She stared blankly at her office door, waiting for someone to snap her out of a daze. Unfortunately, no one dared to enter. After the in-house lawyers left, Jodie didn’t know what to do. What was her next move? Will she go to jail like her favourite character? Her life suddenly felt like a television drama. And it was such a strange feeling, as though fiction had slipped its way into reality.
Jodie was not naïve but she could honestly say she never saw it coming. Neal’s family was nice to her when he was alive. His mother even asked her out for lunch a couple of times. Yes, the death of a child has a tendency to change a person, but accusing an innocent of murder? That was outrageous.
Neal and Jodie were good friends. They met along a hiking trail in the mountains of Nepal and decided to finish the last stretch together. Neal was from a well to do family and though they were both only teenagers then, they decided to start a company together. The empire that Jodie had was built by both of them, and she never once thought of taking it for herself. It was to her surprise that Neal prepared a will, giving his shares to her after his untimely death.
At that point of time, Jodie insisted his family took his shares of the company. Strangely, both his parents refused Jodie’s offer. So for them to come after her, a year after his death, did not make any sense. What changed their minds? Did something happen or were they planning this all along? What did she do to offend them in the first place?
Jodie’s office door never opened the whole time she tried to understand her predicament. It would be tiring to go on for the entire day, but a knock finally arrived to put her mind to rest.
“Come in,” Jodie said.
When the door opened, her assistant popped her head in and said, “Someone by the name of Zach is here to see you. I was going to ask him to schedule a meeting but you have nothing on for today. Should I send him in?”
“Sure. He’s a friend.” Zach probably heard the news and wanted to check in on her. But he could have called, why did he come all the way? Jodie wondered.
As Zach entered her office, he gave her a smile and said, “Hey.”
“Take a seat.” Jodie gestured at the chair across her desk. “You’ve heard the news, I presume.”
“It’s ridiculous, if you ask me,” Zach immediately replied.
“I believe you, by the way.”
Zach was nice but the judge was not. It would take a lot more to convince him to believe her.
“You’re going to be OK, right?” Zach asked.
“I don’t know. My legal team isn’t the best,” Jodie said with a shrug.
“Well…” Zach trailed off.
“Well, I know someone who can help. A good lawyer.”
Jodie stared at Zach for a few seconds, not sure if she had heard right. Did he really say Matthias? Since when were the two even friends?
“Your boss,” Jodie stated.
“I know he’s fishy, but he’s also really good at what he does.”
“You haven’t been working for him for very long. Did he ask you to do this?”
Jodie noticed Zach’s hesitation before he replied, “Yes.”
“Why would he want to help me?”
“He told me he knows injustice when he sees it,” Zach said. “Honestly, I don’t know how, but he knows a lot about your case. He has evidence to drop some of the charges too. If you don’t trust him, just use him for what he has.”
Zach’s statement caught her off guard. She always thought Zach as a straightforward guy, and him telling her to use Matthias made her realise she still had a lot to learn about him.
“Did Matthias teach you that?” Jodie asked with a chuckle.
“Use Matthias, you say.”
“Oh, no,” Zach said with a chuckle. “I don’t mean use him in that way. I’m just saying, don’t let go of something that can help.”
Jodie nodded. Zach had a point but she wasn’t sure if she could fully trust Matthias. His cleverness and flair for the spoken word would come in handy, but was he reliable? One dinner date was not enough to conclude on Matthias’ character.
“Do you trust him?” Jodie asked Zach.
“I don’t know him well to trust him, but if he has information that can help me, I’ll take a risk. If someone had secret information back when my company laid me off, I would have gone to court.”
“Secret information? Matthias has secret information about my case?” It was a hard habit to break, but reading between the lines came so naturally to her.
“Well, he knows more than the press and he had me running errands yesterday, collecting information for it.”
“That makes him even more suspicious.”
“Just be cautious around him. You told me that, didn’t you?”
Lawyers had to know everything, being cautious around Matthias was going to be tough. Jodie wanted some time to think, but when her office phone rang and the receptionist on the line told her who was calling, she knew time was not by her side.
“Transfer him,” Jodie responded.
The moment the line clicked, she heard a familiar voice.
“Hey, I tried calling your cell but I couldn’t get through,” Wayne said.
“I switched it off. It wouldn’t stop ringing.”
“It will soon. I finally got a hold of my friend and she said she can help. Like I said, she’s really good.”
Wayne had offered some of his contacts to Jodie. She saw no harm in having more options, but it was finally time to make a decision. It was either a stranger or Matthias. Jodie had to choose.