With the holidays happening, no receptionist, only a couple of small projects active, the office portion of Noah’s Ark was closed. Noah had already given his crews time off to spend with their families. He wanted to give them what he anticipated having himself. Time to be with the ones he loved without having to worry about work for a few days. Instead, he didn’t know what Christmas would be.
Eden had decorated the house but it felt anything but festive. This morning was tough. Eden didn’t come to the house before Morgan woke. She didn’t come at all. Morgan was confused. Where’s Mommy? he’d ask over and over. Further ripping his battered heart apart.
A pre-school mom called the house mid-morning about a play date Morgan had with her little boy. Noah was grateful. His son could be a kid and Noah could try and figure out where he went from here. His marriage over. He’d signed it away last night.
He sat alone in the living room. He chuckled, “You don’t sign divorce papers because you tell everyone you love your wife.” He stood and paced. “And then you go and sign the damn things when you really do,” he chastised himself.
He went over the conversation he’d heard the night before. How could Eden figure out the sub-standard supplies and yet he couldn’t? He’d gone over those invoices so many times his eyes crossed. And yet, for the past year and a half, these site crisis kept him away from home longer and longer, causing their rift to get deeper and deeper. It was a perfect plan. Lawrence knew exactly what would cause the greatest weakness in his marriage and used it to his advantage. With Eden growing further and further away, her only course of action was to fall into Lawrence’s plan. To seek comfort from someone she could trust. And his best friend used that trust to take her away from him. How could he have been so blind to all of this? It was so obvious now that he knew the facts. Not that it changed the outcome. Eden had walked away four months ago. And last night, he let her go completely. How long before she remembered everything Lawrence and she shared?
He continued cursing himself for not seeing all of this on his own. Lawrence had used the trust of their friendship against him and he never saw it. Lawrence had successfully taken what he treasured the most from him: Eden. Effectively guiding her along the path of closing off from their marriage. Slowly pulling away from him and he never suspected a thing. How could he be so stupid and blind?
Not able to spend another minute in the cold and quiet of the house, Noah went to the office. Though that didn’t hold any comfort either. It was now the place his life fell apart. The place he’d let Eden walk away for good.
He walked into the office and found it odd the door was unlocked. As he approached his office, he heard voices in Lawrence’s. As he stepped closer to the half-opened door, he saw Eden talking with a young woman.
“I think we’ll be figuring things out as we go along, if you’re comfortable with that?” Eden asked her visitor.
“Okay,” the young woman responded back.
Eden felt his presence more than anything. Thankfully the makeup she applied this morning covered the dark circles beneath her eyes from a sleepless night.
She looked up and saw Noah standing at her door. Unexpected, but she was going to have to get used to seeing him. Might as well do that sooner rather than later.
“Noah,” she acknowledged him, causing her visitor to turn in her chair to look at him.
Noah took in the appearance of the young woman. She had to be in her early twenties, long straight blonde hair, baby blue eyes. Cute. But she didn’t hold a candle to Eden. Though Eden could only be a couple years older at the most, she seemed older in many ways.
He stepped into the office, waiting for Eden to continue.
“Trisha Peyton, this is Noah Carrington,” she introduced them. “He is Noah’s Ark,” Eden told her.
Trisha stood excitedly and thrust her hand out in greeting.
“Noah, Trisha is our new receptionist,” Eden said as they shook hands.
“It’s so nice to meet you Mr. Carrington,” Trisha said.
Noah went through the motions and pleasantries of introduction and waited in his office while Eden and Trisha finished up their interview or whatever it was.
After Trisha left, Noah watched as Eden set out some personal items where Lawrence’s used to be. Not that he had many.
She was really moving past their marriage. He couldn’t believe it. She seemed to be taking the breakdown of their marriage in stride. Of course, she’d said they didn’t have what was needed to keep a marriage. What better way of saying she didn’t love him than to move on. Time to figure out how to do the same he supposed.
“You’re really moving in here?” he asked.
“I told you I was,” she answered curtly. Time to figure out how she could work with him daily.
“Eden, about last night,” he started. She turned to face him, her face showing her confusion. “Look, we were both angry. Can we talk?”
Her eyes grew wide in disbelief. “Noah, there is nothing to talk about. We said everything that needed to be said last night.”
She’d spent the entire night reliving the encounter in his office over and over again. She wondered how much he’d overheard and then realized, it didn’t matter. Any of it was enough for him to believe there really had been an affair. One she didn’t feel was possible even before Lawrence had admitted to it.
He walked over and stood before her. “I don’t believe that.” His only hope was to get to her before she filed the divorce papers.
“I know what you believe Noah. You believe I was having an affair with Lawrence.”
“I heard you and Lawrence last night. Saw you.”
She looked at him. He obviously hadn’t heard when Lawrence admitted they hadn’t been having an affair. After the conversation he did overhear, there was no way he’d believe her if she told him.
“Then, I guess you have your answer,” she said as she turned away from him.
He didn’t know what he believed any more. He rubbed at his face as he paced. “Eden, last night everything happened so fast. I didn’t have time to think.”
“What’s there to think about? You believe I was unfaithful.”
“Look, I’m trying to figure out a lot of things right now. Lorraine. Lawrence. You.”
She leaned up against the front of her desk, her hands holding onto the edge at her sides. “What do you need to figure out Noah?”
She was having an internal struggle. Now that she was moving into the office, she needed to keep her emotions and feelings under control. Keeping her tone calm was the first step in convincing herself she could do this.
Noah, on the other hand, was taken off guard with her calm demeanor.
“Okay, I understand your being upset with Lorraine. I understand you not wanting her around here.”
“Do you really?” she asked, knowing he still didn’t believe her where Lorraine and her feelings for him were concerned.
“I understand that her being here would be a constant reminder of Lawrence.” He paused at the look of disbelief on her face. “For both of us,” he further explained.
“Her being here would not be a reminder of Lawrence for me.”
“Eden, please. Lorraine and I were not…”
“Go on,” she encouraged.
“There was nothing going on between Lorraine and me.”
She let a sigh go. He simply wasn’t going to listen to her this time any more than before the accident. Her journals full of his denial. And yet, she’d seen the longing in Lorraine’s eyes when she looked at Noah. She’d had such a strong gut feeling when being around Lorraine since the accident. No matter what she told him, now or then, he simply wasn’t going to listen. All he’d believe was she had been having an affair with Lawrence.
“Honestly, I’m still trying to wrap my brain around Lawrence,” he broke into her thoughts.
“What?” she asked.
“Look, I don’t get how someone who’s been my best friend since I was seven could turn on me like that.”
She shook her head. A gut feeling inside her that said something was wrong with his statement. But what was it?
“Eden?” he called to her, bringing her from her thoughts.
“I can’t help you with Lawrence. I don’t remember him,” she told him.
“But last night, I heard you tell him you had some memories.”
Why did he have to show up unexpected last night? What he’d heard was simply convincing him the affair had taken place. She needed to connect with Lawrence. Get more information on what exactly he was talking about. Nothing she’d read in her journals thus far indicated an affair or what other special relationship they had.
“And what about me?” she asked avoiding telling him she was bluffing. She hadn’t a single memory. All she wanted to do was convince Lawrence she had.
There, he was in complete confusion. He hadn’t slept the night before because he couldn’t get what had happened yesterday sorted out in his mind. He wasn’t quite sure what Sherry had done to him, but whatever it was had taken all his defenses down and made him see things he hadn’t before. Or, was suppressing, as she and Dr. Miller said.
“I think we need to seriously think about the divorce papers I signed last night.”
“I wasn’t thinking clearly. I was angry. You were angry.”
She couldn’t do this. “Noah, I think what we need to do is try as best as we can to work in the same office,” she said, throwing him off guard.
She really wasn’t going to discuss their marriage.
“Wait,” he said as he looked at her, still leaning up against the front of Lawrence’s … her desk. Still wearing her wedding ring. “We both wanted to talk last night. Before everything else happened.”
“We did talk.”
“No, we didn’t. There were too many things going on all at once.” He was desperate. Before she’d left the house, they were on the path of talking. He’d seen no signs that this divorce was going to happen until he’d come to the office. If he could just get her to talk. Openly like they had been since the accident.
She couldn’t talk about their marriage. If she did, she’d change her mind. Knowing he saw her as someone who strayed from their marriage was something she couldn’t go back into. Without trust, they didn’t have a marriage. And he, quite simply, didn’t trust her.
She pushed off the desk and walked around to the other side, sitting down. “Noah, right now, all I want to do is settle in here. I’m actually happy to see we can be civil to one another.”
How could she honestly be this calm after last night?
“Look, I was hasty in signing the papers last night.”
“Hasty or not Noah, I wanted you to sign those papers last night.”
He looked in her eyes and saw complete truth and honesty in her statement.
“Noah,” she interrupted. “I need to figure out my place here. I’ll help you in any way I can in the office, once I get familiar with things that is. I’m already working on my first task.”
She really wasn’t going to let him discuss the divorce.
“I intend to clear up the sub-standard supplies issue.” After she spoke, she lowered her head and began writing notes, dismissing him.
Okay, now what? he thought. Her tone hadn’t been angry or hostile, like before the accident. She was so calm, you’d have no idea his world had crumbled less than twelve hours ago.
His cell phone rang, taking him to his office. Once he left her office, she stopped writing, bowed her head and let a shuddering breath go. She didn’t want this. It wasn’t supposed to end like this. How did everything get so screwed up last night?
“Hi Mom,” he greeted back as he sat back in his chair. As he sat in his chair, something caught his attention. He could hear Eden moving around. The adjoining door to the partner offices was open! He and Lawrence hadn’t opened that door in four years.
“Noah?” his mother called to him, obviously knowing he hadn’t heard anything she’d just said.
“Honey, are you alright?”
“Yeah, I’m at the office.”
“You work too hard,” she scolded.
“Mom,” he drew the word out.
“Well, you make sure you get all your work done before I get there.”
Shit! His parents and sister were coming for Christmas! Dammit, how could he forget that?
“Uh, Mom, some things have come up and…” he tried as he stood and walked toward the open door.
“Noah John,” she used that motherly tone, “we’ll be at your house in another few hours!”
Dammit! Think Carrington, think.
“I can’t wait to see how big Morgan is,” his mother was going on and on while he was breaking out in a cold sweat and paced.
“Yeah, he’s a bruiser alright,” he said back as he watched Eden unpacking her things.
“How is Eden dear?”
His free hand pulled at his hair as he stepped away from the door and he paced within his office. “Uh, fine. Great.”
“Noah, you sound funny,” his mother tsked. “Oh dear, she still doesn’t remember does she?”
“Mom, really, this so would not be a good time to visit. No, she hasn’t gotten memories back, and with it being Christmas and …”
“Then, maybe more familiar people around will spark some memories,” his mother interrupted.
“No, Mom, listen…”
“Alright John,” she said to his father who must be driving before coming back to him. “Dad says I need to get off the phone. It’s distracting him. We’ll be at your house by dinner. I love you.”
“Mom!” he called into the phone but it was too late.
“Noah?” Eden softly called to him.
He turned and saw Eden standing in the adjoining door looking at him. This wasn’t happening!
He looked at her. Oh boy.
“Eden, I need your help,” he told her.
She crinkled her nose in confusion. “Noah, the office is closed officially until the first of the year. What could you possibly need help with already?”
“My mother,” he blurt out. “Well, my family really.”
She took two steps bringing her into his office. “Your family?”
She watched him pace nervously. He’d chuckle to himself then curse as he paced around.
He stopped pacing and faced her. “You see, I forgot they were coming for Christmas.”
“I’ve had a few things on my mind, Eden. Give me a break,” he chuckled nervously again.
She’d never seen Noah nervous like this before. “So apologize and have a wonderful Christmas. Big deal.”
He walked over and grasped her arms, not thinking. Her eyes grew wide as they looked into his.
“They don’t know anything,” he told her.
“What do you mean they don’t know anything?” she asked cautiously.
She pulled free and stepped away. Her arms still felt the warmth from where he’d touched her, but she ignored it as best she could.
“So, tell them?” she looked at him like duh.
“No, no, no, no ,no,” he said. “I can’t ruin their Christmas like that.”
“So, what are you going to tell them? Morgan and I are on a vacation?”
He paced. “Look, we were going to have to figure out the holidays anyway…”
Her eyes got even wider as she looked at him. Her cell phone ringing broke the tension.
She lifted her index finger at him. “Hold that thought,” she said before going to answer the call.
He now paced in her office while she took her call.
“No, no, that’s great!” she said into the phone. “I’m just happy to hear the unit wasn’t rented out already. Thank you for getting back to me.”
As she closed her cell phone, she looked at Noah, who was looking at her.
Now, it was her turn to be nervous. She wiped her sweaty palms on her jeans.
“Uh, that was…”
“I know what it was Eden.” She really was moving out and moving on. He couldn’t believe it.
She gave a sigh. “Noah, we both know this is going to be difficult. But, it’s for the best. You know that.”
“I don’t know that! I don’t know anything anymore.”
She stepped closer to him. Why did she still feel such a connection to him, not wanting him to feel pain even as she was going through her own internal hell? “Noah, have a nice Christmas with your family. Let them support you now.”
“No,” his tone flat.
“What do you mean no?”
“Look, they’re already on their way here. I tried to tell her not to come, but they’re over half way here. And, Mom’s looking forward to seeing Morgan, and…”
“Then keep Morgan.” If it would help for him to keep Morgan to be with his family, she’d deal with it. “I can’t move into the townhouse for a few days. We can start the custody stuff next week.”
His head slowly rose to meet her gaze. She could see him thinking, then the soft smile.
“You can’t move in?” he asked as he took a step closer.
“Noah –“ She had her hand up warning him.
“C’mon Eden, do you really want to spend Christmas in a hotel room?”
“Well, no, but I’m okay with it.”
“Do you really not want to be with Morgan on Christmas?” he stepped closer.
“I haven’t really thought that through, Noah. I figured we’d have to see each other a little while…”
“Stay at the house,” he blurt out.
“Are you insane?”
“My mother’s coming to town! Of course I’m insane!”
“Noah, what exactly are you asking me?” she asked. “I mean, I can certainly be with you when you tell your family. I’m sure they’ll have concerns about seeing Morgan.”
He took in a deep cleansing breath and let it out before walking over and cupping her shoulders. “I don’t want to tell them.”
She studied his face. He’s serious!
“You don’t want to tell them,” she repeated as though he were speaking a foreign language.
“Eden, my mother will be devastated. Besides, she asked about you when she called.”
She pulled away and threw her hands in the air. “You want to pretend we’re still happily married?”
“Look, Mom really likes you. She even said maybe seeing more familiar people will bring your memories back. Besides, can’t we wait until after Christmas before we start shuffling Morgan back and forth?”
“Noah, I think this would be better to just tell them. And, Morgan will be fine.”
He paced a little more. Putting his game plan together.
“Okay, so what do we tell them? Gee, we’ve been having some problems but Eden and I now work together, so Merry Christmas…we’re divorced?”
“Noah,” she elongated his name.
“Tell me Eden, have you told your family the joyous news?”
She was tired and frustrated. “This is exactly why we should tell them. No, I haven’t told them, but they aren’t coming for a visit! And it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to them! For heaven’s sake Noah, have you forgotten they were at the house when you decided to drop your bombshell?”
“Fine!” he spat. “They’ll be at the house by dinner. Shall we say five-thirty’s a good time to break my mother’s heart?”
“Oh Noah, stop being dramatic!” she scolded back. “I’ll be there at five-thirty and we can have a nice, mature, rational discussion. They don’t need to know details.”
“Obviously, you forgot my mother doesn’t settle for no details,” he muttered.
Eden had barely removed her jacket and hung it up when the flurry of activity began. She stood in the living room holding Morgan as Noah’s mother, father and sister entered the front door.
Suitcases were dropped as everyone tried to hug one another all at once. Eden took a step back, even though she wasn’t near them. The sight was overwhelming. This family obviously loved one another.
She couldn’t believe how she felt being in the house. The place she’d found her other half. Well, the other half she thought anyway. It hurt to know they’d simply been living a lie. His acting the part of devoted husband. Why she couldn’t understand. She’d fallen in love with the man who was just acting. And, she still loved him. Though the divorce had been brought out into the open, Noah hadn’t changed. Was it an act? Was he trying to prevent the divorce for other reasons? Her head hurt from all these thoughts. Noah, to her, was the same man she’d been with these past few months. Up until the dinner with the senators, he’d never looked at her as though she were guilty of something. Standing in this house, she asked herself how everything she thought was real had gone so horribly wrong.
Noah’s mother was the first to notice her. After she removed her coat and boots, she began walking toward her and Morgan. Morgan’s little arms held on tight to Eden’s neck.
She was an attractive woman. Had to be around fifty. Her hair a light brown with a few gray here and there. Her eyes were the same soft brown as Noah’s. She stood about Eden’s height, a slender build.
As Noah turned and looked at the upcoming greeting, the look Eden gave him reminded him of when Morgan ran to her that day after the accident. Her eyes pleading with his to tell her what to do.
Eden watched as Noah’s mother came closer and closer. All the while, she realized Noah hadn’t told her anything about his family. Did they like each other? What were they like? She could see the affection and love they felt for one another. Was she included in that? Or was she the ‘daughter-in-law’ jokes were made about?
Noah’s mother now stood before them. Morgan looked at the woman, crinkling his brow. He had some resemblance of familiarity, but wasn’t sure. Eden knew Morgan was also feeding off her own apprehension.
Eden looked to Morgan. “It’s okay, Honey. Gramma came a long way to see you.”
“Gramma?” he asked as he looked at his grandmother.
“Oh, I must seem like a total stranger to him. I’ve changed a lot in the past year.”
Morgan reached his arms out to his grandmother as Eden handed him over. The voice was familiar to him.
Eden stood and watched grandmother and grandson reconnect. She also felt envy. Morgan remembered his grandmother’s voice. She still remembered nothing. She suddenly felt very alone in this room full of Carringtons.
Morgan had no problem recognizing the other woman of the family. As soon as his grandmother set him down, he ran to her.
“Aunt Chloeeeeeeee!” he shrieked.
Eden was now face to face with another stranger. Noah’s mother approached and pulled Eden into a warm, motherly hug.
“Oh Eden, you gave us of us such a scare with your accident,” she said as she held her close.
Eden hesitantly hugged her back.
“I’m so glad to see you’re alright,” she told Eden after stepping back and giving her a soft smile.
“Thank you,” Eden hesitated, “Mrs. Carrington.”
“Oh dear, you’re also Mrs. Carrington,” she teased.
Noah and Eden exchanged a brief glance at one another before Eden turned back to her mother-in-law.
“I’m sorry, I don’t remember…you.”
“That’s quite alright. In time dear.”
Time to lighten it up a little. “Well, I’d hate to say ‘hey you’ while you’re here,” Eden said, allowing everyone to release their tension with laughter. “What shall I call you?”
“I’ve told you for years you can call me Mom,” she paused. “But, you were never quite comfortable with that. Beatrice is still fine.”
Eden smiled, “Beatrice,” she repeated.
Noah came up with his father and sister, who had Morgan on her hip.
“I’m John,” his father said before hugging her.
Noah’s father was the same height as Noah, similar build, though not as muscular. His hair more blonde than brown.
Noah’s sister nudged forward. “And I’m Noah’s big sister Chloe.”
No kidding, Eden thought. They looked so much alike. Her hair the same color as Noah’s and shorter than his in a spiky way. Her eyes were the same warm brown as Noah and their mother. John’s eyes were a soft blue.
“She’s only older by a minute and a half,” Noah told her.
Noah and his family chuckled. It was the same reaction she had the first time she’d met his family.
“Don’t you worry,” Beatrice said. “They are as different as night and day.”
“Yeah, she only came out first cause she probably kicked me out of the way,” Noah teased his sister, and they all laughed. More tension leaving the reunion.
“And I can still kick your butt little brother,” Chloe shot back.
Small talk for another half hour as Morgan went from lap to lap, soaking up all this new attention.
Noah followed Eden into the kitchen. Eden seemed nervous.
She stood at the sink, her hands on the countertop, bowing her head. This was so much harder than she thought. Noah’s family was nice people. She couldn’t remember them. Didn’t want to hurt them.
“You’re doing well,” he told her from behind, startling her a little. “Eden, they don’t expect you to remember. They knew you don’t before they came.”
As he watched her, she resembled the Eden he brought home from the hospital. Trying to take in new surroundings. Hoping something would bring back a memory. Memories she now knew about but didn’t really remember. Memories he wished he could erase again.
And then Eden’s demeanor changed. She took in a breath to regain her composure and asked, “What are we supposed to do about your dinner?”
“What would you suggest?” he smiled.
“Noah, are you asking me to cook dinner now?”
He stepped closer, his hands on her shoulders as he looked into her confused eyes.
“You have plenty of premade dinners in the freezer. Let’s go look and see what we can come up with.”
As they stood at the freezer, she saw how much she loved cooking. So many dinners filling the upright freezer. They chose a lasagna dinner and pulled it out.
“Noah, we need…”
“Eden, please. Can we just have a nice dinner first?”
“Do you really want to do this with Morgan awake?”
She bowed her head. No, they needed to try and explain this to him, but there was no time.
She shook her head.
Dinner had been eaten and cleaned up. Now everyone sat in the living room. So much conversation. Eden sat on the floor with Morgan in her lap. He was getting sleepy in her arms.
“Morgan,” she softly called to him. “It’s almost bedtime.”
“Please don’t go Mommy,” he pled as his cherub face looked up at hers.
Everyone fell silent. Eden looked at all the inquisitive faces looking back at her and Morgan.
“Mommy’s not going anywhere Sweetie,” Beatrice said.
Eden’s eyes met with Noah’s.
“It’s okay Mom. He’s just a little nervous after this morning,” he said.
“What happened this morning?” Eden asked, wondering why she hadn’t been told of a problem before now.
“Morgan was upset that you weren’t here when he woke up this morning,” he said, looking in her eyes. “I told him you just had stuff to do before he woke up.” The sadness in Noah’s eyes ripped into her.
She could see in his eyes he was telling her the truth. She also felt a stab in her heart. With the heartbreak she felt the night before, she hadn’t thought how Morgan would react to her not coming to the house this morning. All she knew was she just couldn’t. She also had no idea how she could explain to her precious baby that she wasn’t going to be here in the morning when he woke up any more. When he woke up here, he’d be with Daddy, and when he woke up in a new home, he’d be with Mommy. She swallowed to keep the emotions from rising to the surface. She loved her son. She loved Noah.
A short time later, Noah and Eden settled Morgan down for the night together. Morgan had fallen asleep in her arms, so they simply put him to bed, foregoing teeth brushing and his usual bedtime routine.
As they stood in the darkened room, lit with only the small nightlight in an outlet, Noah cupped her shoulders and asked again, “Eden, please.” He loved her. He wanted to envelop her in his arms and make the world go away. To go back in time just a few weeks.
“Noah, I can’t,” she looked away. This was already harder than she’d anticipated.
She didn’t know what to expect. Didn’t know how she’d deal with the disappointment of his family once they told them about the separation. And, she surely didn’t know how all of this was going to affect Morgan.
He lifted her chin to make her look at him. She saw the emotions in his eyes.
“Eden, if you aren’t here tomorrow morning when he wakes up, it’s not going to be pretty.” His voice swan over her senses.
“Please don’t use Morgan in this.”
“I’m not using Morgan. I’m thinking of Morgan. Eden, it’s Christmas. Do you really think getting him upset is necessary?”
“I didn’t ask for this Noah,” she answered softly pulling back and turning away. “I don’t want to hurt anybody. Least of all my son.”
He stood behind her. “I’ll go in the guest room. I’ll make sure I’m up before they are. Eden, please.”
She turned to face him. She felt so torn inside. When she looked at him, it hurt. She loved him and knew he thought the worst of her. She couldn’t live like that.
“It’s three days. Four tops,” he said.
“Oh Noah,” she sighed.
He could see she was caving in.
“Please. A family for Morgan just a few more days.”
“I really think we should just be up front and tell them the truth.”
“I will. I promise. After Christmas. I’ll do it alone. Please. Stay.”
“This so goes against my better judgment,” she finally sighed her agreement.
Internally, Noah felt a weight lift off him that felt like a ton.
As they left Morgan’s room and closed his door, they almost bumped into Chloe. She’d just reached the top of the stairs, suitcase in hand.
“Chloe, what are you doing?” Noah asked.
Chloe rolled her eyes. “Mom and Dad are making out down under the mistletoe downstairs. There is no way I’m going to sleep downstairs with them.” She shuddered at the thought. “God Noah, if they, you know, I could need therapy for the rest of my life.”
“You want to stay up here?” Noah nervously asked, knowing he’d just promised Eden he’d be in the guest room.
“Little bro, if I hear the two of you, that’s one thing. I am not about to now, nor ever, think of my parents having sex!”
This was starting to get comical. Murphy’s Law and all that. Noah held his hair back from his face, looking at Eden who was pleading with him with her eyes. His eyes telling her he was sorry.
“Ya know,” Chloe continued talking to them as she carried her suitcase into the guest room and set it atop the bed, Eden and Noah silently following her into the room. “Since Mom’s lost all that weight and stuff, and gotten healthier, ugh it’s like they’re lovebirds or something. God Noah, my skin crawls at the thought of it!”
“Chloe,” Eden called to her. “I think you need to know something.”
Noah’s face became intense as his eyes pled with hers. He mouthed, “Please, don’t.”
“Don’t what, Noah?” Chloe asked.
“She really should know, Noah,” Eden said.
“Know what? C’mon you guys. What’s going on?”
Noah scrubbed at his face with one hand and had no idea how this was going to go. Chloe of all people. God, this wasn’t going to go well.
Eden walked closer to Chloe. “Chloe, downstairs would probably be better for you.”
“Why?” Chloe asked, not bothering to keep skepticism out of her voice.
Eden looked over her shoulder at Noah. He was torn.
Eden turned back to Chloe. “Morgan gets up pretty early,” she finally said.
Noah’s head shot up and he looked at them. Eden wouldn’t turn and look at him.
“Trust me,” Chloe answered. “I’d rather have the little rug rat get me up early than the potential of being scarred for the rest of my life.” Chloe looked at Noah. “Noah, remember two years ago?”
He chuckled. “Okay, Chloe, I got it.”
Eden and Noah left the room. Just before they left, they heard Chloe mutter, “Keep it down yourselves guys.”
Once in the master bedroom, door closed, Eden was the one to be a jumble of nerves.
“Eden, thank you,” Noah said as he knelt before her. She was sitting on the foot of the bed and he looked up at her.
“Noah, I really don’t know how we’re gonna pull this off.”
Without thinking, he reached up and cupped the side of her face. “It’s only a few days.” A few days for me to convince you to stay.
She pulled away from his touch before standing and walking to the bathroom. One rule she needed to put out there was him not touching her. She became a puddle of mush every time he did.