Lorraine looked up at the sound of the office door opening. She was further surprised to see Eden enter and walk toward her.
“Eden! This is a surprise,” she greeted.
“I have some time. Thought I’d stop in and see if Noah has some time for lunch.”
“He’s on a site right now. I can call him if you’d like,” Lorraine offered.
Eden waved her off. “That’s okay. I’ll just wait in his office for a while.”
As Eden was about to enter Noah’s office, Lorraine asked, “Where’s Morgan?”
Eden didn’t know why, but her defenses went up. She turned slightly. “Why the third degree Lorraine?”
Lorraine remembered how Eden didn’t like to be challenged. “I was just curious. We haven’t seen him in a while. He must be getting so big now.”
Eden stepped back over to Lorraine’s desk, which was positioned between Noah’s and Lawrence’s. “Lorraine, were we friends?”
Lorraine wondered how to answer that question. They had been friends. Good friends when Noah and Lawrence started up the company together. Friends up until Eden suspected Lorraine and Noah had feelings for one another. If she lied and said yes, Eden would remember it when her memory returned. If she said no, Eden would only ask more questions.
Answer her questions in broad terms, she remembered Noah told her.
“We were all friends when the company started up,” Lorraine told her. It was the truth. Noah and Lawrence had been the best of friends. It was natural for Eden and Lorraine to also bond.
“And at the time of my accident?” Eden probed deeper.
This was the Eden Lorraine was used to. The one who wanted answers and was up front about it. The Eden that was very close to discovering her secret at the time of the accident.
“We didn’t see much of one another. You had Morgan and other things going on.” Technically, that was true. Noah often wondered what Eden did all day alone with Morgan. All she’d tell him was she was busy. Needing the cleaning service to keep up on the house as she didn’t have that amount of time to devote to it. If you wanted to talk to Eden, you had to call her cell phone. She was rarely home.
“Interesting,” was all Eden said before turning and entering Noah’s office. Try as she might, Eden could not get rid of that gut feeling that something wasn’t what it appeared to be whenever she saw Lorraine.
A half hour later, Lorraine was on pins and needles. Lawrence had returned to the office and wasn’t in a good mood. Lorraine hoped he’d assume Noah’s office empty since Eden had left the door open. What did she do? Did she call Noah? Was it really her place?
Eden walked around Noah’s office. It seemed more a ranch style house than an office. Instead of bedrooms, there were offices for him and Lawrence, and smaller rooms for foremen to use. There was also a full kitchen and a couple of small conference rooms in the building. She felt familiarity with the place, but couldn’t feel spending much time here.
Eden was looking out the window behind Noah’s desk when she heard Lawrence’s voice at Lorraine’s desk.
“When the hell is he going to get here?” Lawrence demanded.
“He’s on the Sullivan site. It shouldn’t be much longer.” Lorraine answered.
“Has he done anything with the government plans? I’ve had three messages this morning.”
“Lawrence, Noah is very aware of all this. I know for a fact he was working on the plans in his office this morning.”
“Let me guess, Mr. Design Master is having trouble designing the senior housing project.”
“Lawrence, that’s not fair. You know Noah takes all contracts seriously.”
“I got them to agree to see what Mr. Wonderful could create. If he doesn’t create soon, we’ll lose the whole thing!”
“You’re the one who did all the PR work Lawrence,” Lorraine shot back. “Why can’t you create something?”
“Because it’s Noah’s work they want,” his contempt very apparent.
“Then, maybe you should be taking care of issues at the sites. Giving him time to sit down and work on a design.”
“He has plenty of time. He used to be able to do a hell of a lot more in less time. And they’re his sites having problems. I have my own sites to deal with. I think he’s distracted.”
“He’s not distracted,” Lorraine angrily returned. “He happens to have a life outside of here!”
Eden listened as Lawrence chuckled at Lorraine’s display of anger as he returned to his office.
On Noah’s desk were drawings. His handwriting and sticky notes all over them. His laptop powered up but in sleep mode. Moving the mouse, the screensaver of Morgan and her stared back at her. It was the photo she’d seen in the hospital. The one he carried in his wallet.
She smiled before clicking the mouse, the drawing program popping up before her.
What are you trying to do Noah? she asked as she looked back and forth between paper drawings and what was on the screen. Without realizing it, her hand was moving the mouse around, clicking on various features. Changing the appearance of the drawing on screen.
She had no idea how long she’d been sitting at his computer. Obviously she hadn’t heard him enter the office since she startled at the feel of his soft kiss at her neck as the shriek escaped her. “Noah!”
His face next to hers, looking at the screen. “And, what do you think you’re doing little girl?” he asked.
She started to say something, then stopped herself. Looking at him over her shoulder, she smiled. “Did you just call me a little girl?” she played.
“Yeah,” he played back. “Gonna prove me wrong?”
She turned his chair and stood. His face giving her a challenge. Then he took in her appearance as she stood straight. Taller than her five-foot four-inch height. She had on a pair of snug faded jeans he hadn’t seen in a while, a long cream colored cable knit sweater and off white slouch boots with four-inch killer heels to match.
She saw the gold fill his eyes as they looked at her. “What’s the matter Noah?” she breathlessly asked.
“Haven’t seen those jeans in a while,” he shot for calm and cool, failing miserably.
“Found them at the bottom of a drawer. Fit nice, dontcha think?”
Oh yeah. “Nice.”
“Anything else you like Noah?” she asked, stepping forward, causing him to step back.
“Boots look good.”
She smiled before looking down at them. “I noticed quite a few in the closet.”
“I must like heels,” she cooed, lifting one booted foot to caress his leg through his jeans. He cleared his throat at the action. “Or is it you like them Noah?”
“Oh yeah, I’m definitely a heel guy.”
How in the world were they having a seductive conversation about clothes? Right now, he didn’t care. This was an Eden he could get addicted to in a heartbeat. She now had him leaning up against his desk, her standing between his legs.
She licked her bottom lip before asking, “Why is that Noah?”
“Kinda lines us up better, dontcha think?”
His eyes were blazing his need for her as they looked into hers.
“Maybe,” she whispered before lightly brushing his lips with hers.
He shuddered at the desire weaving through him. “Yeah, I like the faded jeans thing, too,” he told her, playing along with her seductive game with a soft kiss of his own. “Almost as much as those jean skirts you’ve found recently.”
“I got the impression you liked those in the kitchen,” she purred as she ran the tip of her tongue along his bottom lip, her hands now looped behind his neck.
“Yeah, I like the kitchen. One of my favorite rooms in the house,” he teased.
“You’re playing with me Noah.”
“You know you are.”
“Then, let’s get serious,” he huskily said before he pulled her closer. Showing her his desire for her.
“If you insist,” she answered before taking his lips in a thorough possession.
He savored this. Her tongue gliding inside, exploring. Dueling. Demanding and giving. His hands caressing her cheeks through the denim material, holding her to him.
She pulled back, her hooded eyes looking into his. “I came to see if you were free for lunch,” she huskily told him.
“Lunch,” he repeated.
“Yeah. But now that I’m here, the only thing I’m hungry for is you Noah,” she whispered in his ear.
Her tongue was doing delicious things at the hollow near his ear. He basked in the desire she had shooting through him. They’d never been like this before.
“Lunch is good. Essential meal,” he whispered.
She tangled her hands in his hair before bringing her lips back to his. He sighed into her mouth at the motion. His hands pressing her closer still.
She breathlessly pulled her lips from his. “Noah, your hands are on my ass.”
“I like when you talk dirty to me,” he softly said pressing kisses at her neck.
As much as she was enjoying this, it wasn’t the place. “Noah, your door is open,” she whispered.
When he pulled back and looked down to the front of his jeans, she began laughing. “I meant your office door,” she said.
Her laughter was contagious. It had been forever since he’d heard genuine laughter from her. Now, it seemed as natural to her as breathing.
“Hey, we have a rule around here about PDAs y’know,” Lawrence’s voice came from Noah’s open door, breaking the mood for Noah. “Unless, of course, I’m involved.”
Oh, he was so smooth, Noah thought.
Eden on the other hand, was still playful. “So who’s stopping you?” she asked Lawrence, setting Noah on edge.
When Lawrence stepped further into Noah’s office, Eden continued. “Isn’t your wife just outside the door?”
Just as she said that, Lorraine came into view. Eden was taken aback by a look she gave Noah. Longing? What was that all about? Noah didn’t seem to notice, but it unnerved Eden.
Eden stepped closer to Lawrence, looking him in the eye. “Noah is calling it an early day,” she told him.
“Is he now?” Lawrence countered. Then looked to Noah over her shoulder. “Buddy, you know we need something for that government contract.”
“He’ll be more creative at home,” Eden answered instead.
Lawrence gave her his most charming smile. “Now Eden, with you around, I’d think our boy here would be very distracted.”
Eden patted his shoulder. “I’d like to think of it as more inspirational.”
“Just don’t inspire our boy here too much. We are on a deadline.”
Eden couldn’t interpret the look that passed between the two men. Territorial? This was Noah’s company. He didn’t need to report to Lawrence. And after what she’d overheard earlier, she was sure a change of scenery would prove more effective.
After Lawrence left, Noah powered down his laptop and gathered his papers. “Where’s Morgan?” he asked while doing this.
Noah looked at her. “Really?”
“He needs to be with other kids. It’ll be good for him.”
Noah walked over and slid his hands around her waist again, pulling her to him. “You’re full of surprises, aren’t you?”
“Because I sent him to preschool?”
Because you never even entertained the idea before. “He is only three,” Noah said instead.
“Well, now I just need to figure out what to do with all this free time I have on my hands,” she cooed as her finger traced the side of his face.
“I’m sure I can come up with something,” he answered as he lowered his head toward hers.
“I’ll just bet you can, Mr. Carrington,” she huskily responded just before his lips claimed hers.
She felt wantonly wonderful in his arms in his office. Like being beneath the bleachers at a high school football game or something. She also had the distinct feeling eyes were upon them.
“I’ll meet you at home,” she told him once she broke free.
Eden had returned home and was rummaging in her closet a short time later. When she turned, she squealed at finding Noah standing in the open doorway, blocking her exit, a broad smile on his face.
“Noah! I didn’t hear you come home.”
His hand reached forward to snag her wrist and pulled her to him. He stepped back, pulling her with him. Once outside the closet, he positioned her up against a wall, leaning in close.
“Now, about lunch,” he said, kissing her softly.
Her desires were ignited instantly. Snaking her arms up his chest to loop behind his neck. “Yeah, lunch.”
“I think we need to work through appetizers, salad, main dish,” he said between kisses at her neck. “And, of course, dessert.”
She wiggled against him. He had her so hot and bothered, she thought her clothes would burn off her body. “Dessert’s on me,” she cooed, leaning her head back to take in all his torture.
“If you insist,” he played.
They kissed and caressed through clothes.
“I must insist on a dress code for this lunch,” he huskily whispered. She tipped her head to look into his eyes. He smiled, “The boots stay.”
She giggled as her hands brushed hair behind his ears. “Seriously?”
“Fantasy of mine since high school,” he told her.
She stood straighter, taking in his request. “I’ve done this before? Fulfilled this heel fantasy of yours?”
He softly shook his head. “Nope.”
“Why would that be?” she asked.
“I’ve never told you my fantasy.”
That took her off guard. “Never?” He shook his head and softly smiled. Oh man, he’d surprised himself by saying it out loud. That she wasn’t put off and pushing him away intrigued him.
She looked at him and blinked slowly before bringing her thumb nail to nervously get nibbled by her teeth.
When she did push him back, he hoped the disappointment didn’t show on his face.
“I get appetizers,” she said as she stepped away.
Her finger traced his jaw, a seductive smile appearing. “Let me see what I can do about a Noah Carrington fantasy,” she sighed before turning and entering the walk-in closet.
He stood in utter shock as she turned and looked over her shoulder at him. “And what do you want me to do?” he asked.
“Not a thing,” she said then closed the door.
His mind raced with all sorts of possibilities. The thermostat hadn’t changed in the house, but he was suddenly hot all over.
He was speaking on the cordless phone in the bedroom when he heard the closet door open. “I don’t know how I’m gonna repay you for all this,” he said into the phone just before turning and not believing the sight before him.
Noah’s mouth went completely dry at the sight. Eden stood in the open doorway of the closet. Oh she had the boots on. She also wore the off-white negligee of sheer material.
“Noah, are you alright?” Michelle’s voice came to him over the phone, but he barely registered it.
“Yeah,” he croaked. “Everything’s great. I gotta go.” He pressed the off button and dropped the phone on top the bedside table, no where near the charger it should have been put in, never taking his eyes off her.
As she stepped further into the room, that delicious body of hers on display for him through the sheerness. He stepped closer to her. Holy shit he was in major trouble!
“I thought I’d add a little something to your fantasy,” she cooed before taking her lower lip between her teeth momentarily. “Too much?”
Where the hell had she found that negligee? He hadn’t seen it since their wedding night. And then, she nervously covered herself as much as possible. This woman had confidence written all over her. The off white slouch boots with four inch spike heels should have looked ridiculous with the sleepwear. It was anything but.
She circled him like prey, his senses on high alert. As she ran her finger lightly across his shoulder blades through the now too heavy material of his tee shirt, a part of his anatomy begged for release. His jeans felt three sizes too small across his hips.
When she returned to stand in front of him, she took his hands in hers, lacing their fingers together, palm to palm. Her hot breath felt through his shirt as she kissed his chest.
“Eden,” his voice dry, “I think one of us is severely overdressed here.”
She tilted her face up and smiled devilishly. “Noah Carrington fantasy number one. You don’t like?” she said with a pout.
“Oh, I like. I like very much.”
That was all she needed to hear. From that moment on, she seduced him as he’d never been before. She toyed with him. Tortured him with soft kisses and caresses until he thought he’d jump clear out of his skin. She undressed him slowly and took in her fill as she watched the effect she had over him, him powerless to do anything but respond to this woman.
What had him responding more than anything was how what she was doing to him appeared to be turning her on as well. This power she held over him an aphrodisiac.
She straddled his hips, still dressed in her boots and negligee, looking down to him. She kissed softly behind his ear, “How’s the fantasy Noah?” she whispered.
She didn’t have him on the planet any more. Every where the slightest touch of her negligee whispered against him sent his body on fire. “Yes,” he hissed finally.
And then she slid down his length. He arched his body and gasped at the sensation it caused. She enveloped him in her heat and took him to a paradise he’d never before experienced.
“Is it time for dessert yet?” she asked, her head settling at his shoulder as she snuggled in close.
He’d divested her of the boots and sexy lingerie during his lunch courses, and she now rest with her warm, naked body up against his.
She lifted her head and panicked at the time that displayed on the clock. “Oh my God! Morgan!” He held her tight when she tried to pull away. “Noah! I forgot Morgan!”
“Michelle’s got him.”
She looked down at his smiling, content face. “Michelle? How?”
“I called her. It’s who I was on the phone with when you started this…fantasy.”
Relief flowed through her. She’d been so engulfed in her activities with Noah, thoughts of Morgan were no where to be found. Then, the guilt set in for forgetting him.
She settled back down into his embrace. “I forgot Morgan,” she emotionally whispered.
His hand came down and tilted her head up to look at him. “No. I didn’t let you remember. There’s a difference.”
He silenced her with a kiss. And she was lost. To him.
As she snuggled in she again asked, “Dessert?”
His arms hugged her tighter. “Uh uh.”
She propped herself up and looked at him. “No more fantasies?”
His hand came up and slid to cup the side of her face. “There’s nothing for me to fantasize about,” he told her. “I have it all right here.”
And there wasn’t. As he looked at her, his whole being felt complete. Whoever this woman was in his arms, she’d broken through every barrier he’d erected. She’d given herself unconditionally. And she’d received him the same. A fantasy he didn’t even know he desired before now.
“Noah,” she said with quivering lips.
Now wasn’t a time for tears. All this could be lost at the snap of a finger, or at the re-emergence of a memory.
“No Baby,” he said before pulling her lips to his to kiss all her tears away.
“Hey Sprite, how’s everything going?” James asked when he entered the kitchen.
She finished basting the turkey and closed the oven door before answering. “Great Jimmy, why?”
It was just the two of them in the kitchen. He approached and gave her a hug. “You look happy Sis.”
“I am. I don’t have my memories, but the here and now is pretty good.”
“No memories at all?”
“Sometimes when I think I’ll have one, I concentrate. Dr. Miller says I have to just let them flow. Not expect too much. But it’s hard.”
James was leaning up against the counter as Eden multi-tasked with side dishes for the holiday dinner.
“It’s been a couple of months Eden. Maybe it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie.”
She cautiously looked at him. “Jimmy, is there something you and everyone else isn’t telling me?”
“I’m saying you need to live life for today. Yesterday is gone, whether we have memories or not. Can’t change it. Tomorrow isn’t a guarantee. You never know what will happen.”
“You mean like Mom’s stroke?”
“Yeah, and your accident. If you concentrate too much on what was or will be, you miss out on the right now.”
She stood on tip toes and kissed his cheek. “Thanks Jimmy.”
“What was that for?”
“For being so mean to you before. I really thought you were just trying to control things again. I like this new big brother.”
He chuckled and shook his head, just as Noah entered the kitchen.
Noah kissed her cheek before heading to the fridge, extracting a juice box for Morgan.
“Hey!” she called to him before he could leave the kitchen. “Not too many of those. Or you’ll be in the potty with your son all night.”
“Last one, promise,” Noah said before smiling and going back to the living room with their other guests.
“You two seem to be doing well.”
She turned away and went back to the pots on the stove.
“Sprite? Something you want to tell me?”
“Today is what it is. I can’t worry about tomorrow, remember?”
“Jimmy, big brother mode,” she warned.
He walked over and stood behind her. “I’ll always be your big brother, Eden. I also hope you know you can always come to me.”
“So you can be a steam roller and take care of things for me?”
“Are you saying I need to take care of Noah?”
She smiled at him over her shoulder. “I can keep him in line.”
James backed off, putting his hands in the air. “I don’t even want to know,” he laughed. “Some things a big brother just shouldn’t visualize.”
Hey Buddy,” Lawrence walked into Noah’s office. “We need to get this government contract finalized. What’s the hold up?”
Noah leaned back in his chair. “You tell me. You’re the one who was so gung ho for it.”
“I think we need to meet with them. Schmooze a little more.” Lawrence smiled. “Like we used to.”
“No. I am not going to invite two senators into my home during the holidays.”
“I can’t ask Eden to do that.”
“C’mon Noah, it’d be perfect! You know how Eden can work the tough ones.”
“No. Why can’t you and Lorraine host it?”
“Lorraine? Are you serious? Noah, your house was built for this.”
“I built my house to make a home for my family.”
“Yeah, real homey there Noah.” Lawrence scoffed.
“Besides, we just had family over for Thanksgiving. That was major for Eden.”
“Then this would be a piece of cake.” Lawrence stepped closer to Noah’s desk, looking down at him. “You know Eden has talents Lorraine doesn’t.”
Noah’s blood was beginning to boil. “I said no.”
“I’ve already talked to Eden about it. She thinks it’s a great idea.”
Noah stood and made his way around to the front of the desk. “You did what?” Noah shouted.
“I stopped by on my way in this morning. She’s looking good there Noah.”
“Stay away from Eden, Lawrence!”
“Afraid she’ll remember Noah?”
Noah felt that sickening feeling flow through him again. “I’ll let Eden decide if this is something she wants to do,” Noah avoided the confrontation Lawrence set out there. “If she says no, you and Lorraine will have to figure it out.”
“You know Eden can’t say no to me Noah.”
Noah wasn’t going to take the bait. It would give Lawrence too much satisfaction.
“We’ll see,” Noah answered before Lawrence turned and left the office.
“Noah, there’s an issue with the Montgomery site,” Lorraine said as she entered his office later that afternoon.
“Send Lawrence,” he told her, not taking his eyes from the computer screen.
“I don’t know where he is,” she answered.
“Lorraine, this is the third day in a row Lawrence has come up missing. He’s your husband. Shouldn’t he tell you where he is as his wife if he can’t do it as a courtesy as our receptionist?”
“Noah, you know Lawrence hasn’t told me anything in a long time.” She turned and left the office. What she hadn’t told him was Lawrence had served her with divorce papers shortly after Eden’s accident.
Noah telephoned Eden and told her he’d be late…again. He heard the disappointment in her voice even though her words said it was okay. It was starting all over again. Soon, she’d remember this was how it is and they’d be back to the divorce. Damn Lawrence for his interference!