to be made fun of. Makallous, the newly appointed principle, had invited him just so he could whisper among his fellow subordinates of how the ‘old one’ had finally left his glory days to rot in an office.

When Slubgob realised the childish plot, he decided to keep his ego and remained seated throughout the ceremony. He didn’t want to give Makallous anymore joy in seeing him leave.

Joy, what do any of us know about joy, Slubgob thought.

Finally finding himself so close to a sneeze, Slubgob hurried to the fireplace and added more wood. The temperature was fluctuating these days and Slubgob could only suspect more victories from the enemy. He hoped their father below had not suspected the change, for if he did, they would all be in trouble. Though none of them would end up taking a beating as bad as Makallous.

The imagery of Makallous being punished made Slubgob smile. Why would Slubgob be in trouble when he did nothing, nothing at all?

This sedentary lifestyle isn’t so bad after all, Slubgob concluded silently, returning to his desk.

As he reclined in his chair, ready to catch a shuteye, he noticed a letter sitting on top of his stack of reread books. Scribbled on the brown envelope was his name and when he turned it over, he saw no seal or name of whom it was from.

Slowly taking out the letter, oddly finding himself not at all interested at what it had to say, Slubgob found himself staring down at three words, so poorly written that he started to wonder if he now needed glasses.

“Please help him,” Slubgob read aloud, after a few attempts of trying to piece the alphabets together. Signed beneath the three-word letter was an initial, one he recognised all too well.

That would explain the bad handwriting, Slubgob thought.

Bledbrush was a very old friend who fell from grace. He lost both his hands after he failed a special assignment that was personally handed to him by their father below.

Perhaps he wrote the letter with his feet. The sudden flashes from his rusty imagination made Slubgob laugh.

“Oh Bledbrush, this is your job,” Slubgob said with a sigh. Slubgob did not need to guess whom the letter was referring to as he began thinking about his godson.

Bledbrush had a son named Vilefire. Vilefire was part of the graduating class that morning, and at the memory, Slubgob recalled not seeing Bledbrush among the group of parents.

Where was Bledbrush? Was he in trouble?

Bledbrush used to be a good friend, until he messed things up. The community was kind enough to accept his son, but Bledbrush was no longer welcomed at family barbeques or invited to any festive celebrations. He went from the number one Tempter to the number one outcast, and in Slubgob’s honest opinion, he deserved it.

Bledbrush was to lead his patient away from the enemy, but instead, he lost him to the enemy. That patient ended up leading an entire generation in the enemy’s ways, wasting all efforts and destroying all future chances of winning any of them back.

Pitiful… Pitiful Bledbrush. Should I help him? Slubgob asked himself.

With such a father, Vilefire had no choice but to fend for himself. Forced to make up for his father’s abhorrent reputation, the boy could definitely use Slubgob’s help.

“That’s a poor way of asking for a favour, Bledbrush. The enemy forbid, your manners are appalling. But… I’ll help you anyway,” Slubgob said, as though speaking to someone across his desk.

Just as he had decided on that, a knock came from his office door.

“What is it Mrs Gregious?” Slubgob asked, slightly annoyed at the disturbance. His caretaker knew better than to disturb him at any time of the day.

“I have a letter for you, sir,” Mrs Gregious said, as she opened the door and hurried to his desk to hand him the letter.

“Another one?” Slubgob was surprised at the amount of attention he was getting that day.

Mrs Gregious nodded and left without saying another word.

Not hesitating, Slubgob tore the letter open and read.

Dr. Slubgob,

This is to inform you of the disappearance of former Tempter Bledbrush.

If you have any information on his whereabouts, you are to report immediately.

Demons who withhold information will not be spared.

Signed,

Dartloath

(Captain of the H. G Security)

“Ah. Well done Bledbrush, you angered our father below. You should think twice about making it a hobby,” Slubgob said, as he shook his head in disappointment.

That explained the letter from Bledbrush, and Slubgob was glad that Bledbrush’s letter was just that. Anything more would get him in trouble.

Contemplating on what to do next, he decided to give Dartloath a call. If Mrs Gregious decided to speak about the mysterious letter he received earlier, he would not be able to have a day without the Hell’s Ground Security knocking on his door. So, he decided to come clean.

That night, Slubgob invited Dartloath over for dinner. Dartloath was not as old as he was, but the towering demon was well into his age. He also had a scar on his right eye, making it the eye no one dared to look into.

“Doctor, I know you are one with little friends and surely I am not one of them. What is the reason for this dinner?” Dartloath said, just as he emptied his glass of wine.

“You have enjoyed my food and now you fear not in jumping into questions and reasons. I respect the thickness of your skull, Dartloath.”

“I waste no time. I am a busy one.”

“Of course. Well, earlier today I received a letter from Bledbrush, he-”

“Does it say where he is?”

“No. He simply asked me to look after his son, who happens to be my godson. But, I think I do know where he is.”

“You do?”

“Yes.”

“What are you waiting for? An invitation to dinner at my house instead?” Dartloath did not like waiting, it seemed.

“Tell me this first, what are you planning to do with Vilefire?” Slubgob replied, as he took another bite at his red meat.

“We’re keeping him under surveillance. Bledbrush might attempt to contact him and vice versa. We-”

“Now, tell me what Bledbrush did that made him run,” Slubgob interrupted, completely ignoring the steam that was rising from Dartloath’s head. Literally.

“It’s confidential. Our father below gave orders not to disclose any information on Bledbrush’s offense.”

“How interesting.”

“So, where is he?” Dartloath snapped.

“Well, since Bledbrush is not down here, he must be up there, frolicking with our fellow patients,” Slubgob replied with a smile.

“Do you think this is funny, old one?”

“No. I’ve simply told you all I know. Now if you would excuse me-”

“Where’s the letter from Bledbrush? I want to see it,” Dartloath interrupted him this time.

“You won’t be able to read it. He writes with his toes now that he has no hands,” Slubgob casually replied as he got up from his seat. “Just take my word for it. I called you here, didn’t I?”

“I’m not sure what your reason is for such an invite. You know, it is true what they say, a lonely, bored old one is what you are,” Dartloath replied without hiding his spite. As he stood up, he tugged his suit and left without even thanking Slubgob for the delicious meal.

Not taking any offense, Slubgob returned to his office and decided to write a letter to Vilefire. With a mystery as such, he foresaw less idle days in his office and it excited him. Slubgob could also put his knowledge to the test and do a real field task at last. If it got him in trouble, he could always pretend to be senile.

Pulling out his favourite fountain pen from his desk’s drawer, Slubgob stared briefly at the flickering shadows that dominated his office before he began to write.

Dear Vilefire,

You are probably wondering why I am writing to you. To be honest, your father sent me a letter asking me to help you. I suspect it could mean to help you in your new assignment, but it could also be a plea to keep you from harm’s way, now that he has fallen from grace again.

I know I have not been a very good godfather to you, but I am not one to build relationships. As you might have heard from your lecturers in college, or even your fellow classmates, I am as unfriendly as an alligator and as cold as a snake.

Oddly, I find myself writing a letter to you, hoping to do your father one last favour. He was once a good friend and a good Tempter, and you would do well not to forget that.

Of course, I will not barge my way into your mediocre life, but if you would like my assistance, I am sure to have more head knowledge than anyone you have met.

Write back to me once you have decided. There is no rush, only the time wasted to do great things for our father below.

Your willing Godfather,

Dr. Slubgob

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You have just read Chapter 1 of Dr. Slubgob’s Letters. Want more? Grab the entire novella HERE!

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2015 in Book Teasers

 

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