Original Works

Chapter 35: An Outsider Again

clubhouse35

Blue number twenty-one halted at the bus stop. Knowing he had to wait a while before another blue twenty-one would arrive, he said, “My bus is here. See you tomorrow.”

He really wanted to go home. Working for Matthias was harder than working in his ex-company. The pay was more, but so was the work. Still, Zach was not in a position to complain. Hoping to catch the bus, Zach was ready to break into a jog when Guinevere grabbed his wrist.

“Wait,” she said.

Zach wanted to insist, but the bus was quick to decide he was not worth the wait.

“Looks like you need to catch the next one,” Guinevere simply said.

Heaving a silent sigh, the question of what Guinevere wanted was at the tip of his tongue. But before he could voice it, he spotted Wayne heading toward them.

“Gwen? What’s the matter?” Wayne called out.

“Finally! Zach here is really busy. It’s hard getting him, you know,” Guinevere replied.

Having no clue what was going on, Zach gave Guinevere a questioning look.

“Hi, I’m Wayne. Zach, is it?” Wayne immediately stretched his hand out for a shake.

Playing along, Zach took the handshake and answered, “Yes, I’m…”

He had no idea how to finish his sentence. What was he to say?

“He’s going to be in-charge of the food at our wedding. The chef we have now is giving me some problems. You don’t mind, do you?” Guinevere quickly said.

Completely bewildered, he was not sure on how to respond. It was obvious Guinevere was making up a story. For whatever reason, he didn’t want to be a part of it. Unfortunately, there was no way he could escape.

“I don’t mind. Is that all?” Wayne said.

“Hold on. I need to make a call,” Guinevere replied and walked away.

Where was she going? It seemed like she wanted to drag it out. Zach was certainly not up for it. He wanted to stop playing pretend.

“So, you’re a chef?” Wayne asked.

“Well,” Zach paused and took a quick glance at Guinevere. She was not lying when she said she needed to make a call. “I like food.”

Wayne nodded with a chuckle. “If you need to confirm anything, just do so with Gwen. I’m fine with whatever you put on my plate.”

“Yea, sure. I’ll do that.”

“Great. I’m actually meeting a friend, so I’ll excuse myself.”

“OK. It was nice meeting you.”

“You too,” Wayne said with a smile. He did not wait for Guinevere to get off the phone as he headed back toward the building.

When Guinevere finally ended the call, she turned to Zach with a wide grin.

“What was that all about?” Zach immediately asked.

“Oh, nothing. I’ll handle the food thing. You can just show up and take credit for it.”

“I don’t want to do that,” Zach stated.

“Just play along. If not for me, do it for Jodie.”

“What does Jodie have to do with this?”

“She’s helping Richard, I’m helping them. It’s complicated.”

No matter how complicated the situation was, he wanted to know. The three of them being tangled sounded improbable.

“Tell me,” Zach said, challenging what he thought to be fiction.

“Nah. It’s very messy. By the way, do you like Jodie? You’re always doing things for her,” Guinevere tactlessly changed the topic.

“What?”

For a brief second, Zach forgot the main reason why he was still talking to her. Her question was so unexpected that it caught him off guard.

“Please, it’s so obvious,” Guinevere added.

“Stop.”

“I knew it. You do!”

“What? No,” Zach immediately replied.

“You’re blushing,” Guinevere teased.

“I’ll pretend tonight did not happen. Goodbye,” Zach said and stalked off.

He was not going to put up with her any longer. He wanted to go home and sleep it off. Unfortunately for him, it was almost impossible to forget Guinevere’s words. If he was being completely honest, he was actually not sure how he felt. The uncertainty was enough to keep him awake.

The following morning, Zach received a text message from Ms Leona. She told him to be at the poolside after lunch. As he made his way to Skypeak, he took his mind off last night’s incident and wondered what the next task would be. When he finally arrived at the poolside, he spotted Richard lounging on a pool chair and Matthias taking shade under a large umbrella.

“It looks like the ladies are late today,” Richard said, when he saw Zach.

Having spotted a notice about the pool being closed for the day, it was no surprise that he found no other clubhouse member in sight.

“It’s very unlike Jodie to be late,” Richard added.

“Wow, you sure do know her well,” Matthias said.

“We’re best friends now. You know that.”

Matthias chuckled and shook his head. He then walked to the opposite side of the pool and took a seat. Zach could not help but dwell on the exchange between the two of them. It seemed as though they knew something he didn’t. In fact, he felt like the only one being left out. What did the four know that suddenly made them friends?

Curious, Zach wanted to find out. He was not usually a busybody, but Jodie was seemingly involved it in. Perhaps Guinevere was right. But whatever the truth was, he wanted to be up to date first. Since neither of the ladies were present, it was either Richard or Matthias. And Zach 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 34: Lie To Me

clubhouse34

On Tuesday morning, she received a strange call. On Wednesday noon, she found herself in a café. Guinevere never thought such a day would come, she never thought she would agree to it either. But she was curious as to why one of her least favourite people would want to meet her. All Jodie said was, “It’s not about me or you, it’s about someone we know.” And without hesitation, Guinevere said ‘yes’.

Guinevere contemplated that morning, on whether to be early, on time, or late. It was such a meaningless decision, but she could not help herself. She and Jodie had a mutual dislike for each other, and it resulted in her consciously wanting to protect her pride. Even if Jodie couldn’t be bothered with it, she was. In the end, she decided to be late.

When Guinevere entered the café, she found Jodie seated at the far corner. Stalking with her head up high, she waved for a waitress to follow as she headed to the table. Once seated, she ordered a salad and a cup of green tea.

“On a diet?” Jodie asked.

“For the wedding,” Guinevere replied. “Have you ordered?”

Jodie nodded and tapped on the tall glass of iced coffee on the table.

“What’s your reason?” Guinevere asked.

“I’m not on a diet,” Jodie stated.

Guinevere did not reply. Her pride had taken a hit. The conversation also started off cold and awkward, and she knew it would not warm up any time soon.

“Thanks for coming,” Jodie said.

“Well, you said it’s about someone we know.”

“Yes.”

“Are you going to tell me who?”

“This might seem strange, but…” Jodie paused. Guinevere noticed her hesitation, which made her even more eager to find out. Somehow, she knew Jodie hated their conversation more than she did.

“But?” Guinevere prompted.

“But I need your help with Richard.”

“What do you mean?” A series of inaudible questions continued on in Guinevere’s head. Where was Jodie coming from? Why her out of everyone Jodie knew? Heck, why Richard?

“Richard came to me and asked me for help. He needs some information from Wayne.”

Guinevere narrowed her eyes and asked, “Does this have anything to do with Richard’s family?”

Jodie nodded.

“Oh, so you know,” Guinevere said. She never expected Jodie to help someone like Richard. It was beyond her character, or at least, the character Guinevere concluded on.

“And so do you?” Jodie asked.

“Yes, of course. I’m guessing he wants to know what Wayne was doing with his father?”

“Yes.”

“You want me to ask Wayne? You know that’s-”

“No,” Jodie interrupted. “We both know him well enough to know that wouldn’t work. I just need your help to distract him while I retrieve the information.”

“How would you know where to find it?”

“He writes a journal on all his cases, and he keeps that journal in a safe in his office.”

Guinevere could not believe her ears, not because she was surprised that Wayne did such a thing, but because Jodie knew about something she didn’t. Wayne never once mentioned about a journal, and she was not happy about that.

Hiding her childish jealousy, she asked, “How are you going to access the safe?”

“I have an idea on what his password might be,” Jodie answered.

Immediately, Guinevere found herself struggling to tame the green-eyed monster within her.

“Will you help me?” Jodie asked.

This time, she hesitated to agree. Aside from the growing dislike she had for Jodie, who obviously knew Wayne better than she did, she was not sure if it was worth risking her relationship.

“You really have nothing to lose,” Jodie added.

“You might be right. But I’ll think about it,” Guinevere stated.

She ended the conversation there. She called for the kitchen to pack up her lunch, and left the café without another word. But that night, she surprised herself when she sent Jodie a one-word message: OK.

Guinevere agreed she had nothing to lose, and she wanted to help Richard. He was having a tough time and she felt sorry for him. She and Richard were probably more alike than Jodie. And if there was one thing she could be proud of that day, it would be that she understood the heartache of being be born with a silver spoon.

On Friday night, Jodie and Guinevere met outside of Wayne’s bank. The plan was for Jodie to meet up with Wayne, then have Guinevere call Wayne out of the building to buy Jodie some time. Ten minutes after Jodie had gone to meet with him, Guinevere got into action. It took a lot of pleading, but she managed to convince Wayne she had something urgent to tell him.

As she waited under the starless sky, pacing up and down by the side of her car, she saw a familiar face. He was walking by the side of the road, heading toward the bus stop. Hurrying to him, she asked, “Going home from work?”

Zach stopped in his tracks and turned to her direction.

“Oh, hi. Yes,” he simply replied.

“Were you told about tomorrow’s task?”

“No. I guess Ms Leona will inform us tomorrow itself.”

“I guess so.”

Guinevere was about to let Zach go, when she heard Wayne calling to her. In that split second, she felt a wave of panic. She never really thought of a good excuse as to why she called him out. Guinevere said it was urgent, but there was nothing urgent she could lie about.

Her mind was mostly blank, except for two words: wedding and Zach. How was she going to pull those two together? Did she really want to bring Zach into it? She knew that if she gave Wayne a lame excuse, he would find it strange and start questioning her. He might even end the conversation and return to his office. The options were limited. Guinevere 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 33: Too Quick To Answer

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For the first time in her life, she was not going to clock in to work. That Monday, she decided that her company could run itself. Jodie had to prepare for the worst after all. If things go badly with her case, what she had built would not crumble in her absence. But taking the day off was not just for the sake of testing her company’s independence, it was also to get Piper ready.

Jodie woke up pretty late that morning. It was a rare occasion for someone like her. When Piper knocked on her door around lunchtime, she decided she had enough of lazing around. Piper had gotten a lot of things done in the hours Jodie wasted, including preparing lunch.

“You don’t have to do this,” Jodie said. “You’re my guest.”

“And that’s why I have to. You know me. I hate freeloading,” Piper replied with a smile.

“You’re not. Let me-”

“No. Let me. Just relax while I’m here. You have enough on your plate already,” Piper interrupted as she placed two plates of stir-fried noodles on the dining table.

“Yes, definitely enough for lunch,” Jodie replied with a chuckle.

Piper smiled and took her seat. When she gestured Jodie to follow suit, she said, “I still can’t believe Neal’s parents. I remember meeting them once and thinking they were such a nice couple.”

“Trust me, I sometimes wonder if they’re the same people.”

Piper nodded. “Never mind about them for now. I’m curious about something else.” She placed her chopsticks down and asked, “Who’s that guy at the airport?”

Jodie smiled and shook her head. There was nothing to hide from Piper, so she said, “One of my competitors from the clubhouse competition.”

“Oh, you guys close?”

“You’ll be surprise. Suddenly, all five of us are best friends.”

Piper raised an eyebrow and Jodie added, “I’m joking. Our lives just seem to cross paths after we started the whole clubhouse thing.”

“How’s that going? The clubhouse competition.”

Jodie shrugged. She did not know how it was going. Was she doing well? Is she in good standing because she completed all her tasks? How was she being judged? Jodie had no idea and the conversation she had with Matthias on day one came to mind. Yes, it certainly felt like someone was playing with them. And just when she decided to share that thought, the doorbell rang.

“Must be Matthias,” Jodie said.

“Oh, good. I’ll clear up,” Piper replied.

“No, just leave it,” Jodie responded, even though she knew Piper wouldn’t listen.

Hurrying to the front door, Jodie took one quick look around her living room to make sure it was organized. Finding nothing to put in order, she welcomed her guest… Or should she say, guests.

“Hey,” Jodie greeted, and then immediately, she asked, “what are you doing here?”

“Wanted to see where you live,” Richard answered with a grin.

Jodie turned to Matthias and he answered on cue, “I couldn’t leave him at home. I don’t trust him with my things. Sorry.”

“Don’t worry, I won’t cause any trouble,” Richard added.

Reluctantly, Jodie pulled the door wider and gestured for the two to enter. When they did, Piper exited the kitchen. She first had a wide smile on her face, but shortly after, she gave Jodie a questioning look.

“Oh hey, remember me?” Richard asked.

Piper nodded her head.

“How can she forget?” Jodie asked on her behalf.

“I made quite an impression, eh?”

“I’m sure you did,” Matthias stated, before heading up to Piper and shaking her hand. After introducing himself to her, the two headed to the sofa.

“You want anything to drink?” Jodie asked.

“Water is fine,” Matthias answered.

“I’ll get it,” Piper said as she jumped to her feet.

“No. Sit. He needs to brief you on my case, ” Jodie immediately responded.

She did not wait for Piper to argue as she headed to the kitchen. Least expecting to be followed by anyone, she almost had a heart attack when she found Richard quietly standing by the kitchen door.

“What?” Jodie asked.

“You didn’t ask me what I wanted,” Richard answered.

Jodie sighed. “What do you want to drink?”

“Water is fine.”

Nodding, she retrieved three glasses. While filling them up, she saw Richard walking toward her from the corner of her eye.

“I need to ask you something,” Richard said, stopping at the kitchen counter.

“Go on.”

“I need a favour.”

“What kind of favour?”

Jodie did not like beating around the bush, so if he needed something, she rather he told her. Whether or not she said yes, that was another question altogether.

“I need your help to get some info for me. You see, your friend Wayne-”

“You want to know what Wayne is doing for your family?”

“Well, more of like, what my family needs him to do. I’m stuck in limbo right now, and I need info to help me take the next step. If you know what I mean.”

She knew what he meant. But was she going to do it? Wayne was never going to hand over confidential information to her, but she did know where he kept them. Not knowing why, she found herself agreeing. Perhaps it was because she felt completely useless at the moment, and helping Richard would mean otherwise. Or perhaps she just wanted to even the score.

“OK,” Jodie said.

“Wow, I thought I would have a hard time convincing you.”

“You’re in luck today.”

“Thanks, I owe you one,” Richard said, as he picked up the glasses on the table.

“No, we’re even,” Jodie corrected.

“Oh, that’s right, I almost forgot.” Richard gave her a smile and a wink, before heading out.

Rolling her eyes, Jodie remained rooted to the spot. She grunted at the thought of what she had to do, before wondering why she agreed to do it in the first place. What was she thinking? It was too late to change her answer.

Knowing that Richard’s request was not going to be easy, she pulled out her phone ready to call for help. It was either Zach or Guinevere – Zach because she trusted him, Guinevere because she could be of better assistance. 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.
Original Works

Chapter 32: Truth Of The Arrival

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Morning arrived with a splitting headache. He had expected it of course, and he only had himself to blame. Richard wanted to sleep it off, but Matthias would not stop nudging him.

“When do you intend to leave?” Matthias asked.

Richard groaned before asking, “Can I not leave… ever?”

“Get up,” Matthias replied.

Pulling himself into a seated position, he immediately found his eyes struggling to focus on his surroundings. It was metaphorically perfect, since he could not find solid ground in his current predicament either.

“Do you have coffee?” Richard shamelessly asked.

To his surprise, Matthias was already holding an extra cup in his hand. Nodding in gratitude, Richard took it from him and inhaled the aroma.

“So, when do you intend to leave?” Matthias repeated his question.

“Where’s Maddie?” Richard casually changed the subject.

“She left.”

“Aw, man. I wanted to get her number.”

“Don’t even think about it,” Matthias snapped.

Richard chuckled and added, “I’m joking. She’s not my type.”

“Thank the heavens,” Matthias said sarcastically and Richard gave a wide grin.

Fortunately for Richard, Matthias seemingly forgot his first question and walked to the dining table. Staying put, as any effort to stand would only cause his head to hurt further, Richard finished his cup of coffee silently. When he was done, he looked up at the clock above the television and asked, “Don’t you have to go to work?”

“I took the day off. Don’t you have to be at work?” Matthias replied.

It was 11a.m and Richard thought about his job as his father’s substitute. Oddly, he received no calls from his assistant, so he knew his father did not need him anymore. Wondering if he should still show up, his stomach began to growl at the lack of breakfast.

“I’m starving. Do you have anything to eat?” Richard asked instead.

“Why don’t you answer my question first?”

There was no escaping Matthias this time, as he flipped the newspaper shut and waited for an answer.

“Come on, it’s still so early. Feed me and I’ll tell you,” Richard attempted to negotiate, knowing full well it was pointless.

“Tell me or leave,” Matthias simply responded.

“Fine. They don’t need me at work. Now can we eat?” Richard gave in and got to his feet. It took him a couple of seconds before he could put one foot forward.

“I’ve already eaten.”

Hearing his reply, Richard let out a loud groan and plopped back onto the sofa.

“You’re such a child,” Matthias added.

“Yea, yea,” Richard muttered and shut his eyes.

He was indeed a child, a child that had to raise himself. There was no parent in his life to help him grow up. No one cared enough to teach him. After seeing his mother the night before, he knew she was as cold as his father. He could still remember her face – expressionless, without a hint of emotion in her eyes.

How could she though? Richard wondered. How could she not care? He actually thought she loved him, but her leaving abruptly was enough evidence that she didn’t.

“Here,” Matthias said, interrupting Richard in his thoughts.

When he opened his eyes, he found Matthias handing him a plate with a sandwich.

“You made this? For me?” Richard could not help but tease.

“No. Maddie did.”

“Ah, that sweet child,” Richard said, reaching for the plate. But just as he did, Matthias pulled his hand back.

“Speak of my sister again, and you’ll starve,” Matthias warned.

“I’m sorry,” Richard responded before snatching the plate from Matthias.

The moments after that carried on in silence, as Richard gobbled down his sandwich and Matthias finished his coffee. When they were both done, Richard cleared the dishes in hopes to use his actions as a reason to stay. He really hoped Matthias would let him live off his sofa for a while, or at least until he knew what to do. Richard had no plan on how to deal with his family’s situation, and he was clueless as to what actually went down after their arrival.

Did they add Gabriel into the family registry? Did his father rewrite his will? Will Richard have nothing? At that moment, he cared more about his future than the unanswered past. By the time he was done with his thoughts and the chore, Matthias strode up to him and asked, “So, how long do you intend to stay?”

The restructuring of the sentence gave Richard hope.

“Not long. Just for a while.”

“What’s up with your family?”

“What makes you think something’s up?”

“You got drunk in my house, you don’t want to leave, and Jodie called to check in on you.”

“Jodie called? Never thought she cared,” Richard said. He did not hide his shock as it came off as an honest surprise.

“So?” Matthias prompted.

Richard hesitated. His story might sound shallow to Matthias, but he needed a reason to stay. So, he decided to fill him in. By the end of the storytelling session, Matthias asked, “What’s your plan?”

Richard had none. He thought for a few seconds and gave the best answer, “If I know exactly what my parents are doing, then maybe I can tackle the situation better. That’s my plan… for now.”

“You said Guinevere’s fiancée was with them, right? He should know,” Matthias stated.

“But would he tell? I’m sure you know the answer to that.”

“I’m not asking you to ask him. Someone close to him can do that for you. Someone like Guinevere… or Jodie.”

Matthias made a good point. If that was what he wanted to do, Richard needed to ask for someone’s help. How much information can he obtain from them, that’s another thing to worry about. For now, 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.
Original Works

Chapter 31: Chicken And Beer

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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.
Original Works

Chapter 30: An Unexpected Show

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“Richard?” she called again.

There was a blank expression on his face before he looked at her and smiled.

“Are you OK?” Jodie asked.

“Yea. I’m fine,” he responded, as he turned to face the crowd.

The group of people were making their way to the main exit. Jodie spotted Wayne among them and wondered what he was doing there. She wanted to call him out, but there was a look on his face that meant he was working and she didn’t want to bother him. Besides, Jodie had to attend to Piper.

“I’ll get going,” Jodie told Richard.

“So soon? You’ll miss the show,” Richard replied, still facing the crowd.

“The show?” Jodie asked, as she waved Piper over.

Richard did not answer. Instead, he stuffed his hands into his pockets and greeted, “Welcome home!”

The crowd heading toward the exit continued, but a few halted in their steps. One of them was Wayne. And along with him was what Jodie guessed to be a family; father, mother, son, and… uncle?

There was a short moment of silence, as Richard stood before them with the same smile plastered on his face. Jodie was more confused than before, and Piper looked completely lost.

“Missed me?” Richard asked. “I missed you, father.”

The man Richard was addressing did not say anything. He simply stared at him with annoyance.

“Aren’t you surprise to see me? Didn’t expect me to be here, did you?” Richard added.

“We’ll talk about this back home,” the man sternly replied.

Ignoring him, Richard turned to the woman and said, “Long time no see, mother. How many years has it been? Nineteen?”

“I said, we will talk about this back home,” the man repeated. He then waved his hand and the whole entourage followed after him as he stalked out of the airport.

“What just happened?” Piper whispered to Jodie.

Jodie shook her head in reply. She had no idea what just happened. This was the kind of show she did not want to watch. Everything felt so awkward after that.

“Richard, what’s going on?” Jodie asked.

Richard had not turn to see his family leave. He did not even follow after them, as he stood rooted to the ground. The smile on his face however, had vanished. When he did not reply, Jodie did not know what to say.

Turning to Piper, Jodie gave a shrug and told her to wait at the exit. Piper did not protest, and when she was out of ear shot, Jodie asked again, “What’s going on, Richard?”

“That’s my family,” he simply replied.

“Why don’t you go home and talk it out with them?”

“I’m not going home. Don’t think I would even have one after tonight.” Richard finally faced Jodie. He wore a look that Jodie had not seen before, a look she thought Richard was incapable of, a look of seriousness as though playtime was over.

“What do you mean?”

“Why don’t you ask Wayne?”

“I don’t…”

“You should go. Your friend is waiting,” Richard said.

“How about you?” Jodie was worried. She never thought she would feel worried for someone like Richard, but she could not lie to herself that day.

“I’ll visit Matthias tonight.”

Even though she knew Matthias would probably curse at the sight of Richard at his doorstep, Jodie said, “Good idea.”

“See you around,” Richard responded. And before Jodie could bid him farewell, he turned on his heels and strode away.

That night, after Jodie had gotten Piper settled in her guest room, she found herself lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling. After much hesitation, she reached for her phone and gave Wayne a call. Unfortunately, her call entered his voice mail.

What was Wayne up to? What was he doing with Richard’s family? Did Richard say he had not seen his mother in nineteen years? What is up with that family? Why did Richard say he would not have a home after tonight?

Despite the fact that she had troubles of her own, she could not help but feel sorry for Richard. Jodie never had family problems. She was the only child and her parents were too average for any family drama. They also passed away in a car accident five years ago. All the family she had left were her close friends, including Piper who flew in just to take the stand in Jodie’s case. She felt blessed that she still had people to count on, but from her standpoint, Richard did not have anyone.

Jodie wanted to find out more about Richard’s predicament. Wayne did not pick up her call so she contemplated on calling Guinevere instead. Maybe she knew what was going on. It would be a first, though. It would be a first for Jodie to have a conversation with Guinevere willingly. That was one option.

The other thought she had was to call Matthias instead. Jodie wanted to be sure that Richard clocked in. Matthias might also know Richard’s story, since the two of them were on better terms these days.

It was already getting late. Not wanting to intrude someone in their sleep, even though it sounded like an excellent idea when it came to Guinevere, Jodie had to pick one of the two. 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.
Original Works

Chapter 28: Cherry-less Sunday

clubhouse28

“Let me make it up to you,” Zach said.

“Really?” she replied.

“Yes, really.”

“Why do I have a strange feeling about this?”

Zach did not reply. Guinevere could not tell why he chose to remain silent. It was one reason why she disliked conversing over the phone.

“Ok then. I’ll check my schedule and let you know,” Guinevere said.

“Great, I-”

Bang! Her bedroom door suddenly swung open, interrupting Zach in his sentence.

“Who you talking to?” her sister asked. “Is it the guy with the fancy car? I know it’s him. Who is he?”

“I’ll text you later,” Guinevere quickly said to Zach before hanging up.

“Oh, so secretive. You do know you have a fiancée, right?”

Guinevere rolled her eyes and hopped off her bed. “You won’t like this guy. He’s poor and that wasn’t his car.”

“Oh,” Genevieve answered. The best word to silence her sister was ‘poor’ along with its synonyms.

“Can you get out? I need to get ready.”

“That’s right, dinner with Wayne,” Genevieve said before heaving a sigh. She did not leave Guinevere’s bedroom, instead, she slumped onto her bed. “I wish I was marrying him.”

Not bothering to reply, Guinevere changed into a red dress as her sister began to critic her taste in fashion. Ignoring all the tactless comments, she quickly got herself ready before grabbing her things and leaving her sister behind. It was typical of Genevieve, and she did it routinely every Sunday when Guinevere had a dinner date.

“Have fun!” Genevieve called out.

“You too!” Guinevere shouted back, knowing full well her sister had nothing on that night.

Sundays were officially Guinevere’s most boring day of the week. If she had nothing to do, she would be at home with her sister. And she hated being alone with her sister. It was a good thing she had a dinner plan with Wayne, because dinner with Genevieve would be a drag.

As Guinevere exited her house, she found Wayne waiting for her. He gave her a hug and kiss before opening the passenger door. Once they were both in the car, Wayne suggested a place to eat and she did not protest.

“Do you mind if I stop by somewhere first?” Wayne added.

“Where?”

“Jodie’s. I need to pass her something,” he said, as he gestured to the backseat.

Guinevere turned and saw a thick brown envelope. “What’s that?” she asked.

“Documents for her lawyer.”

“Oh, the one you recommended?”

“No, she went with someone else. Someone I’ve never even heard of. Makes me worried, you know.”

“Who?”

“Some guy called Matthias.”

Her eyes widened at the sound of a familiar name. “Really…”

“Yea. You don’t mind, right?”

“No, of course not,” Guinevere lied. She did mind, but Wayne was loyal to Jodie and she didn’t want to start an argument over it.

Thinking that was the only detour that night, she least expected when Wayne received an apparently urgent call a short while later. Unable to hear what was being said on the other line, she could only guess from Wayne’s replies.

“Now? When are they touching down? Of all days. Does he insist on doing it immediately? Fine. Meet me at the airport.”

When Wayne was done with the call, he pulled up beside a curb and turned to Guinevere with a disappointed look.

“We can’t do dinner tonight. I’m so sorry, Gwen.”

“Why not? You can always tell your client you’re busy. You have a life too, you know.”

Wayne sighed and said, “Not this one. Mr Lee is… well… difficult. If I don’t put up with him, he can cause a lot of trouble for me.”

“What a mighty man,” Guinevere replied sarcastically.

“I’m sorry, I-”

“No, don’t apologise. Mr Lee should apologise. I’ll go to the airport with you, right now.”

“Please don’t make things hard. I just need to get this done and then I won’t have to deal with him again,” Wayne said.

“Get what done, Wayne? It seems you’re constantly doing things for him.”

“Family inheritance. Company shares, investment, and all that.”

“He’s giving his shares to Richard?” Guinevere had no plans on deferring her anger, but something about the whole situation smelled fishy.

“No, not Richard. I can’t say much-”

“Why not? If you’re going to cancel on me, this is the least you can do,” Guinevere demanded.

“His other son.”

“He has another son?” Guinevere did not hide her shock.

“Yes, now can we just end this topic here?”

Guinevere narrowed her eyes at him and Wayne put his foot down. He placed both his hands on the steering wheel and said, “Guinevere.” Wayne had a tone that meant he was done arguing. It was her cue to give in, knowing she had more to lose than he did in the relationship.

“Fine. Take me home then.”

There was an awkward silence between the two of them as Wayne turned the car around. Barely five minutes later, Wayne asked, “I need you to do something for me.”

“What?”

“Can you drop off the documents at Jodie’s?”

Guinevere felt her blood begin to boil. She wanted to yell at him and jump out of the car. But she knew it would only make things worse. So, she took in a deep breath to calm herself down.

“It’s important. I wouldn’t ask you if it isn’t.”

Tempted to say ‘no’, she found herself reaching for the envelope instead.

“I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”

Sure, why don’t you try? Diamond earrings won’t buy you out of this one, Guinevere silently thought, even though she knew she would forgive him anyway.

When Wayne finally dropped her off, she decided to do one of two things. Deliver the documents to Jodie because it was important, or tell Richard about what was going down at the airport. Guinevere 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 27: Sandy Business

clubhouse27

Zach was a head taller than Matthias. He thought it was why Mrs Dune approached him first, but he later realised he thought wrong.

“I had a horrible lunch. How are you going to make up for it?” Mrs Dune asked as she stalked over to the two of them.

They had just entered the restaurant and Zach least expected to be picked on immediately. Then again, it was Mrs Dune.

“A free meal, perhaps?” Matthias suggested, as he nodded at Zach.

“I don’t need a free meal. Aren’t you already paying for this one?” Mrs Dune snapped. “Matthias, right?”

She guessed right. Zach did not recall introducing himself to her, but she seemed to know who is who.

“Maybe-”

“Never mind,” Mrs Dune interrupted him. Turning back to Zach, she added, “You’re off the hook. You can go now.”

Zach narrowed his eyes in confusion. Did he hear her right? Had he completed his task? That was easy. Matthias gave him a bewildered look and shrugged. It felt too strange and Zach slowly retreated. He thought she was going to call him back, but when he exited the restaurant without being rudely hollered, he could not believe he was done.

That weekend, he had the easy card. Deciding to spend his free time doing something he enjoyed, he headed to the clubhouse gym. On his way there, he found himself still in disbelief as he replayed the scene at the restaurant. Being handed a free pass was not something he was used to, and Mrs Dune was oddly kind enough to give him one. A few feet short of the gym, his disbelief dispersed.

“Oh, hello there, Mister I’m-leaving-you-behind,” Guinevere greeted.

“Sorry, I thought you went back,” Zach replied.

“I did.”

“You just said-”

“You didn’t call me, so I guess you didn’t bother waiting for me.”

Zach wanted to say he didn’t have her number, but he settled with, “Sorry, I was busy.”

“Of course you were,” Guinevere replied, “don’t worry, you’re forgiven.”

“Thanks?”

“You’re welcome. So, you done with your task already?”

He was glad she decided to change the topic. The conversation felt like she was cornering him for a beating. Guinevere’s presence itself always put Zach on edge. There was just something about her that made him feel uneasy.

“Yea, I’m done. Just hitting the gym.”

“How lucky. Who did you get? I might know that person.”

“Mrs Dune.”

“Wow. How did you get away?”

“She let me go. Matthias had her too, so he’s dealing with her now.”

“She might like you, Zach. You be careful now. Mrs Dune never lets go of her grudges so easily.”

“You know her well?” Zach was curious.

“You can say that. She hates me. She thinks I’m not worthy enough to be in this place. Did she make a complaint about me?”

“No, why?”

“Maybe not yet. Mrs Dune does that all the time. Her husband has shares in Skypeak, so she thinks she can kick out whomever she dislike.”

Zach responded with a chuckle. Mrs Dune had a reputation that preceded her and it was to no surprise that she acted that way. There were only two kinds of people in the clubhouse, those who out rightly hated her and those who pretended to like her. Zach was not sure where he stood now.

“Thank God I didn’t get the Dune. God knows, I would rather fail this task than deal with that monster.” Guinevere heaved a sigh. “Well, I better get going.”

“Ok, see you around,” Zach simply said.

That was the last he saw of Guinevere that day. In fact, it was the last time he saw any of the other four. When it was finally time to feed himself, Zach cleaned up and left the gym for the bus stop. It was a kilometre away from Skypeak, at the edge of a little town.

As Zach enjoyed the quiet walk along the deserted gravel road, he had no idea the peace would be short lived. A few minutes in, he found himself startled by a car blaring its horn. Stopping in his tracks, Zach turned around to see a red convertible pulling up beside him.

“Need a ride?” Mrs Dune asked.

“No, thanks. I’m fine.”

“Don’t be shy.”

Guinevere’s words left an impression and he quickly shook his head. “I’m fine, thank you,” Zach repeated.

“Ok, then. Just so you know, I’m betting on you. You look like you’ll win.”

“Thanks.” Zach did not know what else to say. He just wanted her to leave.

“Oh, I know you will, Zachary,” she added. Her expression did not show confidence but sympathy. Was she making fun of him or was she being serious? And why did she call him Zachary?

Clearly, Mrs Dune knew who he was. The way she spoke to him gave him a strange vibe and her earlier actions began to feel a little off. Was Guinevere right? Guinevere’s words contradicted themselves too. She said Mrs Dune disliked those of lower class. Zach was at the bottom of the food chain, and her liking him sounded absurd.

When Mrs Dune finally drove off, he needed someone to help him make sense of it all. It was either Jodie, because he trusted her and she always had valuable insight, or Guinevere, because even though she made him uncomfortable, she knew Mrs Dune better. Zach 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 24: Strange Behaviours

clubhouse24

It was the least expected thing. Zach never saw it coming. He was about to hit the gas pedal when Guinevere slipped into the passenger seat. Confused at her actions, Zach simply stared at her.

“I’m coming along,” Guinevere stated.

“I’m working.”

“I’ll accompany you.”

Zach narrowed his eyes at her, completely baffled. He wanted to talk her into getting out of the car, but somehow he knew she would not budge. Hesitating on whether he should forcefully remove her, he ended up stepping on the gas instead.

“I don’t know much about Jodie’s case, so you’re wasting your time,” Zach said.

Matthias urgently needed him to meet with a few informants to collect documents. His last meet went on a little too long and he was already late for his next.

“Where are you going?” Guinevere asked.

“Places. Here’s your chance to get off,” Zach replied, as the car stopped at a traffic light.

“Who are you meeting?” Guinevere asked instead, just as the light turned green.

“People.”

“Who?”

“You don’t know them.”

“Maybe I do. I know a lot of people,” Guinevere said with a smile.

If she was playing a game, Zach was not in the mood. Matthias stressed on the importance of the documents and how it would be able to help Jodie. No, Zach did not lie about knowing little about Jodie’s case. He really knew close to nothing except that Matthias could help.

“You don’t. What is it do you want, Guinevere?” Zach asked, taking a sharp turn, which he almost missed.

“Whoa, slow down there.”

“I’m late and you’re distracting me,” Zach honestly said.

“I know you know something about Jodie’s case. I have an inkling, and my inklings are almost always right.”

“Like I said, I don’t know anything,” Zach said. The ride was a rather short one as they finally pulled up at a plaza. When the car came to an abrupt stop, Zach immediately got out, took quick strides over to Guinevere’s side, and opened the door for her. “I’m sorry, but I can’t leave you with the car.”

“I’m not going to steal it,” Guinevere stated.

Zach shrugged and gestured for her to exit. When she did, he shut the door, locked the car, and walked toward the adjacent building. He did not ask Guinevere to follow, nor did he turn around to see if she was. He was hoping she would disappear when he returned.

Just like the previous man he met, the female informant handed him a brown envelope too. She was not very happy that he was late, but she made no complaints about it. When Zach thanked her, she said, “Tell Matthias we’re even now.”

“Sure,” was the only reply he had.

Matthias had contacts everywhere and it amazed Zach that these people were doing him favours. The questionable part of it all was how they gathered information Matthias needed. Were they part of some secret underground society of justice? Zach was starting to let his imagination run wild.

When Zach finally returned to the car, he heaved a sigh of relief. Guinevere was not in sight and he did not stick around to look for her. He hoped she found her way back to the café safely, but other than that, he was glad she was gone.

After making three more stops, the sun began to set and Zach could finally call it a day. He headed to Matthias’ office to pick him up, before driving them to the train station where Zach always got off.

“Thanks, for doing this,” Matthias said.

“It’s my job. Plus, it’ll help Jodie, right?” Zach asked.

Zach could not do anything to help her. So running errands for the man that could was the least he could do. Getting paid at that point didn’t matter. He knew Jodie was innocent and he wanted to help prove it.

“I hope so. The reports should be enough to drop the murder charge. It’s ridiculous how they even tried to play that card.”

“Murder?” That was something Zach didn’t know. The news reports did not state of any murder. All they did mention was the family of Jodie’s deceased partner claiming to own majority of the shares in her company.

“Murder, yes,” Matthias replied. His face showed he regretted having spilled the beans.

“How do you know about this? Who told you?” Zach had to ask.

“Someone. I can’t say. It’s pretty complicated.”

Zach nodded. He knew Matthias was not going to reveal anything else. If only he did, Zach might be able to help.

Just as he wished for an opportunity, Matthias said, “I need you to do one more thing for me.”

“What?”

“I need you to convince Jodie to hire me as her lawyer.”

It never dawned on him until then, that they were on the hunt for information without Jodie knowing. Matthias was digging on his own, unrequested. What was his motive? Jodie once told him to be careful around Matthias, so he was finally putting her advice to use.

“Why are you doing this?” Zach immediately asked.

“What do you mean?”

“What will you gain from helping Jodie?” Zach no longer held back his suspicions.

“Nothing. I just want to help,” Matthias replied, giving Zach a strange look.

“Why? You don’t know her well, you’re not her friend, you-”

“I know injustice when I see it,” Matthias interrupted.

Zach knew he was challenging his boss and could very well lose his job, but did he get the reply he needed? Was it enough to convince him to act on Matthias’ request? If he manages to convince Jodie to hire Matthias, will it help her or ruin her? Zach 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

The Gift of Life

thegiftoflife

It started with a white speck in the blue sky, guided by the cool breeze as it tumbled to the ground. It was the first sign that the season of cheer, laughter, and joy was just around the corner. It was the day of the first snowflake; the day I was lying in bed feeling sick. There was nothing physically wrong with me, but somehow my head was hurting and my stomach was rejecting whatever I put in it. In the end, I gave up trying altogether.

The year had been a rough one on me. It started off great with no worries, but then halfway through, everything turned sour. The man I planned to see the world with, build a family with, become grandparents with, became ill. His sickness was the one with no cure; the one where upon discovery, there was no more hope.

It was so sudden and so shocking that at first, I was certain the doctors were wrong. But then reality hit, and the fantasy that I had created in my head shattered; David was going to die, David is dead. There will no longer be anymore Christmases to share, no more plans to see through, no more love. A few weeks before the first snowflake, David faded away.

Everyone I knew tried to comfort me. They sent me cards, called to check in, and even offered to come over and keep me company, but I soon grew tired of it all. I appreciated their efforts, but there was nothing they could do to make me feel better. So I stopped answering the phone, the doorbell, and logged out of life completely… for as long as reality permitted.

When I finally decided it was time to return to the world, it took me a lot of effort. Even though I was in no mood to celebrate Christmas or the New Year, I was going to try and be human again. It was not easy but within a few days, I managed to get into a routine.

I would get out of bed every morning, eat something for breakfast, read a book, clean the house, try to eat something for lunch, answer my parents’ calls, watch the children across the street play in the snow, force myself to eat something for dinner, read some more, before heading to bed. Leaving the house was not part of my routine, not even to check the mail. One day, however, I heard an unexpected ding dong.

Dreading the thought of having to speak to someone, I dragged myself to the door only to find a parcel on the ground. Taking a quick look around, I hesitated to bring it in when there was no one around. Who was it from? The parcel was wrapped like a gift with a red bow on top, and the card that sat with it was addressed to me. I assumed it was a gift from a friend or a family member.

Bringing the parcel in, I briefly contemplated on waiting for Christmas day, but then I recalled not wanting to even think about Christmas and proceeded with opening it. Inside, I found an instruction card and a little pot filled with soil.

“Place the plant near a window and water it everyday. Not too much though, or it’ll drown,” I read.

That is morbid, I thought. Is this a joke?

David did not drown, but death was still a sensitive topic for me. Strangely, I decided to keep the plant despite the tasteless instruction and the lack of information on the sender.

The following day, I heard it again; the doorbell. When I went to my door, I found no one outside but a mini watering can. There was an instruction card attached to it as well, telling me to use it when watering the plant. The day after that was surprisingly the same, I found a bag of fertilizer instead of a person. It was not hard to come to a conclusion that someone was trying to help me feel better, or at least fill my day with a new activity. Honestly, it was rather fun.

Everyday was the same, with a new gift at the doorstep for the little plant. I soon became dedicated in caring for the plant, that when I saw the first leaf I jumped with joy. I was also very curious as to the person that planned the whole thing. Someone knew I was struggling and someone wanted to help me through. Their approach was so unique, but it was almost impossible to catch the ‘angel’. Then one day, it stopped.

It was a few days before Christmas and I was honestly upset. Why did this person decide to stop just before my favourite day of the year? Yes, despite not wanting to celebrate Christmas this year, it had been my favourite holiday since I was a child. If this person did it on purpose, the whole thing was a cruel joke. Angry, I decided to pretend it never happened. I still watered the plant though, because it was finally in my routine.

Little did expect, on Christmas night the doorbell rang again. Thinking it was the neighbourhood carolers, I was prepared to ask them to leave. This time however, I found my answer. Once again, there was no one at the door except for a red envelope. It seemed to me the sender was finally revealing his or her identity and I excitedly tore it open. What I found inside was a polaroid and a letter.

The polaroid was a picture of me and David from three years ago. At the base was the caption, ‘Our first Christmas together’. Reading those words, I immediately felt a lump in my throat. My hands began to tremble as I silently told myself to breathe. The picture was indeed our first Christmas together. I could remember the day so clearly, as David wanted to decorate the tree with polaroids instead of ornaments. He insisted on it and I gave in. That memory made me laugh as a tear rolled down my cheek.

Turning my attention to the letter, I began to wonder if I should give it a read. I was afraid of its contents, afraid of the memories it would bring up, but I needed to know who planned it all. Slowly unfolding it, I took a deep breath and started from the date.

25th September, 2014.

Three more months before Christmas! Are you excited? I hope you are. It won’t be an easy time, but it’s your favourite holiday of the year so you better be smiling. Smile for me right now, do it!

I forced a smile.

Good girl, I saw you.

I chuckled.

Emma, I know you’re hurting and probably still grieving, but I want you to know you’re not alone. You are never alone. Yes, I made a promise to hold your hand when you turn eighty and I’m sorry for breaking it so early, but I want you to know that I’m still with you. That’s why I prepared your gift before I left.

I don’t want your Christmas to be about my death. I want it to be about our life together. What we had was amazing! How we met over an argument on who saw the last turkey first, to the day we took a hundred polaroids to hang on our first Christmas tree as a married couple… we had a great life together, don’t you think? And yes, even though it was only a short one, it was the best years of my life. You were my best friend, my supporter, and my own personal doctor… you were everything. Your life gave ME life!

If you have not guessed by now, it’s me, David. Yes, goofy David who gave you a plant for Christmas. That plant is the last gift I can give to you and I hope it will keep you company for many years. I hope it would be there to hold your hand when you turn eighty and remind you that even though I’m not by your side, you are not alone. Provided you take good care of the plant like how you’ve taken good care of me these few years. Don’t let it die, or drown! Too soon?

I love you Emma, I always will. Promise me you’ll put up a Christmas tree next year, promise me you’ll wrap horrible gifts and sing the cheesy Christmas songs. I want you to be happy and that’s the only gift I’m asking for. Don’t let me down!

Merry Christmas, love.

Your one and only, David.

Are letters capable of making you laugh and cry at the same time? For the first time since his death, I could hear his voice; a voice that always lifted my spirit up in dark times. David did it again and it was all I needed to get back on my feet.

“Don’t worry, I won’t let the plant drown,” I whispered.

Merry Christmas, love. Thank you for the gift of life.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Let me first start by saying this is fiction. It’s not a true story. But, I believe it’s a story we can all relate to.

We have all experienced loss in our lives, whether a person, a job, a pet, or a sentimental object. You might have even lost something this year. But in this season, don’t let that stop you from looking forward. Life is a roller coaster with highs and low, with us dwelling in the lows more than the highs. So let’s change that!.

Let’s celebrate life and reflect on the good this year. And whatever bad we’ve faced, let’s have hope that the coming year would be better. Keep your head up high and aim to end the year on a positive note. You can do it! I know you can.

Anyway, it has been awhile since I’ve posted short stories on my blog. So I’m not sure how this fairs, but I do hope you like it 🙂 Do let me know what you think in the comments below and happy holidays!

© 2014 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)