“Ok?” Richard thought he had heard wrong.
“Ok. Let’s set up the interviews.”
“Awesome. How about after lunch?” Richard suggested.
“Sounds good to me,” Zach replied, before taking out his phone.
Richard still could not believe Zach agreed to his offer. When people said ‘no’ to him, they rarely changed their minds. Maybe things were starting to turn around for him? Richard could only hope.
As Zach walked away to make his calls, Richard made his too. Both applicants were excited when they heard why he was calling, and neither of them had a problem with the appointed time. When Zach confirmed his side as well, they were ready to ace the task.
“I guess it’s not going to be a long weekend after all,” Richard stated.
“I guess so.”
“Want to grab a drink at the pool?” Richard asked.
He wanted to relax after a week of running the firm. Sitting in meetings, reading case files, and having long and arduous discussions with the partners were more tiring than running a marathon. He did not have the stamina to keep up with the professionals. So that weekend, he could not be happier with the easy task. Unfortunately, just before Zach could give his answer, Richard’s phone rang.
When Richard saw who was calling, he groaned.
“Must be someone important,” Zach casually stated.
Richard chuckled. “That obvious, huh?”
Zach shrugged and waved Richard to it. Wishing he didn’t have to answer the call, he muttered a series of choice words before giving in.
“You’re needed at the firm. There’s an urgent meeting with a client,” his assistant said over the crystal clear line. There was no pretending he had not heard him.
“I’m busy. I told you.”
“Your father is going to be there.”
“He’s back?!” Richard asked, not containing his joy.
“No. Video call.”
The joy that erupted in his heart vanished almost immediately.
“Then why must I be there?”
Richard was not sure if his assistant finally learned sarcasm or if it was an honest answer. Either way, it did not look like he had a choice.
“Fine. I’ll be right there.”
After he hung up, Zach asked, “Will you be back in time? Should we reschedule the interview?”
“I’ll… be back,” Richard answered. He wasn’t sure if the meeting would end before then, but he could pray for it to end.
When Zach nodded in reply, Richard said goodbye and hurried to the firm. Richard was never in favour of working on the weekends, but it seemed like a norm these days. Hopefully, it would never have to be a norm for him.
Just as Richard pulled into his parking space, he found his assistant waiting for him at the entrance. The moment he got out of his car, his assistant quickly waved him over.
“Why is this so urgent?”
“It’s urgent because it’s important,” his assistant replied.
“Is our client minutes away from a death sentence?”
“No,” his assistant said, wearing a strange expression on his face.
“Then I don’t see why I have to be in a rush.”
“He’s a big client, and this is a big case. This client is finally ready to press charges,” his assistant explained, as they entered the lift.
“And he chooses the weekend to do so. How thoughtful,” Richard stated.
“Best not let your father or our client hear that.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be fast asleep.”
His assistant gave him a disappointed look, which quickly wore off when Richard stared at him in response. They exchange no more words after that, as Richard was ushered to the boardroom where everyone had gathered.
At the head of the table was Richard’s father, who was on a laptop screen, and to his right was a row of chairs occupied by the partners. The first seat was empty and Richard quickly took it. Across from them were a few people Richard had not met before.
“Shall we begin?” his father asked.
The person seated directly across Richard nodded. He was a man well into his seventies and he did not look like the kind of grandfather anyone would want to have.
“Let’s start with the basics,” his father said.
Everyone responded by opening the file in front of them and Richard followed suit. When his brain registered what he was seeing, he felt a lump in his throat. He finally understood why it was important, at least to him that is. Richard never thought of being involved in it, but being in the room meant he was. What was he going to do? What was he going to say… to Jodie?
Four hours later, the meeting ended. Richard knew he had to get back to Skypeak, but the case was bugging him more than his assignment. Excusing himself before the whole party headed out for lunch, he quickly made a call to Matthias.
“What’s up?” Matthias answered, surprisingly friendly.
“I just met the client in Jodie’s case. Did you find out anything about her? She’s clean right?”
“I didn’t find out much, but we can assume she is. Why?”
“Did you read the case file I sent you?”
“I did, but it’s incomplete.”
“I can get you the complete one.”
“I don’t think you should. He’s your client.”
“Well if you’re up for him destroying someone’s life, and I mean obliterating it, then I won’t argue with you.”
There was a long moment of silence, and then Matthias said, “You should tell her.”
Richard did not know what to say. He had not grown to know Jodie any better since he last found out about the case, but she seemed genuine. Jodie did not come off as the kind of person who would be guilty of his client’s accusations. But did she have the right to know? Richard had to choose.