Shutting his eyes, Richard emptied his mind. He wanted to escape reality and forget about life. The silence was inviting him to do so, but unfortunately, it only lasted for a while. Richard heard Zach taking a seat on the pool chair beside his, and his presence was hard to ignore. Without having to be told, he knew Zach didn’t like him very much, but he decided it was better to pretend naïve.
“Hey,” Richard greeted, opening an eye as he took a glance at Zach.
“Hey,” Zach replied.
“Nothing much. You?”
“Nothing much either.”
Richard wanted to keep the small talk going, but he noticed how Zach shifted uncomfortably from side to side.
“You… have something to tell me?” Richard prompted.
Zach did not seem to like being confronted, but he spoke his mind anyway. “I heard Jodie is helping you with something,” he stated.
“Oh, she told you?”
“No, not really. Guinevere got me involved, somehow.”
“Guinevere? I didn’t ask Guinevere for help,” Richard said.
How was Guinevere involved? Richard was not very keen to know. How much information Zach knew? That was more important Richard was not fond of people knowing about his personal problems. It was already uncomfortable having Matthias, Jodie, and Guinevere aware of his current one.
“Well, yea, I didn’t want to be a part of it either.”
“That’s between you and her,” Richard said with a chuckle. The conversation was not getting friendlier, but it wasn’t ending either.
“Right, of course.”
“So, what did she tell you?”
“Nothing. I was hoping you would.”
“Ah, curious, aren’t you? It’s just a family matter. No big deal. It’ll all be over soon,” Richard said.
“How is Jodie helping you with this?”
“Is somebody jealous?” Richard teased. He smirked and saw the opportunity to change the topic. He was not going to reveal any more – that was all he was sharing.
“You know why we’re different?”
“It’s obvious, isn’t it?”
Richard smiled and nodded. He then said, “You’re an open book, Zach. I like to keep my covers shut. You wear your emotions on your sleeve-”
“And you hide yours behind a mask,” Zach finished his sentence for him.
“Sad, but true,” Richard acknowledged with a smile.
He was not going to deny it. There were better words to use than the ones Zach had chosen, but there was no need to lie to himself when it was a fact. Hoping to end the conversation there, Richard silently sighed in relief when Ms Leona entered the pool area with Jodie and Guinevere.
Seeing Jodie, Richard had the urge to pull her aside and ask if she had retrieved the information he needed. But with Zach’s curious eyes watching, he decided to do it later. As Ms Leona waved them over, Richard casually got up and gestured for Zach to come along.
“Good afternoon,” Ms Leona greeted. “Today’s task is rather simple. There will be a private pool party tonight, and all of you will be waiting on the guests.”
“Do I know these guests?” Richard asked.
He was not worried about the task; he was worried if he knew the people at the party. If they were family friends, and a sinking feeling was telling him so, how was he going to respond to their questions and remarks? They probably knew he was part of the five bidding for Skypeak, but they would be more than happy to forget that fact.
“Maybe you do, but you shouldn’t worry about that tonight. Just focus on making sure everyone is happy,” Ms Leona replied.
Easy for you to say, you don’t know what it’s like, Richard thought.
“Now, if you would follow me,” Ms Leona added, turning on her heels. “You’ll need to change into your uniforms.”
“I hope they look much better than the last one,” Guinevere said.
Ms Leona did not respond as she strode alongside the pool area before turning into a hallway, leading to the kitchen. She began briefing them on the courses served and by the time she was done, they were in a staff lounge.
The staff lounge looked similar to the one he had been in before. This time however, the headwaiter was waiting for them with a stack of neatly folded uniforms in his arms. Ms Leona immediately gestured to him, and the waiter handed them the black and white clothing.
“What do you think of the uniform?” Ms Leona asked, turning to Guinevere.
Giving a thin smile, Guinevere said, “Acceptable.”
“That’s good to hear. But before you get changed, you will need to make a decision. You can choose which team to be on. Either the food or the beverage,” Ms Leona said.
“Food,” Guinevere immediately responded. “I can’t imagine getting red wine on this outfit.”
“Food for me too,” Matthias said.
“I guess I’ll go with beverage,” Jodie made her pick.
“Beverage,” Zach simply said.
Did it make a difference which team he chose to be on? Richard could not imagine himself waiting on anyone, so either team did not matter. It all came down to the people on the team.
Would it better for him to work with Guinevere and Matthias, or Jodie and Zach? Was it appropriate to hide behind Guinevere in the midst of familiar faces, or was it the right place and time to ask Jodie about his request. Richard had to choose.
The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2015 by Jeyna Grace.
All rights reserved. No part of the series may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from Jeyna Grace.