The pair arrived at a nearby restaurant famous for local delicacies. The waiter appeared with the menus, from which Christina ordered several items. Soon after, the table was filled with a myriad of delicious- looking food.
“I didn’t order these. Did you get the wrong table?” Christina asked curiously.
The waiter checked the receipt. “No,” he confirmed. “The last few items were added later on.”
While Christina was in confusion, a series of footsteps sounded ahead before heralding the appearance of a tall, strapping figure. The surrounding atmosphere became stern.
What’s Nathaniel doing here? How did he know I was having lunch here with Sheridan?
Arriving at their table, Nathaniel seated himself casually next to Christina. “Is this your first time here, Mr. Stone? Allow Christina and me to be gracious hosts.”
Although he was wearing a friendly smile, Christina could not help noticing how insidious it looked.
His arrival caused the atmosphere at the table to tense up.
Sheridan was no fool. He knew Nathaniel was staking his claim. “Then let me thank you in advance, Mr. Hadley. I will be sure to take you up on that offer.”
Nathaniel picked up his fork and slipped Christina some cod. “You must be tired after last night,” he said. gently. “Have some protein.”
Christina’s pupils dilated. What is he talking about? Why would he mention what we did yesterday while we were eating? There’s someone else here, for God’s sake!
Her ears turned red. Hanging her head, she continued eating, not daring to make eye contact with Sheridan.
It was not because she cared about what other people thought but because she found it difficult to be frank about that subject.
Having achieved his goal, Nathaniel was satisfied. “How long will you be with us, Mr. Stone? Let me make the arrangements for your accommodation.”
Sheridan knew very well what Nathaniel was suggesting. His expression did not change. “I’ll be heading back after the meal.”
“So soon?” Christina was certain that Nathaniel’s words must have made Sheridan uncomfortable.
That realization made her feel worse.
Unexpectedly, Sheridan was magnanimous about it. “I have matters to attend to at work anyway. There’s also the matter of our secret… I’ll update you when it’s taken care of.”
At the recollection of the accounts, Christina chided herself for forgetting something so important. “Thank you for the trouble.”
Nathaniel’s expression stiffened at their easy conversation and the blatant mention of a secret they shared.
Do they not see me sitting right here?
Sullenly, he summoned a waiter. “I want a glass of freshly squeezed lemonade.” Then, his unfathomable gaze flickered toward Christina. “Your throat must be feeling so dry. You should have something sour to soothe it.”
What the hell is he on about this time? Sometimes he just talks too much!
Christina was so angry that she aimed a vicious kick at his shin beneath the table. “Stop running your mouth.” she hissed in warning.
Frowning imperceptibly, Nathaniel finally fell silent.
After their meal, Nathaniel had his driver send Sheridan back to the hotel.
Christina’s rage poured forth as soon as her friend was driven off. “Was that fun for you, Nathaniel?” she demanded, furious about the way he had conducted himself.
“I’m only concerned about you. Why am I getting yelled at?” Nathaniel did not think he did anything
Christina raised her eyebrows.
Why does Sheridan’s concern make me feel so at case while Nathaniel’s only irritates me? He revealed the details of our affairs in the name of concern.
“I heard you loud and clear. I saw what you were up to.” At that, she stood up abruptly without deigning to argue with him any longer.
Christina strode out. Nathaniel caught up with got into the car with her.
Christina scowled. “Get out.”
“This is my car. Besides, why can he get a ride but not me?” Nathaniel put on the seat belt.
Christina glanced at the time and decided she should be getting back as the children would be waking from their nap.
Unfortunately, they were stuck in a jam on their way home.
Christina became impatient after some time and slammed the honk irritably.
“Be patient. This stretch is always congested.” As he spoke, Nathaniel played some music and wound down the windows to allow the afternoon breeze in.
Resting her elbow on the window, Christina massaged her temple and hummed along to the upbeat music. She felt slightly better.
She glanced sideways at the passenger seat. The sunlight poured in through the window and onto the side of Nathaniel’s chiseled face. His heavily-lidded eyes concealed his expression. Still and serene, he looked
like a work of art.
Right then, the sudden blare of a honk yanked her out of her reverie.
With a start, Christina hurriedly stepped on the gas when she noticed the car ahead had already become a speck.
Nathaniel seemed to have noticed what she was thinking. He smirked at the sight of her flustering.
Fortunately, the congestion only lasted a short stretch. After the traffic light, it was smooth all the way back to Scenic Garden Manor.
As soon as the couple entered, they were assaulted by two tiny figures.
“Where did you go. Mommy?”
“I thought you snuck away again. Mommy. What a fright you gave me.”
Christina felt as if the softest recesses of her heart had been struck a heavy blow. She missed the children the most during her time away and was determined to bring them with her this time.
“Don’t worry. I will never be apart from you ever again.”
The children’s eyes twinkled with delight. They extended their pinky fingers. “Pinky promise, Mommy. You can’t go back on your word now!”
Amused, Christina pulled them aside and hooked her fingers with theirs. “Pinky promise.”
“We haven’t played ball in a long time, Mommy. Join us, please?” Lucas took out a ball and gazed up at her, his eyes shining with anticipation.
Christina took the ball. “Let’s go!” she said enthusiastically.
Christina spent the afternoon running around the yard with the children until they fell, panting, on the lawn. Their backs were drenched with sweat.
After a moment’s respite, Christina brought the children indoors for a bath. Having expended a good amount of energy, they were starving and had a lot for dinner.
Later, in the depths of the night, Christina settled down before the computer to work. As Gibson Corporation and Hadley Corporation had signed the agreement, the next phase was to execute it.
Her trip back could not have been at a better time. She decided to wait for Nathaniel to return so she could discuss matters with him and visit the site to ascertain their situation.
The crescent moon hung low in the sky. She realized with a start that it was past midnight.
Suddenly, Christina’s phone rang, making her jump. She quickly picked up. “Mr. Hadley had too much to drink at the club, Mrs. Hadley. Could you come pick him up? I have clients to entertain and can’t leave so