Jodie was the earliest. She sat in the silence thinking about life in prison. How horrid could it be? After days of discussing with Wayne’s recommended lawyer while trying to run a now scandalous publishing house, she found herself oscillating between accepting her fate and fighting for justice. Perhaps it was better to escape the world behind bars. It seemed less stressful.
When she began her imagination of prison food, she heard a series of click clocks. The moment it stopped, there was Guinevere taking a seat across her. They were told to meet in the clubhouse restaurant at 9a.m. Guinevere arriving a minute before the designated time was unusual.
“You’re early,” Jodie said.
“Well, I wanted to get this over with.”
“Whom did you vote for?”
“Why?” Jodie asked, failing to hide the horror in her voice.
Of all people, why did Guinevere have to vote for her? She didn’t want to be team captain. And the only reason she showed up was the possibility of discovering something new during the shareholder’s dinner. Being team captain would make it impossible to snoop around.
“Why not? You make a good leader.”
“Thank you. I’m so glad you think so.”
Guinevere shrugged as Matthias and Zach made an appearance. Jodie thought of asking them whom they voted for too, but was afraid they had chosen her as well. So they sat in silence until Richard came strolling in with Ms Leona a few feet behind.
“I’ve tabulated the votes,” Ms Leona said, without joining them at the table. “And surprisingly unanimous, your team captain is Jodie.”
Jodie dropped her gaze and held back a sigh. Ms Leona proceeded to briefing them about the dinner that was happening the following day, before placing four files on the table. The labels read, ‘Security’, ‘Food’, ‘Guests’, and ‘Agenda’.
“The team captain will assign each of you a task. Do it to the best of your ability. As you know, all eyes will be watching,” Ms Leona said. She then turned on her heel and stalked off in a hurry.
“Dibs on security,” Richard immediately said.
“I don’t mind handling the food. I rather not see anyone at the dinner,” Guinevere stated.
“I’m fine with anything,” Zach muttered.
When Matthias didn’t voice his preference, everyone turned to him. He responded to the attention by unfolding a paper napkin and scribbling three words: Let’s meet tonight.
He then pushed the napkin toward Guinevere and offered her the pen. She wrote ‘okay’ and forward the napkin to Zach. He added the alphabet ‘K’, before sliding the napkin to Richard who scribbled ‘Ok’.
Just before it was Jodie’s turn to reply, she nodded and said, ‘Richard can do security, Guinevere the food, Zach the agenda, and Matthias the guests.”
“Great!” Richard snatched his file and flipped it open. He was the only one excited about the event, as the rest sluggishly got to their feet and excused themselves one by one. Jodie left Richard last, returning to her thoughts of orange jumpsuits.
On most Saturdays, Jodie would be in the gym or at the clubhouse taking some time off work. That Saturday, she was at home waiting for night to arrive. There was nothing she needed to do and nothing she wanted to do. So she stared blankly at the television until her stomach signalled dinner time.
Without bothering to change, she headed to a roadside stall for a quick meal before making her way to the abandoned institution. She parked her car at the same spot she did the last time, before strolling toward the haunting school grounds. It was no longer as hair raising of an experience, as she had left her mood to be adventurous at home.
After three flights of steps up the soulless building, Jodie entered the classroom where they had met previously. There, she found the other four.
“We were about to call you,” Zach said.
“So, we all agree that we’ll use the dinner to scour for information, right? Guinevere interrupted.
“Of course. I’ve contacted a friend of mine who’ll help us,” Richard said.
“What friend?” Matthias asked with an eyebrow raised.
“A friend. He’ll bring his team to set the clubhouse up. Then during dinnertime, we’ll have eyes and ears on every table.”
“That’s a good idea,” Guinevere stated.
“I’m not too sure about that,” Matthias replied.
“Why not?” Zach asked.
“Well, Ms Leona said we’re being watched. And it is extremely suspicious for Richard to still be around, especially after his mother told him to leave,” Matthias said, gesturing to Richard. “In case you forgot, your brother is the new head of Wilhelm Group.”
“And that’s why I’ll do security. I’ll be in the shadows,” Richard assured.
“Let me do security,” Matthias said. “I’ll handle your friends.”
“And how is taking care of the guests any less discreet?”
“I suggest you don’t show tomorrow.”
“And miss out on the fun?”
“Well, this isn’t about fun, Richard,” Guinevere snapped. “None of this is fun.”
“Whoa, just so you know, you’re not the only victim here,” Richard replied.
“Why don’t you tell me what makes you a victim?” Guinevere challenged.
“My life being a lie? Do you think I’d sit around and let the Lee’s pretend I don’t exist?”
“Oh you’re such whiner.”
“Both of you are,” Jodie finally spoke. It was frustrating to see how the two most privileged individuals in their group threw a pity party around themselves. “Of all the victims in this room, you two have the least to worry about it.”
“Whatever,” Guinevere muttered.
“Look, I’m the man for this job. I’ve done it before. And I’m not going to sit out on it,” Richard stated.
“If you aren’t, then take up the guests task. It’s far from discreet but you won’t draw suspicion. Use your presence as a distraction. That will help,” Matthias replied.
Richard said nothing and turned to Jodie. Matthias did the same, while Guinevere sulked and Zach watched. Matthias made a good point. Richard would draw attention no matter what position he’s in. But in the case of letting Matthias take over, could he be trusted? Jodie had to choose.
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The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2016 by Jeyna Grace.
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