“Ever thought of growing up?” Jodie asked.
Matthias rolled his eyes from behind the glass as Richard turned towards her.
“If growing up means it would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I’ll never grow up. Not me!” Richard replied.
“Climbing a tree is different from giving yourself more work. Who’s going to wipe that now?”
“Who else? Matty of course. And I thought you, of all people, would catch-”
“Yes, you quoted Peter Pan, how clever,” Jodie interrupted, giving him a sarcastic applause.
Richard smirked in reply and dragged himself back to his position. Jodie simply shook her head at him as she returned to wiping the pool chair in front of her. Honestly, she was hoping for a task that required her to part ways with Richard. But upon her arrival, she was told they would be paired for the entire weekend. Now all she could hope for was minimal interaction with him. Unfortunately, she started a conversation she would never be able to end.
“Why are you so serious all the time?” Richard asked.
“Why are you not?”
Richard pulled a straight look as he said, “You’re stuck here doing chores. It would be less boring if you didn’t take it so seriously.”
“I would also be stuck here longer,” Jodie responded, wondering if they were about to get into a serious debate about playing at work.
“With me. I don’t see how that’s a bad thing.”
Nope, there was not going to be a serious debate. Richard did not come off as a serious type of a guy and Jodie questioned his reason for wanting Skypeak. She briefly thought of asking him, but then decided it was better if he stayed the way he is. After all, his approach might just cost him the win.
“No reply to that? I knew you liked hanging out with me,” Richard added.
“I would like it better if we didn’t have to talk.”
“Too bad Jo, you started it. I can call you ‘Jo’ right?”
Jodie grunted and began picking up pace. She wanted to be done with her chores at the pool, so she could move to the next and leave Richard behind. Strangely, by the time she had two dozen chairs and tables wiped, Richard was already done.
“Let’s go. Took you long enough,” Richard said, as he grabbed onto her wrist.
“Are you sure the pool’s clean? If they check and-”
“Yes, don’t worry. Come on,” Richard interrupted and tugged her after him.
Immediately, Jodie pulled her hand free. She had no idea what he was doing and simply narrowed her eyes at him.
“What? We have the courts next. No time to waste!” Richard reached for her wrist again and this time, held on too tightly for her to pull free.
“I don’t need you to drag me there.”
Richard ignored her. Jodie soon gave up tugging her hand and followed after him. Once at the tennis court, he finally let her go.
“Don’t touch me again,” Jodie warned.
With a smile, Richard nodded. Then shortly after, he gave her a pat on the back and pointed at the storage room. Jodie could safely assume Richard would never listen to her and silently told herself to suck it up just for the weekend.
By the time they were done sweeping the courts, it was almost noon. That was when the man that had given them their tasks came looking for them.
“You will have lunch in the staff canteen. You can join the others now and continue after,” the man said.
“Thank you,” Jodie replied.
As the man turned on his heels, Richard asked, “Did you check the pool?”
Stopping in his tracks, the man replied, “Not bad. Perhaps you could consider being a pool boy one day.” With that, he strode ahead quickly.
“Told you not to worry,” Richard whispered, as he and Jodie trotted behind the man.
“He was being sarcastic,” Jodie said.
“I don’t do sarcasm. It was a compliment to me.”
“Then maybe you should… be a pool boy.”
“Maybe. Beats working for my dad. At least I would enjoy it,” Richard casually stated.
Jodie always thought she was good at reading people, but Richard’s words made her re-evaluate her perception of him. Sure, he was intolerable sometimes, but he was not shallow. If he worked on his first impressions, people might just give him the respect he deserved.
When they finally arrived at the staff canteen, Jodie took a quick look around for a welcoming face. As much as her idea of Richard had changed, she preferred to eat with someone else. Without Richard noticing, she slipped away from him and headed down a long row of tables. Unfortunately, she found herself in the path of the person she least wanted to see.
“Excuse me,” Guinevere said.
She had a tray of food in her hand as she nodded for Jodie to step aside. Not wanting to give in, Jodie stood her ground and shook her head.
“Why don’t YOU move aside?” Jodie asked.
Guinevere smiled, but just before she could respond, Jodie heard her name being called. Looking past Guinevere’s shoulder, she saw Zach waving at her from a table near the window.
“Go on, make way,” Guinevere said.
Jodie could not help but contemplate on whether she should deal with Guinevere or head to a welcoming call. She honestly could not believe the world was small enough to have them cross paths ever so often, and she began to wonder if it was worth acknowledging. Not wanting to waste the short hour of a break, Jodie had to choose.