Lawrence stood in Noah’s office door two weeks later.
“You look like hell,” he called to him as he walked in.
“It’s been a busy week.”
“Cute receptionist,” Lawrence commented. Noah shook his head at Lawrence’s nonchalance. “I hear the senior housing project is coming along.” Lawrence sat casually in a chair before Noah’s desk.
“Yeah, business is great,” Noah sadly shot back.
“Lawrence, I really don’t want to discuss this.”
“Well, since it looks like you’re having a hard time moving on, maybe you need to continue the fight.”
Noah figured Lawrence was staying close to Eden during this time. Especially after all they’d already gone through.
Noah sat back in his chair. “She said everything that needed to be said.”
“So, say what you need to say.”
“I don’t have anything to say. Nothing to change the facts. I did ask her to stay home after Morgan was born. I did include her in client meetings only. I did work long hours. Every damn thing she said was true.”
“Noah, we were all so young when the Ark started. None of us knew how to run a business. Hell, I can’t believe it worked with four kids putting it together. But, it did. We aren’t kids anymore.”
“No, we’re not.”
“So, why don’t you start handling things like a man who’s twenty-eight instead of the boy of twenty-one?” Holly’s voice came from the open door.
Lawrence smiled at the shocked look that fell over Noah’s face. “Yeah, she knows.” Lawrence told him.
Holly entered Noah’s office and closed the door behind her.
“Holly, no offense, but I really don’t think I can handle another woman telling me how to handle my ex-wife.”
“Who said anything about handling your ex-wife?” Holly asked as she took the other chair in front of Noah’s desk.
“Excuse me?” Noah asked.
“Noah, I’ve gotten to know Eden a little. I can see why you’re confused.”
“Confused,” he repeated.
“From what I’ve heard, when Eden came out of the coma, she thought she was still sixteen years old, living at home with her parents.”
“So, she doesn’t remember how she was for eight years.”
“Holly, I already know that.”
“Noah,” Lawrence spoke up, “listen to what she has to say.”
Noah sat back in his chair, a sign he’d listen.
“From what I understand, she didn’t acknowledge being married and refused to see you.”
“So far so good, but you aren’t telling me anything I don’t already know.”
“Think Noah, what was Eden like when you met each other on the hospital patio.”
“Like when we first met.”
“I don’t know. Shy. Quiet.”
Holly smiled. “And…”
“Okay, what happened after she found out about Morgan?”
“I’m not following.”
“Here’s what I think, and you can do with it what you want.” Holly paused. “Learning she had a son made her realize she wasn’t sixteen any more. She was in fact, twenty-four, married, and a mother.”
“Holly, I have no idea what you’re trying to get at here.”
Holly looked to Lawrence for a moment. Once Lawrence nodded, she turned back to Noah.
“Noah, before the accident, Eden was angry, correct?”
Noah raised an eyebrow.
“In essence, I believe she was still reacting like the young woman she was when you first met and married. Her lashing out, temper tantrums, whatever you want to call them her only way of dealing with her anger and hurt.”
Noah narrowed his gaze. “Go on.”
“Losing her memory, she doesn’t remember how she dealt with things. For lack of a better explanation, I think Eden went through instant maturation. She knew she was twenty-four with a husband and child. She began dealing with things as she believed a twenty-four year old would.”
Lawrence and Holly watched as Noah took in the information.
“Noah,” she called to him. “You can’t try to deal with the Eden of today the same as you did with how she was before the accident. It isn’t going to work.”
“How do you know all this?” Noah asked.
“You have a very good friend in Michelle. She cares for both of you. Spending time with her and Eden, I put this scenario together.” She paused. “And Larry has also talked to me about some things.”
Noah looked at Lawrence. “What things?” Noah asked.
Holly contemplated how to explain this. There really was no other way.
“Sex,” she said.
Noah chuckled. “Sex?”
“Eden wasn’t very sure of herself in the beginning of your marriage, was she?”
Noah wasn’t liking this. He remained silent.
“But, she does have the confidence of a sexually active woman now.”
Noah stood and angrily looked at Lawrence. “What the hell do you know about our sex life Lawrence?”
Lawrence raised an eyebrow. “You know how I know about the beginning.” Lawrence smiled. “As for recently, damn Noah c’mon! Remember that day in your office when you had to go home early to get inspired?”
“Lawrence,” Noah warned.
“I saw the two of you in this office. Shit Noah, Eden was seducing you. She knew exactly what buttons to push. I just about needed to bring in a fire extinguisher.”
“Lawrence,” he warned again.
“Noah, I’m certainly not going to ask you how it was with her. But, I will assume Fort Knox wasn’t a problem. And just why is it the kitchen is one of your favorite rooms in the house?”
Noah held the hair back from his face. “I am not going to talk about my sex life with you two.”
“Noah, you don’t have to,” Lawrence answered. “Damn Noah, Eden’s a fine woman now. You aren’t about to tell me you don’t desire her.”
“I’m not going to tell you anything!”
“Noah, you’re an idiot,” Lawrence chuckled.
“So you keep telling me. You’ve been telling me since first grade.”
“Noah,” Holly called to keep the argument between them from progressing. It wasn’t going to accomplish anything. Once he stopped glaring at Lawrence and turned to her, she continued. “You have to stop going about this as though she’s your bride. You need to see what’s right in front of you.” She paused. “Your wife.”
“Ex-wife,” he snapped back.
“Noah, you don’t want your ex-wife back,” Holly told him.
“No, I don’t,” he angrily retorted.
“But, you are missing the woman you fell in love with recently,” Lawrence said.
“Eden’s still your bride in some ways,” Holly added. “I see it in her uncertainty. How she looks at things with openness and innocence.” Holly looked at Noah a moment. “Of course she’s confused.”
Lawrence took over the argument. “Buddy, you’ve been sitting back waiting for Eden to come back. Anticipate dealing with her anger. Dammit Noah, see what you have in front of your face!”
“I don’t have anything in front of my face! I’m not dealing with her like I did in the beginning.”
“Dammit Noah, you aren’t dealing with it at all!” Lawrence shouted, not caring if the outer office heard him or not.
“Okay, I got it. You two are blissfully happy and you want the world to be as happy as you are. Not gonna happen.”
Lawrence looked at Holly. “I did mention he’s stubborn, right?” Lawrence knew all Noah’s buttons to push.
“Lawrence!” Noah yelled to get his attention.
“Seems kinda quiet around here,” Lawrence shot back.
Noah began pacing. “Knock it off!” he warned Lawrence.
“Yeah, and the entire staff and crew steering clear of you, that has to be annoying.”
“Things will settle down. It’s just gonna take some time.”
“You have an answer for everything, don’t you Noah?” Lawrence paused. “Sure, a couple of months from now you won’t look at that door hoping to hear her working over there. But hey, Morgan stopping in to show you his drawings or whatever it is four year olds do to annoy you must be a relief.”
“Lawrence, I’m warning you.”
Lawrence and Holly stood. “C’mon Hol, Noah’s adjusting to his blissfully happy state and doesn’t need our help.” Just before stepping out the door he turned to Noah. “You are happy, right Mr. Dynamo?”
Noah simply turned away. No he wasn’t happy. He had to force himself to come into the office or go to sites each and every day. On nights he didn’t have Morgan, his life felt like hell. And, since he had three days before he saw him again, he wasn’t sure how he was going to cope.
Lorraine leaned in closer to Larry as they made their way to the car. “Think he bought it?”
“Honey, he was the easy sell.” He smiled. “I’ll handle her.”
Matt called him on the walkie. “Boss, you gonna stop at the site today or what?”
“Is there a problem?” he asked back. There hadn’t been a problem since Lorraine left.
“You need to get a designer out here pretty soon, Mr. C. We’ve got supplies coming in daily here. I don’t know what to do with them. I thought you said that was worked out before…” Matt’s voice stopped. No one wanted to mention Eden’s name. The entire staff was shocked over Eden’s abrupt departure.
“I’m working on it!” Noah shot back.
Noah rubbed at his face after his discussion ended. How long would he feel this way? How was she doing? Was he even allowed to care? Hell, he didn’t know.
He had no idea what to do. Yes, he wanted this Eden back. He hadn’t realized until two weeks ago just how much he had contributed to his marriage collapsing. The miscarriage was only the beginning. Knowing about it or not, he’d totally screwed up.
Holly and Lawrence were telling him the same thing Jake did months ago. Was he still waiting for the Eden pre-accident to return? Was Holly right? Was Eden so hurt she lashed out with anger? She’d come right out and told him she was hurt two weeks ago. Something she’d never done before. Kept all her emotions under lock and key.
He’d asked her why she didn’t say anything about staying at home after Morgan was born. Yet, they never talked about anything back then. No wonder she began birth control shots without telling him. Since they never talked about anything, what was the point? Yet, since the accident, they had the mature, adult relationship he didn’t realize was missing before. They talked about everything when she came home. Connecting in a way they never had before.
He paced his office, holding his hair back from his face. He loved this Eden with his heart and soul. She had the innocent appeal of when they first met coupled with a confidence of a woman of twenty-five. But, the question that nagged at him the most was, did she love him? Was she honestly telling him before the accident that she didn’t love him?
Think Carrington. Think.
She was still a part of the housing project. He knew she enjoyed what she did and was doing for those moving in. Yet, she made sure she wasn’t there when he was. If he could just get through to her with that, was there hope?
Paradise Designs. 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, her words repeated in his mind.
“Why Paradise Designs?” he asked aloud. He repeated Paradise Designs over and over in his mind.
Then, he shortened it and repeated Paradise in his mind.
He stopped pacing. “Paradise,” he said aloud.
Trisha came to his open door. “Mr. C? Did you need something?”
He turned to face her, a smile beginning.
“Paradise,” he said to her.
Noah walked over and cupped Trisha’s shoulders. “Paradise! She wanted to create paradise!” He released his hold on her and laughed. “I am an idiot!”
He grabbed his jacket. “I’m leaving for the day Trish,” he told her as he walked past. “Damn, how did I not see this before?” he said as he made his way to the door and left, leaving Trisha in a cloud of confusion.
“Mommy, I want to see Daddy,” Morgan fussed at dinnertime. Two weeks since their fight in the office and she was running on empty.
“Daddy will see you in three days, Honey.”
Divorce was hard on adults. Even harder on a little boy who went through it twice. With the same parents!
She hadn’t meant to throw all that at Noah two weeks ago. At least not the way she had. Once it started, she couldn’t keep back the words. She’d read the entries in her journals, but once she started vocalizing it, she felt the pain she must have felt when she wrote them. She remembered how it felt when her father was always absent. Had she simply gotten into the same situation with her marriage?
Her doorbell caught her off guard. Who could be at her door at six at night? When she opened her door, shock at seeing Larry and Holly standing there would be an understatement.
“Hey Eed,” he greeted, grazing her cheek with a swift kiss. “Need to know if we can borrow the little guy tonight.”
She shook her head. “Morgan?”
Larry looked around the living room. “You don’t have another little guy now do you?”
“Larry, he’s real fussy tonight.”
He loved that she took to calling him Larry. Once Holly began calling him that, it felt right. As right as his two best friends not being together felt wrong.
“Eden, are you alright?” Holly asked, noticing her exhausted face.
“I’ve been busy.”
She rolled her eyes and went back to the dining table. “Why is it no one thinks I can work and be successful?”
“Hey, I never said that! You look a little pale. Plus, I just thought with the housing market being slow…”
“It is. But, I’ve been meeting with seniors who are getting approval to move into the housing he…” she paused. “That’s being built. I’m trying to …”
“Then we came at the right time.”
Eden pulled his arm and led him into the kitchen. “Larry, what are you up to?”
“Okay, I’ll be honest with you. I want to spend some time with Holly and Morgan.”
“I want her to see how I am with kids. You’re the only one I know who has one.”
She looked at him out of the corner of her eyes and then smiled. “Larry, are you and Holly…?”
“I really like her Eed, and I don’t want to screw this up. Having kids came up in a discussion. After I got over the hives, I thought I had to show her I could handle it or end things.”
“But, I told you. He’s really fussy. He’s just home from his time with Noah.”
“Eed, I’m gonna be honest here. You look like hell.”
“Larry, don’t start,” she warned.
“I’m not gonna start anything. I’m thinking maybe you could use the time to, I don’t know, take a bath, go to bed early, take your pick.”
“You want to keep him overnight?”
“That depends,” he said and paused. “He’s done with that whole diaper thing, right?”
Eden laughed. It had felt like forever since she had. Leave it to Larry to lighten things up.
“You have my cell number?”
Larry placed his hand at his heart. “Never leave home without it.”
“And, you’ll get him to pre-school in the morning?”
“Scout’s honor,” he saluted her.
“You were never a scout Larry.”
“Work with me here,” he played.
A short time later, Eden was alone in the house. She had design work to do and knew she wouldn’t be able to get to it until after Morgan settled. The ideas weren’t coming as quickly as she’d have liked. Plus, limiting her time on the site was another setback.
The doorbell rang and she chuckled as she went to answer it. “Well, it didn’t take long for you to …” She stopped as she stood at the open door. “Noah.”
“Eden, I…” What?
“Noah, if you’re here to see Morgan, he isn’t here.”
“I’m not here…he’s not?”
She went to close the door. It hurt just to see him. They’d been fortunate that their exchanges of Morgan were done at pre-school. When it was time to bring him to one house or the other, that parent picked up.
His hand went to stop her from shutting the door in his face.
He stepped closer, and she stepped back. He closed the door behind him, never taking his eyes of the most beautiful sight in his life. She was as miserable as he. And she was beyond nervous to see him.
“I need to talk,” he finally told her.
She turned and walked away. “Noah, we really don’t have anything to discuss.”
“You were right,” he said.
“We were way too young to get married. Hell you were barely eighteen and there’s no way we were ready to handle marriage, parenthood, getting a business started. We were guided by hormones.”
“And, you’re telling me this now because…”
“Because, after the accident, something happened.”
“Yeah, you lied to me.” She turned away.
He reached for her arm and held on. Looking into her eyes, “No.”
“Noah,” she warned
“I saw you differently. I thought it was my responsibility to take care of you. Legally anyway. I kept waiting for you to come back. But you didn’t.”
“Noah, have you been drinking?”
“I kept thinking, her memory’s gonna come back and she’s gonna be angry. But, it didn’t, and you didn’t. And, everything was so much different.”
“Noah, stop this!”
He pressed on. She was trying to push him away so he knew he was somewhat getting through. “I did push you away. I thought it was all up to me to provide for you and Morgan. I told myself that missing you at the Ark was just being selfish. You had so much on your plate with being a new mom that I, we never talked about things.”
“Noah, what’s wrong with you?”
She did a double take. “Me?”
“Yes, you. I kept waiting for things to go back to the way they were. But, they couldn’t. You aren’t the same. I’m not the same.”
She stepped further into her living room. “No, we aren’t the same. And, you need to stop all of this. Noah, it’s difficult enough already.”
“Don’t you see, Eden? It’s difficult because it’s not right.”
“Oh Noah,” she sighed and hung her head. How was she going to get through to him?
He stood close to her now. “Eden?” he softly called. When her eyes met his, he held out his hand. “Come with me.”
“I need to show you. I can’t tell you. Please.”
“Why can’t you just let go?” she asked him softly.
“I promise. After tonight, I will. Just give me one night.” His eyes implored hers as he continued holding his hand out to her. “Please.”
She looked at his hand and then his face. “You promise?”
“I promise. As long as you keep an open mind and hear and see me out.”
She gave a heavy sigh before stepping past him and retrieving her sweatshirt from the hook by the door.
They silently rode together as he drove his truck through town. She furrowed her brows as they approached the senior housing site.
“Noah, what are we doing here?”
He lifted his brows at her. “Open mind, Eden.”
She took in a breath as though she was going to say something and thought better of it. Instead, she opened the passenger door and climbed out while he waited at the hood of the truck.
Once inside the still evolving structure, he pointed out some features of the building here and there. Next, he walked her into one of the units closer to completion.
“Noah, I don’t understand.”
“Look in the kitchen,” he told her.
He followed as she walked into the kitchen and looked around. “Okay, it’s a kitchen.”
“No, Eden, it’s your kitchen.”
“Noah, what are you talking about?”
“My design had stainless steel and cold everywhere. It took Matt calling me out here before I realized the changes you made to my designs.”
“Look, I’m sorry I messed with your designs. I really don’t remember...”
“Eden, you looked at this place totally different than me. You made your changes and that’s why it was so easy for you to make the pitch to the senators.”
“Noah, it’s still your building.” She turned to leave, only to have him step in her way.
“Yes, it’s my building. But you knew it would be someone’s home, and you warmed it up.”
She stepped back and put her hands in her hair. “Noah!”
“I was there one day when you were meeting with Mr. and Mrs. Walker. I didn’t know you were going to be there, I wasn’t following you. But, Mike Ashton and I were there to discuss some other things. You asked them questions about making this their home. And then you went and ordered the trim, paint, fixtures…everything to make it what they want.”
“And, you did the same thing with the Petersons. And I know you’ll do the same with all the others who will live on this side of the project. I can only imagine what you’ll do with the assisted living side.”
“Noah, I don’t mean to interfere…”
He stepped closer and couldn’t stop himself from reaching for her upper arms. “Eden, I got to see you in action. See why Paradise Designs is so successful.” His hand came up and slipped hair behind her ear. “I saw Eden Falcon, businesswoman.”
He simply looked at her looking back at him. She was speechless.
“Eden, when we first started out, you had ideas, but now you have savvy and business sense. You’ve matured and I can’t believe I didn’t see it before.”
She stepped back from his touch.
“Noah, I don’t know what to say. I can’t remember starting up my business. I don’t know how I was before.”
He now stood behind her, his hands cupping her shoulders. “Don’t you see Eden? It doesn’t matter. None of what was before your accident matters.”
“Noah, now you’re just in denial. Of course that matters.”
“Why? You don’t remember it.”
She turned and faced him. “What happened before the accident has a lot to do with who we are now, whether we remember it or not.”
Okay, how did he explain this? Before the accident, she’d never let go of anything. It didn’t matter if he tried to correct it, fix it, anything. Without her memories, and a maturing along the way, she did let go now.
He reached for her hand and pulled her with him as he walked back to the truck.
“Noah, where are we going?” she called as she had to step quickly to try and keep up.
All he did was smile as he held the truck passenger door for her. She gave him that look that she wasn’t happy with not knowing, but he wasn’t budging.
“Open mind,” he reminded then walked around to his seat and drove away.
They drove along another half hour. His truck bouncing along a rougher road that hadn’t been paved yet. Once he stopped the truck, he reached behind the front seat for a flashlight and exited the cab, waiting for her to join him.
She cautiously climbed out of the truck and walked toward him. His one hand held the flashlight to guide their way as his other reached for her hand.
She stopped walking, placing her free hand over her mouth. “No,” she softly said not believing what was standing before her. She looked at him looking back at her. “Noah, no.”
“C’mon,” he said tugging her to walk again.
He used a key to unlock the front door, pushing it open and gesturing her to enter first.
He looked at her. “Eden, this is your house.”
She stepped back. “How? You only saw it for a second.”
“I did more than see it for a second. Yeah, you didn’t want me to see it, but I copied it onto a flash drive and uploaded it on my computer.”
“For one thing, it’s one helluva design!” He stood before her, his hand at her cheek. “For another, it’s what you should’ve had all along.”
“Noah, the house you built is fine. Was fine.”
“Yeah, and it’s the model for a house I’ve made for many others. No one else is going to get one like this.” He took her hand and pulled her inside, switching on lights. “No matter what happens, this is yours.”
She looked left and saw the spacious kitchen. She hadn’t thought of a center island in the kitchen, but it looked nice. Useful. As she stepped into the room, she noted the large working space and countertops to work on. The room wasn’t finished, but she could visualize it. She smiled as she envisioned Morgan lapping around the butcher’s block with his cars.
She shook her head slightly to clear the image as Noah guided her past the laundry room into the dining room. The dining room was larger than what they had and faced the side and back of the house. A large bay window faced the back to what she could only imagine was the view. The side of the room contained French doors leading to the wraparound porch. Sheet rock hadn’t gone up yet but the space for a built in buffet could be seen.
Noah didn’t press for a response. He simply watched her take in what she had created first on paper and then on his old software to what she was now physically standing in. A door to their right led them out of the dining room along rooms at the back of the house. The next door opened to an office area. Much larger than the den in their house. Not as dark either since a large window also looked out to the back of the home. Built in bookshelves were already being put in.
They stepped back out into the hallway, which was beneath the stairs leading up, and continued looping around. After walking past a full bath on this level, they ventured further.
She covered her mouth with her hand, “Oh my God!” she whispered.
The living room was unbelievably large. It went from the back to the front of the house. Windows on all three sides. She walked to the fireplace that was on the side of the house. The rustic look of it giving the room a warmth even without a fire inside.
She ran her hand along the mantle. The fireplace was at least twice the size of theirs. This one having a ledge at the floor. She looked at it, seeing the three of them posing before it for next year’s Christmas card. She rubbed at her face. No, she wasn’t going to be pulled into the romanticism of this. They weren’t together.
The living room led back to the front door foyer. They’d made a complete circle of the main floor. As she stood in the entry, she looked into the living room and then up.
“The loft,” the words sighed past her lips. Two thirds of the living room was covered by the master suite loft. The oak railing had already been installed as just beyond it, the French doors that could be closed for privacy. Otherwise, the room could look down onto the main floor.
“Eden?” he called softly. When her eyes met his, he simply reached for her hand and led them upstairs. The only room to the right was the master suite. He pulled her inside and let her pull her hand free as she looked around her. Windows at the side and rear of the house would let sunlight in from both directions. And, on a clear night, the moon and stars could provide a tranquility.
Eden walked to stand at the French doors, looking at the downstairs. When she’d put this idea together in her mind, she’d never thought it possible. She looked up and saw another window directly across looking to the front of the house. He’d taken her ideas and brought them to life. It overwhelmed her.
She chewed at her bottom lip and turned into the room. Along the left were the walk in closet and master bathroom beyond that. Windows in the bathroom also faced the back of the house.
She stood there. Trying to take this all in. Her cut outs from magazines and simple drawings were right here.
He stood behind her, his arm reaching out and pointing over her shoulder. “King size bed would look very nice over there,” he said.
She closed her eyes and pictured this room decorated and furnished. Beneath the window at the back of the house would be the bed. A queen. Hell, in her mind a twin would be sufficient. All they needed was enough room to hold onto one another. She remembered all that wasted space in their room. So much distance could develop there. Was that what had happened? Before he moved into the guest room, had they grown so far apart that even a king-size bed wasn’t distance enough?
And then she remembered the first time waking in his arms since the accident. When she’d climbed into the guest room bed with him. God that felt so right.
She opened her eyes at the sound of him calling her name. “Eden?”
From the sounds of him, he’d been calling her a while.
“Sorry,” she told him before turning away.
They left the master suite and entered the hall. A large linen closet built in was just before the full bath on this floor. Further down the hall, were three bedrooms taking up the other side of the house.
Just like that day when she came home from the hospital, he remained silent for the most part during the house tour.
The house had a lower level similar to what they were used to with gathering space, bath and two more bedrooms.
“Noah, I don’t know what to say,” she said softly as she looked up at him.
“Is it what you imagined?” he asked.
“I had no idea what I drew could possibly be built. This is beautiful Noah.”
He smiled before grasping her hand and taking her back to the truck. His next stop: Noah’s Ark.
He didn’t say a word as he guided her into the darkened building. Instead of walking to his office, they walked to the other.
She turned and faced him. “Noah, if all this is trying to talk me into coming back, please don’t.”
His hands grasped her upper arms and held them as he stepped back and leaned against the front of the desk, pulling her with.
When he felt she wouldn’t step away, he let go of her arms and caressed up and down them instead. “Eden, just hear me out.”
Her face pled with his. “Noah, this, the house,” she did pull away now. “Us. It just doesn’t work.”
He stood and walked up behind her. His hands on her shoulders, he leaned forward to speak softly. “It does work, Eden. All you have to do is look.”
She swallowed and closed her eyes, trying to keep emotions at bay.
“Noah, all you have to do is look and see that it won’t.”
She turned to face him. Maybe if she could look him in the eye and say it, he’d see. They hurt each other too much.
Instead, he was too fast for her to see it coming. He cupped her head and brought his lips to hers. Taking her breath away.
Whether from a tired mind and body or just because he’d always affect her this way, she responded. One of his hands went to the small of her back, pulling her closer to him as his other stayed tangled in her hair.
When he finally ended the kiss, he looked into her eyes. “Yeah, wouldn’t work,” he whispered.
She rolled her eyes and pulled free. “Noah, that’s not fair.”
“Do you want to know what isn’t fair, Eden? That I sit at my desk each and every day looking at an open door and not hearing you in here. Not catching my son as he jumps through the air at me to sit and watch what I’m working on at my computer.” He stepped closer again, cupping the side of her face. “Lying in a bed in a house I built for my family with arms that ache because you aren’t in them. A house that’s bitterly empty and lacks your laughter. Tucking my son into bed three or four nights a week knowing it could all be different.”
A tear escaped. “Noah, what you’re asking…”
“Is a chance,” he interrupted. “A chance to see if we can be like we were when you came home from the hospital. A chance to see if we can have what we did for a few short months when you sat in this office.” He kissed her softly. “A chance to see, if this time, we can have it all.”
“Baby, I know you’re scared. So am I. I’m scared as hell that we’re letting something great slip through our fingers.”
“Oh Noah, there’s been so much hurt.”
“I know. But we can get past all of it. If we try.”
She sniffled, more silent tears falling. “Noah, I want to believe, really I do.”
“Then believe,” he told her.
“I don’t know Noah. Morgan’s been through so much.”
“And he’s a very big reason to try.”
She stepped back and blew out a breath.
“Tell me there were good times, Noah,” she said her back to him.
“There were Baby. Life just came along too fast. We didn’t know how to deal with things six years ago that we can now.”
She turned and looked at him.
“We were kids, Eden. We were successful putting this place together. We survived that first year of marriage. We were happy when we found out you were pregnant and trust me, we were over the top when Morgan was born. We just had too many starts all at once.”
“How do you know we can deal with any of it now?”
“Because I’ve seen it.”
“No, I lost my memory. It doesn’t mean those things didn’t happen.”
“I’m not saying things didn’t happen. It gave us a chance to do what we needed. Step back. Take a breather. Take life for what it is. Today.”
She turned and shook her head. Her heart couldn’t take another hit. She didn’t think his or Morgan’s could either.
“I’m sorry Noah.”
This wasn’t Eden. Old, new, either. Eden didn’t give up. She was a fighter. She was also an analyzer. She never did anything without thinking it through.
“Sleep on it,” he told her. “Think over everything we’ve said and done tonight. If you still feel the same tomorrow,” he paused. The words stuck in his heart. Her eyes looked at his. “I’ll let you go,” he finally said.
He stepped close to her. Caressing the hair back from her tear stained cheeks. “I know you don’t remember. But, try to think about everything since the accident. We can’t change before it.” He tilted his head slightly. “All I know is what I see standing here in front of me right now is a part of me. You said it earlier. You aren’t the girl I fell on the ground in front of anymore.” He kissed her softly. “I’m not the guy who fell either.”
“Have you always been able to confuse me this much?” she half cried half laughed.
“Only if I’m lucky,” he answered. And then he wrapped her in an embrace, praying with everything he had in him that he truly was lucky.