Lawrence and Noah were in Noah’s office with Mark, foreman on one of the sites having problems.
“Mark, why can’t you handle these issues?” Lawrence asked.
“I could if they weren’t happening all day long!” Mark defensively answered.
“I’m replacing you with Mac,” Noah told him.
“Mr. C, you’ve seen all that’s been going on! I can’t use the supplies being sent to the site. If I don’t catch these sub-standard materials, you’ve seen what happens. Pipes bursting. Cement breaking down.”
“I don’t want to hear excuses!” Noah barked. He was angry and was taking it out on his foreman. He didn’t want to have to do this with Lawrence, but like it or not, they were partners.
“Mr. C, we aren’t getting the supplies I’m ordering. I’ve shown you the orders I’ve placed. It’s not my fault!”
“Either way, Mac’s taking over,” Noah calmly stated, walking around his desk to his chair. “You can stay at the site. But Mac’s in charge.”
Mark grabbed his hard hat and went for the door angrily. “Fine! But, you’ll see. He won’t be able to control whatever’s going on any more than I could.”
Mark yanked open the door and left.
“A little harsh, don’t you think?” Lawrence asked him.
Noah angrily looked at Lawrence. “Look, I’ve been the one called to the sites every day for the past year and a half! Since you’ve been unavailable, I can only imagine what’s taking up your time.”
“Imagine? Or you want me to report in?”
“I think it’s a little late for that, don’t you?”
“Excuse me,” Lorraine interrupted. Both men turned to face her. “Lawrence has a phone call.”
“He’ll have to call back,” Noah answered.
“I’m sorry, she really insists on speaking to him. Now.”
Noah’s raised eyebrows at that questioning Lorraine.
“It’s Eden,” she finally offered.
“Well, then I guess I’d better take it,” Lawrence said before leaving Noah’s office and entering his own.
Noah combed his hands through his hair, looking at the ceiling. “This is just great.”
“Noah, she sounded quite angry.”
“Angry? Of course she’s angry. But dammit, so am I!”
“Noah, once the dust settles…”
“Lorraine, stop. I don’t need any of your Pollyanna remedies right now.”
They heard Lawrence as he made his way to the front door.
“Lawrence! Where are you going?” Noah called out to him.
“I have an errand.”
“Stay away from Eden,” Noah warned.
Lawrence smiled. “She’s a big girl, Noah.”
“I’m warning you,” Noah growled.
“Warning me what?” Lawrence asked, turning to face him. “If you’re so concerned about her, why the hell are you here and not working things out?”
“My marriage is none of your business!”
“You don’t have a marriage, Noah. She’s not a possession. Stop treating her that way.”
Noah’s blood boiled as Lawrence opened the door to leave. It’s exactly how he viewed Eden the night of the dinner when he made love to her. Saying she was his over and over in his mind. Was that why she ran to Lawrence? She felt like a possession?
“If you want a possession,” Lawrence began, “I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.” He gestured with his head to Lorraine.
Noah angrily approached Lawrence, grabbing him by his jacket collar. “Do not fill Eden’s head with this shit again! There is nothing between Lorraine and me.”
Lawrence chuckled. “Maybe if you’d defended your wife the other night like you are her now, I could believe that.”
“I don’t care what you believe. Stay away from my wife!”
Lawrence shrugged and left.
Noah angrily went to his office. “Not this time!” Noah said as he grabbed his jacket from the hook and made his way to the door.
“Noah?” Lorraine called. “What are you going to do?”
“I’m not going to let him have my wife!”
Lorraine stepped closer to him, placing her hand on his forearm. “Noah, don’t take this wrong, but, he’s right, you didn’t stop him the other night.”
“No, I didn’t. I won’t make that mistake twice.”
Too late. He’d left in a huff.
“Were we having an affair?”
“Wow! You don’t beat around the bush, do you?” Lawrence responded as he stepped into the house.
She closed the door and made her way to the kitchen, him following.
Neither had heard Noah enter through the garage door. He stood back, out of their sight.
“You’ve always been feisty,” he commented. “One of the things I love about you.”
She punched at his shoulder. “You don’t love me!”
“Eau contraire Eden,” Lawrence said as he stepped closer to her, causing her to step back until she was up against the counter. “I do love you.”
“Lawrence! Just stop!” She ran her hands through her hair. “I don’t remember.”
“Why?” she cried as she stepped sideways to get away from him.
“Why is everyone lying to me?” she demanded. “And, why is everyone saying it’s because they love me?”
Lawrence let a heavy sigh escape. “I haven’t lied to you.”
“No, you haven’t. I suppose it’s only a matter of time.”
He reached for her arms. She tensed right away and he released her.
“Look, I care about you,” he told her.
She held up her hand to silence him. “My family told me I wasn’t living here when I had my accident. Was I with you?”
“No,” he answered while shaking his head.
“I don’t understand,” she said before she started to cry. “Why can’t I remember?”
Oh man, he’d totally screwed up with that stunt the other night.
“I’m sorry, Eden.”
“Everyone’s sorry,” she sighed. “Sorry doesn’t mean anything anymore.”
She paced circles in her kitchen. So much of the past few months conflicting with what she now knew to be real. Yet, being with Noah, living in this house, everything felt real. How could she be so blind?
Lawrence reached for her arm to get her to stop pacing. At the feel of his hand, a cold chill flowed through her. Not fear. A loss.
Her head shot up and her eyes met with his.
“What?” Lawrence asked at how intently she was looking at him.
She pulled free, rubbing at her arm to warm up.
“I felt something. Just now.”
Noah’s heart fell. He’d purposely kept Lawrence away from her. Wanted her to be how she had become. Forget Lawrence and all he’d taken from their marriage. But it seemed time and space didn’t matter.
Lawrence shrugged, confused.
She stepped back from him, needing distance. Looking at him, she said, “We do have a connection.”
Lawrence ran his hand down his face. This was not going how he intended.
“That day in Noah’s office. The first time I saw you after the accident. I felt it.”
“Felt what?” Lawrence asked the question Noah was wanting the answer to as well.
“This unbelievable loss,” she answered, then lifted her gaze to his. “Why would I feel that?”
Lawrence nervously combed his hand through his hair. “I have no idea,” he answered.
She now stepped closer to him. Looking him squarely in the eyes, “You’re lying. I’ve been duped by everyone since the accident. I know you’re lying.”
He remained silent. Just staring back at her. Hoping his silence would be enough. He couldn’t tell her how close she was to the truth.
“Oh my God!” she exclaimed. “It’s the loss of my marriage! You are responsible for that.”
“Eden, I can honestly tell you that I am not the reason for the collapse of your marriage.”
“So, it did collapse,” she stated then looked at him again. “And you know why.”
He knew she wanted him to answer. He couldn’t. Yes, he was in the thick of it but he was not going to go there.
“What the hell is he doing here?”
Eden abruptly stopped looking at Lawrence, both turning to see Jake standing there.
“Jake! I told you to go home.”
“Eden, you don’t want to do this,” Jake said.
“Do what? Get answers?”
“This is not getting answers. This is only going to do more harm.”
“More harm?! Are you kidding me?”
“Eden, stop this,” Jake went all big brother.
“So, big brother, explain this to me. I left. Noah didn’t sign the divorce papers. None of this makes sense!”
“No, he has the answers! I know he does!” she shouted at her brother.
“I wouldn’t trust anything he has to say,” Jake responded calmly.
“What man wouldn’t be glad to get rid of his wife if she’s having an affair with his partner?” Eden demanded.
“Eden,” Jake spoke up, “Noah loves you.”
“No! You heard him in the den last night. He doesn’t have to pretend to be the devoted husband!”
Noah bowed his head, regretting saying those words.
Lawrence rolled his eyes in disbelief at hearing what Noah had said.
“Eden, he was upset. I don’t believe…”
“Jake! You don’t lie to someone you love! You don’t deceive them. You don’t use them.”
“Look, you’re both upset.”
“Upset?” Eden shouted at Jake. “Upset is an understatement. None of you, including Noah had any right to do this to me!”
“Eden,” Lawrence interrupted. “I’m gonna go.”
“No,” his voice soft as his hands cupped her shoulders. “Your brother’s right. You’re upset. Take some time. You know how to get a hold of me.”
“Stay away from my sister,” Jake warned.
“Jake! I can handle my own life!” Eden shouted as Lawrence left. “The problem is no one wants to let me. No one is letting me decide based on the truth.” She paced the kitchen. “Gee, let’s give poor little Eden this fairy tale world. What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”
“Eden it wasn’t like that.”
“Well, news flash Jake. It hurts! Months of living this life in a bubble. How long Jake? How long were you all willing to play this game?”
“It wasn’t a game,” Jake softly responded.
Noah now approached the kitchen, taking both of them off guard.
Her eyes met with his.
Jake looked from Noah to Eden. “You guys need to talk.”
Eden looked at her wrist watch. “Sorry, I have an appointment.”
“Appointment?” Noah softly asked.
“Dr. Miller,” she answered short.
Noah followed as she made her way to the front door. After she put on her shoes and jacket, he reached for her arm.
“I’ll go with you,” he offered.
Her eyes angrily looked into his. “That’s alright Noah, you don’t need to play devoted husband anymore.”
“Eden, please,” Noah tried. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean …”
“I’m done playing this game,” she sternly told him, pulling her arm free and made her way to her car.
His fist connected with the door shortly after she closed it.
“Nice touch,” Jake said. Noah looked at him. “Now is a great time to show you care,” his voice dripping sarcasm.
“Dr. Miller, you need to help me,” Eden told him.
Dr. Miller stood and walked toward her. “Eden are you alright?”
“No! I’m not alright!”
“Tell me what’s happened.”
She sat and relayed the events of the dinner party and the revelation of filing for divorce.
“I’m tired of this sit and wait attitude. I want my memory back!”
“I can’t give it to you, Eden,” Dr. Miller said in a calm voice.
“Yes, you can. I want to try regressive therapy. I’ve researched it on the Internet.”
Dr. Miller stepped back. “I wouldn’t recommend it.”
“I don’t care what you recommend!” Eden shouted. “I need to know why I was divorcing my husband. If I was having an affair with his partner. You owe me that much!”
Dr. Miller looked at her completely confused.
“You told all of them to keep the divorce from me,” she told him.
“Eden, we needed to go by what you thought was real.”
“Real?! How was I supposed to even know what was remotely real?” she demanded. “I need to know what happened with eight years of my life!”
Dr. Miller paused silently a moment. “Eden, do you remember when you went to see the car from the accident?”
“Yes,” she answered more calmly.
“You experienced some recollection, but when you regained consciousness, you didn’t remember it.”
“Are you saying I remembered the accident?”
“Yes,” he told her.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Eden, I told you in the beginning, the brain is a mystery. We don’t know why this chunk of your life is missing. Only you do. But, your mind isn’t allowing it to happen.”
“So, knowing my marriage was falling apart and I was sleeping with my husband’s best friend isn’t enough to bring the memories back?”
“Obviously not. Your mind is protecting you for some reason.”
“What could be worse than this?” she demanded.
“I don’t know,” he confided.
“I need to know the truth. No one is being honest with me.”
“Your family and Noah were going by strict orders…”
“I’ve heard all that. But maybe if everyone would have just been up front with me, my memories would have returned by now.”
He sighed. She wasn’t going to give up this quest. Reluctantly, he agreed to give the therapy a try.
“Eden, I want you to close your eyes,” he instructed once she was seated and somewhat calm on the sofa. “Take deep breaths.”
Eden did as he asked.
“Very good. Now, tell me what you’re feeling.”
“Noah says I was having an affair with Lawrence. It doesn’t feel right.”
“Okay,” he said. “I want you to concentrate on Lawrence.”
“Deep breaths, Eden. Tell me what you see.”
“Lawrence has me trapped.”
“I’m up against the counter. He asks if I remember us.”
Eden thought for a moment. “Nothing.”
“Any connection at all?”
“Yes,” she answered softly, finally under hypnosis.
“What do you feel?”
Her eyes still closed, she began breathing faster.
“What do you feel Eden?”
“It’s so dark! I’m in a hole. A big black hole!”
“Eden, relax,” he calmly called to her.
“I can’t breathe! Something’s wrong. It’s getting darker.”
Dr. Miller didn’t like this. He needed to bring her back to the party.
“Eden, you’re back at your house. You have senators there.”
A moment of silence. “Yes. They like Noah’s designs.”
“Okay, go forward. You’re in the kitchen.”
“He’s making me nervous. Oh God!”
“What’s wrong Eden?”
“He’s going to kiss me. I can’t move!”
“You’re safe. What else Eden.”
“Noah,” she whispered.
“What about Noah?”
“He’s there. Why won’t he help me?”
Now she realized Noah had seen the whole thing.
“Eden, you’re safe. Concentrate on the moment.”
“This isn’t right! I have to get him away from me.”
“Do you get away Eden?”
“Yes, I pushed him away. Lorraine is there.”
“Why won’t anyone stop him?”
“You’re in control Eden.”
Eden broke down in sobs. “Noah saw this! I can’t look at him.”
“Why won’t Noah help me?” she asked again after a moment of silence.
“You’re not in your kitchen any more Eden.”
He let silence fill the office for a moment.
“Eden, breathe deep. I want you to go back. You’re awake after the accident.”
“Where am I?”
“You’re in the hospital. You’re safe now.”
“I hear him.”
“Noah. He’s talking to me. He’s asking me to squeeze his hand.”
“Yes. It’s so hard.” She sighed. “He’s happy. He kissed me.”
“Good. Now, go back some more. You’re in your car.”
She began breathing faster.
“Calm breaths Eden.”
“It’s raining. I can’t see.”
“Do you know where you’re driving to?”
She shook her head. “Noah. Where is Noah?”
“Are you going to see Noah?”
“Oh my God! She’s coming right at me!”
“The other car. I’m gonna hit her!”
“Where did the other car come from?”
“I can’t breathe. I’m stuck in the car. My head hurts.”
“Can you see where you are?”
“Yes. It’s on a corner. Just a mile from my house.”
Dr. Miller was confused. Her accident didn’t involve any other cars.
“What’s happening Eden?”
“There’s a man. He’s helping me out of the car.”
Eden started to cry.
“He’s going to be so mad at me.”
“Daddy. It’s Daddy’s car.”
Dr. Miller rubbed at his face. Even under hypnosis her memory for eight years was evasive.
“Eden, listen to me. You’re in my office. You’re safe. I want you to open your eyes. You’re with me, Dr. Miller.”
Eden slowly opened her eyes. She saw him look at her with concern.
“Eden,” Dr. Miller called to her. “Are you alright?”
Tears slid down her cheeks. “Why can’t I remember? Why do I feel such a loss with Lawrence? I felt it again this morning.”
“I wish I had the answers for you. Right now, it’s too volatile to pursue this therapy further.”
“Eden, your mind is blocking this period of time even under hypnosis. I think if you give it a little more time…”
Eden stood angrily. “If you won’t help me, I’ll find someone who will!”
“Eden!” he called to her. “Give it some time.”
“I’ve given it enough time! I need to know the truth!”
Dr. Miller ran his hand down his face as he watched her storm out of the office.
Noah moved back into the spare bedroom. He needed time. Unlike before, she slept with her bedroom door open. Just like when she came home from the hospital.
She was, however, back to devoting all her time and attention on Morgan. Jake had returned home as she demanded. This left the three of them alone. They ate dinners silently, the three of them. They both looked like they were just going through the motions.
A week passed. Once Morgan was settled, the silence was deafening. He thought for sure the fights would have started up again. The screaming and yelling. Instead, Eden went quiet.
He entered the kitchen as she finished loading the dishwasher. “Eden?” he softly called.
He waited for her to answer, but she remained with her back to him; looking out the window above the sink into the darkness.
“Tell me why, Noah,” she finally said.
She now turned to face him. She wanted to go to him. Feel his arms around her. Tell her this was all a bad dream.
“I don’t understand. Why bother with the husband routine after the accident? Any other man wouldn’t want to have anything to do with a wife who cheats.”
He stepped further into the kitchen, rubbing the back of his neck.
“Eden, I married you and I believe it’s a commitment you make for life.”
“So, I’m a commitment?”
She threw the towel down on the countertop. “So, you’d rather live with a cheating whore than get a divorce?” she yelled at him.
He grabbed her arm, forcing her to look at him. “Don’t ever say that about yourself,” he hissed.
She yanked her arm free. “I don’t want to be a commitment Noah.”
“What do you want from me?” he angrily asked.
“Why don’t you tell me what I want Noah?”
She paced the kitchen. “For months everyone has been feeding me this crap of what my life is. You’ve been doing it since I walked back in that door.”
“Eden, I’ve never told you what you want. I gave you space.”
“Oh, that’s right. Keeping yourself at a distance. Instead of telling me the truth, I was lead along this path. I see it all so clearly now.”
“What do you see Eden?”
“That day in your office. When you asked me if I remembered Lawrence. Even when I asked, you wouldn’t tell me.”
He now paced, holding his hair back from his face. “Look, it hurt to see him with you in my office.”
“But, I asked you, Noah. And, you lied. You said it was issues in the office.”
“Lawrence and I do have issues in the office.”
She stood in his face. “But that isn’t what it was about that day in your office. You were testing me, weren’t you?”
She paced, wheels turning as she put part of this puzzle together. She turned and looked at him. “You deliberately kept your distance.”
“When you came into your office and saw him there.” She looked intently at him. “You were testing me to see if I’d remember him. To see how I’d react.”
He hadn’t thought about it at the time. He simply walked into his office, saw Lawrence standing close to her, and went to the other side of the desk.
“And, when you asked me if I remembered him,” she continued as his silence lingered. “You seriously believed I’d remember him and your little game would be up.”
“I wasn’t playing a game Eden.”
“But, you weren’t honest with me either.” She looked down. She’d been played and didn’t see it. When he remained silent, she quietly left the kitchen and made her way to her room. Leaving him in a cloud of confusion.
She wasn’t fighting dirty. She was simply throwing the truth at him. How did he fight that?