He knew. He pretended not to, but he knew. And when she finally asked, he decided to tell.
“Richard and I believe your business partner, Neal, is alive,” Matthias said.
Jodie frowned. She didn’t believe him.
“Mr Lee spoke to his assistant about it. His assistant was supposedly heading to the hospital Neal is at, so I got Zach to bug him,” Matthias added.
“And why couldn’t you guys tell me this earlier? Why keep it a secret?”
“Because it isn’t confirmed.”
The reason wasn’t a good one, but he simply wanted to have all the facts ready before letting the cat out of the bag. Half-truths did no one good. Unfortunately, Jodie wasn’t buying it. His effort to seem reliable and trustworthy again, especially after he dropped Jodie’s case, had proved useless. And from her expression, at that very moment, he knew he took five steps back from his one step forward. Clearly, he went about it the wrong way.
“Right. So did you learn anything from the assistant?” Jodie asked.
“I haven’t checked the recording. I can-”
“I’ll go through it, if you don’t mind.”
“It’s still running though.”
“I have a feeling the assistant isn’t at the hospital any longer. So whatever that’s been recorded will do.”
Matthias held back a sigh and shrugged. He was curious to know if Neal was really alive, but he was in no position to ask. So he retrieved the memory card from one of the black boxes and handed it to Jodie.
“Thanks,” Jodie said. And that was all she had to say.
When Jodie shut the van door behind her, Matthias inserted a blank memory card into the same black box. If the assistant was with the Lees, Matthias only needed to listen. Deciding to eavesdrop, he flicked a few switches and brought the assistant’s bug to the main screen. It was black – there was nothing to see. But the audio bar peaked, and Matthias quickly reached for the headphones. Just as he was about to slip it on, his phone rang.
There was no name and he didn’t recognise the number. So he ignored it and pressed the headphones firmly against his ears. A second after the ringing stop, it rang again. Deciding to turn his phone off, he turned over and saw a familiar name on the screen.
Briefly leaving the assistant’s left jacket pocket, Matthias answered, “What’s happening?”
“It seems you and my brother get along fairly well, seeing as you answered his call and not mine.”
Matthias thought of asking for Richard, but quickly decided against it.
“I don’t have your number in my phone,” Matthias said.
“Even after I gave you my business card?”
There was no point lying then. He didn’t verbally turn down Gabriel’s offer, but he’d already made up his mind being at Skypeak that day.
“Yes. Why? Do you need me for something?”
“Of course, why else would I be calling? So, what do you say about representing my family in this mess?”
“I’d rather not be involved.”
“Really? I thought we could help each other out. You know, clean each other’s messes.”
“I don’t have messes.” As soon as those words left his lips, he regretted it. “I clean messes, not make them,” Matthias promptly added.
“So I’ve heard. I’ve also heard that sometimes the cleaner gets blamed for the missing ring.”
“Are you threatening me?”
“Why do you say that? I’m just looking for an opportunity for us to work together.”
“I don’t work with undeveloped minds. Teenagers especially.”
Gabriel laughed. And then through the line, Matthias heard Richard.
“What’re you doing with my phone?” Richard asked.
“Talking to your friend,” Gabriel answered. “Matthias, I’ll send you the address. Swing by as fast as you can.”
Before Matthias could decline, the line clicked dead. Shortly after, a message beeped in with GPS coordinates. In disbelief, Matthias chuckled. Gabriel’s gameplay was something Matthias had never encountered – perhaps heavily influenced by his age. Proceeding to turn his phone off, another unexpected call came through. This time, it was Guinevere.
Grunting, Matthias was about to shut Guinevere down when she burst into a frenzy of words.
“I need you, Matthias. I don’t trust my family’s lawyers. Please follow me to the station. I need to see Wayne.”
“What makes you think I can help?”
“You know your way around the law. I’m sure you can get me a few minutes with Wayne. Please, Matthias. I know it’s late-”
“Yes, it’s late. Lets do this tomorrow.”
“I can’t wait till tomorrow. What if something happens to Wayne while the Lees are being questioned?”
“He can take care of himself.”
“Just help me, please?”
Matthias sighed and made a mental note to never date a woman like Guinevere. He was sure Wayne didn’t want to see her. But Guinevere wasn’t going to give up without a fight. Still, Matthias couldn’t simply agree to her request. If he did, he’d have to appear before Gabriel, only to show he wasn’t siding with him. Or perhaps he should go and represent the Lees, just to see if he could find out more. He’d also save Wayne from Guinevere’s pestering. Either way, he wasn’t sleeping that night. Matthias had to choose.
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The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2016 by Jeyna Grace.
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