Something was pulling Noah from his sleepful state. He didn’t want to leave. In his dreams, Eden and he had made love all night long and she was snuggled up tightly against him.
A sniffle brought him closer to consciousness. What the…
He opened his eyes grudgingly and found dark brown eyes looking at him, a bottom lip pouting and quivering.
“Mommy,” Morgan softly cried.
From the looks of him, he’d been calling for Mommy for a while and was upset at not getting noticed.
Noah hadn’t been dreaming. Eden was right there. Sound asleep on his chest. Her naked body pressed against his, her leg draped over his beneath the covers.
“Hey Buddy,” Noah whispered, gaining Morgan’s attention.
“I’m hungry,” Morgan told him.
“Shh, Mommy’s sleeping,” Noah whispered.
Eden had always been a light sleeper. How in the world was she sleeping through this? Noah figured she must be exhausted. The last time he saw the clock, it was 4 AM. Only a couple of hours of sleep after a number of lovemaking sessions.
“Morgan,” Noah whispered, “you go potty and I’ll be down to make you some breakfast.”
Morgan gave him a confused look, then looked to Eden and back again.
“We’re gonna let Mommy sleep,” Noah told him.
Morgan scrunched his little eyebrows together, deciding if it was what he wanted or not. His stomach must have won out, because he toddled into the bathroom, giving Noah an opportunity to divest himself from her and put his sleep pants on.
At the door, he looked back to her still sleeping on the bed. He wanted nothing more than to go right back and join her. A hungry three-year-old indicated that wasn’t going to be possible. Noah softly closed the door before grasping Morgan’s hand and walking downstairs.
“Mommy eggs!” Morgan sang.
“How about Daddy’s eggs?” Noah had no idea what Eden did differently. He realized then he’d never been part of their morning or breakfast ritual.
He’d always been long gone to the office before the sun rose. Leaving Eden and Morgan in their dream worlds. And he decided right then and there that that was going to change. He was going to start his days with them before heading off.
“No. Mommy eggs.”
Noah ran his hand down his sleep deprived face. The feel of her hands sliding from behind him around his waist had him waking up quickly.
As her hands circled around his waist, she softly kissed his bare back before snuggling her head down a moment.
“Hmm, a night of making love and letting me sleep in. Oh, you’re a keeper.”
He turned in her embrace, wrapping his arms around her and holding her close. “Eden, go back to bed. I can handle this.”
“Sounds like it,” she sarcastically responded before pulling from his hold. “You make coffee, I’ll make breakfast.”
He looked at her. She’d put on sweatpants and over sized tee. Her hair a total mess from their activities the night before and sleep. Her face showing the lack of sleep. Damn, he wanted her.
He turned away and began doing as instructed. With Morgan getting over thirteen hours of sleep, he had a feeling they were in for a rough morning. Coffee was greatly needed.
He looked at her as she poured flavored coffee creamer into the bowl of eggs.
“Uh, Eden. Your coffee is in the mug.”
Her tired eyes looked at his. “I know that.”
“But you just…”
“Trust me, I meant to do that.”
“I added it by mistake one morning and Morgan loves it.”
She made a large batch of flavored scrambled eggs. Morgan ate twice as much as usual.
Noah cautiously took a bite and looked at her in surprise. “These are good!”
She cradled her mug in her hands as she sat in the dining chair, her legs pulled up to her.
“Looks like you guys were hungry this morning,” she commented as she smiled over her mug at him.
Noah looked at the serving bowl. He and Morgan had polished off the entire contents.
“Eden, I’m sorry. Let me make you something.” She’d missed dinner the night before just as he had.
She waved him off. “This here,” she lifted the mug slightly, “is all I need.” She took a sip. “I told you he’d be hungry.”
“He had a pretty full day yesterday,” he told her.
“Looks like last night worked up an appetite for you too,” she teased.
She stood and retrieved a package of baby wipes from the counter. As she cleaned off Morgan’s hands and face, she asked Noah, “Going into the office today?”
“One of the sites?”
After setting Morgan down and watching him scamper off to brush his teeth, she turned and looked at Noah. “Seriously?” He was never here in the morning.
Noah reached for her and set her on his lap. He noticed her flinch slightly. “You okay?”
She rest her head down on his shoulder. “Just a little sore today,” she told him.
He caressed her hair. “I’m sorry, Eden…”
“Would you stop apologizing already?” she interrupted. “It’ll take me a bit to get back into the swing of things.” He felt her smile as she softly kissed his neck.
She sat up when he didn’t respond and looked at him. “We weren’t like that before?” she asked.
He shook his head, smiling softly.
“Noah. This doesn’t make sense. I’ve never told you what I like during sex. And now you’re telling me we’ve never made love three times in one night before?”
He kissed her quick. “Four. You forgot the kitchen.”
He saw the blush wash over her before she set her head back down on his shoulder.
“Why?” she asked.
“Eden, I don’t have all the answers.”
“Were we happy?”
They had been at one time. He just didn’t want to ruin what they’d discovered with the truth.
“Eden, you’re stressing.”
She stood and made her way to the kitchen for another mug of coffee. “And you’re being evasive.”
He stood and followed her into the kitchen. “C’mon Eden, I’m tired.”
After filling her mug and adding cream, she turned and faced him. “So am I, Noah.” She looked down into her coffee she cradled in her hands. “You just don’t understand,” she said softly.
He approached her. Taking the mug from her hands and setting it on the counter, he used his thumb and finger to grasp her chin and tilt her face up. “Talk to me.”
They’d opened a brand new road to open communication. He had to see if it was his imagination or if she could be just as open when not in the throws of sensuality.
“You have memories, I don’t. When things happen, or I say things, I assume it’s always been that way.”
“Eden, you told me last night to stop thinking. Maybe that’s what we both need to do. Take all of this one day at a time.”
“I hate not remembering,” she sighed before snuggling into the warmth of his embrace and setting her head at his chest. “I feel like there’s this big chunk of something missing, and I don’t know what it is.”
“Trust me, everything will come back to you,” he reassured her. And God help me when it does.
Later that afternoon, Noah entered her room. He stopped and looked at the sight before him. She and Morgan snuggled up on top of the covers. Morgan’s little chest rising and falling slowly in his slumber. Eden on her side, her arm draped over him in a protective gesture.
This is what he’d longed for. A feeling of completeness. Of feeling whole. A feeling that could be ripped out of his grasp as soon as she remembered. As each day passed, he knew that hurt was going to be more powerful.
He quietly approached the side of the bed and lightly brushed his fingers along her cheek. She didn’t stir. Didn’t move at all.
He startled as her hand grasped his when he drew it away.
“I didn’t mean to wake you,” he told her softly not wanting to wake Morgan.
Still grasping his hand, she tugged him forward. One of his knees kneeling on the bed to prevent him from falling on top of both of them.
“Get in here,” she told him.
“Noah, you’re just as tired. Come nap with us.”
He looked at her. The whole time she spoke, she never moved, never opened her eyes.
“Besides, I’m cold.”
“I’ll get you a blanket,” he said.
Now she turned her head and opened her eyes, looking into his eyes. “I’d rather have you keeping me warm, Noah.”
For being sleepy, she had a vice grip on his hand. She wasn’t about to let this go. He scoffed and shook his head before giving in and spooning behind her. His right arm draping over the two treasures in his life.
She didn’t say another word. Scooted her butt back for a better fit. He fell into a deep sleep holding onto both of them, her raspberry shampoo scent filling him. The dream he woke to this morning right there is his arms.
The garage attendant dropped Noah off at home just after lunch. The tune-up on the truck wouldn’t take long, and he could still get work done at home.
He entered and heard Eden and Morgan upstairs. He’d hoped the change of scenery would inspire him in the latest designs. He quietly set up his laptop at the dining room table. The lighting from the patio doors was bright and he wanted to enjoy it rather than the darkness of the den.
He found listening to the two of them doing everyday things around him comforting as he took pencil to paper. If the designs could be worked out on paper, he could transfer them to the computer program for fine tuning. All he had to do was stop his mind wandering to being with her. Holding her close each night. Making love with her and feeling whole for the first time in their marriage. She’d been so unsure of herself in the beginning. Her innocence and uncertainty keeping herself from letting go. Now, she held no reservations. Held back nothing. Gave herself completely each and every time, allowing him to do the same.
He looked up when he heard the sound of music from the stereo in the living room. He softly chuckled at the sight of his wife and son dancing in the living room. Morgan’s giggles when she’d twirl him around. His focus going to her slender hips as they gracefully swayed while Morgan would hop and jump.
Two weeks had now gone by since he moved back into their bedroom. Two weeks of this newfound closeness between the two of them.
A short time later, the sound of something breaking in the living room just before Eden’s shout brought him from his x-rated thoughts.
“Morgan Matthew!” she called as he heard her race down the stairs from the upper level.
Noah hadn’t heard her use that tone since before the accident. And, never with Morgan. From where he sat, he could witness the interaction and hopefully not intrude.
Morgan’s sobs filtered out, but he didn’t move. Eden put on her shoes before carefully walking toward him.
“Don’t move,” she ordered.
Noah watched as she scooped up Morgan and quickly carried him to the kitchen. He saw her turn the faucet on, add some soap while removing Morgan’s sock and putting his foot into the soapy water as he sat on the countertop.
She kissed the side of his head. “It’s okay, Honey,” her voice back to comforting mother.
She grabbed the cordless phone and dialed a number while getting the first aid kit out from an upper cupboard. Noah was amazed she simply knew the phone number. Didn’t hesitate.
“Hi, this is Eden Fal … Carrington. My son Morgan needs to see Dr. Shephard right away. He cut his foot on some broken glass,” she said into the phone much calmer than she felt.
The phone rest at her shoulder holding it to her ear as she dried off Morgan’s foot, applied ointment and bandaged his foot.
“Great. I can be there in twenty minutes.” She replaced the phone in its charger and gathered Morgan in her arms.
“Morgan, we’re going to let the doctor look at your owie. We have to go now, okay?”
Morgan still had an expectant look on his chubby face as he nodded.
Eden gathered him in a hug. “Mommy didn’t want to yell Sweetie. I just didn’t want you to move. Okay?”
Morgan’s pout disappeared before he looped his arms around her neck for a toddler bear hug.
Noah continued watching, realizing she hadn’t realized he was home as she took Morgan out to the garage and came back in for her purse. He watched as her hand shook as she reached for the keys on the hook by the door.
“Please let me get him there safely,” she prayed before taking in a breath and going to the car.
He watched from the living room window as she backed out and drove away. His heart felt a pull at the thought of her finally conquering her fear of driving after the accident. Of course, it would be Morgan to accomplish that task.
Noah’s truck had been returned to him and was now parked at the curb as Eden drove onto their street from the doctor’s office an hour and a half later.
Noah heard the garage door open and went to the door. He watched as Eden backed the car into the stall as effortlessly as always. As she climbed out of the car, their eyes met.
“Everything okay?” he asked her.
“Yeah,” she answered before turning to extract Morgan from his seat. “He’ll live.”
She carried Morgan and handed him off to Noah at the door.
“I saw the mess in the living room. It’s all cleaned up.”
Without thinking, she stood on tip toes and kissed his cheek. “Thanks.”
Not wanting to give away he’d witnessed the occurrence, he asked, “What happened?”
“He was out of my sight for only a second, Noah. I swear.”
“I believe you. But, what happened?”
“Morgan was climbing and pulled one of the picture frames down from the fireplace. It broke and he stepped on it.”
“Daddy, sticker!” Morgan exclaimed as he pointed to the sticker he got for being a big boy in the doctor’s office.
A race car. Of course. “Very nice,” Noah said to him before turning his attention back to Eden. “You okay?”
Her face still held an expectant look. She nodded before turning and making her way to the kitchen. Noah set Morgan down and went to the kitchen.
She turned to face him.
“You want to talk about it?”
“About what?” she asked.
“Eden –“ he stretched out her name.
“Not now, Noah. Okay?” He heard the slight trembling in her voice.
Please let me in Eden. Don’t do this alone. Not again.
“When you’re ready,” he answered before turning and making his way back to the dining room table.
After settling Morgan down for the night, Eden entered the dining room and sat in a chair to Noah’s right. She could see he was distressed over whatever he was working on.
“What are you working on?” she asked as she handed him the mug of coffee.
“Thanks,” he said for the coffee and took a sip. “This government project is a real bear.”
“Can I see?”
He gave her a surprised look before turning the laptop in her direction.
She looked at the blueprints and couldn’t make out anything from them. “Wow, lots of lines.”
He laughed. “Yeah. And, I’m supposed to do something with those lines.”
“Like what?” she asked, sitting back into the chair and pulling her legs up, something he noticed she did a lot since returning home.
“Like, make it look like senior housing.”
“What does senior housing look like?”
He pushed his chair back and began pacing. “That’s just it, I don’t know!”
He turned and looked at her. Why wasn’t she yelling back at him that it wasn’t her fault? Why was she sitting there, calmly, letting him vent?
“I’m sorry. I know how you hate when I bring work issues home,” he apologized.
“Maybe you need a break from it?” she offered up the suggestion.
“I’ve taken breaks. It isn’t helping. Lawrence told these guys I could come up with something in a timeframe I don’t know I can meet.”
“So tell them you need more time.”
He looked at her. “It’s a government contract.”
“Well, they take their time. Why can’t you?”
“Because, then we’ll lose the contract and Lawrence will be all over me for it.”
“I wish I could help you,” she told him.
I wish Lawrence never went after this contract to begin with, he thought to himself.
“I’ll figure it out.”
She left him alone a short time later. She felt her presence was causing him more stress. As she sat quietly in the living room, she thought how Noah hadn’t gotten frazzled over other things since she’d returned home. This contract and his lack of ability to come up with something by the deadline concerned her.
The day was catching up to her. Morgan’s accident. Driving the car full of fear she’d lose control and hurt him. She was tired.
After a while, Noah felt drained. Powering off the computer, he walked upstairs. He was surprised when he entered their room and found the bed empty. She hadn’t been downstairs when he turned out all the lights. Quietly he turned and made his way to Morgan’s room.
He found her there. She was on the floor next to his bed, lying down with her head resting on the hard plastic of the car bed as her hand rest on the boy’s chest.
Noah softly entered and squat down beside her. His hand brushing along her cheek, causing her to look his way. “Hey, you okay?” he asked her. Please talk to me.
She looked back at Morgan. After a moment of silence, “I was so scared today Noah,” she whispered, emotion beginning to fill her voice. “I don’t remember him before a few weeks ago, and I felt my heart would break if he’d been hurt.”
“Eden, he’s fine. You did great.”
She sat up and looked at Noah. “Why are you so sure all went well? He could’ve been hurt badly.”
Noah stood and brought her up with him. Wrapping his arm along her shoulders as they walked to their room. “I know you’d never let anything happen to him,” he told her as he got ready for bed.
As he stepped into the room in his sleep pants and bare chested, she was lying beneath the covers.
Once he climbed in beside her, she rolled to snuggle up, his arm surrounding her.
“Noah?” she softly called to him in the darkness that enveloped them.
“Tell me about the accident.”
“Eden, you’re supposed to…”
“Gain memories on my own. I got that. But, I need to know, Noah. Why was I out driving that night?”
“All I know is you were on your way here,” he told her.
“Why would I go out in fog? What was so important that I wasn’t home?”
He didn’t have the answers she was seeking. Until he received the phone call from the hospital saying she’d been in an accident, was on her way to surgery and her purse indicated he was still an emergency contact, he didn’t know she wasn’t safely inside at Michelle’s.
“I don’t know Eden,” he answered honestly.
“God Noah, how did you do it?”
He felt the warm tear hit his chest. His reaction was to gather her closer.
“Tell me what happened, please.”
“The hospital called to tell me you were in an accident. It was pretty bad and you were on your way to surgery.”
“What about Morgan? What did you do with him?” She was still under the impression they lived together.
“Michelle,” he answered.
“How bad was I Noah?”
“Eden, I really don’t think this is a good idea.”
“How bad Noah?”
He took in a breath. “They didn’t think you’d make it through the night,” he confessed.
She lifted her head from his chest and looked to him. The moonlight coming in giving just enough light for her to see his face.
“So, my dream was right. I was supposed to die.”
His hands reached up and framed her face, pulling her to him for a quick kiss. “Don’t ever think that. When Dr. Fredericks said he hoped you had a strong will and something worth fighting for, I knew you’d make it.”
“How?” she emotionally asked.
“Eden, you’re the strongest woman I know. And Morgan means the world to you. You had every reason in the world to pull through.”
“You’re wrong Noah. I’m not strong at all.”
He just looked at her. “You’re kidding, right?”
“If I’m so strong, why did I lose my memory? What is so horrible I’m not strong enough to deal with it?”
“Eden, you hit your head.”
“Then why didn’t I forget everything? Who I am? My childhood? Why not all of it?” He heard the emotions in her voice. “Better yet, why only forget you Noah?”
He rolled their bodies so he could look down at her. One hand caressing the side of her face. “Eden, can I ask you a favor?”
“Stop trying for yesterday. I need you to be here. Now.”
He placed his fingers at her lips. “No buts. Think like Morgan,” he whispered before kissing her softly.
“Like Morgan?” she asked.
“He doesn’t care that you don’t remember. All he knows is you’re here now.” And that’s exactly where he wanted her to be as well. The past could roar its ugly head at the snap of a finger.
She caressed her fingers through his hair, something she discovered he really liked.
“I like being here now, too,” she told him.
He responded with a kiss.
Noah came out of the den, fatigue filling his bones. Everything he could come up with for senior housing could not be done within the quotes and specifications Lawrence had provided the senators. He was beginning to think Lawrence had purposely done this, knowing he couldn’t possibly come up with a single thing to meet that challenge.
Morgan zipped by flying his toy airplane, Noah chuckling at the sight. “Hi Daddy!” he greeted before making engine sounds with his mouth and flying away.
The smells of dinner being prepared filled the home. Home. This house was finally a home. The woman in the kitchen working her magic with spices and other ingredients made it that way now. He stood watching her, totally unnoticed. Her faded jeans snuggly hugging all her curves. Her pink, long-sleeved tee keeping out the chill.
“Mommy, up!” Morgan called to her as she stood at the stove.
He watched her turn and smile at their son. She rest the boy on her hip as her free hand continued cooking.
He looked to the dining room table. She’d gone back to having candles on the table with dinner. Morgan proclaiming his job blowing out the tapers at the end of each meal. Morgan now sat at the table with them. A booster seat taking the place of his high chair, his passage to ‘big boyhood.’
Tonight, Eden had set half the table and left his old laptop at the other end. Curiosity got the better of him. What was this mysterious woman up to?
“Noah!” Eden’s panicked voice called to him when she entered the dining area and saw him standing and looking at the computer she’d left on the table.
She quickly deposited the salad on the table and went to stand between him and the screen.
As if a little thing such as her could get in his way. His hands at her waist, he lifted her and set her off to the side. “What are you up to Mrs. Carrington?”
A blush covered her cheeks as she implored him to step away from the computer with her eyes.
It intrigued him. He bent and looked closer. It was then he noticed an old program of his on the screen. One he used when Noah’s Ark first started to create blueprints. He was fascinated at the design before him. He silently sat in the chair, clicking to view different prints.
“Eden, what is this?” his tone more serious.
“It’s nothing. Please Noah.”
“It’s not nothing, Eden. Did you do this?”
“It’s really stupid, Noah.” She tugged on his arm to try to get him to stand. He wasn’t moving.
This nervousness of hers was also fascinating. His hand reached for her wrist and he tugged her forward until he could slip his arm around her waist and set her on his lap.
Once she was seated, though wiggling, he continued looking. Mouse clicks taking him to different places within the design. Then he looked to the papers beside the computer.
Her hand wasn’t fast enough to prevent him from reaching the papers for a closer look. “Noah, those are mine. Please.”
He adjusted her in his lap as he sat straighter. On the drawing pad pages in his hand were cut outs from magazines and pencil drawings. Things she’d used his old program to convert on the computer.
When she tried to get up, one arm held her firm. “You aren’t going anywhere,” he said as he continued looking over all that was before them.
After a tense moment of silence, he set the papers down, wrapped both arms around her and looked her in the eye. “Fess up,” he told her.
“It’s stupid Noah, really. Just let me put this stuff away…”
As she tried to gather the papers, he pulled her away from them. “Not until you tell me what this is.”
“It’s something I came across earlier this week,” she confessed.
“So, it’s not yours,” he tried to confirm.
“No, it’s mine. I just don’t remember…” she let a breath go. “Noah, can we please drop this.”
He was having too much fun with this. “Nope.”
“Supper’s ready,” she tried to change the subject.
“Eden,” he called as he would Morgan who was into something he shouldn’t be. “What are you up to?”
“I’m all for eating a cold supper until you fess up.”
“You don’t play fair Noah Carrington.”
He smiled. “Didn’t say I had to be fair. Confess.”
“It’s my house.”
“When I was younger, I had this idea of what my dream house would be. I must’ve figured out your program and taken all that old stuff and computerized it.”
She tried to get up, and his arms pulled her back onto his lap. He looked over the pages again, then the screen. “This is the house you want?”
“Wanted,” she said the word elongated. “When I was a teenager.”
“Not buying it.”
“You wouldn’t have done all this if it didn’t mean something.”
“All it means is I was curious and wanted to see if I could computerize it. Can we drop it now?”
She displayed no signs of playfulness. Her tone completely serious. His attempts to lighten the mood weren’t going to work this time. He reluctantly loosened his hold on her and let her rise.
For the first time since before the accident, tension lingered at the dinner table. This was a feeling he could do without for the rest of his life. This unease between them.
Morgan and his intuitiveness were also showing signs of distress at his parents’ tension.
“Daddy, I want to get down.”
“Buddy, you need to eat your supper,” Noah answered.
“I’m not hungry.”
Noah looked to Eden. She was still internalizing. Barely eating her meal either.
Noah relented and allowed Morgan to get down. The boy toddling over to his mother. “Up Mommy.”
She lifted the boy and set him on her lap, caressing his soft hair. She kissed the side of his face, checking for signs of a temperature. Nothing. He simply wanted to snuggle with his mommy.
Noah knew the signs. When tensions built up between them, Morgan’s loyalties were always with his mother. A feeling of dread flowed through Noah at the thought it could happen all over again, without her memories returning.
Later, while Morgan played with his puzzles on the living room floor, Noah approached Eden from behind and wrapped his arms around her waist. He could tell she was still upset even though she was seriously trying to conceal it. Another facet he wasn’t used to. When Eden wasn’t happy, everyone knew.
“Noah, please,” she called to him when he placed a soft kiss to her shoulder.
However, her body was betraying her. He felt the slight shiver flow through her. This Eden wasn’t able to shut him out yet.
More butterfly kisses to her neck, his hands going under the hem of her shirt to feel her skin at her stomach, holding her closer.
Her head fell back and rest at his chest. Her eyes closed as he continued his distraction. “Noah, don’t. I’m trying to be angry with you,” she sighed.
That had him chuckling. She was trying to be angry with him. Never was a problem before. Hell, it had been second nature for her.
“Why didn’t you tell me about the house?” he whispered in her ear between kisses.
Now she pulled free and away from him. Needing to gather her thoughts. He had a way of muddling her mind.
She continued standing with her back to him, bowing her head. “I don’t know, Noah.”
He bridged the distance between them and slipped his arms around her again, hugging her to his chest. “So, why not tell me about it now?”
She pulled away again but this time turned to face him. Was she about to regain her temper?
“Noah, I told you. It’s just a stupid idea of mine from when I was a teenager. You know, the whole hope chest thing and all.”
He stepped closer as she stepped back, until she was up against the counter. His thumb and finger at her chin tipping her face up to him. “I’d have built you that house.”
“Noah, this is our house. It’s not a big deal.”
He could see by the emotions running wild in her eyes that it was anything but not a big deal. He also knew she wasn’t going to talk about it, for whatever reason. It nagged at him that she’d never mentioned this before. But, knew when to drop a subject. He leaned forward.
“Okay,” he softly answered before taking her lips in a soft kiss. A kiss that grew when relief flowed through him as her arms reached up to loop around his neck and kissed him back, letting him know his world was still intact. At least for now.
Had it not been for his son’s hand tugging on his jean’s leg, Noah would have forgotten the boy was still up and have pursued the rising desire Eden was stirring up in him. He and Eden hadn’t been like this even as newlyweds. They made love almost every night and she slept in the blanket of his embrace or his spooning behind her holding her to him nightly.
“Mommy, I’m hungry.”
Usually Eden gave in to the little troll who had her wrapped around his finger. It took Noah off guard when he released her and she offered the boy a banana, telling him, “No snacks. You didn’t eat your dinner.”
Morgan’s bottom lip protruded, one of his usual tactics. Wasn’t working this time. “Okay, but you’ll be even hungrier tomorrow,” Eden told him as she turned away with banana in hand.
“Nana!” Morgan called, his little arms reaching as high as they’d go.
Eden squat down before him, peeled the banana and handed him half. “No more naughty,” she warned him before standing and turning away.
While Eden was busy with Morgan and the bedtime ritual, he copied her blueprint onto his flash drive. What she’d created looked damn good and he wanted to look at this closer. He made no mention of it as she shut down his old laptop and made her way upstairs to bed.
Eden was restless as she lie in bed alone. Noah was busy in his den working on the senior housing project. She couldn’t understand her unease at sharing this with Noah. Yet, something deep inside held such strong reservations on it. Her elusive memories were becoming a nuisance. She hated not remembering details. Noah seemed genuinely interested in her design, as an experienced architect looking over work of someone who clearly had no idea what building a building entailed.
I’d have built you that house, his words repeated over and over in her mind. Further confusing her on why she hadn’t and didn’t want to share it with him.
Once Eden was upstairs and he assumed settled if the lack of movement was any indication, Noah plugged in his flash drive and retrieved her file. With the updated version of the software, he had more options to work with in viewing the design.
With each click of the mouse, Eden’s dream home appeared before him. Similar in design to this house, there were three levels. It was the upper level that intrigued him the most. She’d created a master suite as a loft. Upon reaching the top of the stairs, turning right took you into the suite. Large room with walk in closet and master bath. The loft portion opened to look down into the living room space of the main level. The wooden railing at the small sitting area a delicate work of art. Privacy could be attained by closing French doors, closing off the bedroom from view downstairs.
If you turned left at the top of the stairs, you had a hallway that led to three bedrooms, linen closet and a full bath.
Noah sat back in his chair, his hand at his chin as his program brought the design into a 3D view. A virtual tour where she’d taken the time to decorate the interior. When his tour led him to the exterior, he was amazed. A large wrap-around porch stretched across the entire front of the house to the back. Not the little porch on the house they lived in that was a duplicate of many within the development. This house had an old fashioned appeal to it. Hell, the only thing missing was the white picket fence!
Using his mouse and clicking more options, he looked at the file history. She’d created this floor plan six years ago; when Noah and Lawrence were struggling to create designs for Noah’s Ark to get it off the ground. Had he been so absorbed in his own work he’d missed seeing her create this piece of art? Guilt filled him. Was that why she hadn’t shared any of this with him? Thinking he had enough on his plate he didn’t have time to see it? Wouldn’t care?
He paced his den, raking his hands through his hair. “I’d have built this for you, Eden. Why didn’t you show me?” It simply unnerved him at her inability to share this. Why? The one question ran over and over in his mind.
She was fast asleep by the time he climbed into bed a few hours later. For whatever reason, looking over her design had inspired him with the senior housing project.
Still unable to sleep, he lay there in the darkness. Sensing his presence, Eden rolled into his embrace in her slumber. Her soft breaths caressing along his chest softly.
At that place between sleep and awake, Noah’s memory took a trip.
Noah and Lawrence sat at the dining table of their apartment. Noah’s house plan finally finished. The men celebrated by clinking their beer bottles before Noah stood to find Eden in the other room.
He’d almost walked into her when he entered the tiny kitchen of their newlywed apartment.
“Noah, I need to show …”
He’d never heard her. He simply swooped her up in his arms and kissed her. Setting her feet back on the ground, he smiled wide as he looked at her. “I did it Baby! The house design that’s going to get Noah’s Ark off the ground.”
“Wow! That’s great Noah!”
“And you Eden are going to have the first one I build.”
He picked her up and spun them around in the confines of their tiny apartment.
“Come see,” he took her hand in his and pulled her to where Lorraine and Lawrence were seated looking at the computer screen.
She placed her drawing pad down on the end of the table and joined in the celebration.
“It’s beautiful Noah. Congratulations!”
He hadn’t noticed it then. She’d had her drawing pad, the one he’d seen earlier with her taped on clippings and hand drawn ideas then. She had wanted to show him. What he’d thought was shock at his design, was what he now recognized as disappointment. She’d never had the chance to share her dream with him. He’d simply told her he was building her his dream.
Now he remembered her picking up that drawing pad as she left the rest of them and taking it to their bedroom. She’d packed it away. Never sharing.
His eyes shot open at the memory. And then more memories. Her distance during the construction. He’d assumed it was from her final year of school and all the homework. And then one of their first fights.
He closed his eyes and relived it.
Eden stood at the sink, loading the dishwasher with plates and trays from their latest client gathering at the house.
Noah stepped up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. He thought her pulling away and being emotional were from the influx of hormones with being newly pregnant.
“Noah, I just want to get these loaded and go to bed.”
He kissed her neck, feeling amorous. “Good idea,” he whispered.
She pulled away sharply. “Not tonight Noah!”
“Hey! Eden, take it easy.”
“Take it easy?” she shouted back.
“Look, we had a great time tonight. These guys love the ideas.”
“Stop Noah! Just stop!”
He stepped closer, cupping her shoulders but she pulled away again, further confusing him. “Eden, what’s going on?”
He saw the tears building. Again, hormones. “All this is your dream Noah! What about my dreams?”
“Eden, come on. I’ll help you clean up tomorrow. Let me get you to bed. You’re tired.”
She stepped past him when he tried to approach. “Yes, Noah. I’m tired! Tired of all of this! Bask in the success of your dream Noah.” And then she cried as she ran up the stairs. Slamming the bedroom door behind her. And, he hadn’t gone to her. Let her have her space and time to cry.
You’re an idiot Carrington! he scolded himself silently, his arm wrapping her closer to him in the darkness. It all made sense now. Why their home was the way it was. She’d determined it to be the model home for clients. And damn it all, she’d been right. He thought all the accolades people gave her when they hosted clients were well received. He’d had no idea they only twisted the knife deeper for her.
“Oh Baby, I’m so sorry,” he whispered, kissing her softly in her slumber.
But, one soft kiss wasn’t enough. He felt such guilt inside, he wanted to clean it away. Seek forgiveness within her. And as she responded while he seductively woke her, the intensity of that need grew.
“Yes, Noah,” her sleepy sigh filled him as he began making love to her. “Oh God yes.” And he was lost to everything but this willing woman beneath him.
Forgive me, he begged silently as he desperately tried to make the guilt and shame fade away with kisses and tender caresses.