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Chapter 56: Whose Eyes, Whose Ears

clubhouse56

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?”

“You.”

“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.

“Sorry. So-”

“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.

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

____________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

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Posted by on January 28, 2016 in Original Works

 

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3 Words, 1 Story

3words1story

It’s simple.

Give me 3 words – 3 random words – and I’ll work a story around those words.

This is a writing challenge I aim to do at least once a month. It will be a great way for me to practice writing. And you can join me too, if you like 🙂

To kick start this challenge, leave your 3 words in the comments below. I’ll choose one comment for a short story beginning in February 2016. Once the story is posted, I’ll challenge you to take on the same 3 words and write your own. There are no rules in this challenge. The length doesn’t matter, it could be 100 words or 1000 words. The genre doesn’t matter either, it could be fantasy or fan fiction. Just write to your heart’s desire. That’s what I’ll be doing too.

Feel free to link your own story in the comments as the challenge gains momentum. If I have a favourite, I’ll be sure to feature it. Are you up for this? Let’s have some fun!

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2016 in Others

 

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Chapter 55: It’s Dinner Time

clubhouse55

“He… was Gabriel.”

“Richard’s brother?”

“Yes.”

“The new head of Wilhelm Group?”

“Yes.”

And what about the betraying of friends? No, Guinevere didn’t repeat her question. It suddenly felt too intrusive. And yet, Matthias answered her anyway.

“As for the betraying of friends, don’t worry, it wasn’t you.”

“I was just curious,” Guinevere said in defense.

“How much did you hear?” Matthias asked.

“Oh, you know, not much,” Guinevere said, “but if you ask me, I’d suggest you take him up on his offer.”

Matthias furrowed his brows. It was an expected reaction, since supporting the notion of helping the enemy didn’t seem orthodox.

To be fair, she saw it as an opportunity for Matthias to help them. Perhaps behind enemy lines, he’ll be able to dig up more information regarding Wilhelm Group. The only problem with the suggestion was the possibility that Matthias would switch sides instead. Then, they would be in trouble. Then, there was no way of saving Wayne or her family at all.

“Are you serious?”

“Yes. You can be our inside man.”

Matthias chuckled.

“We trust you,” Guinevere added.

“That’s good to know.”

“We’re closing in on the end of the clubhouse competition. The only way to save us all is to have someone on the inside.”

“I’ll think about it.”

“Matthias-”

Matthias ended the conversation there with a lazy wave of goodbye. As he strolled off, Guinevere heaved a deliberate sigh. She had no intentions of listening in on Matthias’ conversation. In fact, she was surprised she stumbled into him in the first place. Now having heard everything, it was as though she was given hope only to have it taken away from her. Still, she didn’t know Matthias well enough to know why he hesitated. Perhaps there was more to his story than just being the sly lawyer.

Deciding she was done jogging for the day, she headed back to her car. And to her utmost surprise, she found Wayne waiting for her. He wore a serious expression, one that turned her brief joy into worry. What was he doing there? How did he know where to find her?

“Hi,” Guinevere said.

“We need to talk,” Wayne replied.

“About?”

“About my change of plans.”

“What change of plans?”

“I’m stepping down from my post.”

“What? Why?”

“You know why.”

Wayne didn’t seem angry with her, which was a relief. But the thought of him giving up wasn’t. Jodie mentioned Wayne would take care of his own situation, but quitting wasn’t what she had expected.

“I’m playing it safe. And I understand if you want to break off the engagement,” Wayne added.

“No! No, I don’t want to break it off. My family does, but not me.”

“I actually think it’s best if we do break it off. You and your family shouldn’t be entangled in this mess.”

“But we already are,” Guinevere insisted.

Guinevere was afraid – afraid he would end the relationship she worked so hard to built. Yes, the relationship started off in search for power, status, and money, but it became more than that. Like she told her father, she really did like Wayne. If he was stepping down from his position, why did they have to end it? Wilhelm Group will leave him alone, wouldn’t they?

“I’m going to disappear for a while. So I vote we end this here.”

“No!” Guinevere reached for his hand and held on as tight as she could. “No, they only want your position, they don’t want you.”

“I’m afraid that’s not what they’re planning to do. I’m their scapegoat, whether I give up my seat or have them shove me off. Don’t worry, I’ll be back. And then we can talk about us again.”

Wayne pulled his hand free and gave Guinevere a hug.

Guinevere knew she looked like a pathetic puppy, being abandoned by her owner, but she wasn’t going to whine and whimper about it. Still, it took a lot of effort to nod in reply.

“Don’t look for me, Gwen. I’ll be back.”

That evening, Guinevere returned home to find her parents waiting for her in the living room. She solemnly announced she broke off her engagement with Wayne, and ignored the smile that spread across her mother’s face.

“Good,” her father merely said.

“You’re welcome,” Guinevere muttered.

Having lost all appetite, she headed straight to her room. Thankfully, her sister wasn’t there to jab at her open wound. After a long bath, where she tried to stop herself from bursting into tears under the rain shower, she retreated to her bed in hopes to end her day. Unfortunately, before she could switch the lights off, her phone beeped a message. Seeing who it was from, she grunted and tapped it open.

This weekend is the annual Wilhelm Group shareholder’s dinner. We have everything set and ready, but we need a team to oversee the night’s event.

As part of the challenge, you and the other contestants will be in charge of making sure everything runs smoothly. But before anything else, a team needs a captain. Aside from you, who do you think will make a good leader?

At that point of time, did it really matter who took the reigns? Matthias might have dropped out of the challenge by tomorrow, Jodie had more important things to handle, Richard may or may not show up – even if he did, it would be for fun, and Zach was already the doomed winner.

Guinevere had the urge to ignore the message, but then wondered if that would only create suspicion. Thinking about how the shareholder’s dinner might work to their benefit, she decided it best to hit reply. Maybe this was the opportunity they were waiting for? If they could uncover something of value, then Wayne might not need to disappear. But the question still remained: who should be team captain? Guinevere had to choose.

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

____________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2016 in Original Works

 

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Chapter 54: Mastermind Unmasked

clubhouse54

“Fancy choice for a time like this,” Matthias said.

Richard called him to his presidential suite mid week. At first, Matthias thought he’d heard the location wrong, but it didn’t take him long to figure out what had happened.

“Curious, aren’t you?” Richard asked, as he ushered Matthias in.

“No, not really.”

“I was handed a truckload of money.”

“I think I know from whom,” Matthias said, taking a quick look around. There was a wide glass window overlooking the night-lit city, and he strode toward it.

“Want to know how much?”

“No. I’m just glad you’re no longer sleeping on my couch.”

Richard chuckled and handed Matthias a glass of whiskey. “Thanks for the hospitality.”

“Don’t mention it. What did you want to tell me?”

“I learned something new about Wilhelm Group. I thought you might be able to find out more with my intel.”

“You think too highly of me, but I’ll try.”

If Matthias was being honest, he’d been thinking about discontinuing the clubhouse challenge since last weekend. The only reason why he hadn’t back out was because he didn’t want the rest to think he was abandoning ship.

“Well, you’re the man with the contacts. Anyway, I was told that Gabriel is the new owner of Wilhelm Group.”

Matthias turned to Richard, with eyebrows narrowed.

“Surprise, aren’t you? It would’ve been me if Gabriel wasn’t born,” Richard added.

You seem to have more contacts than me, Richard. But I’ll see what I can do.”

After Matthias thanked Richard for the drink, he excused himself and headed home. Despite not wanting to delve in the whole scandal, he found himself researching on the infamous Gabriel Lee. There was little information about him, but not a single picture. By sunrise, Matthias decided to have a little chat with his boss.

Clocking-in 10-minutes before the rest, Matthias headed straight to his boss’ office. It was part of his daily routine. That day, he decided to survey his boss’ condition first, before bringing up Gabriel. But upon his arrival, Matthias found only one person in the office – the very person he did not want to see.

“Good morning,” the man greeted. It was the same man that threatened him to get Jodie’s case files.

“It’s nice seeing you again,” Matthias simply replied.

“Vice versa. I have a message for you.”

“What message?”

“My boss wants to meet with you.”

“He does? Well, tell him I’m busy.”

“He has an offer for you. One I’m sure you’d like,” the man insisted.

Then without waiting for Matthias’ reply, he handed him a card with an address and time scribbled on it – it wasn’t an obscure location, but the jogging path by the city river.

“Don’t be late,” the man added, before strolling out.

Matthias’ first instinct was to call his sister. When she told him she was fine, he heaved a sigh of relief. Knowing that he wasn’t being threatened again, he wondered about the motive behind the meet. It was at a public place and right during the evening rush – it was pretty safe. Since there was nothing to lose, he decided to go and ask questions.

By the time evening rolled around, Matthias excused himself earlier with no questions asked. He reached the car park before the working class started on their commute home, and found the jogging path before the designated time. The card itself did not specify where they were to meet, so he took a stroll – crossing paths with mothers and their children, young couples, and evening joggers. When he finally reached the wide bridge arcing over the river, he spotted a young man in a suit, leaning against the handrail. Matthias somehow knew that was the person he was to meet.

Walking up to the young man, Matthias pulled out the card he was given and handed it to him. The young man smiled as he took it. Up close, he didn’t look a day over twenty, which was quite a surprise.

“How did you know it was me?” he asked.

“We’re the only two people out of place,” Matthias replied.

“And that’s why I like you. You’re very observant.”

“Who are you and what do you want?”

“My name is Gabriel. And I want you to work for me.”

Matthias stared blankly at the introduction, failing to formulate a reply. Just the night before, he’d learned who Gabriel was. And to meet him the next day, let alone be offered a job, felt unreal.

“You’ve heard of me, I assume,” Gabriel said.

“I have, from Richard.”

“Ah, then he must have told you about Skypeak too. And the unbeatable challenge.”

“He has,” Matthias lied without a second thought.

“I’m guessing, you’ve considered quitting the challenge. Am I right?”

He had only just met Gabriel and he was starting to dislike him. The way the boy was able to predict his moves made Matthias extremely uneasy.

“Quit it, Matthias, and then come work with me. If you think that’s betraying your friends, it’s not like you’ve never done it before.”

Holding back whatever reply he had, Matthias turned to look down the river.

“Think about it. I don’t hurt my own.”

Leaving him with what sounded like a threat, Matthias watched as Gabriel strolled down the bridge. When Gabriel was no longer in sight, Matthias sighed and pushed himself away from the handrail. He was ready to head home and think over Gabriel’s offer, when he heard someone clearing their throat behind him.

Looking over his shoulder, he saw Guinevere standing with her arms crossed. Matthias unconsciously held his breath. She was in her jogging attire, and had seemingly stood there long enough to have caught her breath.

“Who was that?” Guinevere asked calmly. “And what did he mean by betraying your friends?”

Rarely was Matthias in such a situation. He was always careful not to let his guard down. That day, felt like a set up to have him exposed. At that very moment, Matthias could only do one of two things: come clean or lie. He could tell her what was going on, or he could simply shrug it off and drop out of the clubhouse challenge – never to see her again. There weren’t any other options, and 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.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2015 in Original Works

 

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Chapter 53: The Heir

clubhouse53

He knew Zach had a reason to accept his offer. Richard was not as naïve as he’d like to be. So when Zach asked him about Matthias, he told him everything he knew. It was a price he was willing to pay for company, as pathetic as that sounded. He did, however, grew curious as to why Zach was suddenly so interested in Matthias. But that curiosity had no room to grow with all that had happened.

“If you ask me, I wouldn’t completely trust Matthias. He’s his own God with his own set of morals. Not that I’m any different,” Richard admitted.

Zach nodded and took a sip from the glass of beer he bought him. Richard downed half his glass and ordered another one.

“So, what’s your plan?” Zach asked.

“Oh, we’re talking about me now?” Richard asked with a smirk. “Well, honestly, I don’t know.”

“Did you speak to your brother?”

“Yes. But he’s not my brother.”

“Did it help?”

“I guess. But I’m still pretty lost.”

Richard thought about what Gabriel had told him, and it was barely the surface of what was going on. He still had no idea who he was and why the Lee family took him in in the first place.

“Maybe you should talk to someone else?” Zach suggested.

He raised an eyebrow and Zach added, “Maybe talk to your mother?”

“She isn’t my mother. But that’s a good suggestion. I didn’t know you’re a man of good advices,” Richard praised, though sounding more sarcastic than he’d intended to.

Zach simply shrugged and took another sip from his glass. Richard was already onto his second. About three more orders later, Zach excused himself and Richard let him go – he was no longer listening to what Zach was saying by that time. When he finally decided to give up on his attempt at drowning his sorrow, he got up from his seat by the bar and set his sights on the exit. But when he took one step forward, somebody stood in his way.

Richard was intoxicated to the brink of a giggling fit, but his mind was still clear and so was his sight. Seeing who it was, he chuckled and pushed himself past.

“Let’s talk, Richard,” she said.

“Why?” he asked, as he continued to the exit.

She stalked toward him and grabbed his wrist. Annoyed, he pulled his hand free and turned to face her.

“Why, mother? Oh, sorry, I forgot. What should I call you?”

Removing the bug-eye shades from her eyes, she gestured to a booth at a corner.

“I’ll answer all your questions,” she said.

Hearing her offer, he headed straight to the booth and waited as she took off her mink coat and opened her leather handbag. When she took out an envelope and placed it on the table, Richard knew what she was going to say next.

“Take this and start over. It’ll be more than enough.” She pushed the envelope toward him.

“Who are my parents?” Richard asked in reply.

“You don’t have to work if you don’t want to. I’ve made sure of that,” she added, giving the envelope a tap.

“You said you would answer my questions,” Richard stated.

She sighed and nodded. “Very well. Your father was our family’s chauffeur, and your mother was, I believe, a housewife.”

“Where are they now?”

“Your mother died during childbirth and your father left with the money we gave him,” she answered, without a hint of emotion.

“You bought me from my father?”

“He had a lot of debts and was more than interested in what we had to offer.”

“Why did you want me? Why did you take me in then, only to throw me out now?”

“That, I cannot answer.”

“Hmm, I wonder if the press will have good theories, once they learn who I am.”

Richard did not intend to blackmail, but those words slipped from his mouth without any thought. With his ‘mother’ attempting to pay him off, it was only natural for him to play the appropriate role.

“Take the money, Richard,” she replied.

“What are people saying about my disownment?”

“My husband has told them you’ve disappointed him enough.”

“That’s convenient.”

“It works for both you and us. And we have no intentions to leave you stranded.”

“Fine, I’ll take the money. But you need to tell me what you used me for?”

He had every intention to take the envelope from the start, but he wanted to fish out more from her.

She hesitated for a while and then decided to spare him with the gist of the 27-year long story.

“My father owns Wilhelm Group, as you know.”

No, Richard did not know. And she had no idea she spilled the beans on something her husband had kept secret for years.

“He wanted to hand Wilhelm to a male heir. Being the only child, I needed a son. So, we took you in and told him you were ours.”

“But then Gabriel came along and he was made heir,” Richard finished.

“Yes. My dear father passed a few months ago, so Gabriel now owns Wilhelm Group,” she said proudly.

Wilhelm Group was the source of everyone’s problems and he’d just learned crucial information that could help crack the clubhouse case.

“I see. Well, I’ll be on my way then.” Richard casually got to his feet and snatched the envelope from the table. Waving it, he said, “Thanks. I’ll use it well.”

Richard caught a glimpse of her mixed expression, but did not stick around for more. Exiting the pub, he waved a taxi before whipping out his phone for a call.

He knew that calling everyone regarding the new information was a waste of time. Wanting to find out more before informing the group, he needed a partner-in-crime. The two people that knew the most about his situation were Jodie and Matthias. They both had great ideas, except one was more trustworthy while the other had contacts. So, Richard 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.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2015 in Original Works

 

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Chapter 52: The Loser Club

clubhouse52

Zach only saw Jodie in the gym and at Skypeak. They rarely met or spent time outside of those two places. Which wasn’t expected of gym buddies to begin with. So, when Jodie asked him out for lunch on Tuesday, it was a rather pleasant surprise.

As they’d both agreed to make that Tuesday their cheat day, they met at a fast food joint in town. After having their trays filled with their high calorie-d meal, they settled at a booth by the glass panels.

“Are you sure we should be eating these?” Zach asked.

“I won’t be eating anything else for the day,” Jodie joked.

Zach chuckled along before confessing, “Honestly, I didn’t expect to be called out like this. You want something, don’t you?”

His question was more of a tease, but when Jodie pulled her hand back from the fries, he uncovered her ulterior motive. He could not help but feel disappointed. Yet at the same time, he knew he shouldn’t be feeling that way. At least she took him out for a request, instead of doing so over the phone.

“I know this seems-”

“I get it,” Zach interrupted. “What can I do to help?”

He saw her hesitate as she held the burger in her hands. When she placed it back on the tray, the hesitation left and she went straight to the point.

“Has Matthias gotten you to do anything strange?”

Zach recalled the day Matthias asked him to deliver an envelope to the secluded cabin. Before recalling the memory out loud, he asked, “Why do you ask?”

“I found it odd that my case flipped from good to bad. And I can’t help but suspect Matthias for the sudden turn around. He seems to be out of it too, as though he has given up.”

What Jodie said made sense. Zach had asked Matthias about Jodie’s case the day before and Matthias showed little to no interest in trying to do anything about it. He did look apologetic though, if that made any difference.

“Well, he did sent me on a errand last Saturday morning,” Zach said, and he told her about the delivery of the documents.

“I see. And you didn’t open the envelope?” Jodie asked.

“No. I wanted to, but I didn’t.”

“This was before he actually told me that we were losing. He’s definitely up to something.”

“Perhaps you should change lawyers.”

“I wonder if that would make any difference. If Matthias handed everything about my case to the prosecution, what can a new lawyer do?”

His natural instinct was to shrug, but he held his shoulders down that afternoon. “I’ll try to snoop around when I’m with him.”

“Thanks,” Jodie replied with a thin smile.

The rest of the meal went on as though they hadn’t just learnt about Matthias’ possible betrayal. Zach knew it was all an act, and by the time lunch was over, Jodie excused herself before he did. He promised her he would help before they bade goodbye.

Having nothing to do that day itself, as Matthias had not tasked him with anything, Zach took a stroll around the city park. He thought about what Jodie had said about his boss, and found it more believable the longer he dwelled on it. Everyone knew Matthias was cunning, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he played Jodie. Whatever his intentions were, Zach wanted to find out.

Just as he decided to get on with playing detective, Zach heard two familiar voices. When he found the source, he stood listening as they ended their conversation. Guinevere seemed sorry for not being able to help Richard, and Richard looked as though he had completely given up. Zach thought of leaving them to their problems when Richard turned and saw him standing a few feet away.

“Ah, come join us in the loser club,” Richard said cheerfully.

“No thanks,” Zach replied.

“We’re all helpless. You’ll fit right in.”

“I’m not helpless,” Guinevere was quick to respond.

“Well, then it’s just me and Zach.”

“I… I have to go,” Guinevere said. “I’m sorry Richard.”

“Where do you have to go?” Richard asked.

“I’m going to do some Skypeak investigation today,” Guinevere stated what sounded like an excuse to get away.

“I guess you’re really not that helpless after all,” Richard said with a chuckle.

“Thanks? I’ll see you boys around,” Guinevere replied before she stalked off.

Zach was about to turn on his heel too, when Matthias called out, “Want to grab a drink?”

“I just had lunch,” Zach said.

“An extra drink won’t hurt. Come on, I’ll share with you some secrets. That would be a great first agenda of the loser club.”

Secrets was the only word that caught Zach’s attention. Richard and Matthias knew each other before the Skypeak challenge. If anyone knew Matthias’ character the best, it would be Richard. Then again, Richard did not have the best personality either – the Richard that had seemingly given up on life could be worse.

Zach wondered if he should agree to a drink with Richard. Perhaps his time would be better spent with Guinevere and her investigation on the clubhouse. At least with Guinevere, the chances of getting anything done – the chances of finding something new – was higher. She was still in sight and Zach could catch her if he wanted to.

“You turned me down on a drink once, don’t turn me down again,” Richard prompted. “What do you say?”

Zach had to choose.

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

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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.

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2015 in Original Works

 

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Chapter 51: Watch Your Own Back

clubhouse51

There was one thing Jodie hated, and it was idling. She was not a fan of being helpless altogether. Unfortunately for her, there was nothing she could do regarding her case. Having clocked in early, she stared blankly at the month’s accounts and wondered if she should continue working. At that very point, it seemed meaningless, as it was likely she would lose everything.

Sinking into her chair, she shut her eyes and wished for the nightmare to end. But before her mind could take her to a happier place, her phone rang and brought her back to earth.

“What is it?” Jodie answered Guinevere’s call.

“Wayne’s in trouble,” Guinevere said.

Sitting upright, Jodie asked, “What do you mean in trouble?”

“There’s this scheme to frame Wayne. I swear, I’m not a part of it. I was only told recently and I had no idea my father was involved. Jodie-”

Guinevere spent more time explaining herself and Jodie had to interrupt.

“What scheme?”

“I don’t know for sure. They needed me to create a scandal to weaken Wayne’s position, but now that I’m not going ahead with it, they’re planning to speed up the process. You need to tell Wayne.”

She was not a mind reader, but Jodie knew why Guinevere went to her. Guinevere didn’t want Wayne to question her motives, but Jodie herself could not help but do so.

“You only found out about this recently? Is that what you said?”

“I’m not lying, Jodie. I swear, I had no idea.”

Jodie didn’t say anything in response to Guinevere’s plea. Guinevere had lost her usual sassy tone, which was very unlike her. After rationalising Wayne and Guinevere’s positions, she said, “I’ll meet with Wayne today.”

“Thank you. And please don’t tell him I told you.”

“I won’t.”

When she got off the phone, Jodie felt relieved. She was not celebrating Wayne’s downfall, she was simply glad for the new sense of purpose. If she couldn’t help herself, at least she could help someone else. Getting to her feet, she strode out of her office just as her staff began rolling in. She waved their questions for later and set Wayne’s office as her destination.

If being played by the puppeteer of Skypeak had thought her one thing, it was to be paranoid. Hoping to catch Wayne before he strolled behind enemy lines, she waited for him at his designated parking space in the bank’s underground car park. When he reversed into the lot with a bizarre look on his face, Jodie motioned for him to remain in his car before entering the passenger seat.

“What are you doing here?” Wayne asked.

“Someone informed me that you’re in trouble.”

“I’m perfectly fine,” Wayne said with a chuckle.

“For now. Someone has plans to remove you from your position. And guessing who this someone is, they won’t be playing fair.”

“Who told you this?” Wayne asked as he raised an eyebrow.

“Never mind who told me this.”

“Is Guinevere a part of it?”

Wayne was smart, perhaps too smart. Thankfully, he was wrong with his assumption that morning. Or at least, Jodie hoped he was.

“No. But her family is.”

“I see.”

“I don’t like her. That should account for something.”

Wayne nodded his head before heaving a sigh. Then turning to Jodie, he said, “Don’t worry. I know what to do.”

“You do?”

“Yes. I’ll figure this out. You should worry about your case, Jodie.”

“There’s nothing to worry about.”

“I hear it’s not going well. You should change lawyers. I don’t like that Matthias guy.”

“He’s helped a lot.”

“And now he isn’t. Give the lawyer I recommended a call.”

“I don’t know…” Jodie trailed off.

It was true, she didn’t know. She didn’t know what to do or what was the right thing to do. Matthias had lost his grip on her case rather suddenly, and her confidence in him was dwindling as days went by.

“Listen to me and ditch the guy. He has done some shady things in the past and he might be sabotaging you,” Wayne said.

Taken aback by Wayne’s claims, Jodie asked, “Did you do a background check on him?”

“I did. And I should have said it sooner. If you don’t believe me, do some digging on your own.”

“I believe you. It’s just,” Jodie ended her sentence with a sigh.

“Call him and fire him.” Wayne attempted to assure her with a confident nod.

Jodie simply gave a thin smile in reply before telling Wayne to watch his back. When they parted ways, Wayne looked as though he was boosting with confidence to take on his enemy, Jodie however, looked and felt more uncertain than ever.

As she retreated to her car, she sat in the ear-ringing silence and thought about what Wayne had said about Matthias. Jodie knew he did shady things, as he’d managed to procure favours with ease. But the sudden turn around in her case was suspicious and the thought of Matthias sabotaging her wasn’t foreign. Still, she wasn’t sure if firing him was the best cause of action. What if it backfired and sped up her impending demise?

Perhaps she should do some digging of her own. And the only person that could help her was Zach. He roughly knew what Matthias was up to and he would tell if she asked. Was that a better plan? She did not know. The last thing she wanted to do was get Zach into more trouble.

Hating the idea of being helpless as the day of the verdict drew closer, she had to make a decision. Jodie 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.

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2015 in Original Works

 

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