Loving With A Heavy Heart Chapter 69

68 Secret Encounter

The next morning Elle awoke feeling as light as a feather. She woke up with the smile still on her face from the previous night. Unlike her usual routine she got out of bed early and padded across the floor towards the bathroom. Her footsteps slowed as she passed the vanity on her way. The necklace she had received last night was on display there; hanging gently from a jewellery rack. Elle's smile grew as she brushed her finger across the little bird. She then quickly hopped into the shower before heading downstairs for breakfast.

Elle ate a light breakfast of toast and fruit. She had made plans to go out for lunch today with Abby as well as Anna and Milly whom were old friends from the same high school. Abby and Elle had kept in touch and saw each other regularly, even more so now that Abby had moved back. On the other hand Anna and Milly were also closer with each other than either Abby or Elle, but all four girls had had classes together, and would occasionally eat together back in their high school days. After graduation they hadn't seen each other often, but they would still meet up together once or twice a year.

Around noon Elle changed into a simple white sweater paired with a navy blue skirt before heading out.

The temperature had dropped significantly compared to the previous week. Just walking from her front door to her car was enough to have Elle blowing hot air into her hands and rubbing them together, trying to chase the chill from them. Elle made a mental reminder to wear mittens to work the next day.

As she drove to the restaurant Elle smiled to see that most Christmas decorations were still up. It was true that Christmas was over, but she didn't want to see the beautiful decorations go just yet.

Elle arrived at the restaurant some time later. She stepped inside with wide eyes, in awe of the extravagant holiday decorations they had inside. The restaurant was actually a high class Italian restaurant that was owned by Abby's parents. Elle immediately knew who was responsible for the grand display.

"Elle over here!" she heard someone call from across the room. Elle looked to see that the other three girls had already arrived and were seated, Elle quickly joined them.

As she sat down Abby started flipping through the menus. "You're finally here. Let's order something to eat first, I'm starving."

The girls put in their orders and then went through their usual catching up conversations. They discussed progress in their jobs, relationships, etc. Abby excitedly bragged about her new position and complained about the pains of moving between countries.

Milly worked as a secretary for the vice president of a big corporation so she always had interesting gossip to share. Anna was the daughter of an affluential family and so she had the liberty to play around with her career more. After high school she had tried modelling and quickly found that to be unsuccessful, but, that had led her to try her hand at fashion design. That took up a year or so of her time before she hit a wall. There was a period where Anna had worked odd jobs in all sorts of fields before she finally settled as a store manager with MK fashion.

The girls continued to talk and eat, they decided to also get dessert once they had finished their meals. But while three of the girls conversed excitedly, Elle was barely paying attention. She had been fine earlier that morning, but with the topic of relationships, and as more time passed, she became more and more distracted.

She kept glancing at her phone. Once or twice she swiped the screen open to send a message to Adam, but each time she quickly changed her mind and put her phone away.

"Is something wrong?" Anna asked, noticing Elle's restlessness.

"It's nothing." Elle said at first.

"Are you sure?"

"Well actually..." She said hesitantly. "You see I have a coworker who asked me for advice but I don't know what to say." Elle lied.

Abby put down her fork excitedly. "Well tell us maybe we can help."

"She says she has a relationship with a guy. They started out as coworkers but even after their work term ended they continued seeing each other. For Christmas he got her an expensive necklace, and gave her a kiss on the forehead. What does that mean?"

"Well obviously he likes her." Milly snorted.

"But what if she's just overthinking things. He's in a higher position than her, wouldn't it be embarrassing to presume he liked her when he doesn't?"

"If he's gifting expensive jewellery he's definitely interested." Anna chimed in. "Speaking of which..." She trailed off into another story about her coworkers.

Just then a waitress arrived with their desserts. She carefully placed the plates in front of them before walking off to give the bill to another table. Elle watched her walk to a table of five men, all in suits, who looked like they had been discussing something important. It was most likely just a business lunch, but that wasn't what caught Elle's attention. One of the men was sitting with his back to Elle, but Elle could have sworn that that back looked an awful lot like Adam's.

She quickly dismissed the thought, criticizing herself for having it in the first place.

'Silly girl,' she thought to herself, 'you thought about him so much last night that now you're imagining him in strangers.'

At the same time the table of five men seemed to have finished. They thanked the waitress and then got up to leave. As they started walking out Elle realized that it was in fact Adam who had been sitting with his back to her. As he stood up he recognized Elle as well.

In that moment they had both caught each other's eye. Adam's face had been stern, but it was quickly replaced by a brief look of surprise, followed by a wink and a cheeky smile.

The other girls noticed Elle staring at something, so they followed her gaze and quickly recognized Adam among the group of businessmen. Luckily the smile was already gone from his face and the stern look returned just as quickly as it left.

While the girls excitedly talked about Adam Hayes, about how handsome and how capable her was, Elle quietly ate her dessert with all the focus in the world. She had her head faced down so that her long silky hair shielded her from her friends.

Elle had no idea what sort of expression she had on her face right now, but she was confident it was one that gave away her feelings. She wasn't quite sure what those feelings were, but she knew it was something she wasn't prepared to do just yet.