The crisis with Morgan over, Eden was back on site. Noah would watch her from a distance. She was putting this together in her head. He could tell by the way she tapped her pencil at her lips before writing something down on paper and effortlessly guiding Greg and David.
Why was she still hiding it from him? That question nagged at him more and more.
He approached the unit as Eden was instructing Greg on what she wanted done in the kitchen.
“Looks good,” Noah said, startling her.
“Noah, I didn’t hear you.”
He stepped closer. Looking down into her eyes, “Have you worked out that meeting with the designer yet?”
She thought he’d forgotten all about that. He hadn’t brought it up.
“Noah, you can obviously see the designer knows what she’s doing. Why on earth do you still want to meet?”
“Because now that I see what she can do, I’m curious.”
There was that nervous tone again. He smiled.
“Yeah. She has to be a genius if she’s able to relay all she wants to do through you. And yet, she’s not interested in checking out her work? Seems rather odd.”
“She’s been busy.”
He gave her that look that told her he wasn’t buying it. “Eden, I build buildings. There is no way I wouldn’t want to see them raised along the way.”
“Designers aren’t architects,” she tried.
“Sure they are. We both create. Something that starts out as an idea, makes its way to paper, then computer, to physically putting it all together.”
“After the accident, do you really think she’d want to chance coming here?”
“Not buying it. Give me her number. I’ll call. You know, use my charm.”
“I doubt your charm would work on her.”
He leaned in closer until his mouth was oh so close to her ear. “For some reason, I think it would work on her.”
Like it worked on your girlfriend?
“Let me see what I can do.”
“That’s my girl,” he said softly and smiled as he stood straight.
That’s my girl. Come for me Eden.
“Something wrong?” he asked.
“No. Nothing,” she nervously answered. She had to get these hormones or whatever it was under control. “I need to get back to work.”
“Me too,” he said as he turned and made his way outside.
She plopped down on the stool nearby. Things were going so well. Now she felt that pressure again. Just like when he was insisting on meeting the designer before. He wasn’t going to let her stall for long.
What do I do?
The past week was taking its toll. Her body ached in places she didn’t know existed. Her latest cycle began and she hated the weepy feelings.
After not being in the office much, she spent her evenings without Morgan on the laptop following up on Paradise Designs work. But, Noah’s request hung heavy in the air. Again.
This afternoon, she finally had some time in the office and sat down on the sofa in her office. Just going to rest my eyes for a minute. Her mind and body had other ideas. She fell into a sound sleep. Her dream began…
“Noah, you need to let me work this out,” Eden said to him.
He was leaning up against the front of his desk, her standing close between his legs. His hands hidden under her long sweater as he caressed circles on her flesh beneath.
“And I need to be a part of this,” he softly said in return.
His hands reached up to unhook the back of her bra before going back to caressing at her rib cage.
Her hooded eyes, aflame with desire and want, looked into his smoldering gaze. God she loved the gold in them.
“Noah, we’re divorced,” she huskily told him.
“We’re not acting divorced, are we Eden?”
As he softly caressed, he also managed to tug her closer still.
“Please don’t make me want you,” she softly pled, her eyes closing at the feel of his hands.
“I’m not making you do anything Eden.”
Noah sat up a little straighter, bringing his mouth even closer to hers.
“Noah, we’re in the office.”
“No one knows what I’m doing to you but you Eden,” he whispered. “Now kiss me.”
The want and desire was building ever higher. “I can’t.”
“You’d better or the office is going to hear you.”
His hands at her sides tugged her, his lips just a breath away. He was going to make her bridge the distance.
“Now,” he softly ordered.
The second her lips touched his, his hands slid under her lace covering. He caught her sigh in his mouth as his fingers circled and plucked her aroused nipples.
His hands were doing torturous things to her sensitized flesh. It had been months since they’d been together. Her mind lost to everything but his kiss and hands.
He broke free and began kisses to her neck. Her breath caught at the sensation.
“Noah, make the world go away.”
His mouth near her ear, he told her. “There’s no one here but us, Eden.”
“Noah,” she sobbed at the intensity of want and desire flowing through her.
His mouth took a nipple and suckled. His tongue swirling the hardened bud. Tugging, nipping.
She opened her eyes and looked down. Where had their clothes gone? She didn’t care. She needed his touch.
His hand traveled lower. Stroking her where she wanted it most. “Come for me Eden,” he ordered moving his mouth from one breast to the other.
“I can’t,” she sobbed.
He turned them sharply. Sliding his arm across the desk, clearing all its contents onto the floor. In one swift move, she was lying atop the cold wood, his body above her.
His mouth took hers, swallowing the scream that escaped as he thrust within her. Her body arching to take him in as fully as possible.
His rhythm at a fever pitch. He broke his lips from hers and nipped and suckled her throat, neck, collar bone. Everywhere his mouth went caught fire.
“You’re mine Eden. Come for me.” His thrusts becoming more urgent. “Now!”
Tears rapidly flowed from her eyes at the intensity of her orgasm.
“You can’t deny me Eden,” he told her as he kept her elevated at that pleasure point.
“Noah!” she called over and over. “Please stop!”
She couldn’t stay this high. It wasn’t physically possible, was it?
Her breathing so labored, she thought for sure she’d pass out. Finally, he joined her at the summit. Their bodies wet from the heat.
“You’re mine Eden,” he repeated, looking down into her satisfied gaze. “Always.”
“Noah,” she softly cried.
His office blurred in her vision.
“Noah, please. I can handle this designer issue. I need you to trust me.”
His fingers caressed down the sides of her face. “I do trust you, Eden. Is there any reason I shouldn’t?”
Eden pushed him away. As she stood, their clothes were back on. The walls began moving in. Crowding them.
She turned, the doors were gone. No way out.
Voices filled the room. Shouting at her.
“Tell him the truth Eden!”
“No!” she screamed back.
Every where she turned, only walls appeared. The voices following her. Her arms batting against that which she couldn’t see.
“Noah! Help me!”
He wasn’t there! No wait, in the distance. She ran toward him, but he was fading into a black hole behind him.
She couldn’t breathe. The oxygen was leaving the room. The walls closing in closer and closer.
“”I do trust you Eden,” Noah’s voice called from a distance, but she couldn’t see him anymore.
“Stop! Leave me alone!” she screamed at her faceless tormentors. Until one face came closer and closer, backing her into a corner.
“You bitch!” Lorraine screamed at her. “You don’t deserve Noah! He thinks he can trust you!”
Eden was pinned in the corner. Sitting on the floor, her legs pulled close. “I’ll tell him. Please.”
“It’s too late,” Lawrence now stood behind Lorraine. “Look what you’ve done.”
“No! I haven’t done anything!”
“Mr. C!” Trisha burst into the lunch room where Noah was with Mac.
“Trisha?” Noah slowly walked toward her. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s Mrs. C. She’s screaming in her office.”
Noah didn’t wait for any more explanation. He bolted past her to Eden’s office.
Eden thrashed around on the sofa. Screaming and hitting in her delirious state.
“Noah! Help me!”
Noah knelt before the sofa. She was in the throws of another nightmare. Only this one was worse than the first.
Her hands hitting at his chest before he grabbed her wrists to contain them.
“Eden,” he calmly called to her. “I’m right here.”
Her entire body jerked away from him. As though she were backing away from being hit.
His hands held onto her wrists tightly, to prevent her from hurting herself or him.
“Eden, it’s Noah. I’m right here Baby. Listen to my voice,” he continued calmly calling to her.
“They’re after me!”
“No one’s after you. Listen to me.”
Noah knew Trisha and Mac were standing at the door. He heard Trisha’s soft cry. Noah shot them a look before returning his attention to Eden.
“Eden. Come back to me,” Noah called to her. “You know I’m here.”
“That’s it Baby. Everything’s okay. I’m here.”
Eden jerked again as though avoiding something swooping down on her.
Noah loosened his grip on her wrists. Her body calming as he continued soothing words.
“That’s it. Relax,” he cooed as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her to his chest.
Her hiccupped sobs coming out as he caressed her back. His hand stroked her hair, anything to get her to calm down.
“It’s okay Baby. I’ve got you,” his voice beginning to show emotion. He softly kissed her crown. “I’ve got you.”
“Noah,” she sighed, her body finally relaxing into his embrace.
“Breathe Baby,” he coaxed. As she did, his hands still caressed her back. “That’s it.”
Eden’s eyes flew open. She heard Noah’s voice. Felt his strong arms holding her close. A chill flowed through her and she shuddered.
She felt Noah reach for the throw on the back of the sofa and wrap it around her before sitting back on his heels before her. His arms rubbing up and down her upper arms.
His hand reached up and cupped the side of her face. She was cold to the touch yet sweating profusely.
“Hey, you okay?”
She looked around as though reacquainting herself with her surroundings. Her breathing becoming faster.
Noah turned to Trisha, “Get me a glass of water.” He turned back to her. “Eden?”
“I can’t do this!” She stood and instantly became dizzy.
Noah’s hands grabbed her arms and set her back down on the sofa, he now took a seat beside her.
Trisha nervously approached and extended the glass of water to Noah. He took it and held it at Eden’s lips.
“Drink this,” his voice still soothing. She’d just scared the crap out of him and he still had the ability to remain calm. Go figure.
Her hands shook as they covered his over the glass and she took a sip.
Noah looked at Mac, “I’m going to take her home. You know what needs to be done on the site. I won’t be in the rest of the day.”
“No!” Eden yelled, scaring all of them.
“Eden, you are going home. You are going to rest.”
There was that finality in his voice again.
“I’m fine,” she protested. “I can take care of myself.”
His fingers brushed some hair behind her ear. “Sorry Baby, you are anything but fine. I want you to sit here for a minute while I call Dr. Miller. And then, unless he wants to see you, I’m taking you home.”
The look he gave her had her silenced instantly. There was a first.
While she sat quietly trying to distinguish reality from her dream, Noah took Trisha back to her desk.
“Mr. C? What just happened?”
Noah took in a breath. “Eden was in a car accident last fall. She suffers from amnesia because of it. Sometimes she has nightmares when memories try to return and her mind blocks them.”
“Oh Mr. C., I’m so sorry. Is she going to be alright?”
“She’ll be fine. She’s just a little stressed and tired.”
“But, she seems so,” Trisha paused, “normal.”
“I am normal,” Eden called from the open doorway.
Noah ran his hand down his face. “I told you to sit and rest,” he said. He knew where Morgan got his stubborn streak from.
Eden stood next to him and looked at Trisha. “I’m very sorry you had to be involved in this. I’ll be fine,” Eden reassured her.
Noah left the women to chat while he connected with Dr. Miller. It had been over three months since he’d seen or spoken with the doc. What the hell had happened to cause this latest nightmare? Could she be going through this because of the accident on the site? It wasn’t uncommon for people to react to something that traumatic days later. Hell, she’d lost her memory in the car accident.
Dr. Miller wasn’t available. Sherry had agreed to meet them back at Eden’s townhouse. Noah paced nervously as they waited for Sherry’s arrival.
“Noah, I’m getting dizzy just watching you. Stop!”
“When did you start having nightmares again?” he asked.
“I haven’t,” she answered. “I don’t know why I had one today. I’m probably just overtired.”
He looked at her as though she had two heads. “You’re gonna blame this on being overtired?”
“Noah, I’m not going to argue with you.”
Before he could counter, the doorbell rang.
He gave her that look again when she tried to stand. He turned to her before opening the door, “Oh we are nowhere near being done discussing this.”
“Noah!” Sherry greeted. “How are you?”
“I’m fine. She’s the one with the nightmares.”
“Noah,” Eden had that warning tone.
“It’s alright Eden,” Sherry reassured as she removed her jacket and shoes and entered the living room. “He’s concerned.”
Sherry allowed a moment of chit chat before getting down to business.
“Alright Eden, I want you to tell me about your nightmare.”
“Not with him here,” Eden looked to Noah, who gave her a look of I’m not going anywhere.
Sherry turned, “Noah, can you please give Eden and me some privacy?”
He stood silently a moment before caving in and making his way to the kitchen.
Once he was out of the room, Sherry turned her attention back to Eden. “No more stalling Eden.”
“Sherry, I really think this is just because I’m tired.”
“Why are you tired?”
“It’s complicated.” Eden’s shoulders fell in resignation. “Sherry, I don’t need you to help me decipher the dream. I know what it means.”
“So tell me.”
“It’s telling me I can’t be with Noah.”
“Eden, it may mean any number of things. With all you went through at the site, this could be PTSD.”
Eden stood and paced. Then she began to sob. “It started out as a dream. It ended with a reminder it will never…”
Sherry approached Eden and guided her back to the sofa. “How did it start?”
“It was so real. Making love with Noah. I could taste him. Feel him.”
“Nothing wrong with desiring your husband Eden.”
“We’re not together, remember?”
Sherry arched her brow but remained silent.
Noah couldn’t get all the words being said. Something about making love and can’t be with Noah. Whatever all that was supposed to mean.
He looked at his watch. He interrupted them briefly to let them know he had to leave and pick up Morgan from school. Before closing the door behind him, he sternly looked at Eden and told her they’d talk.
Noah didn’t remember going through the bedtime ritual with Morgan. He was so distracted with all the events of the afternoon. He’d only spoken with Sherry for a few minutes, her reminding him of that whole doctor patient confidentiality garbage. He was concerned about Eden. He wasn’t asking for national secrets.
Michelle arrived shortly after Morgan was settled. He paced the living room. He wasn’t going to do this anymore. Time to step it up. Eden had always accused him of not fighting with her. Well, that was about to change.
“Michelle, I really don’t know how long I’m going to be,” he told her.
Michelle stepped closer, placing her hand on his forearm. “Noah, do what you need to do.”
A short time later, Noah sat in his truck. His frustration at a fever pitch. No signs of her being home. Where the hell would she go? And what was she thinking being away from home after all that had happened this afternoon?
He drove around aimlessly. Without realizing it, he drove to the Ark. He didn’t want to return home and have to explain he hadn’t spoken with Eden to Michelle. He needed time to think. This was the only other place he could do that.
Eden was here? Why?
Quietly he entered and stood at the door to her office. He watched her packing her things into boxes.
“What do you think you’re doing?” he asked, startling her in the process.
“Noah! What are you doing here?”
He stepped further into the room. “I asked first.”
She turned away and placed more things into the box on top the desk. “I have to go.”
He was frustrated. Angry.
He grabbed her arm and turned her to face him. “Go where?”
She saw the hurt in his eyes as they looked into hers. This was what she couldn’t deal with any more. Every time they turned around, someone was getting hurt.
“I can’t work with you anymore.”
He released his hold and paced. His fingers raking through his hair. “Why?”
“I just can’t.”
He walked over and stood in her face. “Not good enough. Not this time!”
She started at his demeanor. “What are you talking about?”
“Fight with me!” he demanded.
His hands held both her upper arms now. “You obviously don’t want to talk about it. And, I’m not going to just sit back and watch you walk away and do nothing. So, fighting is all that’s left.”
She tried to pull free but he wasn’t having it. “Noah! I don’t want to fight with you.”
“Eden, you have always called the shots. And I’ve simply stood back and let you. You asked for space, I gave it to you. Whatever you’ve asked, I’ve given. Dammit, it’s my turn!”
“I’ll let you decide one thing,” he told her.
He took steps forward, making her take steps back. Until she was up against the wall near the door between their offices. He brought his face oh so close to hers.
“You decide if I make love to you before or after we fight.”
Her eyes grew wide at what he’d just said. “Are you insane? I’m not having sex with you.”
“Are you saying you don’t want to?” his voice husky.
“Noah, we aren’t together anymore.”
“Eden, divorce or not, it doesn’t change how we feel.”
She pushed him away and stepped past. “I need more than just sex, Noah.”
“Then, tell me what you need. I’ll give it to you.”
You can’t give me what isn’t there. I need you to love me.
“Noah, you don’t trust me. That’s what we have.”
“I thought we were past the affair stuff.”
She glared at him. “This isn’t about Lawrence or Lorraine. This is about you not trusting me here!”
“I’ve told you, I trust you.”
“But, you don’t! God Noah. I know how to be successful in business. But you have to hold my hand.”
“I never said anything about holding your hand. I simply said I want to sit down and meet with the designer who’s been doing the work on all our projects the past three years.”
She hastily put more things in boxes. Ignoring him. She felt exceptionally weepy and emotional with her period.
“I’m not going to just let you walk out that door.”
Her breathing heavy, she went to her case and took out a legal document. She slammed it down on the desktop and grabbed a pen from the holder. Holding out the pen to him, she demanded, “Sign it!”
He took the pen from her and threw it across the room. “Nope.”
She held the document in her hands, waving it angrily before him. “It gives you the Ark! I don’t want it! Just sign the papers and you won’t have to ever deal with me again! Please, just sign the papers!”
“No!” his shout filled the office.
“Noah, stop it! This is what you wanted. Years ago. I’m simply giving it to you!”
“What are you talking about?”
Tears now slid down her cheeks. “You wanted me out. Showed me the door. I’m done with all of this Noah.”
“You were the one who walked Eden. I didn’t want you to go.”
“You lying son of a bitch!”
That was new! Looks like a fight was going to happen after all.
“Go on,” he calmly told her.
“I hate you Noah!”
He was pissing her off. Maybe now they’d get somewhere.
“You’re doing this because I got rid of Lorraine, aren’t you?”
“The designer! You don’t trust me to do anything!”
He laughed. “You’re seriously this upset because I want to work with you?”
“No, Noah,” she hissed as she stood in his face, poking his chest with her finger. “You don’t want to work with me. Just like four years ago.”
He turned his head slightly, searching his brain to try and figure out what she was talking about. “When Morgan was born?” he asked, not sure of himself at all.
“You gave me my walking papers. ‘Thanks but no thanks Eden. Don’t bother coming into the office anymore.’”
Okay, so the picture was getting a little clearer. He took her upper arms in his hands and looked at her.
“Eden, I thought you wanted to be with Morgan. You were so tired after he was born. God, I just wanted to take care of you and our son.” He let go of her and paced. “We were new. There was so much work to be done.” He looked at her over his shoulder. “Why didn’t you say something?”
“What good would it have done?” She angrily wiped a tear from her face. She couldn’t get a handle on these emotions. “Every night you’d come home and tell me how Lorraine was taking on what I used to do. How great she was.”
He held his hair back from his face with his hands. “Eden, it wasn’t…”
“You told me each and every time you mentioned her name that I was replaced!” she screamed at him.
He quickly walked over and took her arms in his hands again. “No! It was never like that! I didn’t want you worrying. Morgan, he was a newborn. You were so tired. If I’d told you how Lorraine barely kept it together every day…” He let go and paced some more. “Dammit Eden! We were barely holding on here! I couldn’t bring that home!”
“But you brought clients home!” she shouted back. “You had no problem asking me to help then!”
“Eden, I’m sorry. You seemed to like the parties.”
“No, Noah. I did them because it was all I had left of your world,” her voice getting softer, showing the hurt.
“Eden, you and Morgan are my world.”
“No!” More tears angrily wiped away. “You’re just like Daddy!”
“Work. This place. That’s what means everything to you! There was nothing left for Morgan and me!” She paced angrily now. “Well, news flash Noah. I wanted my son to have a mom. I didn’t hide in a bottle like mine did!”
“I did all of this for you and Morgan!” he shouted back.
“You did it for yourself!” she hissed back. “You threw me away Noah.” She turned away from him. “We never should have gotten married Noah. I’m simply correcting a wrong. I’m giving you your mistress.” She held the contract out to him. “The night of the accident, I was going to convince you to sign those papers. Give you what you love the most in exchange for my freedom.”
“What I want the most Eden, is you. You and our son.”
“Stop it!” she yelled. “Just stop it! I’m not that stupid student you fell in front of. I grew up! Being with you hurts Noah.” She grabbed her purse and made her way to the door. “I loved working with you Noah. In the beginning. I felt like such a part of this. And, I tried to hold on. Really I did. But in the end, it doesn’t matter.”
“So, that’s why you created Paradise Designs,” he called to her as she stepped through the door.
She turned, tears slowly sliding down her cheeks. “Yes,” she confessed. “I thought what I did made a difference. I didn’t want to be tossed away. The only way to feel connected to you was to do it in secret.” She lowered her head. “And now, not even that can work.” She looked up. “I’m sorry I wasn’t what you needed Noah. Really, I am.” And then, she turned and walked away.
He stood there in utter disbelief. This was twice now his life fell apart in these offices.