For the first time in her life, she was not going to clock in to work. That Monday, she decided that her company could run itself. Jodie had to prepare for the worst after all. If things go badly with her case, what she had built would not crumble in her absence. But taking the day off was not just for the sake of testing her company’s independence, it was also to get Piper ready.
Jodie woke up pretty late that morning. It was a rare occasion for someone like her. When Piper knocked on her door around lunchtime, she decided she had enough of lazing around. Piper had gotten a lot of things done in the hours Jodie wasted, including preparing lunch.
“You don’t have to do this,” Jodie said. “You’re my guest.”
“And that’s why I have to. You know me. I hate freeloading,” Piper replied with a smile.
“You’re not. Let me-”
“No. Let me. Just relax while I’m here. You have enough on your plate already,” Piper interrupted as she placed two plates of stir-fried noodles on the dining table.
“Yes, definitely enough for lunch,” Jodie replied with a chuckle.
Piper smiled and took her seat. When she gestured Jodie to follow suit, she said, “I still can’t believe Neal’s parents. I remember meeting them once and thinking they were such a nice couple.”
“Trust me, I sometimes wonder if they’re the same people.”
Piper nodded. “Never mind about them for now. I’m curious about something else.” She placed her chopsticks down and asked, “Who’s that guy at the airport?”
Jodie smiled and shook her head. There was nothing to hide from Piper, so she said, “One of my competitors from the clubhouse competition.”
“Oh, you guys close?”
“You’ll be surprise. Suddenly, all five of us are best friends.”
Piper raised an eyebrow and Jodie added, “I’m joking. Our lives just seem to cross paths after we started the whole clubhouse thing.”
“How’s that going? The clubhouse competition.”
Jodie shrugged. She did not know how it was going. Was she doing well? Is she in good standing because she completed all her tasks? How was she being judged? Jodie had no idea and the conversation she had with Matthias on day one came to mind. Yes, it certainly felt like someone was playing with them. And just when she decided to share that thought, the doorbell rang.
“Must be Matthias,” Jodie said.
“Oh, good. I’ll clear up,” Piper replied.
“No, just leave it,” Jodie responded, even though she knew Piper wouldn’t listen.
Hurrying to the front door, Jodie took one quick look around her living room to make sure it was organized. Finding nothing to put in order, she welcomed her guest… Or should she say, guests.
“Hey,” Jodie greeted, and then immediately, she asked, “what are you doing here?”
“Wanted to see where you live,” Richard answered with a grin.
Jodie turned to Matthias and he answered on cue, “I couldn’t leave him at home. I don’t trust him with my things. Sorry.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t cause any trouble,” Richard added.
Reluctantly, Jodie pulled the door wider and gestured for the two to enter. When they did, Piper exited the kitchen. She first had a wide smile on her face, but shortly after, she gave Jodie a questioning look.
“Oh hey, remember me?” Richard asked.
Piper nodded her head.
“How can she forget?” Jodie asked on her behalf.
“I made quite an impression, eh?”
“I’m sure you did,” Matthias stated, before heading up to Piper and shaking her hand. After introducing himself to her, the two headed to the sofa.
“You want anything to drink?” Jodie asked.
“Water is fine,” Matthias answered.
“I’ll get it,” Piper said as she jumped to her feet.
“No. Sit. He needs to brief you on my case, ” Jodie immediately responded.
She did not wait for Piper to argue as she headed to the kitchen. Least expecting to be followed by anyone, she almost had a heart attack when she found Richard quietly standing by the kitchen door.
“What?” Jodie asked.
“You didn’t ask me what I wanted,” Richard answered.
Jodie sighed. “What do you want to drink?”
“Water is fine.”
Nodding, she retrieved three glasses. While filling them up, she saw Richard walking toward her from the corner of her eye.
“I need to ask you something,” Richard said, stopping at the kitchen counter.
“I need a favour.”
“What kind of favour?”
Jodie did not like beating around the bush, so if he needed something, she rather he told her. Whether or not she said yes, that was another question altogether.
“I need your help to get some info for me. You see, your friend Wayne-”
“You want to know what Wayne is doing for your family?”
“Well, more of like, what my family needs him to do. I’m stuck in limbo right now, and I need info to help me take the next step. If you know what I mean.”
She knew what he meant. But was she going to do it? Wayne was never going to hand over confidential information to her, but she did know where he kept them. Not knowing why, she found herself agreeing. Perhaps it was because she felt completely useless at the moment, and helping Richard would mean otherwise. Or perhaps she just wanted to even the score.
“OK,” Jodie said.
“Wow, I thought I would have a hard time convincing you.”
“You’re in luck today.”
“Thanks, I owe you one,” Richard said, as he picked up the glasses on the table.
“No, we’re even,” Jodie corrected.
“Oh, that’s right, I almost forgot.” Richard gave her a smile and a wink, before heading out.
Rolling her eyes, Jodie remained rooted to the spot. She grunted at the thought of what she had to do, before wondering why she agreed to do it in the first place. What was she thinking? It was too late to change her answer.
Knowing that Richard’s request was not going to be easy, she pulled out her phone ready to call for help. It was either Zach or Guinevere – Zach because she trusted him, Guinevere because she could be of better assistance. Jodie had to choose.