“What were you two talking about?” Richard asked.
“My case,” Jodie simply replied.
Matthias brought bad news that morning. He said there were issues with their evidence and that the prosecution had discovered them first. They went from a good chance of winning to a high probability of losing overnight. Jodie wished she had not placed such high hopes on success. After all, she knew it wasn’t going to be a fair case. It was already a miracle she had a good start.
“Oh, not losing are you?” Richard asked. It sounded like a joke, but his face held a straight expression.
Jodie shrugged in reply. She watched Richard as he remained expressionless, and then narrowing her eyebrows, she asked, “Is something wrong?”
There was something off about Richard that day. He had that same look on his face when he first saw his family at the airport. It was a side to Richard that Jodie was glad existed, even though it was a sign of trouble.
“Nah, nothing is. I just met Gabriel,” Richard casually stated.
“Yup. It turns out we’re not related at all.” Richard gave a false chuckle and folded his arms.
“I see,” Jodie replied. She had no idea what to say and awkwardly shifted in place.
“He also told me something else. Something about the clubhouse,” Richard added.
“What about the clubhouse?”
Before Richard had brought it up, Jodie assumed everyone knew that the Skypeak challenge was a fraud. It was only then that she realised one of them was still clueless. Immediately, she felt bad. But at the same time, she panicked. They were not in the right place to be talking about something they shouldn’t know about.
“Oh, you know, the whole-”
“Yes, I was going to let Zach win,” Jodie interrupted.
For a brief moment, Richard looked confused. Just as he was about to come out of it, Jodie said, “I’ll tell you why after we’re done with today. I need to get back to work.”
Hoping to end the conversation there, she patted him on the shoulder and stalked off. Seeing that he wasn’t following her, she heaved a silent sigh of relief. As she returned to the clubhouse gym, she briefly took her mind off her case and thought about a possible place for all of them to meet up. The five of them needed to talk it over and knowing it was all a set up, Jodie had a feeling they were being watched. The ones behind the plan might have bugged them too. But she could only be certain after they found out more.
When lunch rolled around the corner, Jodie found Zach, Guinevere, and Matthias at the staff canteen. Richard was not in sight, and she saw it as an opportunity to tell them about him. Placing her food tray down, she said, “Richard knows.”
Zach and Matthias looked up from their food, while Guinevere continued stabbing hers. None of them said a word as they waited for her to continue.
“He knows we’re planning to let Zach win,” Jodie said, mentally crossing her fingers that they understood what she meant.
“Great,” Guinevere muttered.
“He didn’t know?” Zach asked.
“Is he in on it?” Matthias chimed in.
“He didn’t know, and I don’t know if he’s in on it or not. Perhaps we should all tell him the plan,” Jodie suggested.
“He already knows, what else is there to tell?” Guinevere asked.
Refraining from heaving a sigh at Guinevere’s ignorance, Jodie simply smiled and said, “It would be a good reason to hang out.”
“Hang out? Since when-”
“I agree,” Zach interrupted Guinevere.
Seemingly offended at what Zach had done, she stopped with her stabbing and looked to face him. Jodie noticed how her lips parted, but closed abruptly when she caught on. Nodding her head, she asked, “So where? Where should we hang out?”
That was the question Jodie hoped the rest would have an answer to. Unfortunately, none of them did. The conversation was put on pause as they returned to their food. Nobody said a word until Zach announced that lunchtime was almost over. After having more than half an hour to think of a place, Jodie’s mind still drew blank. It was hard to focus on the issue at hand, when the image of a prison cell kept appearing in her head. As much as she wanted to solve her case first, she had an inkling that solving the clubhouse matter would fix her problem too. It was a strange notion, but it could be true. And any reason to have hope was all she needed at that moment.
“I know a place,” Matthias stated.
“Good, let’s meet there then,” Zach said.
“I know a place too. I think mine would be better,” Guinevere replied.
Thankfully, Matthias and Guinevere were least distracted during that time frame.
“It doesn’t matter which place, as long as it’s… good,” Jodie said.
“Trust me, mine’s good,” Matthias responded.
“Mine’s better,” Guinevere insisted.
Neither of them were saying where their places were in case someone was eavesdropping, but that itself made it difficult to know who had a better spot. Zach turned to Jodie, and the other two followed suit. They had inaudibly decided that Jodie would make the pick. Without having any information to go by, she had to take their word for it. Jodie 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.