She hit reply. Then tossing her invite into the bin, she typed, ‘Sure.’
Jodie had received the beige envelope too. But despite the surprise, she decided to go. Guinevere had proven to be more than a gold-digger when she stood for the truth. And the least Jodie could do was acknowledge that. Knowing Zach made good company, she agreed as his plus one. Honestly, it was a relief when he asked – she preferred seeing a familiar face than none. Little did she expect, there were more than one.
After Jodie’s case with the Cortezs resolved, she spent most of her time in the office. Due to the scandal, her company took a financial hit. Stabilising it required arduous hours of work. There were never-ending meetings with investors, partners, and staff. She had little to no life outside those concrete walls. And the almost non-existing friend’s list shortened even further.
Mentally visioning the list, Jodie realised the only person she still met was Zach. Wayne hadn’t responded to her text message two months ago. Neal was on life support. And Piper… well, Piper’s life only made her envious. Piper didn’t run a publishing empire, and had the time to travel the world. Those pictures on social media, garnering thousands of ‘likes’, tempted Jodie to take a sabbatical.
“That’s a good idea,” Piper said, during her phone call from the ruins of Machu Picchu. “We can see the world together.”
“That sounds fun, but I can’t just pick up and leave. The company needs me.”
“The company needs you?”
“There are still-”
“Jodie, I know you. The company doesn’t need you. You need the company.”
“Well, I do need to survive.”
“Oh, please. You have more than enough.”
“Not for the rest of my life.”
“Your company will still be there when you get back.”
“That all depends.”
“Even if it isn’t, you can always start another. Perhaps it’s even better to do so without Neal involved. Bless his soul.”
“Too soon, Piper.”
“We’ve grieved him. His parents are only dragging it out for money. By the way, do you have the contact of that lawyer friend of yours?”
“Which lawyer friend?”
“The one that helped with your case?”
The call ended with Jodie giving in to Piper’s request for Matthias’ phone number. She also promised to ‘seriously, seriously, seriously consider the sabbatical’, as how Piper worded it. Despite the denial, Jodie knew Piper was right. She needed the company. She needed how it made her feel – powerful and influential. Nothing was holding her back, except for the fear of losing the glory that came with the crown. But how long could she keep it up? Jodie opted to rethink that life decision after the party, which arrived sooner than she’d like it to.
“Do you think she invited Richard and Matthias?” Zach asked, as he rang the doorbell.
“She might have.”
As Zach parted his lips to add to his thought, the door swung open. Instantly, the melody of a classical piece, accompanied by a pastel yellow beam, escaped the white-walled bungalow. And there, standing by the doorway, was Guinevere in her favourite colour – red.
“I’m so glad you two made it,” Guinevere said.
“You have a neat house,” Zach replied.
Guinevere chuckled. “You’ve not changed a bit, Zachary.”
“Actually, it has always been just Zach,” Zach corrected.
“Zachary sounds better. Come on in.” Guinevere stepped back to make way. “Oh, Richard and Matthias are here too. You should go over and say ‘hi’.” Guinevere pointed to the staircase where the pair were chatting.
“You go ahead,” Jodie prompted. “I’ll be right over.”
The moment Zach left, Jodie turned to Guinevere with a smirk. “You’ve not changed either.”
“Well, I have. A little. But yes, I’m pretty much the same.”
“I’m surprised you invited me.”
“I’m surprised you showed up. And, as Zach’s plus one.”
“Why? We’re friends.”
“Of course. Was I implying something else?”
“I’m glad we’re on the same page.”
“For once. But honestly, I’m glad you’re here.”
“Yes. I’d like us to be friends. I know I didn’t make a great first impression, but I’m not as horrible as you think I am. If you must know, I really did have feelings for Wayne.”
“Did you invite him tonight?”
“I dropped the letter at his office myself.”
“But he’s not coming?”
“I didn’t hear from him. So, no. But that’s fine. I understand.”
“He’s just busy.”
Guinevere nodded with a thin smile. “Now if you don’t mind, I need to make sure the kitchen is ready.”
“Sure.” Jodie waved Guinevere off, before retrieving her phone.
Whether they could be friends, Jodie didn’t know. But seeing how Guinevere was making an effort, she thought she should do the same too. Despite it being out of character, she considered giving Wayne a call. Perhaps she could convince him to show up. Still, Jodie hesitated. Helping Guinevere meant stepping down from her ivory tower – the self-made empire that defined who she was. And in that consideration, she noticed its uncanny resemblance to her outside world. The simple act of calling Wayne wasn’t going to change her life, but it could affect the way she approached it moving forward. With Wayne’s contact at her fingertips, she had to decide. Jodie 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.