Chapter 17- Haven
I haven’t felt as free as I do in this moment. Noah and I have been lazing around all morning. Watching movies and just laughing. I feel closer to him more than ever.
Telling him about my past has been the biggest weight lifted off of my shoulders. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster. Everything he told me. Everything I told him. It’s clear we both have been through a lot in our life.
I can’t believe someone can be with a person for several years and just cheat on them. With his best friend at that. Noah doesn’t deserve that at all. I look over at him now, he fell back asleep. The movie we were watching is now watching him. We’ve been cuddling all morning.
I’m not used to a man giving me affection, but it feels good. Noah hugs me, lays on me, constantly tells me I’m beautiful. I look at him laying down on my lap, slightly snoring. I shift a bit and get out from under him. I go to his room, not worried about making noise because his floor is carpet. I get dressed back into my clothes from yesterday. I go to the bathroom and redo my hair, throwing it up in a bun and I wash my face. Noah already gave me a spare toothbrush earlier.
Finally, I have happiness in me. I’ve never felt like this before, not since Dad died. I feel the spark in me again. I can see myself falling for Noah. My heart flutters thinking of the comfort he’s given me. It hasn’t even been a full day.
I was so afraid of him judging me for my past. Him thinking I was a stupid girl for staying in my marriage with Charlie and not leaving. Quite honestly, I feel stupid. But I can’t change my past. It’s a part of me, but it doesn’t define me. That’s what matters.
I walk back out to the living area and head over to the sofa where Noah is still dazed off. I have to go home and shower, change my clothes, but I don’t want to wake him. Still I do.
“Noah,” I crouch down and shake his shoulder. He stirs but doesn’t wake. “Noah,” with a harder shake he gets up super-fast, knocking me on my feet.
“Who’s there!?!” He realizes his surroundings and I laugh at his reaction. I put my hands up, staying down on the floor.
“I have no money, I’m innocent” I say laughing. He smiles and shakes his head, rubbing his face.
“Sorry, thought something happened,” he says groggily as he laughs. “You okay?” He gets up and helps bring me to my feet. I giggle and nod.
“I’m perfect,” I say, as Noah brings me close to him, wrapping his arms around my waist.
“Perfect huh?” He looks to the side as if he’s thinking. ” Would that have anything to do with a certain someone?” I giggle, deciding to play around with him.
“Mm maybe,” I giggle and back away from him. He looks at me smiling, catching my sarcasm.
“Maybe huh? Are you sure there isn’t an absolute answer?”
I shake my head continuing to back away from him. He’s smiling and I’m smiling.
“Come here,” he chases after me and I tell and run away. I run around the island and around the sofa. Eventually we’re running to the bedroom and Noah catches me. We fall on the floor and we’re laughing like maniacs. Noah goes on top of me and tickles me. I’m laughing and squirming around. Finally, I can’t take it anymore.
“Okay, okay, I’ll say it,” I gasp as he stops tickling me. I try to catch my breath. He stays on top of me.
Normally this would make me break into a panic attack, but Noah doesn’t have me pinned down. I can feel the wiggle room between us, so I don’t feel trapped. He looks at me smiling.
“There is a certain someone that made me feel perfect this morning,” I admit to him.
With that Noah gets up and helps me up. He pulls me close to him and cups my face looking at me with his mesmerizing grey eyes that I can get lost in.
He is so beautiful.
“Well, that certain someone is honored to have made Haven Matthews feel perfect this morning. I hope Ms. Matthews feels perfect from this day until the day she dies,” he kisses me on my forehead, and I close my eyes trying to soak up the happiness I feel.
Noah is the perfect one. He is just so amazing to me. I could never understand why Olivia did what she did because I dreamed of appreciation like this. He lets me go and walks over to his dresser, grabbing towel and clothes for the day.
“I’m going to go shower beautiful and then I’ll go take you home, okay?” I nod and make my way to the living room. I flip through different channels.
All of a sudden there’s a knock-on Noah’s door, shortly after I see Ava saunter in. She’s wearing the cutest scrubs that is pink with cute Penguins all over. Her hair in a high ponytail.
We look at each other. I smile awkwardly.
“Oh, Haven. I didn’t expect to see you so soon,” she smiles and walks in non chalantly. I get up and she sees I still have my clothes on from yesterday. “Oh, I am so sorry, did I interrupt anything?” I shake my head.
“No, no. I slept over by accident. Noah and I got to talking and we dozed off.” She nods her head smiling.
“Speaking of where is my big brother?” She asks looking around.
“He actually just went in to shower, did you need something?” I ask her, walking over to sit at the stools. She takes a seat next to me.
“No, I wanted to bother Noah about bringing you over yesterday,” she chuckles. I smile at her honesty.
“Oh yeah?” I giggle. “What were you going to say?” She smiles at me.
“That you seem great!” She looks behind her making sure Noah wasn’t here. “I guess you guys talked about Olivia?” I nod and look at my fingers. She breathes in. “Yeah, that was and still is a difficult topic for all of us. Our family took it hard. I mean imagine a lot of people in town know you’re with this person then all of a sudden that person is with someone else who also grew up in town. I mean it’s embarrassing you know?” I look at her and I can see how much she cares for her brother.
“Yeah, I can imagine how painful it must’ve been for all of you.”
“Pft, yeah. It was awful. Get this, the girl was my best friend too. We both went to study the same thing, so she works in the same damn hospital as I do. I have to see her face all the time.” I look at her shocked and she looks over at me nodding, confirming I heard her right. “Drew always tells me ‘Ave just be the bigger person’. Luckily, I got moved to my department now, so it’s been easy, but man I can’t stand her.”
“It must’ve been painful to know not one, but two people hurt Noah.” She nods.
“It killed me. I mean Noah is so amazing and caring. Being as close as we are, I knew how much he cared for Olivia and to find out she did what she did just killed me.” I nod my head knowing that feeling she’s describing to me. I’ve known Noah almost a month and he was so caring towards me. Very attentive even though he didn’t know who I was. He had no idea of my past. Even my name. Yet he took the time to make me feel comfortable.
Ava sighs. “I’m happy that he has you though. I honestly never thought I’d see him happy with a girl again,” she shrugs. “From what I can tell you’re a good person. Just don’t break my brother’s heart. Always be straight with him because believe it or not Noah would rather you be happy away from him then force you with him.”
With that we hear the door to the bathroom open and out comes Noah in his towel. He looks over at Ava and me sitting at the island. Confusion covers his face. He clutches the towel around his waist.
“Ava?” We both giggle at his embarrassment. “What’re you doing here?” Ava gets up and starts walking to the entrance.
“Sorry I didn’t know Haven was still here. Just wanted to say morning, but I gotta get back to the hospital. Nice chatting with you Haven, bye Noah!” With that she heads out the door, leaving Noah and me alone. I laugh at Noah who’s still standing looking more confused than ever.
“What just happened?” He asks. I giggle and shake my head.
“Nothing go get dressed so we can leave,” I respond. He stands there still lost, but walks off to his bedroom, shrugging his shoulders.
I’m on the way back home, on the back of Noah’s bike. When we pull up my driveway, Noah turns off the bike and gets off. Then he helps me get off. I walk to my front door; Noah follows closely behind. I open the door and head inside.
Once inside I put my bag down on the sofa. I turn around to Noah. He has a leather jacket on, so his hands are in his pocket.
“Thanks for the ride home,” I say smiling at him. He returns my smile.
“Yeah, of course.” I go to sit on the sofa and Noah follows. We look at one another smiling like little teenagers. I let out a nervous chuckle. He looks at me curiously the smile not fading. “What?” I shake my head and nervously brush my hair behind my ear.
“I don’t know what’s next,” I say. The confusion on his face doesn’t leave.
“What do you mean?” He asks.
“I mean, the tension was building up for us to open up to one another and now we did that. So what next?” I ask. It’s a genuine question. I’ve never been in a relationship before, one without the manipulation and beatings. I’ve never had a choice either. I decide to tell this to Noah. He listens closely. Once I finish, he takes his hands out of his pockets and touches my knee. I feel the heat coming off of his hand. His touch alone brings me comfort.
“Listen Haven, I am willing to go by your pace. No need to rush into anything. We can take it one day at a time. Our next step is for me to properly take you on a date.” He gently squeezes my knee and I smile.
I remember when Charlie was courting me, he’d take me on these extravagant dates. I was never one to like attention on me or to ask for expensive things. That’s all Charlie did. Thinking back, he never tried to get to know me, it was always him just giving me expensive things. It was nice don’t get me wrong, what girl doesn’t like diamond necklaces and traveling to different places. But the facade came down after our honeymoon and those nice gifts were only a reminder of the terrible things, he did to me.
I look at Noah.
“That’s a really good first step,” I say. He puts his head down proud smiling. “Thanks for being patient with me,” he looks back up at me and without saying anything he leans in and gives me a kiss.
I happily kiss him back. His kisses are gentle yet passionate. They are in some way even comforting. The foreignness I felt last night is gone. He pulls back and my stomach is filled with butterflies. I wasn’t much of a blusher, but I can feel my face hot. He smiles and kisses my forehead, another sweet motion that makes me smile. Noah is literally perfect.
“Okay babe, so I’m going to head to the bar. Don’t want Drew to go crazy on me. See you for the later shift?” I nod, ignoring the fluttering my stomach does at his affectionate name to me. I get up as he gets up. When we reach the door. He bends down and gives me one more peck. “How about I take you on a proper date later?”
“Sounds perfect,” I say smiling. He takes my hand, squeezes it and walks off to his bike. I close the door once he rides off.
What a night.
I just got home from my shift. Tips were really good tonight. Noah and I agreed to meet at my house, his exact words were “you deserve a proper date experience.” I don’t know what I’m worthy of, but I do know that Noah makes me feel warm. Happy.
I’m now rummaging through my suitcase, that has yet to be unpacked, because I still have no furniture. I don’t see anything that is date appropriate. It wasn’t on my list of things to secretly pack when I was running away from Charlie.
I haven’t thought of him at all. Not really. I’ve thought of our relationship, the things I’ve gone through, but Charlie himself, no. His piercing blue eyes, his slim but muscular figure. I wonder if he’s missing me right now. I look at my watch, 9:30pm. He’d be settling in the study, doing office work or throwing a fit over something stupid. I close the door to the memories that are racing to come through my mind. I can’t allow Charlie to ruin my chance at happiness. I never thought that a person could control you without even being physically present.
I settle on a black long sleeve that was lace on the sleeves. The lace had a floral pattern to it. I paired it with dark blue skinny jeans and my black flats. Cute casual will have to do tonight. I wish I had my walk-in closet right about now.
I get ready. Luckily my hair is behaving today so it is laying nice and flat against my shoulders. I don’t have much makeup with my, so my small CVS blush, contour, and highlight trio from wet and wild will have to do. I look over myself in my round bathroom mirror.
This is me. The new me.