Original Works

Chapter 49: Wee Hour Meeting

clubhouse49

They passed the address and time in a slip of paper. Shoving it into each other’s hands like high school students during class. It was another one of his suggestions that almost everyone agreed to, but there was nothing about it worth boasting. He was quick to forget about it when he received an anonymous text.

It was shortly after lunch when his phone beeped with a message saying his sister had landed safe and sound. There was no need to wonder whom it was from, and he took it as a confirmation that Maddie was back. The moment Sunday ended, he raced home.

Entering his apartment, Matthias called, “Maddie?”

There was no reply, but his bedroom door swung open and Maddie walked out. Matthias heaved a silent sigh of relief.

“Where were you? I couldn’t get a hold of you?” Matthias asked.

“My battery ran out. They held me at immigration and wouldn’t even let me make a call,” Maddie answered with a grunt.

It seemed as though she was not in any danger, and he heaved another silent sigh.

“Well, you’re home now, that’s all that matters,” Matthias said.

“Isn’t it illegally to deny someone a phone call?” Maddie asked.

Having suddenly grown angry, she stormed toward him and added, “You have to do something about this. They wouldn’t even tell me what was wrong! They said they’ll handle it and left me in the interrogation room.”

“Calm down,” Matthias said.

“Calm down? I was there for three days, Matt. Three days where they fed me stale bread. It’s inhumane!”

“You’re fine now. Just forget about it,” Matthias replied.

“How can you say that?” Maddie snapped.

“For once, will you just listen to me?”

Maddie was immediately taken aback. Matthias did not want her to be tangled in the web, but he hated the way she was looking at him then. She looked confused, angry, and shocked at the same time. But most importantly, she was disappointed in him.

“Look, just forget about what happened, OK? There are things we shouldn’t mess with-”

“And this is one of them?” Maddie interrupted.

“Yes. Just be glad you’re home safe. Worse could have happened.”

“Worse? What do you mean by worse?”

“It’s late, you can use my bed if you want,” Matthias replied and ignored her as he headed straight to the bathroom.

If there was a right emotion to be feeling at that moment, is was fear. Despite Maddie returning safe, he could not shake that emotion off. As he stared at his reflection in the bathroom mirror, he thought about the possible outcomes of his decision. Even though Matthias hated betraying Jodie, he was glad he made that choice. Still, one question remained: was the game over? Was Matthias no longer needed? Full of dread, he knew the answer was no.

That night, Matthias had a hard time falling asleep. It did not make much of a difference though, as he was meeting the clubhouse contestants at four that morning. Richard had not returned to his apartment either, which was great, as it wouldn’t draw suspicion from whoever was watching. When the clock stroke three, Matthias grab his car keys and left Maddie snoozing in his bedroom.

The reason why Matthias was confident about his location was because it was abandoned. It was located in a little town outside the city with a population of old people. There was no way to fit in under the age of sixty, and it would be dead obvious if someone had followed them there. When he arrived at the town, he drove along the narrow quiet street until he found a parking spot in a dirty alley. From there, he began his walk.

It took him around ten minutes to reach the agreed spot. It was an old school building, no longer in use because there weren’t enough children enrolling. There was another reason why it was abandoned, but Matthias did not want to dwell on that thought at that hour. Once inside the school, he waited at the main hallway.

At four sharp, he heard someone enter through the main door. Matthias stood hidden until a flashlight shone in his direction. It was Richard and Guinevere. Stepping out from a classroom, he waved them to turn off the light. But before they understood his gestures, Jodie walked up from a nearby staircase and snatched the flashlight from Guinevere. Guinevere jumped in fright, before giving Jodie a glare. Shortly after that, Zach joined them.

The five of them moved to a classroom on the third floor, where they began their secret meeting. It was obvious they didn’t like Matthias’ choice of location, which made it an even better place to meet.

“Is this your old school?” Zach asked in a whisper.

“Do we have to whisper? There’s no one here,” Guinevere said.

“Are you sure?” Richard asked, as he drew the flashlight closer to his face. He had a palm over the light, which illuminated his face in a reddish glow.

“Don’t be silly,” Guinevere replied.

“Great place, Matthias. Anyway, let’s talk business,” Jodie said.

“Wait, we have to choose a hero first,” Richard stated.

“A hero?”

“Well, let’s be honest. As much as we want to find the truth, not all of us can. Some of us don’t have connections, and some of us don’t have status. I, for one, don’t have both. So I can’t be the hero. Heck, I didn’t even know about this whole thing until yesterday,” Richard explained with a hint of bitterness in his voice.

“You had this all figured out, eh?” Guinevere asked.

“And in such a short time frame, yes,” Richard replied.

“He’s right,” Zach spoke up. “But I can’t be the hero either, I’m technically the victim.”

“We should all try to find out what’s going on, but someone would have to do more,” Jodie said, turning to look at Guinevere.

“Me? Why me?”

“Isn’t it obvious.”

“All in favour of Guinevere, raise your hand,” Richard announced with his hand already raised.

Zach raised his hand after, followed by Jodie. Guinevere folded her arms and turned to Matthias. It was his turn to make a decision – should he raise his hand or suggest someone else? Matthias had to choose.

Next Chapter >
(For the chapter list, visit here.)

____________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

Original Works

Chapter 31: Chicken And Beer

clubhouse31

Ding Dong.

Matthias wasn’t expecting any more guests. So, you can probably guess his surprise when he saw Richard at his doorstep.

“What are you doing here?” Matthias asked.

“Came to visit,” Richard replied as he ushered himself in.

“I doubt that. What do you want? How do you even know where I live?”

Shutting the front door, Matthias quickly followed after him.

“The file I found in my father’s safe, remember?” Richard said with a smile, before he plopped onto the sofa.

Matthias grunted at the memory. He hated his information being out there, and he hated it more that Richard had a copy of it.

“It’s late. What do you want, Richard?” Matthias asked.

“Aw, come on, can’t you show me some hospitality?”

An unquestionable ‘no’ was at the tip of Matthias’ tongue, but before he could say it, his bedroom door opened. Richard immediately jumped on the opportunity and asked, “Oh, am I intruding?”

Maddie stood at his bedroom doorway, with a look on her face he knew all too well. It was the look of curiosity before the cat got killed.

“Yes, you are,” Matthias answered.

“Who is this?” Maddie asked.

“Nobody,” Matthias replied. Then turning to Richard, he said, “Time for you to leave.”

“Sorry, didn’t know you had a lady friend over,” Richard responded and got up from his seat.

Matthias was about to silently celebrate Richard leaving, but unfortunately, Maddie decided to clear the misunderstanding. “I’m not a lady friend. I’m his sister.”

Immediately stopping in his tracks, Richard turned to Maddie and gave her a smile. “Sister? I didn’t know Matthias has a sister. And a stunning one too.”

“Go flatter yourself, Richard,” Matthias said.

“Hey, I thought we were buddies. Why didn’t you tell me you have a sister?” he asked instead.

“We’re not buddies.”

“After all we’ve been through?”

Matthias narrowed his eyes at Richard, daring him to say another word. But Richard took it as a challenge and strode to Maddie instead.

“Name’s Richard. What’s yours?”

Ready to answer on his sister’s behalf again, he found himself being interrupted by the ringing of his phone. Seeing who it was, he gave Richard a glare before walking aside to answer the call.

“Is there a problem?” Matthias asked.

“I just want to check if Richard’s with you,” Jodie said over the line.

“Er, yes, he is. You didn’t send him here, did you?” Matthias asked with a chuckle.

“No. I saw him at the airport when I went to pick up Piper. Something happened there between him and his family. I’m just… concerned. A little. So, yea.”

“Don’t worry, he’s fine,” Matthias said with false cheerfulness, as he watched Richard and Maddie engage in what seemed like an interesting conversation.

“Do you have beer? I could use some,” Richard called to Matthias.

“Excuse me,” Matthias said to Jodie, before replying Richard, “No. Go get your own.”

“OK, wanna come along?” Richard turned to Maddie.

“No, she doesn’t want to come along,” Matthias replied. But Richard pretended not to hear as Maddie agreed.

“Sorry Jodie, I need to go,” Matthias quickly said, as he watched Richard and Maddie walk out the door. “I’ll see you tomorrow, as planned.”

When he ended the call, Matthias hurried after the pair. By the time he locked the house door, the two were already entering the elevator.

“You have class tomorrow, Maddie!” Matthias shouted, chasing after them.

“Nope, not tomorrow!” Maddie replied. And just as he had expected, she closed the elevator doors before he could even reach them.

Grunting in annoyance, Matthias contemplated between going after them and waiting for them. When he gave his sister a call, she briskly told him they would be back soon. Knowing the character of Maddie and Richard, he dragged himself back to his home. And not long after, they returned with not just a dozen beer cans, but with two boxes of fried chicken too.

“Bought some for you,” Richard casually said as he placed the convenient stall haul on the coffee table.

“No thank you,” Matthias responded.

He usually did not admit defeat so quickly, but he was too tired to continue fighting that night. So, he sat on an armchair and watched his sister and Richard chomp down their late night snack. A few hours later, the two of them were finally done. Maddie had passed out on the sofa, and Richard was mumbling to himself with a beer can in his hand.

“This mess,” Matthias muttered.

Heading over to Maddie, he piggybacked her to his bedroom. When he re-entered the living room, he heaved a heavy sigh. Matthias was really tired but he forced himself to clean the untidy state. After he was done, he stared at Richard briefly and wondered what he was going to do with him.

There was no way he could send Richard home at that hour, in such a condition. From Jodie’s call, he knew something was up. And as much as he hated to think so, he might be all that Richard had. Shaking his head, he left the unwanted guest on the sofa and retreated to his room.

Matthias decided to make up his mind when morning came. He was either going to ask Richard was what going on or he would get Zach to handle him. There weren’t many other options. Matthias had to choose.

Next Chapter >
(For the chapter list, visit here.)

____________________________________________________________________________________________

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.