When he wasn’t on the senior housing site, he worked on his laptop. Late at night when he didn’t have Morgan, after everyone was gone from the office, he’d print out his blueprints. Measuring. Calculating. Not happy with things, shredding them and starting over. This was where he and Lawrence worked well. When one couldn’t find the answer, the other could. But, this project was too important. He had to find a way to make this design work.
Eden walked toward her office from the kitchen a week later. Coming out of Noah’s office with him was a beautiful blonde woman, dressed in a very form fitting cream colored suit and four inch heeled pumps. And Eden noticed Noah wore a huge smile, something she hadn’t seen on him since before that night with the senators.
Eden shook free of feeling inferior to this tall model-looking woman and made her way to her own office.
“Eden,” Noah called just before she entered her own haven.
She walked over to them. “Noah,” she greeted pleasantly.
“Barbara, this is Eden. Eden, this is Barbara Conner.”
Eden extended her hand. “Nice to meet you,” she said as they shook hands.
“Very nice to meet you, Eden,” Barbara returned then turned to Noah. “I’d better get going. I’ll call you later.”
Noah watched amusedly as Eden stepped away and entered her office. Step one was now under way. He smiled and returned to his desk.
Noah spent the next few days on the phone with foremen. The senior housing project was well underway. His best foreman, Tim MacKensy, Mac, entered his office.
Mac had been the first employee hired. Though not quite old enough to be his father, Noah still looked up to him in many ways. There was no one else he trusted more with his work. And to be honest, Mac knew more about Noah personally than anyone else in the office, except Eden and Lawrence.
“You wanted to see me Boss?”
Foremen weren’t called to Noah’s office often. Lawrence usually handled any disciplinary actions. Since there hadn’t been any site issues, Mac was confused on his summons to the office.
Noah looked up and gestured for him to come in. Eden could be heard in her office through the open door. Noah stepped around to the front of his desk as Mac approached.
“Mac, I need you to take on a new project,” Noah told him.
“Boss? We just started the housing project.”
Noah walked over to the drafting table in the corner of his office, prompting Mac to follow. Covering the table top were blue prints.
Noah let Mac look over the plans a moment before asking, “How fast can you build it?”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“No. I’m thinking ten weeks.”
“Ten weeks? Have you lost your mind Mr. C?”
“I’ll be on the site with you.”
Mac looked at him full of surprise. “We’ve never built this design before. Where did you get it from?”
“It’s something new. I’ve had Trish place orders and they’ll be delivered starting in a couple of days. The site is being prepped as we speak,” Noah told him.
“You’ve already dug the hole?”
“Digging,” Noah chuckled.
“Are you sure you want to take coverage away from the housing project? We just started.”
“The housing project is going to bring in more business. For right now, that and this are of equal priority.”
Mac scratched his head. “If you say so boss.”
“Mac, one more thing.”
“Yeah?” Mac cautiously responded.
“Your son in town?”
“He’s eating up our food on a break from MIT, yeah. Why?”
“Think he can stop by this afternoon? Need some computer help,” Noah told him.
Noah hadn’t smiled around the crew in quite a while. He always seemed stressed or preoccupied. Mac was feeling apprehensive in the face of Noah’s jovial mood. Maybe it was the financial cloud lifting with the start of the housing project.
Mac’s son Jason sat at Noah’s computer, clicking the mouse and typing in commands without a second thought. Within half an hour, Noah looked at the information Jason had pulled together.
“You’re sure there’s no mistake?” Noah asked, shock flowing through his veins.
“No Mr. Carrington. The IP address isn’t something I’d make a mistake on. That is definitely the owner of the account.”
“Okay,” Noah absently said. After an awkward moment, Noah gathered his wits and extended his hand to Jason. “Thanks. I really appreciate you helping me out with this.”
Once alone in his office, he sat in his chair, hand at his chin, just looking at the information Jason had gathered.
He heard Eden in the other office. It was five o’clock, so no doubt she was getting ready to head home. He made his way to the adjoining door, leaning on the door frame.
“Heading home?” he asked.
They hadn’t spoken much the past week.
She looked up and found him watching her. A soft smile on his face, his arms folded across his chest.
“I know that look Noah. What are you up to?”
He pushed off the door frame and walked further into her office. “Nothin’. Just looking forward to a guys’ night I guess.”
“Morgan mentioned a pizza dinner. I’m glad you’re spending some good time together with him.”
“Wanna join us?”
“Noah, it’s your night with Morgan.”
He was now standing before her. His hands in his jean pockets. “We’d love the company.”
“Noah, don’t make this any more complicated than it is,” she pled.
“What’s complicated about pizza?” he asked. “You said we’re family when it comes to Morgan.”
She cocked her head to the side. “That was before I moved out.”
“Maybe we could have a working dinner,” he said and smiled.
“It’s been a long day, Noah. I’m going home.”
“Any luck with the designer?” he called as she reached the door.
She stopped and turned to face him. He had that look like he was up to something. She didn’t like that look.
“Noah, rest assured, I will get all the design stuff for the senior housing worked out for you.”
“So, you have spoken to them.” He stepped closer.
“I’m working on things for you.”
“You’re being as evasive as they are Eden. When do we sit down and meet?”
“Noah, there’s no reason for you to take time away from the sites. I think I can handle this.”
Now he was well into her personal space. His hands remained in his jeans’ pockets. He simply looked down at her. “I have every intention of meeting with this designer, Eden.”
Her eyes widened as they looked back into his playful ones. Her breath hitched at his nearness.
“You don’t think I can handle this?” she asked in defense.
His smile grew wider as he turned away. Something had him in a good mood. It made her nervous not knowing what.
“Oh no, don’t put words in my mouth,” he told her. “I simply want to sit down with the creative genius who’s been working with us the past three plus years.”
Her brows furrowed. “Genius.”
“Hell, this guy does magic. Don’t you find it odd they’ve never wanted to actually meet with us?”
“Not particularly. Noah, you build them, Paradise Designs does the design stuff after you’re done.”
“Technical term Eden? Design stuff?”
She let out a sigh, “You know what I mean.”
He stepped closer again. “I’d simply like to meet with them since they were an integral part of getting the senior housing project.” His soft voice caressed her ears.
She stepped back. “So, how exactly did they become a part of this project anyway?” she countered.
She knew he knew she was uncomfortable with him being so close. Like it or not, she couldn’t turn off her attraction to him. Even though she should be spitting nails angry, just looking at her with those soft brown eyes had her feeling all warm inside. As if he knew the affect he was having on her, he licked his lips.
“Seems the senators visited some of our buildings. Liked what they saw,” he said softly while stepping closer.
Those eyes of his had that gold sparkle. Oh no, not falling under his spell. If only she could remember how she closed herself off to him before the accident. Where was that willpower now?
Stepping back, “Noah, I really think you have more important things to do. I don’t know, like be on site making sure your end gets done.”
“A little meeting won’t take that much time away. Besides, I was thinking we could meet at the site. Get more in tune with this guy. See how he creates or whatever that design stuff is.”
That devilish smile of his was having a severe affect on her hormones. She needed to get some distance. Preferably her behind her townhouse door, locked.
“Noah, we can discuss this tomorrow.”
Morgan saw his parents and raced over to them. Eden was grateful for his intrusion. The perfect escape for her.
Noah scooped up his son and held him. “Hey Buddy, how would you like Mommy to come have pizza with us?”
He actually chuckled at the look of shock on her face.
The look that shot out of her eyes at him should have put him six feet under. Instead of retreating as she’d have liked, he stepped closer.
“Morgan, Honey, this is your night with Daddy,” she tried.
“Mommy doesn’t like pizza very much,” she further pushed back.
Noah took the hand that wasn’t holding Morgan and swept some hair behind her ear. His expression soft. “Then Mommy has a salad,” he almost whispered.
Her shudder at his touch was encouraging. She’d been able to turn off her emotions so easily before the accident. Drove him crazy. Now she was driving him crazy in a different way.
“You don’t play fair Noah.”
“It’s just dinner,” his voice softly said.
“I’m not going to talk about the designer issue,” she warned.
Noah lowered his head to bring their foreheads together, Morgan giggling in the process. “Even better.”
Noah quickly stood straight, bouncing Morgan on his forearm. “It’s all settled. Let’s have dinner.” And then he turned to leave the office, retrieving Morgan’s coat and mittens.
Noah kept to his word. No talk of the designer issue. But, he still made her nervous with his jovial mood.
The doorbell rang just as Eden was putting her coat on to go home. Noah was coming down the stairs after settling Morgan in just as Eden opened the door.
“Chloe!” Eden was surprised to see her sister-in-law.
Chloe gave Eden a confused look. “Isn’t it a little late to be going somewhere?” Chloe asked.
Eden looked back at Noah as he stepped up behind her.
Chloe looked at Noah and gave him that sister-look. “Noah, what’s going on?”
Noah turned, combing his hand through his hair. So much for a nice evening.
“I’m going home, Chloe,” Eden answered.
“What are you talking about?”
Chloe looked from one to the other. “No,” she finally said. “You guys are…”
“Not together,” Noah answered.
And that’s when Chloe’s temper kicked in. She hastily walked over to him and punched his shoulder. “Noah John Carrington!” she yelled at him. “Do Mom and Dad know?”
“No,” his tone flat.
“And, Christmas?” Chloe glared at Noah as she put puzzle pieces together. “How could you?” she angrily asked him.
“Noah, I’m gonna let you deal with this.” Eden turned to leave.
“You’re letting her go?” Chloe all but shouted.
“Chloe, for God’s sake, Morgan’s upstairs asleep,” he hissed back. “Eden doesn’t live here.”
Chloe threw her hands in the air. Maybe this was why Noah could deal with Eden’s temper so well. He and Chloe had been butting heads since the womb.
“I’m sorry, Chloe,” Eden softly called to her. “Noah didn’t want to ruin the holidays for your parents. I shouldn’t have agreed.”
Eden quietly left. She genuinely liked Chloe. For not wanting to hurt his family, it appeared Noah was doing just that. And she’d been a part of it.
Eden sat on her sofa, feeling so alone. No Morgan to hold close. No Noah to hold her close. And what was she thinking that for anyway?
She held the ice cream container and spoon. Half the contents had already been eaten. Even chocolate wasn’t helping. Now that she was back to having her cycles, she was dealing with fluctuating hormones, mood swings and definite cravings for chocolate.
She rest her head back on the sofa. It was time for all of this to stop. Noah was right, the office didn’t know about their separation. Now his family had been deceived. Why couldn’t anyone see through their act? How could everyone believe they were together? And happy? She thought of Beatrice. Noah’s mom was going to be mighty upset. They were all going to hate her now. And, she really liked them. Even though she couldn’t remember them, she felt so welcome just weeks ago. Maybe they should have taken the bull by the horns and told them then.
Yet, how much did they explain? Affairs, no affairs. He said, she said. God this was such a mess.
A soft knock at her door brought her from her dreary thoughts. She saw through the peep it was Chloe. Great, time for her to feel the wrath.
She opened the door. “Chloe, it’s late,” she said tiredly.
Chloe stepped past her anyway. Eden stood in shock as Chloe set her duffle bag on the floor.
“My baby brother is an idiot!” Chloe told her as she removed her coat.
“Chloe, I get that you’re angry. With both of us. But, why are you here?”
Chloe turned and walked into Eden’s living room, plopping down on the sofa. “I’m here for your side of the story.”
“Chloe, Noah and I aren’t together. End of story.”
Eden sat on the other side of her L shaped sofa.
Chloe took note of the ice cream on the coffee table. “Yeah, looks like it.”
“Chloe, go back to Noah’s. Work things out with your brother.”
She watched Eden as though gathering data silently.
“What?” Eden asked after the silent exam was making her nervous.
“You really don’t remember, do you?”
Eden sighed and slumped back into the sofa. It was going to be a long night.
“You thought I was faking?”
“No. Not really. But some things seemed so … normal at Christmas.”
“I don’t know. Just things you’d say or do.”
“What did Noah tell you?” Eden changed the subject.
“Yeah, and when I get my hands on Lorraine…”
Eden stood and took her ice cream back to the freezer. “She’s not worth it,” Eden told her.
“What I don’t get is, now that everything is out in the open, why aren’t you and Noah together?”
Eden just looked at her for a second. “You didn’t seriously ask that!”
“Uh, yeah I did.”
“Chloe, I’ve been lied to since waking up from the accident. Noah. My brothers and sister. Doctors. I was put into this safe little world and when the truth came crashing in, I’m supposed to just let it go?” Eden paced a bit. “The one thing that became crystal clear to me was the lack of trust between Noah and me.”
“Look, Noah’s a guy. They’re naturally dumb.”
“Chloe,” Eden had that warning tone. She let an exasperated sigh go. “God, between you and Noah!”
Chloe smiled. “You love him, don’t you?”
“Chloe, we’ve been able to keep things very amicable for Morgan. He’s been through enough.”
“I get it,” Chloe chuckled. “You’re making Noah squirm.”
Now Eden was getting angry. “Chloe, this isn’t a game! Things are better this way. Noah and I are not good together.”
Chloe shrugged in fake defeat. “If you say so. But, I’m still crashing here.”
“Eden, c’mon, why’d you agree to pretend at Christmas?”
“Noah said he hadn’t told your parents anything about the divorce, now or before.”
“So, you guys were just gonna go through with it and send a post card?”
Chloe had spunk.
“I don’t know what Noah was going to do! I agreed because…” what happened in his office did not turn out the way I planned.
After Eden fell silent, Chloe finished for her. “Because you two really don’t want to be apart.”
“I know you love your brother, Chloe. We’ve all been hurt through this. It’s time to heal.”
As Chloe took in a breath to continue, Eden spoke up. “And Morgan cannot keep going through this. No matter what you think, Morgan is a little boy who needs all of this to stop. He’s adjusted well. He is my first priority. My only priority.”
“Believe it or not, you and my brother say the same things.”
“Then why do you feel a need to interfere?”
“Because it’s not what you guys say that I see. It’s what you guys do.”
“Look! I apologized already. No, I shouldn’t have agreed. We should have just told you all while you were together. I can’t change it. Hopefully Noah is explaining all of this to your parents now.”
“Well he’d better not be!” Chloe responded.
“You can’t be serious! I am not going to pretend every time they come to town. If that’s what you and Noah have planned, you’d better change plans.”
“We aren’t planning anything. I think you guys need to figure everything out before you start making announcements. This is going to break Mom’s heart.”
Eden sighed. When would people stop hurting?
“Eden,” Chloe called to her more calmly. “You said you didn’t like being lied to after the accident.”
Eden’s head snapped up as she looked at her sister-in-law, correction former sister-in-law. “Don’t you dare compare this to…”
“You agreed to do it so Mom and Dad could have a nice holiday. Maybe, just maybe, everyone did the same thing for you. Noah told me how you reacted to finding out about Morgan. Geez Eden, would you have rather had them throw divorce and affairs and all this other crap at you too?”
Eden bowed her head. “It’s not the same,” she said softly.
“Sure it is. We all tell little white lies here and there if it means keeping someone from getting hurt. You lie to Morgan.”
“I do not!”
“Great, then he knows Mommy doesn’t remember him when he was a baby? Mommy doesn’t remember his first steps? His first smile? The first time he called you Mommy?”
“He’s a child!”
“You can’t have it both ways Eden. You love him, so you protect him any way you can. I think that’s what Noah and your family were trying to do for you.”
“Noah and I were separated at the time of the accident. There was no love left.”
Chloe threw her hands in the air in frustration. “You and Noah are impossible!”
“Precisely. Now stay out of it Chloe,” Eden said before turning and making her way to her room, ending the conversation.
Chloe stood as Eden walked up the stairs to her room. She actually walked away from me! No one got the last word with Chloe Carrington! For some reason, little brother’s ex-wife just went up a notch on the respect meter. She’d held her own.
As Chloe turned and made her way to the sofa, a smile grew across her face. Both Eden and Noah were angry. That was a very good sign. Now, it was just a matter of time. As Chloe snuggled beneath the afghan on the sofa and closed her eyes, she felt at peace. They could deny it all they wanted, but they had it bad for each other.
Chloe returned to Noah’s the next evening. She gave up trying to talk sense into either of them. Because she wanted to see her nephew, staying at Noah’s was her option. What she couldn’t understand was why they couldn’t see what was right in front of their faces. Working side by side, sharing custody with no arguments, they were so compatible she could see why her mother wanted her to have what her twin brother did.
“Hey Eed, what’s up?” Lawrence asked when she opened her door.
“Thanks for coming by Lawrence,” she said as she stepped back, inviting him into her townhouse.
“Uncle Lawrence!” Morgan squealed as he ran toward him.
“Hey Buddy,” Lawrence tousled the tot’s hair as Morgan hugged Lawrence’s leg.
“Morgan Honey, I need you to go get ready for bed.”
“’Kay Mommy.” He raced up the stairs, leaving the adults alone.
“Would you like a beer?” she asked him nervously.
“Sure,” he answered, following her into the kitchen.
After a half hour of nervous chatter, Lawrence asked while they sat on her sofa, “Eden, you asked me over here why?”
Morgan sat on the floor watching a movie. Eden watched her son as she answered. “Lawrence, I feel really bad about all I did to you.”
He relaxed and sat back. “Eden, don’t beat yourself up over it. We were all fooled by Lorraine.”
“But, what I did,” she paused. “Accusing you of all she had done.”
“Eden, we’ve gone over this. You had no way of knowing the L. Larson on those invoices was her.”
She stood and sat next to him on the sofa. “I want to make it up to you.”
“Honey, you have nothing to make up to me.”
“Come back to the Ark.”
His eyebrows rose. “Eden, I appreciate the offer, but…”
“Lawrence, wait! You belong there. You and Noah worked so hard to make the Ark what it is.”
He sat forward and took her hands in his. “Eden, it wouldn’t work.”
“But why? It’s all my fault. I can talk to Noah.”
“Honey, no. It’s too late.”
“Please don’t say that. I need to make it up to you.”
“No. Noah and I have been together since first grade. We needed to go our separate ways.” He squeezed her hands lightly.
“I truly hate that I’m the reason this has happened to the two of you.”
“Eden, we needed it. Really.”
A tear slid down her cheek. He lifted his hand to wipe it away.
“It’s just not fair,” she said softly.
He lifted her chin to look at her. “Honey, I should be thanking you.”
“Thanking me? Why?”
“Because, I’d never have found myself if you hadn’t kicked me out. Sure, I’ll admit, I was mad as hell at first. But, it made me take a really hard look at things.”
He smiled. “Yeah. Lorraine and I are divorced.”
“I served her the papers months ago. I knew she wouldn’t contest it. I guess, in a way, Noah and I needed a divorce too.”
“Lawrence, don’t say that.”
“Eden, I needed it. You did me a favor. I was getting angry being in Noah’s shadow. That’s no way for friends to be.” His hand rose and caressed her cheek. “You kicked me in the pants and I’m so happy you did.” She simply looked at him, speechless. “I have my own business and for the first time in years, I’m happy.”
“I am. Larson Construction is well on its way. My personal life is better.”
“I am so glad to hear that.”
“Yeah, my divorce will be final next week at our final court date.” Lawrence couldn’t prevent the smile.
“I’ve met someone.”
“Oh Lawrence, that’s great!”
“I didn’t plan on it. But, she makes me happy. No games. No lies. We’re just good together, y’know?”
“I can see that.”
“There’s only one thing missing in my life to make it completely happy.”
He tapped her nose with his finger. “Yes you. I know you don’t remember, but I miss you. I hope we can still be friends, and not just because we were trying to figure out what was going on with Noah and Lorraine. I miss your laugh. I miss this; just talking with you. If we can get that back, I’ll truly be happy.”
She pulled him into a hug. “Oh Lawrence, I’d like that very much.”
He pulled back, meeting her gaze. “And don’t worry about me and Noah.” She had no way of knowing they had worked things out and were back on track to friendship. Maybe not the same as they had, but a friendship all the same.
She sat back and looked down. “Sometimes I think he needs you in that office and I’m just in the way.”
He again reached for her chin and lifted her gaze to his. “I have no doubt in my mind that Noah would rather see your pretty face there than mine.”
She gave him a tentative smile. “Lawrence, I wish I could believe that. I thought it’d be easier than it really is. Seeing him every day. It’s been two months. Sometimes I think, if it weren’t for Morgan being able to see both of us during the day, I’d stop.”
“You don’t mean that,” he told her. He just looked at her as she remained silent. “You love him, don’t you?”
Now she pulled away. “Lawrence that was a lifetime ago. A lifetime I can’t remember.”
“I don’t think it’s a lifetime ago, Honey. I think, no I see it’s right now.”
“Lawrence, stop,” she said as she stood and went to Morgan. “Morgan, sweetie it’s time for bed.”
Lawrence stood and reached for her arm when she tried to step past. “Eden, I’m not trying to make you angry.”
“Then don’t start in with fairy tales.”
He just gave her an amused look, releasing her arm as she went up the stairs to settle Morgan.
A half hour later, Lawrence sat on her sofa listening to the commotion upstairs. Eden unable to locate something vitally important for Morgan to go to sleep.
The doorbell rang. “Lawrence, do you mind getting that?” she called down.
He stood and walked to the door. “Got it Honey,” he called back as he opened the door. He shook his head and chuckled. “Noah,” he greeted.
Noah looked surprised. “Eden here?”
“It’s her house, of course she’s here.” He stepped back. “Come on in.”
Noah entered and immediately heard the bedtime ritual upstairs.
“Something wrong?” he asked Lawrence, gesturing with a nod up the stairs.
“Your kid,” Lawrence joked back.
“Alright Morgan,” Eden called out as she made her way down the stairs, “I’ll look in the car.”
As she took that last step at the base of the stairs, she turned and saw Noah.
“Hey,” he greeted.
“Hey,” she softly said back. She looked to Lawrence then back to Noah. “Um, what’s up?”
“I uh, have something for Morgan.”
She crinkled her nose in confusion then looked at his hands.
She quickly walked to Noah, “Oh my God, Noah!” She stood on tip toe and kissed him quick. “You are a lifesaver!” Then, she removed the blanket from his hands and raced upstairs.
Lawrence looked amusedly at Noah, who kept looking at the top of the stairs.
“Noah, want a beer?” Lawrence broke into his thoughts.
Noah turned his attention to Lawrence. “Sure,” he answered and they both went into the kitchen.
“So, what brings you by here?” Noah asked him as they both leaned up against the counter.
“Eden asked me to stop by,” Lawrence answered after taking a swig of beer.
Lawrence could see Noah wanted to ask more. He smiled at the thought of how these two were trying so hard to fight their attraction.
Noah took another swig. He didn’t have any rights to ask about Eden’s social life. He was surprised to find Lawrence here, but realizing all his wife and best friend had been through, he understood their bond much better now. Even if she didn’t remember it, she still felt that connection to Lawrence.
Eden entered the kitchen to find the former best friends in an uncomfortable silence.
“Noah,” she called, causing him to look her way. When his soft brown eyes met with hers, she felt butterflies. “Um, thanks.” She paused. “For the blanket.”
Noah pushed off the counter, set his half empty bottle on the counter and walked over to her. “I saw it in my office and knew you were going to need it,” his voice soft as he looked down into her dark eyes.
“Yeah. I was working late and happened to see it on the sofa.” He put his hands in his front pockets to prevent them from doing what he wanted to. He wanted to caress her cheek, knowing she’d part her lips, and bring his lips to hers. “I didn’t have it one night. It wasn’t pretty.”
She stepped back. She was embarrassed at her quick kiss earlier. “I wish I knew how I made it. Another one would definitely come in handy,” she tried to lighten the tension.
“I’m sure we’ll figure it out,” he told her. “Besides, how long can he be attached to a blanket?”
“Hey, I had a security blankie till my mom took it away when I was seven,” Lawrence said, reminding them they weren’t alone.
“Great,” she chuckled. “I don’t know if the blanket will last that long.”
The uncomfortableness overwhelming. Noah made his way to the door. Eden at a short distance following.
“Thanks again, Noah,” she called to him after he opened the door but not stepping outside yet.
Lawrence stood at the kitchen entrance watching them.
Noah turned, looked at her then Lawrence and back to her. “No problem. Like I said, I know what it’s like without it.”
“Good night Noah.”
He gave her a soft smile. “Good night Eden.” And then he was gone.
Lawrence came up behind her. “I should be going too.”
She turned and looked up at him. “Lawrence, I’m sorry. I’m sure this is awkward for all of us.”
He placed his hand on one of her shoulders. “You can’t control what other people think. I can talk to him if you’d like.”
“Thanks, but no thanks.”
“Lawrence, don’t. Noah and I are finally in a good place. For Morgan, we need to get along. Noah has his life, and I have mine.”
He cocked his head and gave her a slanted smile. “If you say so.” Then, he kissed her cheek and opened the door.
Just as she was about to close the door, she heard Lawrence call out, “Noah, wait up!”
Oh Lawrence, she internally sighed and closed the door, leaning up against it for a moment after.
Noah closed the door of his truck and turned to face Lawrence, who was now coming around the hood of the truck.
“Lawrence, you don’t have to explain,” Noah began.
“Good, because there isn’t anything to explain.”
“I’m not thinking there’s something going on between you and Eden.”
“Again, good because there isn’t.”
“It’s been a long day,” Noah said tiredly and tried to turn to walk away.
Eden now stood at the darkened window of her living room, able to see them but not hear…until they raised their voices.
“Noah, you are an idiot!”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Noah loudly asked back.
Eden couldn’t watch any more. Noah still thought the worst of her. There was no way of changing that, she realized. She turned off any remaining lights and made her way to her room.
Lawrence combed his fingers through his hair, calming himself so neighbors wouldn’t call the police on them or something.
“Noah, for once, open your eyes.”
“They’re open Lawrence. What am I supposed to see that you think I don’t?”
“Dammit Noah, go back in that house. Kiss her senseless or something! I don’t care, but don’t walk away!”
Noah sighed and leaned his hip against the truck.
“Noah, she kissed you. It’s still there. Don’t let it slip through your fingers a third time.”
“I’m not letting anything slip through my fingers. She was simply grateful I brought the blanket by.”
“And…” Lawrence prodded.
“And, I obviously interrupted something.”
“You did interrupt something Noah.” Noah’s head shot up and he looked at him. “Eden asked me to come back to the Ark.”
Noah couldn’t hide the surprise. “What?”
“She feels she doesn’t belong in my office. You’d rather see my face everyday than hers.”
“What the hell?”
“So, did you tell her you’ll come back?”
“Hell no!” Lawrence paced a bit. “Noah, I’ll tell you what I told her. I’m finally in a good place right now. I’m getting my own business up and running, doing what I do best. My divorce from Lorraine is just about a done deal. One more court date and I can finally put her behind me.”
“And…” Noah now prodded him to continue.
“And, I’ve met someone who makes me happy.”
Noah was grateful to hear that. “Congratulations.”
“I also told her that you and I needed a break. Noah, you and I have been everywhere, done everything together since the first grade. You and I needed a divorce, not you and Eden.”
“I didn’t ask for this Lawrence.”
“I know you didn’t.”
“I can’t force her to come back to our marriage.”
“So what are you going to do?”
Noah smiled. “I’m taking your advice. She’s under that tree Lawrence. But I have to do this my way.”
Lawrence looked at him cautiously. “And, what exactly is your way?”
“I’m not giving her space. I’m in her face as much as I can be.”
Lawrence thought a moment, then a smile filled his face. “Morgan didn’t forget his blankie. You made sure she’d be without it.”
Noah smiled, “Like I said, I didn’t have it one night and it wasn’t pretty.”
“And, you knew she’d be grateful you brought it by.”
“In her space.”
“And, she’ll have to come to the conclusion on her own. I won’t force her to.” Noah paused. “Well, not obviously anyway.”
“I hope you know what you’re doing.”
“I think I do.”
“Then, I’ll leave you to your plan, Mr. Dynamo.”
Noah softly chuckled. “Thanks.”
Lawrence turned and made his way to his truck parked in her driveway. “Hey!” Noah called. Lawrence turned slightly. “When do I meet her?”
“Promise to keep that charm of yours to yourself?” he joked back to Noah.
“I only have eyes for my wife, Buddy.”
“Soon. I’ll get us together soon.”
They both got into their trucks and drove in separate directions.
Eden slept restlessly. Why did she kiss Noah? And in front of Lawrence.
You love him don’t you? Lawrence’s question repeated over and over in her mind. The same one Chloe asked not long ago. She did. But, after what she’d seen earlier with him and Lawrence, she felt their loss. They’d been friends forever. One screw up and they no longer could be friends.
She turned a light on, reaching for the journal she now read over and over.
Lorraine is behind these crisis at the Ark. What I can’t figure out is why. But, will Noah believe me when I tell him?
I can’t even blame Lorraine for all this with Noah. I gave her an opening years ago and she took it. I pushed Noah away and straight into her arms. I can’t live like this. It’s time to let Noah go. If he can be happy with her, I will wish him well. But, he will be sure to know exactly who he’s getting involved with. Tomorrow it ends. I’ll give him the divorce papers myself. Surely he’ll be happy to get his freedom. I’ll survive. I have to. For Morgan. He’s all I have left of Noah.
She turned the light off and plopped her head down on the pillow. Staring into the darkness. “Why did I push you away Noah?” What started this whole mess three years ago?