Chapter 22- Noah
“Now boarding flight 346- New York City.”
I look over at Haven, checking our boarding passes. It’s currently 10:00 at night, due to this being a last-minute trip Haven and I worked a shift at the bar, helping Drew out. Luckily Autumn is covering for me the next two days. Haven has been biting her bottom lip, in deep thought all day. It’s been three days since Thanksgiving. Since I told her that I love her. Two days since she told me she wants to get a divorce. I had called Julian to let him know I was coming to New York and booked us flights. Haven called her lawyer, the one who dealt with her father’s affairs and made an appointment with him to discuss her case.
Currently, we’re walking hand in hand inside the plane. Once we find our seats and settle in, putting our duffels in the compartment above and buckling up, I look at my gorgeous girlfriend. She is turning off her cell phone at the moment. My mind thinks back to when I gave it to her. She was so grateful to receive the phone. Of course, her selfless self was concerned about me not being able to post her on social media, but I hated that stuff anyway. Olivia was always posting everything we did, and I honestly hated it. I just hated how every time Haven wasn’t with me, I had no way to contact her. I remembered she told me she left everything behind in New York, so I decided to get her the phone. I’m just happy to see her happy and to make her happy. Once done, she sticks it in her bag, she closes her eyes and so I reach out and grab her hand. I bring her hand to my lips. Her eyes flutter open, finding mine.
“You okay?” I ask, squeezing her hand. She meets my gaze and gives me a small smile as she nods in response. I lean in and kiss her forehead. She then leans her head against my shoulders as the plane begins to move. Even though she doesn’t say anything, I know Haven is pushing her limits by taking this trip. When she told me what she wanted to do a couple days back, I immediately felt nervous. She’s just beginning to make progress and I’m scared she’s going to regress and go back in her shell. Regardless of my reservations I want her to know that I’m going to be by her side no matter what. As the plane takes off, I plug in my headphones to the small television and settle on watching the Avengers movie that was playing.
Once the plane lands, Haven and I walk to the baggage claim. We didn’t bring any luggage as it’s just a two-day trip, but I look around at the faces surrounding us.
“NOAH!“I hear my name being called. I take one more look around and my eyes land on my curly headed cousin. He’s wearing his bubble jacket and black sweatpants. As we get closer to him, I let go of Haven’s hand and embrace my cousin. “You just couldn’t stay away from New York, could you?” I laugh and we separate. I step to the side and reach for Haven, who is standing off to the side watching us have our moment.
“Yeah man, missed you. This is my girlfriend, Haven,” I smile down at her and I can see her face light up at the sound of my words. She brings out her hand and says a small ‘hi’. Julian waves her off and pulls her in for a hug. I feel myself tense up, but it quickly fades because those are feelings of the past.
“Any lady my cousin settles down with is getting a hug from me. I can’t believe you willingly deal with this nut job.” She laughs as he hugs.
“Yeah yeah, it’s you who I’ll be shocked with when a girl decides to settle with your crazy ass. Let’s get outta here,” I say, rolling my eyes reaching towards Haven and taking her hand back in mine.
We arrive at Julian’s apartment. A nice two bedroom located in none other than Manhattan, New York. His apartment was in the most expensive district, but the rumors are true, Manhattan apartments are small. Entering the front door, familiarity hits me like a truck. Memories flood my mind of my past. The girls, the drunken nights, the loneliness. My cousin’s apartment was pretty big for a NYC apartment. It used to be a huge studio, but he was able to put a wall up to create two bedrooms. Haven and I go down the hall and put our bags down in my old room. It looked the same, just different sheets. A full-size bed to be the focal point of the room with a grey and black comforter, a floor to ceiling white wardrobe a night table and a tan area rug to fill the floor space. She hops on the bed, kicking off her shoes and laying down immediately. She closes her eyes, while still in her bubble coat. I crawl in next to her.
“Penny for your thoughts,” I ask her, looking up at the ceiling. I hear her sigh, her eyes remaining closed.
“I don’t know how I feel right now,” she replies. She sighs again. “I’m nervous. I don’t know what I’m going to do if I see him or when he finds me.”
“You mean if.”
“No, I mean when. He will, Noah, find me.” I sit up and look down at her. Her eyes are now open and the fear that has been long gone, has returned. I turn her on her back and kiss her forehead. I look down at her and I see tears welling up in her eyes.
“If or when he does, I will be with you through it all. I promise, I won’t leave your side through this.” A tear slides down her cheek and she nods. I bend down and kiss her lips. “Do you want to hang out with Julian or stay in the room for a bit?” She turns on her side and mutters quietly that she wants to rest for a bit. I kiss her one more time and help her wiggle out of her jacket. I also take off my jacket, tossing it on top of our bags. I then head out of the room, closing the door behind me. I hear Julian in the kitchen. I go down the hallway and turn into the kitchen to find Julian searching through drawers. He senses me and looks up.
“I’m looking for the takeout menu from that place we used to order from.” I nod and pull out one of the two chairs at his small square oak table up against the kitchen wall. Soon after Julian joins me in the seat next to me with the takeout menu he was searching for. “Hope you’re hungry because I haven’t had takeout in a while.”
“Oh yeah, that spot is amazing.” Julian calls the place and orders our food. Once he gets off the phone, he sits back and smiles. “What man?”
“Nothin’ nothin’,” he says shaking his head, keeping a grin on his face. “Beer?”
“Go on, say it,” I say rolling my eyes and nodding to his request. He gets up and opens the fridge taking out two beers and taking off the beer opener magnet from the fridge, opening both bottles.
“Nothin’ man, I’m just happy for you. Haven’t seen you this happy in a very long time.” He hands me my beer and settles in his seat. I nod my head.
“Yeah, Haven’s amazing, she’s helped me in more ways than I can explain.”
“That’s good, Noah. Real good. Happy to see you doing so good, huge difference from when you left. All heart broken and shit.” He chuckles and takes another swig of his beer.
“Shut up man. But thank you, that means a lot.”
Silence falls between us until Julian starts up another conversation.
“So, what brings you guys to New York anyway?” I hadn’t told him details of anything. To respect Haven’s privacy, I just respond by telling him we’re here to get the rest of her things. With that, the buzzer rings, signaling our food has arrived. Saved by the bell. We continue the rest of the late-night watching games and eating takeout. I check in on Haven a few times, but she is in a deep sleep, so I choose not to wake her. Eventually Julian goes to his room for bed because he has to work in the morning, leaving me to my own thoughts.
I’m nervous. Not for myself but for Haven. I know emotionally this is taking a toll on her. Just being back in New York, she has retracted to being the timid, fragile woman I first met. I want to be her strength. I want her to be open with me, but I also know I can’t live and feel for her. She must grow into herself. But I can be there for her. I will be. I think about her fear of being found by her husband. The man really did a number on her. He caused her to be insecure and fearful. I know he will eventually find her, but Haven has something that she never had before, me. I love Haven. She snaked her way into my heart, and I will not allow a demon from her past to rob her of her joy now.
I get up, cleaning up the beer bottles and food containers. I turn off the lights and walk to my room. I open the door and see Haven still sleeping so peacefully. Julian has night lights in the hallway, so the light seeps into the room. Even in a dim lighting Haven is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Her diamond shaped face, the curves in her hips, her plump lips, her long black hair spilling around her neck. I crawl into the bed beside her and snake my hands around her waist pulling her close to my chest. I take in her vanilla scent. I feel her chest rise and fall as she breathes. I nuzzle my nose in her neck and place a kiss there. I listen intently to her deep breaths and not long after, I fall into a deep slumber.
“Haven, it’s so nice to see you again.” An older African American man appears from the hallway behind the reception desk. He walks up to us as we stand, his hands out in front of him approaching Haven to give her a hug. She returns his gesture with a side hug. He chuckles and finally looks in my direction. “And you are?”
“Noah Adams,” I respond bringing my hand out for a shake, which he eagerly returns.
“Nice to meet you. Let us go to my office, shall we?” Haven adjusts her crossover bag and nods. My hand finding hers immediately. We follow the man back in the direction he came from. We walk along the hallway, one side being wall the other side a frosted glass. We walk past that office entrance continuing to walk straight. We are then met by another frosted glass door with black letters saying the words Benjamin Mitchell, Attorney. He grabs the handle of the door and holds it open for Haven and I as we enter. We’re met with an immediate view of the skyscrapers and tall office buildings of New York City due to his floor to ceiling windows. Other than that stunning view, the office was simple. A long oak desk accompanied by a white head chair behind it and two white love seats in front of it. There was a file shelf along the side of the wall on the left and a decorative plant by the door.
Haven and I take a seat in each chair as Benjamin walk around to sit behind his desk. Before anyone says anything, A small woman in a pants suit comes in with a tray of three glasses of waters. She sets it down on Benjamin’s desk.
“Thank you, Sally. Please close the door on your way out,” he says giving her a warm smile. She returns it and without words scurries out of the office, pulling the glass door to a close. I look back at Benjamin, just as he takes a notepad from a drawer and sets it down in front of him. “Alright, what can I for you?” He begins, clicking his pen open. I hear Haven take a breath.
“Come on Haven, it’s Ben to you,” he says smiling. I look over at Haven who is too nervous to entertain jokes.
“Oh right, sorry- Ben,” he nods awaiting her answer. “I want to divorce my husband, I would preferable do it without him knowing where I am if that’s even possible.” Ben nods at her statement and leans forward against her desk,
“Wow. Well, this is how a usual process goes. Someone will have to serve him with the divorce papers, which I can set that up no worries. He’s going to be aware of you wanting a divorce. The thing with a divorce is once you file everything must stay the way it is until you both reach your agreements. Now mistake me if I’m wrong are their children involved?”
I look over at Haven as she shakes her head no.
“Okay, well that definitely makes the process cleaner. Now again, if I’m not mistaken, your husband is Charles Matthews correct?”
Again, Haven nods at his response.
“I know he’s a very successful lawyer. His reputation is well known,” Ben writes some notes down on a notepad, until he looks back up to her. “Would you be going 50/50 with him on the assets?”
“No,” Haven finally speaks up, firmly. “I don’t want anything. He can have it all. I just want his signature.” Ben writes something down and finally clasps his hands together.
“Tell me, what is the reason for the divorce? Can’t be money problems, so adultery? Lying? Addiction?” Haven sucks in a breath and looks over at me, for comfort. I nod my head at her, encouraging her to muster up the courage to say her worst reality.
“Uh, well,” Haven begins to bounce her leg up and down, I can hear her voice beginning to crack. “He was abusive.”
“Was?” Ben asks, lifting up one of his bushy eyebrows. She nods.
“Well, the property my Father had left to me that you disclosed to me alone, I escaped over there and have been living there for the past two months. That’s why I wanted my location to be confidential.”
Ben nods in understanding. The room is filled with slight tension as the topic of conversation came up.
“Do you have documentation of the abuse? I can use that to ensure alimony of some sort.” Haven shakes her head once again.
“No, Benjamin. I am very adamant on not taking a penny from him. I don’t want a thing. I just want to be cut off him. I want to do this as quickly as possible.” He nods.
“Okay Haven. I will have the paperwork drawn up. It will take a while, but I will do my best to get it done quickly. Now because you live out of state, I will not disclose that, of course, to anyone. But you must be readily available when a judge does want you to come to the hearing. I hope that won’t be a problem.”
“No, not at all,” I interject, as Haven shakes her head. Ben makes eye contact with me for the first time throughout the meeting and nods.
“If you would like I can set up a restraining order for you if you want to take any necessary precaution due to your previous history.” Haven once again looks at me. I just wait for her to make her answer.
“Uh,” Haven begins, “I think I’ll be fine. I just don’t want to serve him twice or risk my location being known by him.”
“Okay, well I think we’re about done here. You can call me if you change your mind about that restraining order. Other than that, I will draw up those papers and try to make this be as clean as it can be.” He scoots back in his chair standing up, as we also stand up.
“I will keep in touch.” He walks around his desk, bringing Haven in for a final hug and then shaking my hand as he leads us to the direction came in from. “Remember, readily available.” Before we walk out the door, I mutter a ‘thank you’ to Benjamin and Haven does the same.
We walk out hand in hand without saying a word to one another.