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Ridley | Burrito | Pluto

ridleyburritopluto

It was on Wednesday night when a delicious wrap of 223 calories went missing from the kitchen table. The burrito, of greens and beans, had been prepped for a simple dinner. Having not eaten the entire day, I was looking forward to savouring it. But just before I sank my teeth into its glorious flesh, the house phone rang. Briefly leaving to attend a common case of ‘wrong number’, I returned in horror to find my wrap missing. Who had eaten it? There were only two suspects.

The first was Mr Ridley. Mr Ridley wore fake moustaches, as he was very fond of playing detective. He had an unrepressed love for mystery novels. And I wouldn’t be surprise if he created a crime just to solve it.

Minutes before the incident, Mr Ridley was in the hall. A stone throw away from the kitchen, Mr Ridley saw me assembling the masterpiece. When the phone rang, the 46-inch television was playing a rerun of Sherlock. It seemingly grasped all of Mr Ridley’s attention, as he wouldn’t leave his seat to answer the call on my behalf. However, his oblivion of the monotonous ring was suspicious. I toyed with the possibility he feigned ignorance to steal my meal. So, I questioned him.

“Did you eat my burrito?” I asked.

“No,” Mr Ridley replied.

“You could’ve asked me to make you one, if you were hungry. You didn’t have to steal it.”

“Why would I steal your burrito? I don’t even like burritos.”

“That’s the thing – why would you steal, when you don’t like them?”

“Exactly. Why would I?”

“Then who ate my burrito?”

“I don’t know.”

“There was no one else at the scene of the crime.”

“You could’ve misplaced it.”

“I didn’t.”

“Well, it wasn’t me. But if you want me to help solve the case-”

“It was you, wasn’t it? Give me back my burrito.”

“I don’t have it. I never did.” Mr Ridley shrugged.

Seeing as Mr Ridley wasn’t admitting to the crime, nor were there any physical evidence he’d committed it, I had to consider my second suspect. His name was Gregory Pluto Junior. I just call him Pluto.

Pluto lived with Mr Ridley and me. He didn’t have a place to stay, so we rented him the guest room. I’ve never met Pluto until he arrived at our doorstep. He was a friend of Mr Ridley’s, and the pair shared a common passion for adventure and mystery.

On most nights, Pluto and Mr Ridley watched Sherlock together. That night however, Pluto was nowhere to be found. He wasn’t in his room. He wasn’t in the garden. He wasn’t even responding to my call. Where could he be, if not hiding and devouring my delicious dinner? Then again, if Pluto did commit the crime, was he capable of executing it on his own?

Now, I did consider waiting until the next day to question Pluto – when he showed up. He was never gone for long. But, I had an inkling the suspect was nearby. Thinking Mr Ridley might’ve witnessed the crime, I switched the television off for further investigation.

“Where’s Pluto, Ridley?”

“I told you, I didn’t steal your burrito. Now please, let me watch Sherlock in peace.”

“Where’s Pluto, Ridley?” I repeated.

“I don’t know where Greg is. Did you call him?”

“He isn’t answering.”

“Well then.”

“If it isn’t Pluto, then it must be you.”

“I. Don’t. Eat. Burritos.”

“Did you see what happened then?”

“I was watching TV until you turned it off.”

“Liar. You helped him, didn’t you? You know Pluto couldn’t have stolen the burrito on his own. So you helped him. You’re his accomplice.”

“Ha! Now who’s the one reading too many mystery novels?”

“Seriously Ridley. I need to eat.”

“Go make another burrito then. Is that so hard to do?”

“Oh… So you did steal it. Or helped steal it. Just confess – tell the truth.”

“Fine, I ate your burrito. You happy now?”

“No. You’re covering for Pluto.”

“Yes, I’m covering for Pluto. Now give me the remote.”

I narrowed my eyes. Tossing the remote at Mr Ridley, he shifted in his seat in reach for it. And when he did, the front door opened. No, it wasn’t the suspect Pluto.

“I thought you guys would be hungry, so we bought pizza on the way home,” Mr Watson said.

“Ah, real food!” Mr Ridley exclaimed.

“Where’s Pluto?” Mrs Watson asked. “Have you kids fed him yet?”

“No. He wouldn’t answer my call,” I replied.

More confused than before, I thought through my theories. There was Mr Ridley, who could’ve eaten my burrito despite claiming dislike. He was clearly hungry, seeing as he wolfed down the pepperoni pizza. And then there was Pluto, the smart canine that could’ve stolen my food by leaping onto the kitchen table. Whether Pluto had the help of Mr Ridley, it was another theory. So what really happened? Who was the culprit – or should I say, culprits?

For now, it remains a mystery unsolved. Perhaps one day, the truth will surface. And perhaps breaking the fourth wall will help uncover it. After all, ‘nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person’. You being another person, what do you think happened?

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Ridley, burrito, and pluto were words given by Mr Ridley. The idea to write a mystery piece wasn’t planned. It came in a snap and I rolled with it, drawing inspiration from The Case Files of Sherlock Holmes. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of mystery. But, it was certainly fun to write.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. And while you’re at it – concocting a story with such random words – leave a comment below with 3 more random words of your choice. Go on, I’m up for the challenge.

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3 Words, 1 Story © 2017 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2017 in Original Works

 

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Write To Challenge

writetochallenge

Over the years, I’ve come to realise that writing isn’t just writing. In order to become a better writer, I’ve got to do more than writing.

You see, writing isn’t just about writing my niche genre, building familiar worlds, and creating characters I can relate to. Yes, it’s good to have a label under my name. And it’s natural for me to keep building it – heck, I should build it. I should master the art of my choice. But in order to become a stronger writer, I have to expand. I have to grow. Just like a kingdom, once established doesn’t remain stagnant, I need to push the boundaries of my world. But… how do I do that? Do I change my writing style and publish novels in different genres? No, I don’t. I simply experience – experience what I’ve never experienced.

To grow as a writer, I need to write beyond the comforts of my pigeonhole. I need to write outside of what I’m accustomed to. It will make me extremely uncomfortable, yes. I will struggle to convey my thoughts. And potentially, I’ll create disastrous pieces. But in order for me to become better, I need to take the leap of faith. I need to explore the vast universe and adapt to its varying nature. I may not be a master of all realms, but I have to experience them. And who knows? I might just write a decent piece.

There’s a reason why writing challenges and writing prompts exist. They don’t merely serve as a filler for when you don’t know what to write. These challenges, as they are called, challenge a writer to write something different. Despite not being good at a particular genre, world, or character, taking the challenge helps one get better. It is the stepping outside of a comfort zone that carves a writer. It is the embracing of something new that broadens the mind.

Personally, I’ve endeavoured to write in other genres, embrace different worlds, and toy with characters. I’ve written and will continue to write sci-fi, romance, mystery, and other genres outside of fantasy. I’ll mould different worlds with different cultures, beliefs, and eras. And I’ll create protagonists whom I’ll dislike more than the antagonist itself. Even if I don’t excel in these challenges – even if I don’t write novels through them – I’ll write anyway. I’ll write to challenge. I’ll write to challenge myself, my imagination, my skill, and my potential. I’ll write to challenge, because I know it has helped me in many ways. And I’ll write to challenge you, to write to challenge too.

I’m not just saying this on a whim. Through past experiences, I’ve grown from the challenges I put upon myself. From Dr. Slubgob’s Letters, a novella about a demon and his quest for the truth, to The Clubhouse, a blog series with characters I disassociate from; I’ve learned to construct deeper worlds and fuller personas. I’m still not good in either arenas – I don’t think I’ll ever master them. But, I have improved. And with a long way to go in my writing journey, I’ll continue to challenge myself.

This 2017, my writing goal is simple: write to challenge. As this year revs its engine, I encourage you to adopt this goal too. In fact, I encourage you to adopt this goal in general. It isn’t just for writing, but for anything – for areas you want to see growth. And If you stick through it, no matter the obstacles, you’ll come out a finer jewel than before.

Also, it can be quite fun.

quote-the-further-you-get-away-from-yourself-the-more-challenging-it-is-not-to-be-in-your-benedict-cumberbatch-6-89-37

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2017 in Writing Journey

 

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What’s Coming In 2017?

whatscomingin2017

It has been a good year.

I know the internet has hopped on the bandwagon of 2016 being the worst, but I’m afraid I cannot come along for the ride. Personally, 2016 has been better than 2015. Yes, the world has lost great people. It has gone through changes that has and will continue to affect my life. But despite the weak economy, the absence of influencers, and the uncertainty of 2017, I am grateful. I’ve achieved something this year. I still have my family and friends. And I’m still alive. The same cannot be said for many others, and that is why I will not – I cannot – claim 2016 to be the worst year (of my life). Still, I am looking forward to 2017. It is going to be a better year. And I’m hoping you will join me as I journey into the unknown.

So… what do I have planned for 2017?

The Slave Prince

Officially in November, The Slave Prince received a full publishing contract from Inkshares. It won the Geek & Sundry Fantasy Contest thanks to the generosity of many, and it’ll possibly be on bookshelves late 2017. As the year progresses, I’ll be sure to update on how things are going. I’m extremely excited to see the book be made and cannot wait to hold it in my own hands. If you’ve yet to check the book out, head over to the book page! You can pre-order your copy in advance to receive the book before it is released to the public.

Beneath The Crimson Star (진홍빛 별 아래)

The Clubhouse has ended after 3 years! There were 75 chapters – a total estimate of 63,000 words. My goodness. That was long enough. So moving forward, there will be a new blog series. The introduction to this series will be made in January, and will commence in February. Just like The Clubhouse, there will be a poll after each chapter. However, unlike The Clubhouse, Beneath The Crimson Star is inspired by East Asian history and culture. Hence why I couldn’t help myself with the Korean title (obvious Kdrama addict is obvious). Though it is not based on any historical characters or events in particular, it’ll be influenced by some. So keep at eye out for the introduction coming soon.

Three Words, One Story Challenge

This writing challenge continues on. However, I’m running short of ‘word sets’ to choose from. So if you have any three words you’d like me to concoct a story with, read the introduction of the challenge and leave your words in that comment section. So far, the challenge has done good for my writing and imagination. It has forced me into different genres and expanded my capacity to create using un-relatable words. I’m glad I started it and I intend to keep it up in the coming year.

The Raindrops Trilogy

2017 is the year I am to send Book 1 to publishers, and write Book 2. Yes, this is more of a note-to-self point. Of course, if I succeed in grabbing a publisher’s attention, you’ll hear it first on this blog.

Well, that’s all I have planned. Doesn’t seem a lot, I know. I’d rather not pile my plate, when I’m not sure if I can finish my meal. But who knows? Anything can happen. Thank you for sticking around this 2016! Whether you’ve only just come onboard or have been around since 2011, your presence is greatly appreciated. You’re the reason I’m still here! So thank you. I hope your 2017 would be a great one. And wherever you are, let’s endeavour to make the best of the coming year. It is how we approach it, that makes it worthwhile.

Blessed New Year, awesome reader! And Happy Holidays.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2016 in Others

 

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Bewitched | Dog | Traveller

bewitcheddogtraveller

It was the night before Christmas. On a street lined with the brightest red in Autumn, its inhabitants scrunched through the pale white snow. Vapour rose from their breaths, as they borne their stories home. Not excluded was the very being at the end of the sidewalk. With a navy scarf tight around his neck, he remained hunched beneath the street lamp. He was on a search – a search for the meaning of Christmas.

Perhaps somebody had the answer. Perhaps the home to his right, adorned with Christmas lights. From the window frames to the shovelled driveway, the house shone the brightest in blinks of red and green. Through the frosted window, an elderly couple sat before the flickering television. The corners of their eyes crinkled in the reminiscence of their past. As their children and grandchildren hurried to join them, the festive lights reflected in their eyes. But there was more to this picture perfect Christmas.

A tradition it was for the white-haired lovebirds to watch the reruns of Bewitched. They shared their first Christmas Eve believing in the magic of Samantha’s nose twitch. And they vowed to keep the practice till their very last. So, their family obliged – every year without fail. It was the little they could do for the beloved pair; watching, chuckling, and sipping hot cocoa till the stroke of midnight.

Why did they celebrate Christmas? Whom did they do it for? Was it for themselves, their parents, or their grandparents? In the comfort of loved ones, what did Christmas mean to them?

Rubbing his nose with a sniff, he turned to the house on his left. A dog trotted back and forth on the barren porch. Occasionally, it slipped through the dog door. But it didn’t stay inside for long, as it jumped back out and returned to its pacing. The black-furred beagle braced the chilly air in the wait for someone special. And when that someone pulled the car up the driveway, it bounced from the porch and dashed to the woman in the long, wool coat.

A smile stretched across the woman’s pale cheeks, as her dog greeted in incomprehensible joy. She patted it, then picked it up for a hug.

“What’re you doing outside?” she asked.

The dog barked and licked her face in reply. Chuckling, she returned the kiss. Done with the cold, the pair retreated to the home they’d once shared with another. Now just the two of them, they served as each other’s comfort and companion.

Did they celebrate Christmas? If so, whom did they do it for? Why did the dog linger in the bitter winter? It didn’t – it couldn’t – comprehend Christmas. Was it loyalty, love, or friendship?

The woman didn’t know, and neither did he. Having hoped the neighbouring houses could enlighten the reason for the season, he sighed in disappointment as he stepped away from the light.

As a traveller, who sought adventure and the meaning in every experience, he’d failed to uncover the simplicity of this holiday. After a year spent in ten countries, learning and embracing cultures, he’d forgotten his own. But did it matter? Was a reason necessary? Perhaps not to everyone. But for him, there had to be one.

With every step, the house he once called home neared. Unlike the Bewitched family, his parents had kept the decorations inside. At the foot of the door, he heard their voices – hollers from the living room, asking about his arrival. Just last week, they’d called and requested he returned for Christmas. For their sake, he cancelled his flight to Asia and rerouted home instead. As he inhaled a deliberate breath, he rang the doorbell.

“You’re home!” those were his mother’s first words.

“It’s good to have you back, buddy,” his father added.

He nodded. In the inability to hide his regret, having ditched the well-thought itinerary of his escapade in Japan, his sister pulled him in for a hug.

“We missed you.” Smacking him on the back, she added, “A little sacrifice won’t hurt. Try to enjoy yourself.”

“Huh,” he responded. She’d said it – the meaning of Christmas.

For the first time, it wasn’t peace, love, joy, goodwill, or even family. For the first time, it was sacrifice.

The Bewitched family sacrificed their plans for an episode they could recall from beginning to end. The dog sacrificed the warmth of its home to welcome the only person who needed its love. Once a year, they put aside their own desires for others. They mirrored the ultimate sacrifice. And that was the true meaning of Christmas: the giving of oneself for the joy of others.

In the revelation, he smiled. Indeed a little sacrifice didn’t hurt. When a greater sacrifice had been made, what was Mt Fuji in comparison. It was the giving of his presence that made Christmas, Christmas. And embracing the essence – understanding the power of sacrifice – gave his Christmas its meaning.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Bewitched, dog, and traveller were words given by Krystine Therriault. Since we’re two days away from Christmas, I ran with a Christmas story. Honestly, it wasn’t as easy as I thought. The world has seen and read many Christmas tales, and I can only hope I brought something new to the table.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. I challenge you to end this year with a little creativity in the Christmas spirit. Oh, and for all those who celebrate Christmas, a merry, merry one to you. May you find your meaning of Christmas amidst the festive cheer.

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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 December 22, 2016 in Original Works

 

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Chapter 75: Hitting Reset

clubhouse75

For the first time, the fate of her family’s survival rested upon her sister’s shoulders. And though it was the result of her so-called betrayal, Guinevere couldn’t be more pleased. When it briefly became Genevieve’s burden, Guinevere could breathe.

To save the company after her father pleaded guilty, her mother found Genevieve a match. Giving Guinevere the silent treatment, it meant Genevieve had to put up with their mother’s pushing and nagging. Under the pressure, Genevieve stopped her habitual loitering and submitted to their mother’s plans. Six months later, she married the second son of a foreign competitor and the Dae’hans lived to see another day.

As much as Guinevere felt guilty for her actions, she had no regrets. It was her opportunity to start anew – her family’s opportunity to do things right. And despite her father never being able to forgive her, her mother and sister had little to no choice but to rely on her expertise. So even if her family was broken – not that it wasn’t to begin with – they were still together. That was all that mattered.

After the marriage, Guinevere and her brother-in-law restarted the company. The responsibility of putting branded goods on the table returned to Guinevere after the short-lived hiatus. It required more work than she’d ever done before. But, she could truthfully say she didn’t mind. It was better than being puppet-ed by her father. Also, it was a breath of fresh air when people stopped assuming she was a rich, spoilt brat. Back in her father’s shadow, nobody took her seriously despite her attempts. Now, she could make something of herself.

“Serve the entrees,” Guinevere informed the catering crew.

“Is everyone here?” Genevieve asked.

“No. Not everyone. But those who want to be here, are already here. So we should start.”

“Shouldn’t we wait a little longer?”

Guinevere shook her head and her sister pouted. “Stop hiding in the kitchen and go entertain the guests,” Guinevere said. “Or stand next to your husband if you don’t want to.”

Not waiting for her sister’s glare, Guinevere left through the back door into the garden. She’d said her round of ‘hellos’ and yearned for a pinch of quiet. But in that silence, she involuntarily thought about Wayne.

Planting herself on a bench, she wondered if what Jodie said was true – if Wayne was simply too busy savaging his status. But then reality hit, and along with it the reminder of his warranted silence.

Since her confession, Wayne refused to speak to her. Even after he was cleared, he didn’t answer her calls. He was also seemingly impossible to find and catch. The only times Guinevere saw Wayne were when he entered his car. And despite having made eye contact once or twice, he’d turned away as though he hadn’t seen her at all. How could he be so cruel?

Yes, she’d made a mistake. But everything she did, she did for family. Why couldn’t he forgive her? Why couldn’t he see her loyalty instead of her betrayal? Some days, Guinevere wished she’d come clean earlier – at least to Wayne.

“If only I-”

“Your sister said I’d find you here,” someone interrupted.

Turning to the direction of the voice, Guinevere stood at the sight of the intruder.

“You… came.”

“I was in the area when Jodie called.”

“And, you came?”

“I was in the area because I, well, I thought it’ll be good for our companies to work together.”

“Oh. Yes, it will be. Thank you, for coming, Wayne.”

Guinevere dropped her gaze to the freshly mowed grass. His polished shoes in her peripheral vision turned toward the kitchen door. But Wayne didn’t take a step.

“I’m sorry, for not responding to your messages and calls. I’ve been busy,” Wayne said.

He’d been busy for over a year? The old Guinevere would’ve rolled her eyes.

“I know. I’m glad everything worked out for you. And I’m sorry for being the cause of… everything,” Guinevere replied.

“You’re not in the wrong. I’ll be honest. I dated you because of your family. So in some respects, we used each other.”

“That’s… comforting.” Guinevere chuckled. It was indeed comforting to know she wasn’t entirely to blame for his former predicament.

“But for what it’s worth, I did like you. And the only reason I didn’t reach out after it ended, was because I knew I was in the wrong too.”

“So I guess now we’re even?” Guinevere finally shifted her eyes to meet his.

“We’re even.”

“Good. Friends?” She stuck her hand out hopefully.

As tensed as the conversation was, Guinevere hoped to put the past behind them. She also longed to hold his hand again, no matter how brief a moment it was. But while her heart raced with expectation, Wayne hesitated. His hands remained stuffed in his crease-free pockets.

“I don’t… want to be friends.”

Her throat tightened at his blatant candour. Pulling her hand back, Guinevere nodded with a forced smile.

“I mean, I don’t think we can be friends,” Wayne added.

“You’re right.”

“But I want us to try again. Honestly, try again. With no ulterior motives.”

“As… a couple?”

“Yes. Would you like that?”

With breath held, Guinevere replayed his words in her head. Did he mean it? Was he sincere? More importantly, should she say ‘yes’? It was tempting. She’d missed him – his voice, his gaze, and his touch. But what they’d done to each other couldn’t be erased. They’d have to carry it for the rest of their lives. Was it a good idea to try again? Guinevere had to choose.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

You’ve decided the fate of the characters. Now they live on in their own stories, not to be tempered by our own desires. Thus the end of The Clubhouse.

Thank you for joining me in crafting the stories of Zach, Jodie, Matthias, Richard, and Guinevere. I hope you enjoyed this series. Despite its ups and downs, I hope it entertained you. Personally, I entered into The Clubhouse with a goal to improve my character development skill. And, it’s safe to say, I’ve come out of Skypeak a better writer. Though I’m not sure if I have ‘character development’ nailed down, I’ve pushed my boundaries and brought this series to completion. That, I’m proud of – I didn’t give up halfway through.

So thank you for coming along for the ride. If you’re new to this series, you can find the chapter list here. Fingers-crossed, the story stands on its own without the polls.

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 December 15, 2016 in Original Works

 

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Dream & Doubt

dreamanddoubt

I don’t question my dream. I don’t question the amount of work I put into achieving my dream. I don’t question why I dream. And I certainly don’t question if my dream is worth it.

However, I do question my skill – my talent – and if I really have what it takes to do it. Am I made for this industry? Are my works of any value? Am I making a difference? Do I disappoint my readers? Can I actually produce something that people love? Is there a hint of potential in me? Why am I… not good enough?

I would start a round of editing and go, “Hey, this writing isn’t so bad,” only to think, “This sucks,” moments later. I would crack my fingers, ready for a fruitful day of rewriting, only to sigh at sunset having not achieved my goal. Out of all the days spent at the keyboard, 90% end with disappointment. And don’t get me started on rereads of older works. Boy, if I had soil beneath my feet, I’d bury my head in a jiffy.

So let’s be honest – I’ve never once been assured of my writing.

I’ve never been confident with what I put on the table. I cannot say my works are worth reading, because there’s always something wrong – something I cannot fix. I can give my all. I can drain my emotions. But I cannot be 100% sure I’ve done a good job. And if you’re finding this relatable, then I’ve achieved the goal of this post.

You’re not alone.

It’s nice to know that, huh? Still, it doesn’t change the fact that we still doubt. And as comforting as the words of Bukowski, it’s something we cannot escape.

The problem is that bad writers tend to have the self-confidence, while the good ones tend to have self-doubt. – Charles Bukowski

Despite the assurance that, “Hey! I’m a good writer because I doubt!” we still chuckle and smirk in disbelief. Maybe the saying is true. But whom am I kidding? I don’t believe Bukowski. I’ve not read any of his works. Even if the internet proves he’s a good writer, we don’t know if this quote is true. There’s no substantial evidence to it. So, where does that leave us? Back at square one.

At least, we’re not alone.

I know it’s impossible to be confident in my works. I’ll always be afraid of disappointing my readers. I’ll hold my breath at the sight of a new review. I’ll not know where I stand in this ocean of writers. And I’ll never stop wondering. You probably feel the same way too. However, in the unknown, I will keep writing.

My dream is far too valuable to be shaken by uncertainties. So I’ll live with them – both doubt and dream – the unlikeliest of friends. In spite of their differences, they drive each other. And the result of their friction fuels my passion. At the end of the day, that’s all I need. That’s all you need. The only important emotion, in the midst of our insecurities, is passion. Because passion… is the spell that turns dreams into reality.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2016 in Writing Journey

 

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Chapter 74: Descending After A Climb

clubhouse74

She hit reply. Then tossing her invite into the bin, she typed, ‘Sure.’

Jodie had received the beige envelope too. But despite the surprise, she decided to go. Guinevere had proven to be more than a gold-digger when she stood for the truth. And the least Jodie could do was acknowledge that. Knowing Zach made good company, she agreed as his plus one. Honestly, it was a relief when he asked – she preferred seeing a familiar face than none. Little did she expect, there were more than one.

After Jodie’s case with the Cortezs resolved, she spent most of her time in the office. Due to the scandal, her company took a financial hit. Stabilising it required arduous hours of work. There were never-ending meetings with investors, partners, and staff. She had little to no life outside those concrete walls. And the almost non-existing friend’s list shortened even further.

Mentally visioning the list, Jodie realised the only person she still met was Zach. Wayne hadn’t responded to her text message two months ago. Neal was on life support. And Piper… well, Piper’s life only made her envious. Piper didn’t run a publishing empire, and had the time to travel the world. Those pictures on social media, garnering thousands of ‘likes’, tempted Jodie to take a sabbatical.

“That’s a good idea,” Piper said, during her phone call from the ruins of Machu Picchu. “We can see the world together.”

“That sounds fun, but I can’t just pick up and leave. The company needs me.”

“The company needs you?”

“There are still-”

“Jodie, I know you. The company doesn’t need you. You need the company.”

“Well, I do need to survive.”

“Oh, please. You have more than enough.”

“Not for the rest of my life.”

“Your company will still be there when you get back.”

“That all depends.”

“Even if it isn’t, you can always start another. Perhaps it’s even better to do so without Neal involved. Bless his soul.”

“Too soon, Piper.”

“We’ve grieved him. His parents are only dragging it out for money. By the way, do you have the contact of that lawyer friend of yours?”

“Which lawyer friend?”

“The one that helped with your case?”

The call ended with Jodie giving in to Piper’s request for Matthias’ phone number. She also promised to ‘seriously, seriously, seriously consider the sabbatical’, as how Piper worded it. Despite the denial, Jodie knew Piper was right. She needed the company. She needed how it made her feel – powerful and influential. Nothing was holding her back, except for the fear of losing the glory that came with the crown. But how long could she keep it up? Jodie opted to rethink that life decision after the party, which arrived sooner than she’d like it to.

“Do you think she invited Richard and Matthias?” Zach asked, as he rang the doorbell.

“She might have.”

As Zach parted his lips to add to his thought, the door swung open. Instantly, the melody of a classical piece, accompanied by a pastel yellow beam, escaped the white-walled bungalow. And there, standing by the doorway, was Guinevere in her favourite colour – red.

“I’m so glad you two made it,” Guinevere said.

“You have a neat house,” Zach replied.

Guinevere chuckled. “You’ve not changed a bit, Zachary.”

“Actually, it has always been just Zach,” Zach corrected.

“Zachary sounds better. Come on in.” Guinevere stepped back to make way. “Oh, Richard and Matthias are here too. You should go over and say ‘hi’.” Guinevere pointed to the staircase where the pair were chatting.

“You go ahead,” Jodie prompted. “I’ll be right over.”

The moment Zach left, Jodie turned to Guinevere with a smirk. “You’ve not changed either.”

“Well, I have. A little. But yes, I’m pretty much the same.”

“I’m surprised you invited me.”

“I’m surprised you showed up. And, as Zach’s plus one.”

“Why? We’re friends.”

“Of course. Was I implying something else?”

“I’m glad we’re on the same page.”

“For once. But honestly, I’m glad you’re here.”

“Really?”

“Yes. I’d like us to be friends. I know I didn’t make a great first impression, but I’m not as horrible as you think I am. If you must know, I really did have feelings for Wayne.”

“Did you invite him tonight?”

“I dropped the letter at his office myself.”

“But he’s not coming?”

“I didn’t hear from him. So, no. But that’s fine. I understand.”

“He’s just busy.”

Guinevere nodded with a thin smile. “Now if you don’t mind, I need to make sure the kitchen is ready.”

“Sure.” Jodie waved Guinevere off, before retrieving her phone.

Whether they could be friends, Jodie didn’t know. But seeing how Guinevere was making an effort, she thought she should do the same too. Despite it being out of character, she considered giving Wayne a call. Perhaps she could convince him to show up. Still, Jodie hesitated. Helping Guinevere meant stepping down from her ivory tower – the self-made empire that defined who she was. And in that consideration, she noticed its uncanny resemblance to her outside world. The simple act of calling Wayne wasn’t going to change her life, but it could affect the way she approached it moving forward. With Wayne’s contact at her fingertips, she had to decide. Jodie had to choose.

 

Final 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 December 1, 2016 in Original Works

 

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