It 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.
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.”
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.
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The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2015 by Jeyna Grace.
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