The house was completely dark except for the light above the stove when Noah entered at ten o’clock. He’d all but fired the foreman for not being on top of all this. And then the government contract looming over his head. He felt close to a breaking point. All he needed was the proverbial straw.
He entered the kitchen and saw her note stuck to the front of the microwave. I know you’re probably sick of turkey right about now, but I came up with a new recipe. Morgan loves it! It has an extra special ingredient. Morgan blew kisses into it! He misses you. I miss you.
He opened the fridge and found the plate all ready for the microwave. He was dead tired. Why was life repeating itself? He knew she’d only tolerate his long hours for so long. Then, they’d be back to square one. So many thoughts racing through his overloaded mind as he hit the reheat button on the microwave.
After showering and checking on Morgan, he climbed into bed. Their bed. She’d taken to sleeping on his side of the bed, but he didn’t care. He’d sleep upside down as long as she was back in his bed.
She snuggled up shortly after he laid down. He thought she was asleep until her finger started drawing circles at his chest, ever so lightly.
“You’re home late,” she whispered in his ear, her minty breath flowing over him.
“I’m sorry, Eden. The site had more problems.”
“You work too hard,” she said, kissing behind his ear softly. “You’re so tense.”
Yeah, parts of him were really getting tense. Especially the one anticipating her touch as her hand caressed down his abs. Correction, the one her hand was now on.
“Noah,” she sighed as her hand circled him, gliding up and down. “I know you’re tired Noah, but I need you,” she breathlessly told him.
He answered by pulling her into a deep kiss. His one hand holding the back of her head as his other caressed down her sensitized body.
It had never been like this. They were like groping teenagers. He knew she was close when her hand stroked him more urgently. God he loved her touch.
He pulled his lips from hers and bent to take a nipple in his mouth. She purred her contentment at his touch.
He was startled when she pushed him away. “No Noah,” she said.
His eyes had adjusted and he could see her looking down at him from the soft light of the bathroom nightlight. What the hell was going on? Was she back to using sex, or better yet, withholding it as punishment for his working long hours again?
Her face came closer and she surprised him further. Her tongue circling his ear, “Let me make love to you Noah.”
“I want to do this, please.”
She lie on top of him, kissing him long enough to drive him crazy before nipping at his ears, kissing his shoulders. Then, she began to slide down the length of his body.
“These are in the way Noah,” she cooed as she tugged on the waistband of his boxers. His body lifting, allowing her to slide them over his hips. She kissed his tip, causing him to shudder before sliding the cotton material down his legs and removing them.
“I don’t know why you bother wearing those to bed Noah,” she said as she provided kisses along his thighs. “It’s almost like you don’t want me to touch you or something.”
“No, no that’s not it,” he managed.
Her breath caught as her nipples rubbed up his thighs. He reached for her head. “Uh, uh, uh,” she warned. “No touching,” she kissed his sack sending a jolt through him and then a moan escaped. “At least not for you. I do all the touching.”
“If you insist,” he hissed out.
“You talk to much Noah,” she cooed before her lips enveloped his manhood and she glided down. His tip touching the back of her throat.
She suckled, she licked, she did torturous things to him. His back arched as he felt the mounting pressure within. His guttural moan escaping.
“Yes Noah,” she sighed as her tongue circled his tip. “Let me make love to you.”
She felt her own tightness begin. The more he reacted to her, the more her own satisfaction grew.
His head thrashing from side to side, “Oh God Eden,” he panted.
“Noah,” she sighed, pushing him further.
She released him from her mouth and began gliding her body up and over his. He was glistening with sweat.
She gave him a feather light kiss that knocked him for a loop. Leaning forward, she whispered in his ear, “How do you want me Noah?”
He couldn’t think. She glided her hot, wet sex over him. Christ, he wasn’t even inside her!
“Okay, I guess it’s my call,” she cooed, lifting her hips, his tip at her entrance. She teased, only taking him in at his tip. When he bucked his hips, she anticipated it and lifted, not allowing him to delve into her.
“Look at me Noah,” she called to him.
He was delirious. His eyes opened and looked into hers. “I want to watch you Noah,” she said as she took him. His moan filling the darkness.
She was so tight. Her rhythm alternating from fast and furious until he got close, then slow and torturous.
He knew she was coming. Her coos and sighs nothing short of euphoric. To hell with her no touching rule. He used his thumb to swirl her clit. Her gasp showing he’d surprised her.
“Noah!” she screamed as she returned to harder, deeper thrusts. His thumb taking her way over.
She was unbelievably tight. Milking him. He bucked his hips, releasing into her with a force he’d never felt before. Once, twice more, calling out her name as the wave washed over him.
She collapsed on top of him. Their breathing labored as they held one another. She disconnected their bodies and rolled to his side, snuggling in close.
She kissed his chest. “I’ve missed you, Noah,” she confessed softly. Tilting her head up to look at him, she explained. “Not just the sex. Though that is very nice.”
He chuckled. She’d never been this open before.
“I miss having dinner with you. Reading bedtime stories to Morgan. Just sitting with you.”
“Oh Eden,” he responded, kissing her crown and pulling her closer to him. “That’s why I stay and have breakfast with you and Morgan.”
“I know. I just feel so lonely crawling into bed alone.”
Was he getting a glimpse into why she’d pulled away before? Eden, this Eden was voicing things the other never had. He had to stop this cycle from repeating itself. He truly cherished what they’d found
“I promise it won’t be like this for long. I just have to figure out why my sites are getting sub-standard supplies.”
She lie there, her head at his chest, her fingers softly caressing him.
“The foremen say they aren’t ordering what they’re getting,” he continued. “It just doesn’t make sense. How can all of them receive supplies they aren’t ordering?”
She suspected he needed to vocalize his problems. She wished she could help. She felt so helpless without her memories. Was he talking to her now because she used to be able to figure things out?
His fingers caressed circles on her upper arm as they lie in the darkness. She knew he was tired from his long days. She felt guilty for not allowing him to sleep when he came to bed. For heaven’s sake, it had only been four days since they’d made love. Certainly she could allow the man to get his rest.
Her silence was a little unsettling. The past three nights climbing into bed after she’d gone to sleep, he’d wanted to wake her. Make love to her. Show her how much he needed to connect with her. Yet, he was afraid to. So much was beginning to repeat itself. Was it only a matter of time before she’d start pulling away and reacting like she’d done before? God help him, he had to find a way to prevent that from happening.
“Eden?” he softly called, knowing she was still awake.
“I’m sorry Noah, I know you’re tired, I shouldn’t have…”
He silenced her with a kiss. Making love with her until dawn.
Friday evening at dinner, she began the conversation. “Lawrence stopped by the other day,” she told him.
“Noah, why didn’t you tell me about the government contract problems? Needing an extension on the deadline.”
“There’s nothing to tell. They want rock bottom cost, I can’t provide it in the timeframe given.”
“But if I can help…”
He set his fork down and looked at her. “Eden, I’ll figure it out.”
“Why won’t you let me help you?” she asked.
“It’s just a lot to ask. And, I won’t ask you to.”
“You aren’t asking Noah, I’m offering.” She sipped her red wine. “Besides, Lawrence said I was good at getting the tough ones to sign.”
He set his arms on the table and leaned forward. He hated that Lawrence had gone behind his back and done this.
“Tell me, Eden. Do you remember how you used to convince the tough ones?”
She angrily stood and walked to the kitchen. “That’s not fair!”
He followed, grabbing her to face him. “No, it isn’t fair! It isn’t fair that Lawrence asked you without asking me first! He and Lorraine have a house just as big! And he’s the one who pushed so damn hard for this! Let him figure it out!”
They were having their first fight. She felt the emotions building and fought against them. “At least he isn’t treating me like some …”
“Some, what Eden?” he shouted back.
“Someone who’s co-dependent!” she screamed at him. “I lost my memory Noah, not my ability to function completely!”
She stormed passed him and raced up the stairs, the slamming of the door jolting him.
And so it begins.
He paced the small kitchen. When he turned, his hands sifting through his hair, Morgan stood watching him. His bottom lip quivering. “Daddy?” he hiccupped then began to sob.
He scooped up the sobbing child and held him close. No, this is not happening again.
After settling Morgan down for the night, he entered the bedroom. All lights were out. Her form outlined beneath the covers on the bed. He climbed in, brushing back hair from her face. She laid on her side, her back to him. He knew from her breathing she wasn’t asleep.
“Eden?” he softly called.
No response. Just like before. Pretend he wasn’t even there.
He sat silently for a few moments before scooting off the bed and making his way to the door. Just before he completely closed the door, she sobbed. “Noah, don’t go.”
He walked over and sat on the edge of the bed. Without warning, she flung herself at him, arms around his neck, holding on tight as her sobs racked her body.
“I’m sorry, Eden. I didn’t mean to yell.”
His hands smoothed over her back, just as he’d been doing the past hour with Morgan to calm him down.
“I just want to feel normal,” she cried.
His gut told him this wasn’t the way to go. “Is it really that important to you?” he asked.
“No,” she sniffled, lifting her head from his chest to look into his sad eyes. “It’s important to you.”
“Baby, I can find a way. If it’s meant to be…”
“I just want to feel important to you,” she told him.
“Eden, you are important to me. You and Morgan mean everything to me.”
“It’s just a little dinner party,” she said, biting at her bottom lip.
“Think about it another day,” he said. “If you still want to, then we’ll try.”
“I don’t have to think about it, Noah!” She now sat on her knees, holding his hands in hers. “It’s perfect. The house is decorated for Christmas. The whole home, hearth thing.”
“You sure about this?” he asked.
She wrapped her arms around his neck again. “I’m not sure about anything. But I can’t live in a bubble Noah.”
Eden had some free time away from Morgan, who was spending some time with her siblings who were still in town. She stopped into the office to see Noah and was surprised to find it vacant.
She went into his office and used his private bath. She was made aware of Noah’s presence in his office when she heard his and Lawrence’s raised voices.
“Dammit Lawrence! I told you, I can’t make it work!”
“What can’t you make work Noah?”
“You’ve shown them preliminary numbers that I simply cannot build to match!”
Noah was now seated behind his desk. Lawrence stood on the other side, palms flat on top the desk as he glared at Noah. “Noah, you just do your thing and create plans. Let me do my magic with making sure we come in at the cost I’ve given them.”
“There is no way you’re going to be able to do that Lawrence.”
“Look, Mr. Dynamo. The senators want your designs. You do your thing, I’ll do mine.”
“I’m telling you, I can’t.”
“Well, you’d better figure it out Noah. The housing market is in a slump. We get this job and we won’t have a worry in the world.”
Noah simply glared at Lawrence. “You were the one who wanted this Lawrence. Why aren’t you designing?”
Lawrence almost growled at him. “Because they want the magnificent Noah Carrington!”
“Then, why aren’t you handling all the site issues?” Noah asked him. “How’m I supposed to design when I’m constantly at sites?”
“Maybe you need better foremen,” Lawrence shot back.
“Mark and Bill have been with us for years.”
“Then maybe it’s your leadership Noah. My sites are doing just fine. I don’t have ordering issues.”
A fact that burned Noah. Lawrence’s sites were running smooth as silk. It was his two sites having problems daily.
“Well, since you seem to have it all figured out, figure out the other two so I can work on the project!”
Lawrence glared at Noah. “You’re the one who needs to be in control, Noah. If you can’t handle it, that’s your problem.”
“I am handling it! But, if this senior housing falls through the floor, I’ll hold you just as accountable.”
“You let this senior housing fall through the floor, and your precious Ark will sink,” Lawrence said with such contempt.
Noah stood, glaring back at him. “The Ark will not fail!”
“Keep telling yourself that Noah. This dream of yours is turning into a nightmare.”
Lawrence stood and left the office. Eden watched silently from the partially opened door as Noah raked his hands through his hair before leaving his office angrily as well.
Eden cautiously left the bathroom. As she stepped out into the outer office, another argument was taking place in Lawrence’s office with him and Lorraine.
“What is with you?” Lorraine demanded.
“Noah has had plenty of time to do his thing. We have less than a week until the senators meet with us.”
“You know Noah, he won’t do anything if it doesn’t feel right. This cost thing doesn’t feel right,” she told him.
“Oh that’s right. You and Noah have that connection. I keep forgetting.”
“Lawrence, will you stop that?” she shouted. “Noah is a friend. He used to be your best friend.” Lorraine paused. “Besides, you’re just trying to take the spot light off her.”
“Lorraine, jealousy isn’t a good color on you,” Lawrence cockily returned.
“I know what you’re doing Lawrence. It won’t work.”
“Please. Fill me in.”
“She wants nothing to do with you, and that burns you, doesn’t it Lawrence?”
Before either of them could leave his office or she ran into Noah, Eden left and went home.
Once she was home, she remembered Noah working on his laptop. Senior housing. What does senior housing look like? She remembered them discussing.
She found the spare laptop and powered it up. Sitting on the sofa, she clicked on an icon and looked at the program staring back at her. It was the same program she used with her drawings.
Her curious nature had her clicking and searching the software, looking at Noah’s first draft design intently. When Noah entered the door a few hours later, she was engrossed in this new toy.
“Wow, haven’t seen you at the computer like that in a long time,” Noah commented.
She looked up. His eyes showed the scene she’d inadvertently witnessed bothered him, but his smile tried to cover.
She saved what she was working on and shut down the computer.
“I’m sorry, Noah. I lost all track of time this afternoon. I haven’t even thought of dinner.”
As she went to walk past him toward the kitchen, he reached for her arm and pulled her close. His lips swam over hers.
“Don’t worry about dinner,” he told her. “Where’s Morgan?”
“Jake is on a play date with him.”
“Then, let’s go out for dinner,” he offered.
Her hand rose and cupped the side of his face. “Noah, you look tired.”
His arms wrapped loosely around her waist. “It’s not often I have you to myself.”
“Why Noah Carrington, you’re a jealous monster,” she played.
“Very,” his voice soft. “Especially when the other man in your life is as cute as he is.”
“You sure you want to go out?”
“Eden, we haven’t had a chance since you came home.”
She agreed and they both changed and went on their date.