He’d never been this bored in his life. If only he could slip away, he would. All for the sake of show, he sat in the corner attempting to look like he cared. Unfortunately, he was failing at it – acting wasn’t his forte. When the detectives finally called for a break, Richard heaved a sigh and excused himself. He lied about needing to use the washroom, just like Gabriel did ten minutes before him, and exited to the lounge on the second floor.
Richard thought the day wouldn’t get anymore interesting, especially after the Skypeak debacle. But he was wrong. While he filled himself a coned-paper cup of water, the nearby lift dinged. And out from the lift came Matthias and Guinevere.
“Matthias! My man!” Gabriel interrupted.
Richard wouldn’t have known of Gabriel’s presence if not for his false enthusiasm.
“Had a good chit-chat with Guinevere?” Gabriel asked.
“Not that it’s any of your business,” Guinevere snapped.
“I have good ears.”
“I’m sure you do.” Then turning to Richard, Guinevere asked, “Can we talk?”
When Richard didn’t respond, Guinevere walked over and looped her arm around his elbow. She locked him in tightly and pulled him down a hallway.
“What are you doing here?” Richard asked.
“I’m here to save Wayne.”
It was unintentional, but he chuckled.
“I have a plan. A good one. But I need your help,” Guinevere added.
“I don’t like the sound of that. Is that why Matthias is here too?”
“To be honest, it’s Matthias’ plan.”
“Oh, sounds like it’s going to be wonderful.”
“It isn’t. But it’ll work.”
“Reliable as he always is, my good friend Matty.”
Guinevere wasted no time and went straight to what she and Matthias had decided on. The few seconds after she was done, Richard thought she was joking. But when she stared him down, waiting for his response, he knew she was serious.
Repeating the plan in his head, Richard was surprised Guinevere was actually for it. He had nothing to lose, but she did. If she was willing to put her life on the line, it shouldn’t be difficult for him to sacrifice his millionaire lifestyle. After all, it was a very fickle one.
“Alright. I’ll tell the truth,” Richard said.
“You will?” Guinevere’s eyes grew wide, not so much in surprise but fear.
“Matthias is a good lawyer,” Richard assured.
“I know. Shall we then?”
Telling the truth, on that very night, was one of the easiest decisions Richard had ever made. The thought of losing his title and his money was scary, but starting anew was all the more possible if he cut the Lees out of his life. No more parties, no more cars, and no more lazing around, didn’t sound too bad in the light of freedom.
When Richard finally returned to his hotel room, after three hours of confession, three minutes of verbal threats from his father, and three seconds of his mother’s hateful glare, he knew he did the right thing. And for the first time in a long time, he slept without a worry in the world.
The following day, Richard awoke at the cue of his unfed stomach. As he booted up his phone, a stream of messages and missed-call notifications sent his phone buzzing for a good five minutes. Most came from his family, so-called friends, and news outlets. Word had somehow gone out, even before the police could confirm anything. Buried in the pile of information fishing, there was also a message from both Jodie and Zach.
As Richard was about to give Jodie a call, Zach’s caller ID appeared on the screen.
“Good afternoon, Zach,” Richard answered.
“Thank you for picking up. I can’t reach Matthias or Guinevere, and Jodie knows nothing either.”
“Well, to be honest, I don’t know much.”
“I read the news. Did you really tell them everything?”
“Yup. Gave them DNA samples too.”
“So this is it, then.”
“I guess so. You’re in the clear. Go out and celebrate, man.”
“I… I’m not sure about that.”
“They have nothing on you. Unless Wilhelm Group starts making things up, you’re safe.”
“They wouldn’t have the time.”
“Right. Should we all meet tonight? At the school?”
“You can ask the rest.”
“How about you?”
Richard wondered how much word had gotten out, and if it was even wise to leave the hotel room. A horde of reporters was probably waiting in the lobby as they spoke.
“I’ll get back to you.”
“Alright. By the way, you might want to Google yourself.”
“That should be fun.”
After he ended the call, Richard did as Zach suggested. He looked himself up and found hundreds of gossip sites covering the same news over and over again. Some added their own extreme speculations, while others only used his name as click-bait. But as much as they were ruining his reputation, all he did was laugh.
By the time he was done reading, his stomach had given up growling. Deciding it was time to respond to some of the messages, he recalled wanting to give Jodie a call. And as though the universe was playing match-up, Jodie sent a message a second before he hit dial.
‘Let’s meet tonight. I’ll come over.’
If anyone read the conspicuous message, the Lee scandal would be long forgotten.
‘I need your help to pass some information to the detectives,’ another message popped in.
Richard thought about asking what it was about, but then decided it might be better to hear it from her in person. Still, he contemplated. Zach’s need for a secret meeting to put everyone on the same page felt important. Which should he agree to? Richard had to choose.
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The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2016 by Jeyna Grace.
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