The ding of the elevator tore me from his arms and together we stepped inside. I’d never be so happy to see another person inside of the elevator because that meant that he would have to keep his hands occupied. I stepped over to the far corner of the elevator and waited while Jackson hit the floor number.
The instant the door opened, I stepped out and walked ahead of Jackson down the hall to the room where our brunch was being held. I stopped just outside the door, ran my hand over my hair and looked down and ran my hands over my pants, hoping to smooth them out. I took a deep breath and then rounded the corner. Everyone was seated at the table and the second I stepped inside; they all turned their eyes on me and then they fell on the man behind me. Immediately, all talking silenced, and they all stared in our direction.
I noticed immediately that Cara and Ryan gave one another a knowing glance, and then Ryan stood up and cleared his throat. “Well, there they are. We were about to send out a search party.” He said, coming over and guiding me to an empty chair. The second I sat down he turned and shook hands with Jackson and mumbled something to him I could quite make out.
Cara leaned over to me and placed her hand on mine. “Everything okay?” she questioned, glancing over at Jackson and then at me.
My stomach rolled, and I reached for the glass of water in front of me. My hand shook as I took a sip and then nodded. Jackson pulled out the chair beside me and sat down.
“Morning Cara.” He said, ignoring the fact that she was waiting for me to respond. “Sorry to keep everyone waiting.”
“Morning Jackson. No worries.” She answered and then looked at me. “Bailey?” She whispered, “Is everything okay?”
I nodded my head because I knew if I spoke, my voice would give everything away. I brought my water glass to my mouth and took another sip, swallowing hard.
I was sure she’d turn her attention to Ryan while we waited for food, but she didn’t. Instead, she kept her eyes trained on me. “You sure everything is fine?” She asked again. “You look…odd.”
I nodded, “I’m fine.” I whispered, my voice cracking. She squinted her eyes as if she were trying to read me, but I looked away. I was never so glad when Ryan started talking to the entire table, finally taking Cara’s eyes from me.
Ryan said a few words while our food was being served. When the server placed my breakfast in front of me, my stomach rolled at the smell of my egg omelet. I hated lying to my best friend, and I knew she’d take one look at my pale face and she’d know exactly what had happened.
“Be a good girl and eat your breakfast.” Jackson whispered in my ear as his hand slid onto my upper thigh, gently squeezing it. I just about jumped up from where I was sitting when I casually glanced in his direction. He gave me a tiny nod, then leaned over and whispered into my ear.
“Calm yourself. Don’t worry, everything is fine. They don’t know.”
When I looked up from where I’d been staring down at my plate, I noticed Cara watching me with a curious look and it was at that moment I knew she knew.