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Dealing with Criticism

dealingwcriticism
Not-so-fun fact: No one can escape criticism.

Whether it is constructive, whether it is for our works, or whether it is based on what we believe in, we will always be judged. The question is: how do we deal with it?

Personally, I receive the most criticism in my written work. Freely putting my work out there has invited many opinions, and some of them aren’t very nice. So how do I deal with these not-so-nice words? My approach happens in 3 phases:

#1 Resentment

What do you know about writing? If it’s so easy, go write your own book. The plot sucks? Well, trying plotting your own novel. Wait, you’re not a writer? Ha! Haha! You talk big for someone without experience. Pfft!

I previously blogged in Does Blogging Help? on how blogging has helped me learn from and accept constructive criticism. But receiving criticism on the blogosphere from people who genuinely want to help me is different from receiving criticism from people who don’t.

When The Battle for Oz was published, advance copies were given in exchange for honest reviews, copies were placed in numerous bookstores for anyone to purchase, and free copies were thrown in giveaways. The more copies sold meant the more copies read. The more copies read meant the more reviews given. The more reviews given, the higher the chances of negative words to be written.

My response toward the first few negative reviews was outright resentment. I ranted and vented about them to my family. I posted passive-aggressive Facebook statuses. I went to bed angry. But the more I encountered such reviews, the number I grew toward them.

I’m not saying I’m resentment-free. I still internalise a sarcastic comeback toward said reviews, but I no longer rage over them. I believe it is normal to resent negative words. That’s what makes us human And that doesn’t mean we’re sour grapes. So if you need to deal with criticism with a little resentment, do so.

*Disclaimer: Please do not act on your emotion in a way you would regret. Do not verbally abuse a reviewer, and do not hunt them down and smash a bottle of wine on their head. As someone who is being watched (even by a few people), you want to live a life that inspires. Not a life that sets bad examples.


#2 Reasoning

Maybe you don’t like my book because it’s not what you usually read. Maybe you didn’t know this wasn’t an adult book. Maybe you just don’t get my writing style. Maybe you set too high of an expectation.

The second phase I go through after my ears stop steaming is reasoning. I try to find a reason why someone had something bad to say about my work. This phase is not about justifying the critique, but justifying my work itself. This is where I question whether my work is horrible or decent. And the only reason I reason… is to make myself feel better. But my response toward all the reasoning is crucial.

You see, when you start reasoning with criticism, you start asking the big questions in life: why do you do what you do? Are you good at it? Should you give up? Is this passion worth it?

How you answer these questions determine where you go from there. Your answers will either build a strong foundation in self-faith or torch your dreams to ashes. My own answers have only grown my passion for writing. I am not without self-doubt, but I choose to believe I’m more than a negative review. Reasoning reminds me why I’m doing what I’m doing. Reasoning helps me keep the end goal in mind.

#3 Realisation

Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has a right to an opinion. But I won’t let an opinion change my dreams, and I certainly won’t let an opinion change who I am.

Some days I reach this phase fairly quickly, some days it takes a while. But every time, I will come to realise that opinions do not have the power to tear me down or force me to change. Opinions are opinions, no matter how tactless they are. They are not a command or a law. They have no control over my life.

I can choose how I want to take a criticism. If it’s constructive, I learn from it. If it’s hateful, I use it to drive me toward my goal. I don’t write for the approval of men, I write for me.

Some people will tell you not to read reviews or critiques, because they are discouraging and they stir unwanted emotions. Personally, I encourage you to read and take negative reviews. You’ll learn to tame the monster within, you’ll discover more about yourself and your passion, and you’ll drive yourself to be better. There is always something positive to take out of negative circumstances. And dealing with criticism (not running from criticism) is one of them. When you come to this realisation, nothing can stand in your way.

So, there you have it: the phases I go through to deal with criticism. I’m not sure if this post is of any help, but if there’s one thing I’d like you to take away from this, is that you’re not alone. I face criticism – I have my own haters – but I choose not to give up and work toward becoming better. I hope you’ll face criticism the same way too.

Criticism has no power to alter your dreams. Only you have the power to do so.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2016 in Writing Journey

 

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Chapter 62: Secrets & Lies

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“I have a job for you.”

“Oh, now?”

It was the weekend. Didn’t Matthias promise not to bother him on the weekends – let alone this important weekend?

“Sorry, I don’t mean a job. More of like a task for today,” Matthias corrected himself.

“Like a task for today’s challenge or a task for work?”

“For today’s challenge.”

“Right. What do you need me to do?”

They’d met at the Japanese garden again. The sky was in an evening shade of orange, and the bustling for the shareholder’s dinner could be heard over the trickling stream. Whatever task it was, Zach didn’t have much time. In a couple of hours, guests would be rolling in in their fancy cars and suits, and he had to be sure the ballroom was ready for them.

“I need you to slip this…” Matthias paused, passing a small, black listening device to Zach. “Into this man’s jacket,” Matthias continued, showing Zach a picture as he did.

“He looks familiar.”

“He’s Mr Lee’s assistant. He might be leaving Skypeak soon, so you’ve got to hurry. I’ll tell you where he is once I get back to the van.”

Zach knew why he was chosen for the side mission. He was unimportant, and perfect to go unnoticed. However, why it needed to be done was a mystery – if the assistant was leaving Skypeak, there really was no need to bug him.

“You’re not telling me something,” Zach said.

“What do you mean?”

Matthias was a natural liar. Everything about him, at that moment, portrayed genuine confusion. But after having worked for him, Zach had developed a sixth sense for when things smelled a little fishy.

“The assistant is leaving Skypeak, so why do we need to bug him unless something else is happening outside of Skypeak.”

“Ah, well, it has something to do with Jodie’s case.”

“You’re off her case.”

“Well, yea. But Richard overheard something that might be Jodie’s get out of jail card. Where the assistant is heading might confirm our suspicion.”

“And what suspicion is that?”

“We really don’t have time. Plant the bug first and I’ll tell you later.”

Matthias gave Zach a hasty pat on the shoulder before jogging off. Grunting to himself, Zach returned to the clubhouse foyer. He wondered if he should do as he was told. After all, that was what he was good at. When he heard Matthias over his earpiece, he decided to just go with it.

“You’re in a great location. The assistant will be down shortly. A little bump will do the trick.”

“Easy for you to say.”

“His lift is arriving.”

There was a click in his earpiece. Then, the lift went ding. Zach turned and strode in its direction. Once the assistant was in sight, he stopped and pretended to reach for his phone. A millisecond after the man brushed past him, Zach jerked his hand out of his pocket, elbowing the assistant in the arm.

The intentional jab sent the assistant stumbling off course. Zach reached for him, dropped the hearing device into the man’s jacket, and asked, “I’m sorry. Are you alright?”

“Yes, I’m fine,” the assistant replied. He gave Zach a look, as though he’d recognised him, before excusing himself.

Zach watched as the assistant exited the foyer and hopped into a tinted, black sedan. Why he was leaving without Mr Lee made Zach all the more curious.

“Did you do it?” Matthias asked.

“Yea.”

“Great. Come to the van and I’ll fill you in.”

Trying to look like he wasn’t just talking to himself, Zach casually slipped down a hallway. Then wondering if the information was worth the hurry, he took a shortcut and ran right into Jodie.

“Oh, sorry.”

“What was that?” Jodie asked.

“Sorry, I really didn’t see you.”

“No, I mean, you elbowed that man on purpose,” Jodie stated, so confidently as though she was the mastermind behind it.

“I… well… it was that obvious?” Zach asked. He wasn’t sure if he should say anything. He wasn’t sure if he should even mention he was doing it for her.

“From where I’m standing, yes,” Jodie replied. “What are you up to?”

“I’m not sure…”

“We have enough secrets as it is. If it concerns any one of us, I should know.”

Jodie was right. Secrets, lies, and deception made the foundation of this game. Setting up more secrets in the attempts of revealing the truth didn’t seem logical. Zach was about to tell Jodie everything, when he heard his name being hollered down the hallway. The familiar sing-song voice and clicking of the heels made both him and Jodie sigh in unison.

“I need your help, Zach. Can you lend me a hand?” Guinevere asked, as she joined them.

“I’ll be with you shortly, I just-”

“Matthias is by the kitchen too,” Guinevere interrupted. “He said he has something to tell you?”

Guinevere gave him an overly friendly, never-before-seen grin, which only meant she was there to rescue him.

“Tell him what?” Jodie asked.

Guinevere simply shrugged in response.

Zach had a choice then: he could either follow Guinevere and learn of the secret first, or he could tell Jodie what he was up to. Either way, the clock was ticking and time was of the essence. Zach had to choose.

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

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The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2016 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 May 19, 2016 in Original Works

 

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Crumpet | Tuba | Aspirin

crumpettubaaspirin

At the age of five, I was obsessed with crumpets. It’s spongy texture, covered with bubble holes, and slathered with butter and syrup, filled my little heart with delight. Whenever I get a waft of it in the air, I’d squeal like my sister at the pony fair. It’s insane, thinking about it now. Every day during my obsession, I begged my mother to make me crumpets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was a craving I couldn’t ignore. Thankfully, my mother gave in… but only on Sundays.

While the rest of the family had proper meals, she made me crumpets all day long. Sundays became Crumpet Days, and she kept at it until my obsession ended a year later. I’m not too sure how healthy it was for a child to be consuming 52 Sundays worth of crumpets, but because I did, crumpets became my childhood icon. It wasn’t Tic Tacs, sugar sprinkled buttered toast, Voodoo Jelly, or hot cocoa on a rainy day… it was crumpets.

And crumpets wasn’t the end.

At the age of fifteen, I joined the school band. My sister warned me that being in the school band would be tough. She forgot to mention why. You see, when I was growing up, school bands weren’t a thing. Back then, school bands didn’t make it on YouTube or went viral for their choreographed marching. Nobody cared for the school band – nobody but me.

The first thing I did, at the start of the school year, was beg my parents to buy me a tuba. Of all the instruments I could’ve wanted, I chose the tuba. I know, a strange choice. When I got to school, the music teacher was thrilled to have me. It seems I was the only tuba player around. Just like my father said, “Tubas aren’t popular. How about a trumpet instead?” Well, it was a good thing my mother convinced him otherwise. What would the school band do with five trumpets and two drums?

My tuba days lasted until I graduated secondary school. During the first year, my parents attended Sports Day just to watch me march the field and huff into the heavy brass. My sister was forced to come along for moral support, but all she did was pout. That was the first and last time my whole family came out to cheer me on. In the following years, it was only my mother who showed up. She was proud and she wanted to scream my name, no matter how embarrassing it got. My father, on the other hand, gave up in convincing me to join the sports team. I’m guessing he and my sister slept in on two years of my embarrassing life.

The people in black chuckled. I chuckled along. With a thin smile, I continued on.

When I began my university years, my parents were the proudest they could be. I was thrilled too, to have beaten my sister with more A’s, and to be able to finally live my own life. I was a free bird. Kind of. During my final year, things got a little tough. I wasn’t in a healthy relationship, my lecturers were giving me a hard time, and I couldn’t stay focus long enough to prepare for my finals. Because of the stress, I developed a migraine. It was the throbbing kind that lingered throughout the day. It wasn’t splitting my skull or pushing my eyes out of their sockets, but it was there, annoyingly thumping the back of my head. I tried all kinds of painkillers to fix myself. But when they all failed, I ranted about it to my sister. A week after that, I received some aspirin in the mail.

I learned one thing that day: you shouldn’t tell your sister everything. With the aspirin came a note from my mother asking me to give that particular brand a shot. She said it always worked for her. As though her words were some kind of incantation, I popped two tablets and the migraine left… for good. It was then I realised something.

I heard a sniffle. I hadn’t even read the heart-wrenching part, and there was already a sniffle. It only made it harder for me to go on. Inevitably, my throat tightened and my chest began to ache. When I turned to look at my father, he gave a firm nod for me to go on. So I did.

I realised the power of a mother.

There was nothing special about the crumpets I craved as a child. There were no drugs in them. The only secret ingredient was my mother’s love. And to be honest, I wasn’t a good tuba player. But my mother never stopped encouraging me no matter how terrible I was. As for the aspirins she sent, they weren’t any more powerful than the ones I bought myself. Subconsciously, my body trusted her words and healed itself.

A mother is special because there’s power in everything she does. And that power, which she uses to guide, nurture, and protect, comes from an unfathomable love. I cannot comprehend this love – maybe my sister can – but I surely cannot. All I can do is remember.

Turning to the open casket behind me, I took a deep breath and gazed upon the woman who gave her all. I was blessed to have her in my life. She was always there, waiting to come to my aid. Now, I’ll just have to live on my own. If this is what a free bird feels like, I should’ve never grown up.

“I love you, mum,” I said. “I’ve never said it before, I know, and I’m sorry. But if it counts for something, I’ve always remembered. And I’ll continue to remember your undying love for the rest of my life.”

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Crumpet, tuba, and aspirin were words given by LionAroundWriting. On a regular day, these words would’ve been a challenge to make up a story. Thankfully, it was just Mother’s Day. So in the spirit of honouring mothers everywhere, and also remembering my own mother’s unfathomable love, I’ve decided to write this piece. Hopefully, you liked it.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. It could be about anything or it could be themed for Mother’s Day too. It’s completely up to you. Just write however these words inspire and be sure to link your work in the comment section below.

Happy belated Mother’s Day to all! And happy writing to you too.

*To download the banner, left-click then right-click to save.

3 Words, 1 Story © 2016 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2016 in Original Works

 

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Chapter 61: Follow or Furrow

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Redemption. Self-redemption of a crime only he knew he committed – Matthias saw it as that.

“What do you mean?” Matthias asked. He needed to be sure he wasn’t assuming wrongly.

“I mean he’s not dead. That is if we’re talking about the same Cortezs, which I have a gut feeling we are.”

“Let’s not go with gut feelings.”

Matthias pulled out his phone and did a quick Internet search. It wasn’t difficult finding the faces involved in the most gossiped about case. In fact, it only took Google 0.95 seconds to compile about 108,000,000 results, with the first one being a family picture of the Cortezs themselves.

It was a fairly recent picture, dating right before Neal Cortez supposedly died. The dashing young man stood between his father and mother with a wide smile on his face. His mother – whom he got most of his features from – beamed at him, while his father proudly wrapped his arm around his shoulder. They were a seemingly happy family, and perhaps they truly were. After all the research Matthias did for Jodie’s case, the Cortezs were low-key people and barely made the news. He was genuinely surprised when their accusations caused such a buzz, but now it all made sense.

Turning the screen toward Richard, Matthias said, “Confirm your gut feeling.”

“I didn’t see them. How am I…” Richard started off. But then he leaned in for a closer look and his eyes widened again. “They were just here. They were having a luncheon with my parents and Guinevere’s parents a while ago.”

“They weren’t on the guest list for tonight though.”

“I think we should tell Jodie.”

“No. Not yet. Let’s try to find out more. You could have heard your father wrong.”

“Of course, my ears are always deceiving me.” Richard’s sarcasm came with a false grin.

“No offense, but I’m just playing it safe. I’ll try to find out more and keep you updated.”

“We can all trust Matthias to get the job done.”

“Hey, you told me, remember? I didn’t force it out of you.”

Richard shrugged and waved him off. “Have fun playing detective.”

Playing detective wasn’t fun. But having done it one too many times, Matthias was good at it. It was part of his day job to begin with. Aside from it being his forte, he also wanted to atone for his sin of secretly betraying Jodie. He hated being puppet-ed by Wilhelm Group and for once, he wasn’t going to be the devil’s advocate. The only problem now was not being able to be on the field itself.

His company was part of Wilhelm Group. Wilhelm Group threatened him. And then Wilhelm Group offered him a job. Matthias hated to admit it, but Wilhelm Group probably knew everything about him and was keeping an eye on his next move. It was impossible for him to snoop around under such tight surveillance, no matter how careful he was. He needed somebody else to do the job for him and he only had two options. But before he even considered them, he needed to make a quick check.

Matthias made a beeline to the delivery truck, interiorly remodeled as a surveillance room. He got the hired men to rewind the footage captured by their planted bugs to see if the Cortezs had left the clubhouse. As he’d expected, they exited the building right after lunch. Then scanning the cameras for Mr Lee, Matthias found the man on the golf course. He hadn’t left Skypeak yet. However, his assistant seemed to be bustling about and Matthias had an inkling he wouldn’t be hanging around for much longer.

“Watch this man. If it looks as though he’s about to leave, let me know.”

He then excused himself from the humid truck to gather his thoughts. The fact that Matthias didn’t have much time to concoct a plan made it harder to think of one. There was so much to consider, so much room for error, so much…

“So much for gathering information.”

“Huh?” The growing colossal mess in his head crumbled under the intrusion.

“Aren’t you supposed to be our eyes and ears?” Guinevere asked with brows narrowed.

“It’s hot in there,” Matthias replied. “I just came out for a breather.”

Guinevere chuckled. “Relax, I’m not chastising you. I haven’t managed to get any information either. There was this couple though.”

“The Cortezs.”

“You know who I’m talking about?”

“Yea. Do you think you can get your parents to talk about them?”

Suddenly, he had an idea.

“I don’t know. They’ve been secretive about a lot of things. Who are the Cortezs anyway?”

Matthias decided to fill Guinevere in on what Richard had discovered. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea, but Guinevere wasn’t going to do anything without knowing.

“Well, it’ll be a first – sticking my neck out for Jodie,” Guinevere said. “But I have a better idea. And I’m not saying this because I don’t want to help her.”

“What?”

“Send Zach to follow Mr Lee’s assistant. If Neal Cortez is alive and awake, they’ll be checking up on him soon.”

“I thought about that. But following someone while we’re all being watched is too risky.”

“Then bug him.”

Suddenly, there was more than one idea. But neither him nor Guinevere, neither Richard nor Jodie, would be suitable candidates to approach the assistant without raising suspicion. Zach was the only option. Zach could plant the bug, or Guinevere could source information from her parents. Which plan would most likely succeed? Matthias had to choose.

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

____________________________________________________________________________________________

The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2016 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 May 5, 2016 in Original Works

 

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No Posts on 21 & 28

Heads up dear reader, there will be no posts today and on the 28th of April. That’s because I’m taking a vacation in the picturesque island of Tasmania! It’ll be a silent two weeks, but I’ll be back:)

If you’re missing me already (which I highly doubt) you can use the lack of posts to catch up on The Clubhouse, read already published short stories and fan fictions, or spam me with comments. I’ll also try to be active on Twitter. So if you wanna come along my little trip, you can do so over social media:) I’ll try to tweet pictures daily, as proof I’m still alive and well. That should be fun. Haha! Also, did you know I have an Instagram account?

*Oh and don’t forget to join the Goodreads paperback giveaway of The Battle for Oz! Also, submit your comment HERE to win the e-book version! You only have 4 days left to enter. 

Don’t ask me why this is here. I just thought it fitting. And I don’t even know why.

 

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2016 in Others

 

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Keeping It Simple

keepingitsimple

I’ve been told, more than once, that my writing is too simple. It has been called juvenile and childish, among other hurtful adjectives. When I first read such comments/reviews, I wanted to cry. I mean, who wouldn’t? Nobody wants to be called a writer who lacks skill in forming complex sentences that wows the audience with such advance vocabulary. I, for one, didn’t. But then I realised, simple isn’t bad, simple is good.

Many well-known writers are advocates of simple writing. Some famous writers have even been criticized for their simple writing. But they never let those comments stop them, and they continue to find success through their simple style.

Faulkner vs Hemmingway

So why do people complain about simple writing? I don’t know. Why do people complain about complex writing? Trust me, I know writers who’ve been told their writing is too complex, they need to tone it down. True story. The fact is, you can’t please everyone.

So let’s keep this simple. Let’s just write.

In reality, not everyone is going to like your writing, your story, and your book. There will be people who hate it and there’s nothing you can do to change their minds. The one thing you can do, for yourself, is to keep writing the way you want to write. Whether it be simple, complex, or in between, just write.

I’ve been told my simple style of writing makes my stories fast pace and exciting. I’ve also been told my simple style of writing makes my stories bland. It’s all a matter of opinion. At the end of the day, I’ll write how I want to write. I’ll keep it simple… just the way I like it. I’ll order medium-rare for my steak, because that’s the way I like it. I cannot stomach it raw, and I don’t like the texture of well-done, but if that’s the way you like your steak, then order it so. Don’t let people tell you how you should write. Every writer has a unique voice. Own up to yours.

You're not alone.

You’re not alone.

*Now, I’m not saying disregard good criticism. If there are comments out there that help you become a better writer, embrace it like a long lost friend. But if someone tells you to change your style, tell them to write their own book/blog.

I’ve decided to blog about this today because I’ve come across a lot of writers who question their work based on people’s comments – particularly in style. They’ve contemplated changing their style of writing just to fit into people’s preferences. I’ve been in those shoes myself. But now that I’ve kicked those shoes off, I want to encourage you to do the same.

At the end of the day, you’ll have your fans and you’ll have your non-fans (I’d use the term ‘haters’ but it seems too harsh). Don’t let your non-fans dictate how you should execute your passion. They won’t support you even if you change. So write… write however you want to write. Write for you and write for those who like your style. Write because you like writing and stop asking yourself if it’s too simple or too complex.

Keep it simple and just write.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2016 in Writing Journey

 

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Chapter 60: A Father-Son Moment

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“Medium-rare, just how you like it.”

Neither of them had seen him coming. And the expression on their faces, the moment they recognised his voice, was oddly satisfying.

“Am I wrong?”

His father responded to the question with a grunt, while his mother fidgeted in her seat. Richard was tempted to apologise for making an appearance, in front of the two oblivious couples, but then decided to keep the truth as a trump card.

“If you don’t like it, I can return it to the kitchen,” Richard offered. Turning to Guinevere’s parents, he added, “I’m just trying to be less of a disappointment.”

Guinevere’s parents didn’t respond, and their silence quickly grew awkward. It went on for a few seconds before his father grunted again and started his meal. That was Richard’s cue to leave. He knew he would be hearing from his father soon. Ten minutes after his departure, his phone rang.

The voice on the other end belonged to his father’s assistant. He spoke in the same distant manner, telling Richard to be at the private bar in an hour. Apparently, his father wanted to talk and Richard was more than happy to oblige. At a quarter past three, Richard headed for the private bar on the third floor. There, he found his father on an armchair with a glass of whiskey in his hand.

“Finally, a father-son chat,” Richard said.

“It is you who have been avoiding me.”

Those words were unfortunately true. Richard was promised a conversation at home, after their encounter at the airport. But since then, he never returned home. He avoided the whitewashed mansion in fear of reality. Now having finally accepted it, it was easier to navigate its unpredictable waters.

“So you sent mother to buy me off?”

“I let her do what she thought was right.”

“But she failed. So what are you going to do now?”

“What do you want, Richard?”

“I don’t know, you tell me?”

“I’m not going to play childish games.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know my life was a childish game.”

“If you don’t know what you want boy, what do you plan to do then?”

“You tell me.”

“Come home.”

“Are you serious? I thought I was disowned.”

“We can change that. Come home and help your brother at the firm. He’ll have more responsibilities once he takes over Greengrass, and he could use your help.”

It seems the shareholders meeting was going to be more than just food and annual reports. The prince was officially ascending the throne and only God knows what would happen after he does.

“That’s what’s happening tonight?”

“Yes.

“You do know I can ruin it by revealing my true identity. Is this the best you can offer?”

“What more do you want? Your inheritance?” his father calmly asked. The man never once raised his voice. He was scarily placid. Richard could only imagine the mechanics in his brain, churning out evil plots to get rid of him.

“No. It wouldn’t look good if you went back on your word, would it? Tell you what, I’ll be the disappointment of a son you’ve always wanted, if you do something for me in return.”

“And what is that?”

“I want to know everything. All your plans. I want to be part of your schemes and I want to reap the benefits.”

When his father responded with a laugh, Richard realised how stupid he sounded.

“That’s not going to happen,” his father replied. “If I don’t have confidence in Gabriel, why would I have confidence in you? So, let’s make this simple. You think about my offer and you let me know your decision. You might not have anything to lose, Richard, but once you denounce this family’s name, this family won’t be here to protect you any longer.”

The final statement sounded like a threat. No, it was a threat. If Richard decided to sink the ship, he would have to go down with it. Was he ready for that?

His father didn’t wait for his response and rose to his feet. Richard remained seated as he watched the man stalk to the door. But just before his father left the room, his assistant hurried to his side.

“He’s awake. Should I inform the Cortezs?” the assistant whispered.

“I can hear you,” Richard stated.

“No,” his father replied. Then turning to Richard, he added, “It doesn’t matter. You can add this to your collection of useless facts.”

The father he once pretended to be loving and kind gave him a smirk. And when the back of his cashmere suit disappeared out the door, Richard had lost the game. For a while, he actually thought he had the upper hand. Staring at the floor, wondering what he should do next, Richard didn’t realise Matthias had entered the bar until he spoke.

“I heard everything,” Matthias stated.

“What? Wait, you were eavesdropping?”

“You’re wearing the earpiece I gave you. It’s not my fault you didn’t take it out.”

“So you heard everything?”

“Pretty much. What’s your plan?

“I don’t know. What would you do?”

Matthias shrugged. Then deciding to expand his knowledge on the newfound fact, and to briefly take his mind off the daunting decision, Richard asked, “Have you heard of the Cortezs?”

“I only know of one family with that name.”

“Who are they?”

“They’re the ones running the trial against Jodie.”

“The couple of the dead partner?”

“Yes.”

Did Richard hear him right? Yes, he did. At the revelation, his jaw hung open and his eyes grew wide in shock. Unfortunately for his father, the new fact wasn’t useless after all.

“Why? What do you know?”

“You didn’t hear?”

“No. Tell me.”

Richard wasn’t sure if he should disclose it. He wasn’t even sure if giving Matthias the information would be of any help. Perhaps Richard should tell Jodie himself and be the hero of the day. Or perhaps he should play it safe and just let Matthias deal with it. Richard had to choose.

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

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The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2016 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 April 7, 2016 in Original Works

 

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