“Richard’s in-charge,” Guinevere announced.
“You shouldn’t have followed me.”
Before he had an appropriate response, Guinevere hurried out the exit leading to the ballroom. Jodie didn’t stick around either. She gave him a shrug and went after Guinevere. Grunting, Richard took a quick look around, and as though they’d not heard anything, the staff carried on with their chopping and dicing, ignoring him altogether.
“Well, I guess you guys don’t need me then,” Richard said.
It seemed they’d rather not have him around. And honestly, he didn’t mind their cold shoulders either. Turning on his heel, as he was ready to ditch the task he didn’t sign up for, a sudden ruckus rose from the ballroom. Some of the kitchen staff shuffled to the door for a look. When the yells reached an un-ignorable decibel, all of them cluttered by the doorway. Curious, Richard joined them too. Unfortunately, no ordering and demanding cleared a path for him.
Dying to know what the commotion was about, he decided to go the other way around. Exiting the kitchen, he jogged past the whitewashed walls and quickly arrived at the fork leading to the carpeted hallway. There, he ran into Guinevere again. This time however, she wasn’t alone.
Guinevere strode past him, dragging a man with her. They were in a heated conversation, with the man making obvious attempts to get away. Richard watched as he briefly contemplated on what to do next. But the decision wasn’t difficult that night. While the couple bickered, Richard heard the shuffling of footsteps by the hallway. Those footsteps were accompanied by the self-glorified claims of the woman he still called ‘mother’.
“You will regret this. I know people in high places,” she said.
“You have the right to remain silent. You should consider exercising it,” a man replied.
“I have the right to have you fired,” she retorted. “And let go of me, I can walk on my own.”
Looking toward the hallway, he saw a group of men leading his mother to the foyer. He figured they were the ones Guinevere saw earlier. Richard was now, without a doubt, certain they weren’t on the guest list. As he strode to the fringe of the hallway, intending to follow after the clean-shaven detectives, his route was blocked off by men in black suits. Like a procession, the escorts marched after his mother in attempts to prove she was indeed a powerful woman. And to no surprise, they weren’t alone.
There was another group of suited men tailing behind them. These men were part of his father’s entourage. They swept along like an ocean current, forcing Richard to remain rooted. While he waited for them to past, he caught a glimpse of his father and Gabriel. And just as they drifted by, something he least expected happened. The men halted. Followed by a moment of silence. A moment long enough for Richard to wonder if time had actually stopped.
“Am I invited?” Richard asked.
His father remained tight-lipped, while Gabriel turned to him.
“Unfortunately, yes. Try to keep up,” Gabriel said. As though his words were a cue, the procession continued.
“Well, isn’t this fun.” Richard slipped into the group and slowly fell behind. He didn’t want to be part of the escort, nor did he want to walk beside his father. So he followed from the back, as they entered the foyer and exited the clubhouse.
Outside the building was a train of black, tinted sedans. The chauffeur held the first car’s back door open, and his father swiftly entered. As Gabriel took a step after his father, he gestured to Richard and said, “Get in the front.”
Richard chuckled. Being ordered around by Gabriel wasn’t something he could get used to. Even if they weren’t blood related, Richard was still much older. Having decided to decline the offer and move to another car instead, Richard found his plan stumped when Jodie called after him.
Jodie shuffled down the steps, and without bothering to catch her breath, she asked, “Did you – did you see Wayne?”
“Oh, that guy? Well-”
“We don’t have all day,” Gabriel interrupted. “Who is this?”
Did Gabriel not know who Jodie was? Richard wasn’t buying it. “Everyone knows who this is,” Richard replied.
“Right. But not everyone should,” Gabriel stated, before slipping into the car.
As the chauffeur closed the door, Richard imagined Gabriel and his father watching – waiting to see his next move. What Gabriel said made sense, if one was playing their game.
“Do you know where he is?” Jodie asked.
Richard was sure they could hear him from inside the car. Even if they couldn’t, the men standing around him weren’t deaf. Was it a good idea to be friendly with Jodie at a time like this? Should he just brush her off? Yes, he did see Wayne. But the odds of him still being cornered by Guinevere were low.
“You know who I’m talking about, right?” Jodie shifted uneasily. He knew, that she knew, he was contemplating.
Seconds turned to minutes. And the longer he thought about his decision, the more questionable it became. Richard had to choose.
The Clubhouse © 2014 – 2016 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.