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Chapter 44: Losing Is Winning

clubhouse44It was strange to be having a meal with Jodie. But Guinevere kept her thoughts to herself, as it was Wayne’s dinner party. Besides, she didn’t dislike Jodie as much as she used to. So there really was no harm being a little friendly.

When dinner was over, everyone moved to the living room. Guinevere was hoping to gossip with Felicia over some wine. But before she could join the rest, Jodie pulled her back.

“We need to talk,” Jodie said.

“We do?” Guinevere asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Yes.”

Jodie gestured toward the hallway and Guinevere reluctantly followed. When the chattering of their friends was out of earshot, Jodie said, “I’ll get straight to the point. Why do you want to win Skypeak?”

The question was odd. So Guinevere asked in reply, “Why would I not want to win Skypeak?”

“That’s not the correct answer.”

“Oh, so now I have to give you one?”

Yes, they weren’t friends, but Guinevere thought they were growing more tolerant of each other. Jodie’s questioning was taking their relationship backward.

“Yes. This is more than a game, Guinevere. I’m curious if you’re really serious about winning. Are you faking it or are you really trying?”

Guinevere chuckled and shook her head in disbelief. Who was Jodie to judge her?

“From my point of view, you don’t need to win Skypeak. You have everything. So why bother unless for show?” Jodie added.

“For show? Do you think my life is a show?”

Guinevere was trying very hard not to raise her voice. She attempted to laugh off her growing anger but it wasn’t working.

“You seem angry,” Jodie calmly stated.

“Oh, no, I’m in a jolly mood.”

She had no idea what was wrong with Jodie. Why on earth was she suddenly picking on her?

“So you know nothing about the challenge being rigged?” Jodie asked.

“What are you talking about? Are you drunk already?”

Jodie did not respond immediately. She simply stared at her for a few seconds, as though deciphering her expression, before saying, “Thank God. I would’ve seek revenge if you did.”

The words that Jodie spoke made no sense and her anger was quickly replaced with confusion. When she wanted to ask for clarification, Jodie willingly explained.

“Zach said not to tell you, but from the look on your face, you’re most probably innocent.”

“Thank you?” Guinevere replied.

“The Skypeak challenge is rigged, just so you know. You’re not going to win, no matter how hard you try.”

“What? You’re talking rubbish.”

“Ask your family. I’m sure they know what’s going on. And when you find out the truth, consider sharing it. Our lives aren’t shows either.”

Jodie left the conversation there and strode off. Guinevere stood frozen in place, digesting everything Jodie had told her. Was it true that the challenge was set up? How was her family involved in it? Her parents would not standby and watch her degrade herself for a game she could not win, would they?

When the night ended, she headed home and went straight to her father’s reading room. He was a busy man, so he rarely went to bed early. That day, she found him with his reading glasses and a file on his lap.

“Guinevere,” he greeted, without lifting his eyes to meet hers.

“Father. I don’t mean to bother you, but I need to ask you something.”

“Sit.”

She placed herself in the armchair across his, and waited for him to move the file away. The moment he took off his reading glasses, she asked, “Is the Skypeak challenge rigged?”

Her father responded by merely clearing his throat. He was a man of many words, but few left his lips that night.

“Has a winner already been chosen?” Guinevere continued. “Why didn’t you tell me? I’ve been trying-”

“We all have a role to play.”

“What do you mean?”

“You don’t have to try so hard. Your inheritance is my company, not the clubhouse.”

He was clever with his answers. Even though they weren’t ‘yes’ or ‘no’, Guinevere knew what he was implying. The revelation made her lost for words, and they sat silently as the ticking of the wall clock grew louder. Finally, when silence had gone on for too long, her father cleared his throat once more and said, “There’s something you need to do. Since you know, I might as well tell you now.”

“Tell me what?”

“You’ll have to file for divorce after the wedding.”

Guinevere’s instinct convinced her she heard him wrong. She tilted her head sideways and gave him a bewildered look. That day, she was wearing her emotions on her sleeves.

“This is part of the plan,” he said.

“What plan? Why must I divorce Wayne? You don’t like him?”

She could not understand what her father wanted her to do. Did he really ask her to leave the man she tried so hard to win? If not for the chase that stripped her of her pride, Guinevere genuinely liked Wayne. He was a good man.

“You must in order for our family to survive.”

“How does divorcing him save us?” Guinevere needed to know, so she could convince her father otherwise.

“The bank needs a new CEO. Wayne needs to be removed in order for us to work with them.”

“How will our divorce affect his status?”

“Use your imagination, child.”

“I don’t want to imagine. This is not fair. I really like Wayne.”

“I’m afraid you’ll have to stop liking him,” her father replied as he got to his feet. “I’m tired. We’ll talk more in the morning.”

He did not wait for her to reply as he exited the reading room. Guinevere was left alone again, with another revelation. She knew her family played dirty from time to time, but they never used her to get the job done. With so many secrets, what else was her father hiding from her?

Guinevere wanted to demand for answers, but her mind shifted from her own fate to Wayne’s. As much as she wanted to use her imagination, she could not. There were plenty of ways to topple a leader, but why must she be involved? At that question, she thought of Matthias. He probably knew of more schemes than she did. After all, he worked with people like her father. She could consult him, but was it worth sharing her family’s secret with him? 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.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2015 in Original Works

 

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Chapter 43: A New Game Of Chess

clubhouse43

Jodie had met Zach at the gym a couple of times. The last time they spoke while running on the treadmill, he told her he was ending his membership. Without a job, he could not afford to pay for it any longer. When she saw him walking in that Wednesday evening, it was both expected and unexpected. After all, he was now working for Matthias.

“I thought you said…” Jodie trailed off.

“Yea. I decided not to terminate my membership,” Zach answered.

“That’s good. Not a lot of work today?”

Zach always came in after dinner. He was early that day.

“I took half the day off. I had to collect my new Skypeak card.”

“Oh, right.”

Zach nodded and folded his lips. He looked like he had something else to say, but he seemed to be contemplating his words. Jodie wanted to prompt him, but before she could, he made up his mind.

Leaning in, he said, “I need to tell you something.”

“What is it?”

He gestured to a booth by the juice bar and took the lead. Once they were both seated, Zach whispered, “I overheard a conversation at the clubhouse.”

“What about the conversation?”

“I didn’t get a look at the ladies that were conversing, but I heard them loud and clear.”

“OK. What were they saying?”

“Well…”

Jodie knew where he was going, and her guess was right. Zach told her everything he heard by the poolside. But by the end of the storytelling session, she didn’t know what to say. Learning that the entire challenge was rigged did not bother her as much as discovering that she’d been set up. It was worrying to think of the scheme that affected Zach, but it was infuriating to know someone got her into her current state.

“They said Guinevere’s family is a part of this?” Jodie asked for confirmation.

“Yes. I’m not sure if she knows though.”

Whether Guinevere knew about it or not, Jodie wanted to find out. She wanted to suggest adding Guinevere into the loop, but Zach had read her mind this time.

“We cannot tell Guinevere,” Zach stated.

“Why not? She might know something.”

“If she does know something, then whoever is behind the plan would know that we know. We can’t risk that.”

Zach made a good point. Jodie didn’t want to admit it, but she was thinking of herself that entire time. The lawsuit could ruin her and it was only natural to solve her problems first. But her conscience pricked her. Shifting gears, she turned to the possibility that Zach might be in hotter water.

“How about Matthias? He has contacts. If he knows we’re being set up, he might be able to help us.”

“That’s true.”

“Though, I still think Guinevere could help,” Jodie said, this time from the view point of Zach’s predicament. “I don’t think she knows about the challenge being rigged.”

“You sure?”

“Quite sure. If she did, why would she bother putting up with each task? She wouldn’t play a game if she knew she was going to lose.”

“I don’t know,” Zach simply replied with a shrug.

“Let me find out.”

Zach did not say anything. She wanted to assure him that they’ll work things out, but she knew it would be a lie. When playing with the big boys, you lose more than you win. It was a good thing Zach discovered about it when they still had another month to go. It should be enough time to find a trump card. And if there weren’t any, they could use that time to play defense. But whatever the plan was, it would be better to concoct with more brains.

After they parted ways, Jodie returned home to find Matthias and Piper still in conversation. She had left them discussing about Piper’s testimony in court, but now found them chatting about something completely different. Deciding to let them be, she headed to her room. The silence helped her think better.

Jodie first thought about Guinevere. In the past month, she had grown to tolerate her. She still thought Guinevere was after Wayne’s money, but she could not help but wonder if Guinevere was also a pawn. There was a high probability that she was. From what she had heard, it seemed like all of them were. Coming from an upper class society did not automatically make Guinevere the queen of the chessboard.

Then she thought about Matthias. All along, he believed that the challenge was a game. And someone was watching and enjoying the show. He was right, except that he didn’t suspect that they were being used. If Jodie shared the information with him, Matthias might be able to pull all he knew together and come up with a solution.

The more heads the better, but too many cooks will spoil the broth. Jodie had two plans but she only had time for one. Either she dug a little deeper to find out if Guinevere knew something, or she told Matthias everything and used his brain to come up with a good plan. Jodie 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 August 27, 2015 in Original Works

 

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Chapter 42: Rigged

clubhouse42

Finally, he received the call. It had been a week since he last spoke to her. The lady on the line told Zach to visit the Customer Service Center to pick up his new card. They were extending his free one-month membership, since he needed access to Skypeak for the challenges. So that Wednesday, he took half the day off for that errand.

After having delivered a document for Matthias, he took a bus to the town neighbouring the clubhouse, and walked fifteen minutes to the front gate. The guard verified his temporary card and let him in. It was around midday, and a few shiny, branded cars rolled right past him. Each one of them hooted for him to walk closer to the curb. They obviously thought he worked there. Why would a member walk? It wouldn’t even surprise him if they filed a complaint about the staff that hogged one foot of the wide brick road. After all, it was only the ‘normal’ thing to do.

In the past month of being a member at Skypeak, Zach never found a moment where he fitted in. Despite the different classes among the members, they all seemed to belong. When Zach was given his new card with the extended expiry date, he wondered if it could change his status. If he won Skypeak, he would be able to roll in in his sleek red Ferrari and not one would hoot past him. But even if that was just a dream, he could still make use of his current membership – part of the perks was free drinks.

When Zach entered the poolside area, he found the bar and sat himself in front of the bartender. He ordered a Cuba Libre before recalling the exchange between his ex-colleagues last Sunday. Even though he stayed in the café to eavesdrop, the pair did not share any new information. Still, he gathered enough to know something was up. Just when he was about to mentally lay out all that he had heard, a group of noisy ladies walked across the pool and took seat at a poolside table. They shouted their orders to the bartender before continuing their conversation.

Zach would have ignored them, but they chattered at high decibels. He contemplated on leaving, but then he heard his name… again. A month ago, it was not a habit of his to listen in on people’s conversations. These days, it seemed like everyone was talking about him and he needed to know why. So, with his back against them, he halted his thoughts and listened.

“Who won last week?” one of the ladies asked.

“Zach, of course,” another replied.

“Did he do a good job?”

“He sure did,” a different lady answered.

“You’re on the Zach bandwagon too?”

“Obviously. Aren’t we all? It’s nice to see an underdog win.”

“Then lose.”

“Yes, that is quite unfortunate.”

“We shouldn’t be talking about this,” a new voice joined in.

“There’s no one here.”

Suddenly, all the ladies fell silent. There was indeed no one else there aside from Zach and the bartender. When he noticed the silence, Zach pulled out his phone and pretended to be texting. That was enough to convince them he wasn’t listening. They did, however, lower their voices as they continued.

“You sound like my husband.”

“We have to be careful. This could ruin the bigger plan,” that one lady insisted.

“Oh please. There’s no evidence. Us talking about the challenge won’t ruin the bigger plan. When Zach wins, no one would blink an eye.”

“Except for the press.”

They began to mutter and share their dislike for the press for a while. When they were finally done, one lady asked, “You know, I’m curious. Why did they choose Zach?”

“It’s easier with him. He’s a nobody.”

“Oh, did you hear? Zach wasn’t the first pick.”

“He wasn’t?”

“Then who was?”

“Jodie. But they seemed to have found another way to get to her.”

“Oh, right. The lawsuit.”

“I kind of wish Guinevere was chosen though. I loathe that woman.”

“What is it with you and her?”

“She doesn’t belong here.”

“But her family is part of the plan. They hold quite a lot of shares in Greengrass Global.”

“We all do.”

“Speak of the devil.”

Instinctively, Zach turned to look at the entrance. Entering the area was Guinevere. Not wanting to blow his cover, he got up and decided to leave. But just before he could slip out, Guinevere saw him and gave him a wave. He thought about returning it, but his legs were set on escaping. So, he ignored her and strode into the building. Little did he know, Guinevere hated being ignored.

In her yellow bikini, she followed after him and yelled, “Hey! Didn’t you see me waving?”

Zach turned a corner, safe from the sight of the group of ladies, and waited for Guinevere to catch up. The moment she did, he said, “Sorry.”

“That’s it?”

“Yea.”

“Why do you look so worried? I wasn’t going to eat you.”

“It’s nothing. I’m just in a hurry.”

“You looked free a moment ago. What’s up? Did those ladies talk about me? What did they say?”

“I don’t know. I wasn’t listening.”

“I’m sure you were. They were definitely talking about me. Hurry up and spill,” Guinevere demanded.

For a brief moment, he contemplated on telling Guinevere everything. She might have a different perspective to the information. Then again, the ladies did say that Guinevere’s family was involved. Maybe he should only entrust the information with Jodie. It was either he lied or spill the beans. 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 August 20, 2015 in Original Works

 

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Chapter 41: Open To Suggestions

clubhouse41

It wasn’t something he could store and look back. The information that he acquired was now a memory. Jodie gave him just enough time to read the snapshot of Wayne’s journal before she deleted it. It was barely half a page and there wasn’t much to digest – it was pretty straightforward.

Richard’s father changed his will to include Gabriel and to remove Richard from it. His father also transferred ten percent of the company’s shares to his brother. Should his father die, Gabriel and his mother would be in power of the law firm. With Richard’s measly three percent, he could attend shareholder meetings but hold no seat. It was safe to say he was done for.

After learning about his possible future, he had no idea what to do. He found himself seated on a park bench till the day ended its shift. The strangers around him were a blur, as the world continued to rotate without him. It was only at the sight of the very two people he hated that brought him back to earth.

Across the city park was the up-class shopping district. Exiting their family’s regular tailor shop, his mother stopped outside and adjusted Gabriel’s new suit. Richard watched as she beamed proudly and said what he assumed to be praises. It seemed his brother was being prepared to make an official appearance. Why else would he need such an attire?

The sight of the pair left a horrid taste in his mouth. He hated his mother for leaving him for his brother. He hated his brother for suddenly appearing and stealing his birth right. He hated that the two had a relationship he never got to experience.

Richard wanted to confront them just then, but he hesitated. He had a lot of questions he wanted to demand an answer for, but he didn’t know where to start. He needed suggestions. He needed a plan. Richard thought that if he knew what his father had done, he could finally move forward. Unfortunately, he remained lost. So instead of heading home, he returned to Matthias’ place.

It was a good thing Matthias wasn’t asleep yet. Richard knew he wouldn’t be too happy if he woke him up. The moment Matthias pulled the door open, he asked, “So, what did Jodie tell you?”

“She didn’t tell me, she showed me… the end of the world,” Richard replied.

“Did you lose your inheritance?”

“Yes. It’s not black and white, but I’ve been disowned,” Richard answered and let himself in.

“What do you plan on doing?”

“I don’t know. But don’t worry, I won’t stay here forever.” He managed a chuckle as he slumped onto the sofa.

“Want a suggestion?” Matthias offered.

“Sure.”

“Go home. And I’m not saying this because I want you out of here, I mean, I do, but it is also the best way to get answers.”

Richard didn’t know what to say. Was he going to admit that he was afraid? His family did not seem to care that he had not returned for days. Will they still welcome him?

“Think about it,” Matthias said, before retreating to his bedroom.

Alone again, Richard continued with his staring. His eyes were wide open, but his mind was blank. It was as though he was sleeping and awake at the same time. When the sun rose the next morning, he thought he was dreaming.

“You’re up early,” Matthias said, as he excited his bedroom. When Richard didn’t respond, he asked, “Did you even sleep?”

“I’m not sure,” Richard muttered.

“Have you thought about what I said?”

Richard shrugged in reply.

Matthias nodded and added, “When Zach arrives, send him to my room.”

“Sure.”

He had no idea what time it was and how many minutes ticked by before the doorbell rang. Dragging his feet to the door, he allowed Zach in and gestured to Matthias’ room. But just as Zach was heading toward it, Richard asked, “What would you do if your brother, that you never knew existed, came into your life and took everything from you?”

Zach turned to Richard and narrowed his eyebrows. It was a reaction he had expected. His question seemed a bit weird, especially when Zach knew nothing. Still, he wanted a second opinion. And maybe because of the way he worded his question, he received a different suggestion.

“What would you do?” Richard prompted, when Zach remained silent.

“I would talk to my brother.”

“Why?”

“Because without him, I would still have everything,” Zach answered.

“Thanks.”

“Is this the thing Jodie was helping you with?”

“Still curious, are you?” Richard managed a smirk.

“Never mind.”

“Thanks for the suggestion.”

“You’re welcome.”

Richard waved him to Matthias’ door before returning to the sofa. He now had two suggestions. Was it smarter to go with Matthias’ plan and return home? Should he ask his father to clear things up first? Or was it better to meet up with his brother instead? Will Gabriel be better at telling the truth? 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 August 13, 2015 in Original Works

 

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Celebrating (Almost) 7K With A Giveaway!

Thebattleforoz

This day has arrived. Never thought it ever would. I mean, 7,000 6,900 subscribers… who would imagine? Well, I have imagined, but I never thought I would reach it. A month or so ago, Big Bang had a concert in Malaysia. They had 15,000 attendees. 7,000 6,900 is less than half of 15,000, but the sight of half a stadium packed with people is still mind blowing. (No, I’m not a Big Bang fan. I didn’t attend the concert. But I think T.O.P is cute though.)

Anyway, that being said, I am just so honoured to have each and every one of you as my reader. I’m not sure how many of you are still reading my posts every week, but even if you don’t, you subscribing shows your support. Thank you for your support. It means a lot to me. Every single reader is a boost of morale. Thank you for being that one. Without you, it wouldn’t be 7,000 6,900. Thank you :)

So, to celebrate this awesome milestone, I have a special announcement to make.

As some of you might know, my latest novel, The Battle for Oz, will be out in September. It will be on bookshelves in the US and Canada. Some bookstores have already placed orders to have my book in stock. I’ll list them out in the near future. But that is not the special announcement today. As per the post title, there is a giveaway!

If you’re on Goodreads, there’s a Goodreads giveaway happening right now. 20 copies of the book will be freely given to those living in US and Canada! Click HERE to join the giveaway – it ends on September 15th.

Unfortunately, it’s not open to all the countries in the world. So perhaps I’ll throw my own giveaway in the future. That being said, if you would like to get your hands on The Battle for Oz, you can find it listed on many online bookstores worldwide. If you live in Asia, Open Trolley in Singapore has my book listed. You can also get it from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you want most of your money to be sent to me, you can buy it from Inkshares. I make the most profit from direct sales there. Inkshares also offers free shipping :) Win-win!

On a side note, if you are a game developer, music composer, filmmaker, visual effects expert, artist, jewellery maker,  or anyone along those professions, that would like to collaborate on expanding the world of The Battle for Oz, send me an email. Let’s create another win-win situation :)

Well, that’s all for this post. Thanks again for your readership! Do continue to stick around for more awesome adventures ahead. And have a great weekend!

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2015 in Others

 

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Chapter 40: A Game of Relay

clubhouse40

Jodie pulled into a parking lot the moment she got Zach’s text. It was a quick grab-and-go errand. She told Piper she would buy their lunch on the way back. They’d planned to stay in that Sunday, yet somehow she had a feeling that her plan would change.

Entering the coffee house, she spotted Zach staring blankly into space. When she finally stood before him, she had to wave her hands in front of his face to get his attention.

“Earth to Zach,” Jodie said.

Returning to reality, Zach replied, “Sorry.” He then reached into his pocket and pulled out the USB drive.

“What were you thinking about?” Jodie asked, as she took the drive from him.

“Nothing,” he simply replied.

“I doubt that,” Jodie said.

She took a seat and called a waitress over. After ordering two sandwiches to go, she asked again, “What were you thinking about?”

Zach was easier to read than the other contestants. Maybe because he seemed more open toward her. Jodie knew he was not residing in his ‘nothing box’ when she arrived. His eyes were focused – a clear indication that his mind was occupied.

“Nothing important,” Zach answered.

“Right. Well, if you do need to tell someone, I’m all ears.”

There was no point pushing Zach, so she left it as that. But Zach seemed to have a change of heart.

“I think there’s something going on behind the whole game,” Zach stated.

“Did Matthias get into your head?” Jodie asked with a chuckle. “You’ve been spending too much time with him.”

“He’s my boss,” Zach said with a shrug. “But seriously, I feel like it’s all a set up.”

“A set up for what?”

That I intend to find out. I don’t want to sound paranoid, but in the past few weeks, I feel like I was given a free pass for some of the challenges. And the strange thing is, the people involved know who I am.”

“Of course the people involved know who you are. How else can a challenge be executed?”

“These are Skypeak members. People who should not know about my existence, but are now well aware of my identity.”

“You think of yourself too lowly. It’s no surprise they know you. They probably envy you for the opportunity.”

Jodie did not know where Zach got the idea from, as it seemed unlikely that Matthias would be able to convince him of his theory. At the same time, Matthias had an intuition none of them possessed. Perhaps Zach was right. She didn’t want to discredit his thoughts right away.

“Maybe…” Zach trailed off.

“Maybe something is going on. I’ll try to see what I can find out. Just don’t jump into conclusion so quickly.”

“Thanks.”

The waitress returned to the table with Jodie’s packed order. She handed the waitress her credit card and told her to include Zach’s bill. Zach was quick to refuse the treat, but Jodie insisted. She didn’t give him time to argue and excused herself the moment the bill was paid.

On the way to her car, she contemplated further on Zach’s words. She’d never really given thought to any conspiracy theories surrounding the challenge. Having to deal with her upcoming case, she didn’t have the time to go on wild goose chases. Yet somehow, she knew that there was a possibility. And if there was a bigger plan at play, one of them was going to be a victim.

By the time she entered her car, she already had a mental checklist. Out of the five, Zach was the most likely. After all, he was the perfect candidate as a scapegoat. Still, she could not shake off the feeling that he would not be the only one. Just when she was about to expand her mental checklist, the abrupt knocking on her car window, along with the ring from her phone, startled her thoughts away.

Turning to the passenger side window, as she simultaneously reached for her phone, she saw Guinevere waving from outside. Her muffled voice said, “Let me in.”

Jodie hesitated and took a glance at her phone. Richard was calling and most probably about the information she had retrieved – no, stolen – from Wayne. Ignoring Guinevere for a brief moment, she answered the call.

“I know what you want,” Jodie simply said.

“Great, when can we meet?” Richard asked.

Before she could answer, Guinevere knocked on her window again.

“Hold on,” Jodie said to Richard.

Annoyed at how frequently she and Guinevere crossed paths, she winded down the window and asked, “What?”

Instead of a reply, Guinevere reached in and unlocked the door. She did not say a word, as she pulled the door open and took a seat.

“What are you doing?”

“Let’s go. You’re going to meet Richard, right?”

“Are you stalking me?” Jodie asked in disbelief.

Guinevere gave a false laughter. “Please, I have better things to do. I just happen to be here, that’s all.”

“Of course. What other reason is there?”

Jodie returned to the phone call, as she could hear Richard’s ‘you still there’ through the speaker. She decided to deal with Guinevere after.

“Sorry. Somebody hijacked me,” Jodie said.

“No worries. So, can we meet now? I don’t want to drag this out.”

“Sure, it’s just that…” Jodie trailed off.

Guinevere’s eyes were staring intently at her. There was no doubt that she knew who Jodie was speaking to. Was it wise to bring Guinevere along? Or was it better to chase her out? Jodie 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 August 6, 2015 in Original Works

 

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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.)

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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 July 30, 2015 in Original Works

 

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