Loving With A Heavy Heart Chapter 21
20 A Grand Entrance And A Spectacular Insul
Elle arrived to the party before either Abby or Adam. Unlike the Mayor's party, which was held at his own private villa, this party was being held in a grand banquet hall. The room must have been full with close to one hundred people all waiting for the birthday girl to arrive.
Most of the guests were other big names in the industry, or important figures in social circles. Elle hadn't seen Abby when they arrived, she had sent a text, and glanced at her phone occasionally, but had yet to receive a reply.
While she waited Elle followed her father around with Jacob. Elle kept a polite smile on her face the whole time, not saying a word, as they greeted various people.
Eventually, several minutes later, the birthday girl did arrive. She made a grand entrance at the top of a staircase with her parents on either side of her. She wore a gold sequin mermaid gown, which hugged her figure rather generously.
Elle stifled a laugh as she watched Sarah enter the room. It was only expected that a socialite, especially one as pampered as Sarah, make such a grand display on her birthday. It was so common that such splendour was almost mundane.
But as she walked in Elle couldn't help but recall how Sarah, while still pretty, was rather plain in high school. She was a quite girl with a meek personality. She even had long bangs that she used to hide behind shyly. Now her hair was styled half up half down, with large loose curls, and her ends died blonde.
What a dramatic difference a few years in society can make.
With Sarah's arrival Elle finally had a reason to excuse herself from her family's side. "Happy birthday Sarah!" Elle greeted with false enthusiasm.
"Thank you Elle." Sarah said politely.
The two made idle small talk for a minute or two before Sarah excused herself to go greet the other guests.
Elle looked around the room and spotted her father and Jacob talking to Mr. Carter. She didn't want to return to her father's side just yet, so instead she found herself a quite corner to hide in.
To her frustration Abby hadn't arrived yet. Elle was about to send her another text message asking where she was, when a voice suddenly sounded beside her.
"Good evening Ms. Shaw." Adam said politely.
Elle was engrossed in her phone and hadn't noticed him at all. She was startled, and jumped as Adam greeted her.
"Ah, my apologies." Adam said, surprised by her reaction. "I didn't mean to scare you."
"I didn't notice you." Elle mumbled, her face turning bright red. "Good evening Mr. Hayes."
Elle waited but it seemed Adam was content to just stand there, he didn't continue the conversation any further.
"Have you greeted the birthday girl yet?" Elle asked when she could no longer bare the silence.
"No, I only just arrived."
"It's bad manners to arrive after the guest of honour you know." She teased.
"The trick is to arrive just after them. They weren't here either, they'll never know you were late."
Elle laughed softly. "How many years have you spent cultivating such a technique?"
It was the same as the night they went to dinner together; although Adam's face was almost permanently expressionless he could actually be quite playful. Elle was smiling genuinely for the first time that night when she suddenly noticed her father. He was standing some ways away from them with Jacob, who was carrying a conversation with someone. His face was clearly unhappy with her.
The smile immediately vanished from Elle's face. "Excuse me Mr. Hayes, it seems my father is calling for me."
As she approached her father pulled her aside. "Are you somehow acquainted with Adam Hayes?" He asked with a frown.
"I'm not." Elle replied instantly. She wasn't sure if it was because she thought trying to explaining their brief interactions would be too complex, or if it was because their relationship, brief and trivial as it was, was a secret she did not want to share with anyone. Either way the lie came out of her smoothly.
"In that case you shouldn't approach him so casually."
"It's an embarrassment to watch you so blatantly flirting with him. Everyone knows his personality, what will you do if you offend him? I don't want to blame you for setting your sights high, but I can't risk having you offend him." Her father said almost gently.
Elle's eyes narrowed. "Is that what you think of me?" She asked coldly.
"Isn't it true?" He retorted. "Besides, it's unlikely Adam Hayes will ever notice you. It's better to be more realistic."
Elle scoffed. "I'll keep your advice in mind." She walked off without waiting for his reply. Every day she seemed to know her father less and less. What had happened to the man who had ruffled her hair so kindly just a year ago?
Elle went to the bathroom, eager to escape the eyes of so many people even if it was just for a minute. She walked with her head down, not noticing that Adam had been watching her the whole time.
Although he couldn't hear what they had said, he could at least tell that her father's words had upset her. Adam frowned as another piece was added to the puzzle.