Another few days passed. Noah still remained home for breakfast, enjoying his bonding time with Morgan. Eden waited until he’d left before managing to eat. It hurt just to look at Noah, knowing how little he thought of her.
After Morgan settled down one evening, she allowed herself to feel. Grieve. For the end of what had been a dream. Grief for losing trust in everyone she loved. Her siblings. Noah. Yes, she couldn’t deny she’d fallen in love with the person he’d presented himself to be. A person who was real to her.
“How could everyone lie to me?” she cried out loud to the empty living room.
The ringing of the doorbell put an end to her private pity party. Except for breaking down that fateful night when Noah told everyone of her affair, she refused to break down. Needing to stay strong for Morgan. When she felt anything but strong.
“Eden,” Michelle greeted when she opened the door. “I have your things for you.”
Eden stepped back and away from the door letting Michelle let herself in. Once she was told Michelle’s is where she had stayed those last two weeks before the accident, it was time for her to reconnect with her friend.
Michelle set the box down and took a seat in the rocking chair, waiting for Eden to begin.
“Thanks for bringing my things by.”
“Eden, talk to me.”
Eden looked up. She didn’t remember meeting Michelle but felt an instant friendship with her. If she’d stayed with Michelle, they obviously had a close relationship.
“I’m assuming we were close?”
Michelle stood and walked over to sit on the sofa with Eden. “Eden, you’re my best friend. If it weren’t for you, I’d never have left my house.”
“How did you do it Michelle? How did you cope with your husband dying?” Eden knew it was a blunt question, but she was tired of evasiveness.
“You helped me.”
Eden took a few breaths to prevent her emotions from spilling over.
“I’d like to help you,” Michelle’s voice brought her from her silence.
“I don’t think anyone can help me,” Eden said, standing and pacing. “I feel as though I’ve gone through a death.”
“Eden, you lost your memory. It’s only natural to feel a part of you has died.”
“No, my husband died.” She paused. “At least who I thought was my husband.”
“Eden, I’ve known you and Noah since the very beginning. It really is a lot like it was for you two when you were starting out.”
Eden looked at her. “I wanted a divorce at the time of the accident. What I’ve been led to believe is nothing like how it really was.”
“Does it matter?” Michelle asked.
“Of course it matters.”
Michelle stood and made her way to the box. She lifted out a stack of fifteen wire bound notebooks and walked over to Eden.
“Here,” Michelle held out the stack to her.
“What are these?”
“Your journals. Maybe they can help you.”
Eden cautiously took them from her. Was it possible her own written words could tell her the answers she so desperately wanted? She didn’t admit it, but part of her was afraid of what she’d find in those books.
“Eden, can I be honest with you?”
Eden chuckled, “Now that would be a first for me lately.”
“I think you and Noah need to sit down and talk this all out. You’re hurt. He’s hurt. But, the two people I’ve seen these past couple of months can get through this.”
“I wish I could believe that Michelle. Really I do. I just don’t trust that whatever he’d say is something I can believe.”
“Everything is out there on the table now. No one can lie to you anymore.”
“I wish I could believe that, too. But everyone has lied to me from my brothers and sister, to Noah, to the doctors.” She lifted her gaze to look at Michelle. “Even you. By being silent, you were allowing the lies to continue.”
Michelle approached Eden and grasped her shoulders. “I don’t believe any of them meant to hurt you.”
Eden pulled free and stepped away. “Intentions or not, this hurts like hell. I don’t remember the past eight years and don’t even know who I am.”
Michelle knew it was senseless to try to convince Eden of anything now. She knew Eden was trying to come to terms with so many things. Rather than push the envelope, she decided to let it go until Eden was ready to talk more.
“Let’s go through your box here.”
They knelt on the floor. Inside were some drawings of Morgan’s, some ledgers and other papers that didn’t look familiar to her. At the bottom of the box was a laptop. A purple laptop. As she lifted it out of the box, she looked at Michelle. “What is this?”
“It’s your laptop.”
“But, I have a laptop. It’s Noah’s old one.” She sighed and let the laptop rest on her thighs. “Another lie.”
Michelle reached over and placed her hand on Eden’s. “Eden, it wasn’t a lie. Noah doesn’t know about this laptop.”
Eden’s brow furrowed in confusion. “I was hiding it?”
“Maybe it will help answer your questions.”
“Michelle, you’re being as evasive as everyone else.”
“I’m not being evasive. I can’t tell you what you need to know. I’d rather you do this and not worry that I’m not being honest with you.”
Eden couldn’t blame her for being leery of the situation. Eden was accusing everyone of lying to her. Michelle, at this point, was the most honest she’d experienced since she woke up from the coma. Right now, Michelle was showing her she was truly her friend.
After Michelle left, Eden looked at everything Michelle had brought over. She’d put it all back in the box. As much as she wanted the answers, part of her was afraid of what she would find. She knew those journals contained what it had been like when her parents died. Why she’d moved so far away from home. She never imagined she’d ever leave. Her parents holding on to her so tightly.
She sat in the corner of the sofa. Her legs curled under her. Was she ready to confront her past? A past she had no recollection of.
Noah entered from the garage the next evening. He heard Eden upstairs getting Morgan into bed.
“Mommy, I want Daddy.”
Eden took in a breath before answering. She knelt down next to his bed. “Daddy’s working Honey.”
Eden could see the stress Morgan was under. A young boy confused by all that was happening around him lately.
Morgan bowed his head. “I miss Daddy.”
Noah let a sigh go at hearing the exchange. Surprised that Eden wasn’t attacking him as she spoke to their son.
Eden caressed Morgan’s soft hair. “I know you do. Daddy has important work to do with his buildings.”
Morgan looked up at her with sad eyes. “Can we call Daddy?”
“I’m sure Daddy will be home soon. When he does, I know he’s going to want to see his favorite little boy.”
Eden kissed her son goodnight before turning out his light and making her way downstairs. She made her way to the kitchen without noticing Noah had come home.
Noah pinched the bridge of his nose as he heard her in the kitchen cleaning up from the dinner he’d missed. Before his son fell asleep, he made his way up to tuck him in.
Half way down the stairs, he saw her enter the living room. On the cocktail table were the photo albums they’d looked through what seemed like years ago. Because she hadn’t noticed him yet, he stood there. She looked lost. She wasn’t reacting to any of this the way he anticipated. He thought she’d pack up and leave. Instead, she was determined to stay and find answers.
She opened the album from their wedding, looking through the photos. As she studied those photos, she played with the gold band on her finger. Next, she removed the ring and studied it. A single tear slid down her cheek and, without warning, she slid her hand across the table, purposely knocking the photo album away, before she covered her eyes with the heels of her hands and began to cry.
He stepped down the remaining stairs and into the living room. She noticed him then.
“Are you alright?” he softly asked her as he stepped closer.
She stood, wiping the tears from her cheeks. “It was all a lie,” she answered then looked up at him. “Was that a lie too?” she asked, pointing to the photo album that now lay on the floor.
He walked over, picked up the album and placed it back on the table. “No.”
“Was it real?”
He looked at her confusedly. “Real?”
She paced a moment. “Were we ever real? Or was I sleeping with Lawrence then?”
His fist at his mouth a moment before taking in a breath. “Eden, it was real.” He walked over to stand before her, his hands reaching for her upper arms.
A tear escaped and slid down her cheek. He lifted his hand to frame the side of her face and wipe away the tear with his thumb. “It was real,” he repeated as he looked in her eyes and his thumb swept back and forth on her cheek.
She stepped back and out of his hold. She simply couldn’t reconcile everything in her mind.
“There’s dinner in the fridge,” she finally said to break away from the mood he’d cast them in.
She’d just shut down before his eyes. “Eden, you don’t have…”
She walked toward the stairs. “If you aren’t hungry, suit yourself,” she interrupted.
He grabbed her arm to prevent her from walking away. “Eden, don’t.”
She pulled her arm free and looked at him. “Don’t what, Noah? The only thing I have left, after all the lies and deceit, is the ability to care for my son.”
“You’re much more than that,” he told her.
“Am I?” And then she walked away.
Noah stood, bowing his head as she went up the stairs to her room.
Once out of sight, he paced the living room, holding his hair off his face while looking at the ceiling. How had they gotten here? Just a few short weeks ago, he’d had what he wanted in the palm of his hand.
He entered the kitchen. His appetite non-existent. On the counter he saw papers. Her writing on them showed she had an appointment the next day for her birth control shot.
He remembered back to that day in Dr. Frederick’s clinic. How scared she was at getting the pin removed. The shock she expressed when she found out she was getting the shots. You know I hate shots Noah, her comment repeated in his memory. Who’s going to be with her? What happens if she gets queasy seeing the needle?
He reached for the phone and dialed the only person he knew who could help him.
“Michelle?” he called after she answered.
“Say, I need you to do me a favor.”
“Okaaaay,” she answered cautiously.
“Eden has an appointment for her shot tomorrow.”
“Yeah, I know.”
Relief flowed through him. “So, you’ll be with her then?”
“’Fraid not. She wants me to watch Morgan while she goes.”
“She’s going alone?” He didn’t like the sounds of it at all.
He paced, holding his hair back at his crown. “I don’t like her going alone,” he told her.
“Noah, she refused my offer to go with her. Said she needs to do this on her own.” She paused. “Noah, she’s trying to come to terms with all that’s been thrown at her. She needs to feel she has control over something. I won’t interfere,” she warned him.
“Dammit Michelle, I’m not trying to control her. She doesn’t like shots. I told you what she was like when she had the pin taken out.”
“Noah, I know you’re concerned,” she soothed. “Eden is my friend. My best friend. I won’t step over that line.”
He didn’t press. He didn’t like it, but he had to back down. Obviously if Eden had wanted him to know, she’d have told him. He couldn’t blame her for not confiding in him. What he hadn’t anticipated was feeling such a loss of connection to her.
Eden felt a wave of nausea as she sat in the exam room the next morning. The nurse was confused on her anxiety considering she’d been getting the shots for almost three years.
She’d dressed after her exam and felt her breathing grow more shallow and faster. She’d told the nurse to get the shot and do it as quickly as possible. As the nurse opened the door, Eden’s heart raced.
The nurse handed her the clipboard with permission form and pen.
“Ms. Falcon, I need you to sign this.”
Eden’s hand shook as she stared at the form. Her vision blurred.
“Ms. Falcon?” the nurse called again.
Eden set the clipboard down on the exam table and hopped off. “I can’t do this,” she said as she grabbed her purse and quickly left the clinic.
She sat in her car in the clinic lot, unable to stop the emotions from bubbling to the service.
“What kind of woman was I?” she asked out loud. “Affairs. Birth control shots.” She rest her head on the steering wheel. “What happened to me?” she cried.
Finally over her anxiety of the day before, Eden worked on various household chores. The phone rang as she carried the basket of folded laundry.
“This is Eden,” she answered. She was discovering she used her maiden name quite a bit in her previous life. Was she really that disconnected from Noah?
“I’m so glad to finally catch up with you. I had one helluva time locating a number for you.”
“May I help you?”
“This is Bill West from the Key National Credit Union. I’ve been trying to connect with you on your account.”
“Oh! Is there a problem?”
“No, no. But your contract is very close to its expiration date. I’ve been trying to connect with you to see if you were still pursuing the matter. I’ve sent you numerous emails, but haven’t received a response.”
“I’m sorry Ms. Falcon, but if you don’t return a signed contract by end of business day next Tuesday, I’m afraid it will be null and void. I’m very surprised with this. You were quite insistent about its urgency in the beginning.”
“I see. I can stop by this afternoon if that would be alright.”
“Of course. Shall we say one o’clock?”
Morgan would have to take a later nap, but if it was an urgent matter what choice did she have.
“One o’clock will be fine Mr. West.”
“Very good, we’ll see you then.”
“Mr. West?” she called to him before he could disconnect.
“I’m afraid I’ve misplaced my account card,”
“Ms. Falcon, you are one of our most valued accounts. We’d know you anywhere.”
She was frantically looking through the phone book, holding the phone to her ear using her shoulder as Morgan tugged at her shirt. “I’ll be with you in a second Morgan,” she whispered.
Her finger sliding down the page. Great, two locations. Which one?
“You’re on First Avenue, correct?” she asked hoping she wasn’t sounding like a complete idiot.
“No, we’ve relocated to a bigger office since you were last here. What a blunder on me for forgetting. We are at fifteen, twenty-two Bishop Blvd.”
“I’m sorry Mr. West. I’m a bit distracted today.” Morgan chose then to squeal his racing tires in the background.
“Morgan sounds the same,” Mr. West chuckled. “It’ll be good to see both of you again.”
As Morgan played on the floor with his race cars, Eden powered up the laptop computer Michelle had brought to her at the dining room table. The computer obviously hers with the icons on the screen before her. Thankfully, she’d asked the computer to remember her password as she opened her email account.
Mr. West wasn’t kidding when he said they’d been trying to get a hold of her. As she was about to click on the sign out tab, an email at the bottom of the page had caught her attention. Lorraine Larson. What on earth would Lawrence’s wife be emailing me?
The date of the email was a week prior to her accident and had been opened. Opening the email, no message, just attached invoices.
Why on earth was she getting invoices for Noah’s contracts at work? The program used to open the contracts contained additional invoices. She noted the dates these were all opened coincided. What was I doing?
She sat in Mr. West’s office. The newness of the building apparent by the fresh paint smell that still lingered.
She contained the trembling in her hands as she held the paper. I own my own business? And I’m buying out Noah’s? This couldn’t be.
She lifted her gaze to the man seated behind the desk. “Mr. West, I’d like to take this contract with me if it’s possible.”
“Of course. We can’t extend the date however. You understand that don’t you?”
“I understand. I will have this contract signed and back to you by the deadline next week, I promise.”
When she left, she had arranged a new cash card as well as the copy of the contract the banker had on file.
The next day was a blur. She visited the attorney who drew up the original contract to purchase Noah’s Ark as well as continuing to work on the invoices Lorraine had sent her. The attorney told her the additional legal work she needed would be a few days but wouldn’t be a problem to accomplish.
That evening Noah was walking into the kitchen when he caught sight of her walking toward the entry to the garage. Suitcase in hand?
Oh no. Not again, he told himself as he walked to her, grasping her arm to stop her.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
She looked into his eyes. “I can’t stay here, Noah.”
He released his hold on her. “Eden, don’t do this.” He couldn’t go through her walking out on him again. Taking their son. “Morgan…”
“Is sleeping upstairs,” she interrupted. She read the confusion in his furrowed brow. “He’s been through enough already.”
“So, you’re leaving?”
“I’ll be back in the morning, before he wakes. He’ll never know I’m not here.”
Noah turned, combing his fingers through his hair. “Let me get this straight. You’re going to spend your nights somewhere else?”
“Yes. And, I’ll be here with Morgan during the day. After he’s settled in, I’ll go.”
“Noah, I need to think.”
“And, you can’t do that here?”
“No,” she answered flatly. Not after all she’d learned the past two days.
“No? What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
She lowered her gaze. “I need to find answers. I can’t find them here.”
“Eden, this isn’t making sense.”
“Alright. Tell me Noah. Why was I asking for a divorce?”
“I don’t know.”
She stepped closer to him. “You don’t know? Funny. You had no problem announcing it to my brothers and sister!”
“You weren’t happy,” he finally said.
“Can we cut the broad terms Noah? I’m tired of this! I sent Jake and James home because I don’t need them holding my hand. I’m a big girl.”
He looked at her. When was she going to start fighting dirty? “You didn’t give me specifics.”
“C’mon Noah! What was going on? Why would I have an affair?” She pushed.
“I don’t know!” She was pushing him to a place he didn’t want to go.
“When did I start sleeping with Lawrence? Why did I start sleeping with Lawrence?” she demanded.
“I don’t know!”
“Then why did you stand there and do nothing that night of the party?” she demanded. “Just like that day in your office.”
He couldn’t answer. She’d get angrier if he told her he needed her to push Lawrence away. On her own.
“And later that night,” she continued as he remained silent. “Oh my God, I knew it was different. I had no idea…” She stopped, a lump of emotion building in her throat.
“No idea what?”
She looked at him. “Why did you have sex with me the night of the party?”
He’d wanted to exorcise Lawrence from her that night. Wash him out of her system.
When he remained silent, she continued, “I couldn’t figure it out. But now, it makes sense.”
“What makes sense?”
“Why bother having sex with me Noah if you couldn’t stand to have me touch you?” she demanded.
“What was it? One last time before dropping your bombshell and tossing me away?”
He stood looking at her a moment. She was pushing him. He was using all his willpower now to keep from exploding and feeling what he’d felt before the accident.
“If I wanted a divorce, you had to know why!” she shouted.
His breathing heavy. Emotions he’d kept hidden reaching the surface. “You want to know what was going on? Fine! For over two years you pushed me away! More and more I wasn’t good enough! You wouldn’t let me near you! Touch you! Nothing!” He paced, then pointed up the stairs. “I finally moved into that guest room upstairs ten months ago.”
She was taken back by that. “Ten months ago?”
He stepped closer, standing before her. “You didn’t want my touch. Wanted nothing to do with me. I gave you space! And what did I get in return? You took my son!”
He didn’t want to do this. She brought all those feelings he’d kept buried to the surface. The pain. The unbearable pain.
“And, as for your photo being put on the shelf in my office that was also per your request.”
“My request?” she softly asked. None of this was making sense.
“You screamed at the cleaning service to put it where it belonged,” he told her. “You put yourself there. Not me.”
She lowered her gaze, deep in thought.
“And it pissed you off I wouldn’t sign those papers,” he hissed angrily.
“Why didn’t you sign them?” she softly asked.
He turned away. He’d told her before it was because he loved her. Honesty flowed through him with a force he couldn’t contain as he looked at her questioning eyes. “I don’t know,” his voice softly answered. Releasing his emotions and feelings had taken their toll. He watched. Waited. She should be exploding her temper any second.
Her eyes filled with a sadness as they looked back at him. “Then, that’s why I need to go,” she softly said before turning and making her way to the door to the garage.
“What do you mean, it’s why you need to go?”
She bowed her head, her back to him. “There’s too much for both of us to deal with right now. I think we both need to be alone to do that. To figure out … things.”
He stood immobile as she quietly left and closed the door behind her. When his legs finally worked and he raced to the front door, it was too late. Her car was driving away.
Noah’s words repeated over and over in her mind as she read through her journals. Try as she might, she couldn’t feel the emotions she’d written in those diaries. Two years. It was like reading someone else’s entries. The Noah in her journals wasn’t the man she’d been with the past couple months since the accident.
She rest her head back on the headboard in the hotel bed, letting a breath go. How on Earth did I not want his touch? Could she seriously be that strong to prevent responding to him? How was it possible? All he had to do was look at her and she wanted him.
She re-read one entry over and over. From the beginning of when he said they started having problems.
Noah can’t be serious in what he said earlier. What is he talking about ‘he doesn’t like the way Lawrence looks at me?’ It’s Lawrence! His best friend. His partner. It was a Christmas party! Of course I was laughing at Lawrence’s jokes. Everyone was. Why is Noah acting this way?
All he said was he thought I look nice. Noah is making such a big deal out of this. And why does he think I’m encouraging it?
It’s the same thing Lawrence did when the senators were in their home. Told her she looked nice. But, what was up with the remember us bit? Was there something to remember?
More entries. Noah increasing his time at work. More fighting.
I feel so alone. Noah is always at work. Thank God for my precious Morgan. I don’t know what I’d do without him. He needs me. Why doesn’t Noah?
She closed the journal. It felt like when she lived at home all over again. Daddy always working. Her mom physically there, but not really. Her dreams of escaping that loneliness the only thing she had. Had she simply started that life all over again with Noah?
She powered up her laptop. Before her, the other part of her life she couldn’t remember. Her business. A flourishing one at that. She’d taken her love of decorating and what she’d done for Noah’s Ark when it first started, and grew it into something she couldn’t imagine. Her web site filled with accolades from those she’d helped; from powerful governors and senators to newlywed couples. She didn’t need to give the senators’ wives her contact information. She already had done work for them in the past.
She searched through her website. One tab had a contact form. She opened and saw numerous ones from Lorraine. Cautiously, she clicked the latest one; dated two days ago.
I’ve been trying to connect with you for three weeks. Noah’s Arkitects needs your commitment to their latest project. I’ve again attached the proposal for your approval. We look forward to partnering with you again. I’ve also attached the contact information for the Senators’ offices.
She clicked on the attachment and her hand quickly went to cover her mouth. “Three million dollars?” She couldn’t believe it. She remembered the quote Noah had given the senators. She had no idea her part of this would be so lucrative.
She clicked on her saved contracts. For the past two and a half years, she was the designer for Noah’s projects. How could that be? He obviously didn’t know it was her. The contracts for her portion entirely separate from his.
She went back to Lorraine’s message after reviewing how she dealt with Noah’s Ark in the past. Her contracts were always separate. Yet, this one was a partnership.
She had no idea if she could even do what she’d done in the past. This was going to take major research on all her past projects, not just Noah’s.
She pressed reply. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. Paradise Designs has been going through some changes. Okay, best she could come up with for explaining why she hadn’t answered any of the emails the past weeks. I will contact the Senators’ contacts directly to see if this is a project we can undertake. Our contract, if we’re able to work it out, will be separate from the agreement you’ve sent. Clicked send. No signature. No real contact information showing them who they were really dealing with.
Other requests also filled her inbox. She responded back to all of them that she would have to get back to them once she could determine if she had the availability for their requests. How did she manage this business and take care of Morgan every day? Right now, only one person could possibly have an answer: Michelle.
Logging in to her credit union account, the deposit amounts something else she couldn’t fathom. This was how she’d paid for things. Groceries. Clothes. All of it. And every bit of it in secret. Why?
Because Noah wouldn’t approve? she wondered. That didn’t make sense. Hell, what did make sense?
A new email arriving message popped up on the screen in her personal account.
Mrs. Carrington. I need to meet with you to discuss the specifics of the contract. Please contact me at your earliest chance to arrange a meeting. Mike Ashton.
She clicked reply and arranged a dinner meeting in three days. Her life may be falling apart, but she was still responsible for Noah getting the contract. Though they were going through turmoil, she couldn’t leave him hanging like this. She felt a responsibility to help make this contract work. Remember or not, time to get back in the game.
Eden quietly entered the house at six-thirty the next morning. She thought Noah still asleep until she saw him in the kitchen.
When he turned to face her, he looked like she felt: exhausted.
The relief at seeing her flowed through him. He’d been up all night worrying. He also realized how painful his life would become if she left again. He had to prevent that from happening.
She lowered her gaze from his and walked to the cupboard to retrieve a mug for her coffee.
“Eden, I’m sorry,” he said as she poured the freshly brewed coffee into her mug. “I shouldn’t have said all those things last night.”
She turned slightly to look at him. “Don’t apologize for being honest, Noah.” For the first time since that dreadful night, she felt he was truly honest with her last night. “At least with you being angry, I believe you finally were honest with me.”
“Look, I’ll have Michelle take Morgan and we can talk about this,” he offered.
“You have a government contract to work on Noah,” she answered, stepping away.
His hand reached for her upper arm, causing her to meet his gaze. “That can wait.”
She pulled free but didn’t step away. “Noah, please. I’m tired. I’m confused…”
His hand at her nape silenced her. “Eden, we need to…” Her eyes pulled at him. God, she wasn’t like before. His head slowly lowering to hers. “I need,” he whispered before taking her lips in a soft kiss.
Her mouth felt soft and warm beneath his. He expected the Eden of old to push him away. When she responded, he lifted his other hand to join the first and held her head. This prompted her to lift her free hand to sift through his hair. Their kiss a tentative exploration of each other.
How had she pushed him away for two years? Where had that strength gone since she no longer possessed it?
Realization of what was happening did have her pulling away. She turned and placed her hands on the countertop to hold her up, bowing her head. “Noah, we can’t.”
He stood behind her, his hands on her shoulders. “Why?”
Such a simple and complex question.
“I can’t explain it,” she answered.
He pulled away, pacing within the kitchen.
She sobbed a laugh. “Abby was the only one who wanted to be honest with me,” she said softly, looking to the ceiling, trying to contain her emotions.
“She wanted to tell me about the divorce. Wanted me to know the whole truth.” She turned to face him now. “Why?”
“Because she’s miserable and wanted you to be as well?” he responded, not covering his dislike for her sister.
“No Noah. Why didn’t the rest of you want me to know the truth?”
“How do you think you’d have reacted? My God Eden, look at how you reacted to finding out you had a son.”
“It doesn’t matter anymore,” she sighed, leaning against the counter, cradling her mug in her hands. “I feel like everyone’s put me in this box. Feeding me little morsels. I hate it.”
“Alright, no holds barred. What do you want?” he asked. “Ask me anything. If I have the answer, I’ll give it to you.”
“That’s just it Noah. I don’t know if I can trust you to tell me the truth.”
He held his hair back from his face. “Dammit Eden, we need to talk about this!”
“What we need are ground rules.”
She looked at him. “I need to come to terms with things. Figure out what’s what. Until I do…”
“What Eden? Live in this limbo?”
“For Morgan, yes.”
“For Morgan,” he repeated in a chuckle, not believing this.
“For all intents and purposes, when Morgan is around, we’re a family.”
“And, when he’s not?”
“Noah, we both need to work through things. You have memories. I don’t. And, quite honestly, I don’t know who’s telling me the truth from one minute to the next.”
“And leaving at night is going to change that?” She heard the anger in his tone.
“Noah, that little boy upstairs has been through an ordeal. This is his home.”
“It was his home four months ago when you walked out with him.”
She stepped closer to stand before him. “I walked out with him once, Noah. Is that what you’re asking me to do again?”
Even this Eden didn’t back down from a challenge.
“I want to work this out,” he told her.
“And, that’s what I’m trying to do,” she responded.
“Alone. Just like before.” He turned away, pacing through his frustration.
“You don’t understand,” she tried.
He turned to face her, taking in a cleansing breath and holding his hands up in front of him. “Okay, then talk to me.”
“I’m trying to understand all of this Noah, really I am. I’m reading through my old journals and nothing is matching up with what people are telling me. I just can’t connect the dots.”
“So we sit down and connect the dots together.”
“You can’t help me. Don’t you see?” her voice cracking.
“No. I don’t see.”
“I can’t remember. And you … you’re …”
She was finally opening up a little. He couldn’t get through to her before the accident. Maybe this time he could.
“You’re distant. You … you,” she fidgeted with her hands, “You dropped this bombshell on me of wanting a divorce then want nothing to do with me.”
“I’m not following.”
She sighed heavily. “You see me with Lawrence at that party then can’t stand my touch that night…”
“Look, it’s not what you think. I saw you with him and just…” He paced a moment. “It didn’t mean I didn’t want you to touch me.”
He could see her fighting the building emotions. This Eden was still vulnerable. He went to stand before her.
She hit at his chest with both hands. “You’re the one who walked away from this marriage Noah! Not me.”
“Once the truth came out, you moved back into the guest room two nights later. You didn’t seem interested in talking then. Just said you were glad you didn’t have to play husband anymore and locked yourself away.”
He looked at her as he walked closer again. “Wait a minute. Are you saying you’re staying somewhere else because I moved out of your bed?”
“Yes. No!” She fingered her hair. “I don’t know. I need to find answers. And knowing you don’t want anything to do with me…”
He stepped up to her and held her upper arms. “Look, that’s not it. I just thought…”
“What? Instead of discussing anything, you go and drop the truth and pull away. Refuse to deal with it.” She pulled from his hold. “God Noah, I can’t remember, don’t know what to think, have everyone from my brothers and sister telling me things to you not really telling me anything…” She let the statement hang open.
“What can I tell you?” he asked.
She looked up at him. “You can’t give me the answers.”
“Why was I having an affair with your best friend?” It simply wouldn’t add up in her mind.
She saw resignation flow through him.
As he looked at her, the silent tears sliding down her cheeks hit him hard.
“How could you possibly be in a marriage and have no idea who I was?” she asked, wiping the tears from her cheeks.
“I told you, you wouldn’t let me in,” he answered calmly.
“Mommy,” Morgan’s sleepy voice called as he entered the kitchen. “Hungry.”
He toddled over to her. She reached down and lifted him to her, hugging him close.
Dammit, she was finally opening up. He was getting a glimpse into what was going on. And right before his eyes, she shut back down. If only Morgan could have slept in a little longer.
A family in front of Morgan, her words repeated in Noah’s mind. Noah stepped closer to them. Leaning down, he pressed a kiss to Morgan’s crown. Then, without warning, cupped her nape with one hand and brought his lips to hers.
His kiss was the same as the first time after the accident when she held Morgan. Thorough. Consuming. Shooting a need through her.
“Not fair,” she told him when he stepped back.
“Your rules,” he smiled. Before she could argue the point further, he left the kitchen and went to the office. Satisfaction flowing through him at finally having the last word with her. She hadn’t shut down completely. That gave him hope.
Two more nights going through journals. Sneaking out when Noah couldn’t see so he couldn’t try to stop her. Coward? Yes. But, all she had.
Third night, she left before Noah returned home. Michelle was feeding Morgan dinner when he entered, surprise at seeing her there.
“Said she had to go somewhere.”
“Where?” He didn’t like this not knowing where she was.
“I don’t know,” Michelle answered.
“Can you stay with Morgan tonight?” he asked.
“I guess. Why?” she cautiously answered.
“I need to go somewhere,” he told her.