Mother Nature decided to bless them with numerous warm, September days. Allowing Eden to spend each afternoon on the hospital patio.
Noah agreed to help her when she asked. After a few days, she was walking unassisted.
They sat at the patio table. “You’re gonna get me in trouble you know,” Noah smiled.
She took a bite of her cheeseburger, “I’m sorry, Noah. This is so much better than hospital food.”
He laughed lightly, enjoying the fast food lunch he smuggled in with her. Until his thoughts wandered again. It had been three weeks since she woke and still no memories of him. Their marriage. Their son.
“Hey,” she softly called and reached her hand across the table, setting it atop his.
His eyes quickly lifted to hers.
“Noah, why are you sad?”
“I’m not,” he tried for lightness, failing miserably.
Anything can bring back her memory. A face. A scent. A date. The doctor’s words from the beginning echoed over and over. What harm will it do? he asked himself.
“My son,” he told her.
“I’m sorry,” she offered. “Is he why you’re at the hospital?”
“He’s not here, no.” He didn’t want her sympathy. “I miss him.”
“Where is he?”
“With family while I take care of other family things,” he told her. The truth…broadly.
“Do you have a picture?” she asked, barely containing her excitement.
He retrieved his wallet from his pocket. Please don’t let this be a mistake, he prayed. Opening to the photo he carried of Morgan, he handed it to her.
He watched her closely as she took the wallet from him, bringing it closer.
She smiled as she looked at the smiling faced toddler looking back at her from the photograph. Her finger traced along his chubby cheek.
He watched her study the picture. The silence lasting forever.
“Eden?” he softly called.
Her gaze lifted to meet his. “He’s beautiful,” she whispered.
“He is,” he agreed, looking for any signs of stress or recognition. Neither.
She looked back at the photo. “He has your eyes,” she said.
He opened his mouth to say something when he was interrupted, “Noah!” James’ voice called to him from the door.
“I’ll be right back,” Noah told her before rising and walking over to his brother-in-law.
“What do you think you’re doing?” James demanded.
“The nurses are fit to be tied over her fast food lunch,” James told him angrily.
“Oh my God!” Eden’s scream had them both racing to her.
“Eden,” Noah called at the same time James yelled “Sprite!”
Noah caught her just before she collapsed to the ground.
He carried her through the corridors to her room. Nurses surrounding her bed as he set her down.
“What happened?” Dr. Fredericks demanded as he approached.
“I don’t know!” Noah had fear flow through him as never before.
James entered her room full of rage. Grabbing Noah by the collar, yanked him away from his sister’s side. “You son of a bitch!”
“What?” Noah shouted back.
James shoved the crumpled photo at Noah. Noah closed his eyes then looked to James. “I didn’t,” his voice barely there.
“She had your wallet?”
“She asked to see a picture of my son.”
The doctor took his attention off Eden long enough to look at them. “Both of you! Out!”
A nurse escorted them to the lounge.
James had read him the riot act and turned silent. Noah’d screwed up big time. She’d taken the photo out of the protective sleeve; unfolding it to see the person holding his son was her.
The doctor entered a half hour later. “What the hell happened?” he demanded from them.
James pointed to Noah, “This selfish bastard showed her a photo of Morgan!”
Dr. Fredericks looked to Noah. “Did she recognize him?”
“No,” Noah answered softly.
“Okay, something happened. If she didn’t recognize…”
“I left my wallet with her to talk to James,” Noah answered.
“She took the photo out for a closer look I guess.”
“Mr. Carrington, I’d really like to know. Now!”
Noah handed him the photo. The doctor looked at it, then James, then Noah.
“This is a dangerous game you’re playing with your wife, Mr. Carrington.”
“I wasn’t playing a game, doc! I said I missed my son, she asked to see a picture. In the wallet, you can only see Morgan!”
“And, while you were distracted, she…”
“Look, Eden’s always curious. She took it out, unfolded it, and you know the rest.”
“How is she?” James asked.
“Getting settled,” the doctor answered curtly.
“For now. She’s asking for you Mr. Falcon.”
Noah and James exchanged heated glares before James left the lounge.
“Doc, I didn’t mean…” Noah jammed his hands through his hair. “She was doing fine just looking at Morgan. How much damage have I done?”
“Minimal,” he answered.
“That was minimal?”
“Dr. Miller has seen her. No memory recollection. But, she’s mad as hell!”
Noah chuckled, “Welcome to my world of Eden’s temper.”
The nurse raced into the lounge, “Doctor, Mrs. Carrington’s room. Stat!”
Noah and Dr. Fredericks raced out the door together.
“Jimmy! How could you do this?” Eden’s temper was definitely elevated.
“Don’t you Sprite me!” her voice full of emotion as well as anger. “You’ve done nothing but keep things from me! I had to choke it out of you about Mom and Dad. You told me I’m married, but forgot to mention to who! Even after you knew I’d met him on the terrace! And now… now a little boy? Jimmy why?”
Noah received a non-verbal command to not enter.
“Eden,” Dr. Fredericks interrupted. “Everyone has simply been going along with very strict instructions.”
“Your instructions suck!”
Noah chuckled. A little time left before he was raked over the coals he was certain.
“Be that as it may, amnesia is not an exact science. No one knows what gaining too much information too quickly will do,” Dr. Fredericks explained to her.
“And, when was I going to have a say in all this?”
“It looks like now would be a good time.”
She sobbed, “I have a son. How could I forget that?”
Dr. Fredericks sat on the side of the bed. “Eden, we don’t know why you’ve forgotten nor how long until you regain your memories. If you’ll regain them?”
“If?” she asked him tearfully.
“I’m sorry, Eden. You’ve been doing so well physically. We had hoped mentally would progress as rapidly. It just hasn’t happened yet.”
“Spr… Eden,” James quickly corrected at her angry glare. “I don’t think seeing Noah will help right now.”
“Sorry Jimmy, but I get a say now.”
“Eden, I tend to agree with your brother…”
The doctor’s words were interrupted when Noah entered the room. Their eyes locked a moment.
“I’d like some time alone with Noah, please.”
“Eden,” James tone became all big brother.
“Thank you, big brother. You can leave now.”
James went to say something, but the doctor gestured for him to leave as he followed.
Noah stood silently, hands nervously in his front jeans pockets.
“Can you close the door please, Noah?”
Oh boy, this wasn’t good. He did as she asked, and when he turned back to face her was floored as sobs overtook her and shook her body.
He walked over to sit in the chair by the bed. “Eden, I’m sorry. God, you’ll never know how sorry I am,” he tried.
Her left hand reached for him. The gesture taking him off guard. He stood and tentatively took her hand. He wasn’t imagining it, she was pulling him toward her.
His arms wrapped around her as he sat on the side of the bed. Her body trembling as she released even more tears. His shirt soaked up her tears as his hands caressed her back.
“I’m sorry, Eden,” he said over and over.
After she released all her pent up emotions, she pulled back, resting against the inclined bed. Her left hand wiping at her wet cheeks until he handed her the box of tissues.
“Noah,” he met her gaze. “I’m sorry.”
He scratched at his head. “Eden, you aren’t making sense.”
She sniffled. “I should know better with my family.” She chuckled. “Especially after how they didn’t want me to know about Mom and Dad until I pushed. Gee, let’s not tell little sister our folks are dead. What happened to them. Oh yeah, tell her she’s married but leave out just a small detail as to whom she’s married to. And, let’s also forget to tell her she has a beautiful little boy.” Her cries started again.
This time, he didn’t hesitate. He pulled her to him.
“Eden, we were told only to answer your questions.”
She was torn. She’d repeatedly told her brother she didn’t want to see her husband. She didn’t believe she was married. Now she understood that pull she felt when she saw him on the patio.
She pulled back and looked in his eyes. “You knew showing me a picture of… “ she didn’t even know her son’s name, “him might bring back my memory, didn’t you?”
“Yeah,” he answered through a tight throat.
She lifted her hand and cupped the side of his face, “I saw the look on your face before you handed me your wallet. You wanted me to remember him, didn’t you?”
“Morgan? Yes,” he answered.
“But, not you?”
He stood and paced. “I’m not important here Eden. Morgan and you are close. He misses you.”
“I’m sorry Noah,” she apologized.
“This is my fault. I shouldn’t have refused to see you.” She lifted her eyes to meet his. “You are important Noah. You’re the father of … my … son.” She couldn’t believe she’d even said it.
He looked at her, not holding back any emotion from his eyes. “Every day he asks me to bring Mommy home. You have no idea what it’s like not being able to give my son the one thing he wants the most. Eden, I’m twenty-seven years old and don’t understand any of this. How’m I supposed to explain that to a three year old?”
“Who’s with him while you’re here? Please don’t tell me my family.”
He chuckled. “No. Michelle is a very good friend. He feels comfortable with her.”
“I’m doing better. Why aren’t you with him instead of coming here every day?”
Were her memories coming back? Was he running into the old argument of not being there for their son?
“Eden, I’m trying to be everywhere. Here. With Morgan. Work.”
“You must have a very supportive employer to give you so much flexibility,” she said.
“Yeah. He’s great,” he smiled.
Two days of spending more time with Dr. Miller and his team than the physical therapists. Her legs and body were gaining strength and working. Her mind and memories still a vast void.
She was now determined to face life head on. No more hiding. She wasn’t a teenager any more. She was twenty-four, married and a mother.
Noah, James, Jake, and Abby sat with Drs Miller and Fredericks after Eden’s latest session.
“It appears we have to make some decisions,” Dr. Fredericks said as he rounded his desk and took his seat, facing his audience.
“Has she asked to see us yet?” Abby asked.
“She’s quite upset with her siblings right now. As much as I explain you were going along with our instructions, she seems to feel you’ve taken it too far.”
“And him?” Abby asked, gesturing to Noah.
“Ms. Baxter, she’s trying to come to terms with being married, learning who she’s married to, and now that she has a son,” Dr. Miller said.
“Have you told her she wants a divorce since she’s asking for such honesty?”
“Abby!” James’ warning was loud and clear.
“She’s asked why his visits have also been less frequent,” Dr. Miller informed them.
All eyes went to Noah. “She’s concerned about Morgan. I’ve been spending more time with him at her request.”
“So, it only took her losing her memory for you to finally step forward as a parent?” Abby shouted.
James stood and grabbed his sister’s arm. Leading her to the other side of the office after excusing them. “Abby, I don’t know what it is you have against the man, but it is his wife we are all concerned about. When her memory comes back, Eden will decide what she wants.”
“And you’ll be right there as big brother?”
“She’ll have my support then as she does now. But, you are not helping matters any. If you can’t think of Eden, then let the rest of us get back to what needs to be done.”
James didn’t give her a chance to argue. He walked back to the group.
“Doctors, what is the new game plan?” James asked.
“Eden wishes to meet her son,” Dr. Miller told them.
Noah looked at Dr. Fredericks, “But, you said that could be disastrous.”
“Noah,” Dr. Fredericks began, “physically Eden is doing remarkably well. There truly isn’t anything we can do for her here that resting at home won’t accomplish.”
Noah’s eyes widened in surprise. “Home?”
Dr. Miller sat forward, intently looking at Noah. “I’ve discussed this at length with Eden. She’s aware that what she’s asking could be dangerous.”
“Dangerous?” James asked.
“It’s possible seeing her home, living with Noah again, meeting her son, could bring all her memories forward too fast.”
“Living with Noah?” Abby had now rejoined them and softly asked.
Dr. Fredericks looked at her. “Her thought process right now is she’s married, living as a family with her husband and son. We need to work with what she perceives, real or not.”
“But, what about Morgan?”
“In the event she doesn’t recognize him, she will do her best from frightening the child.”
Noah stood, combing his hand through his hair. “I know this doesn’t matter, but that day on the patio, when she asked my help to stand. It hurt like hell knowing she didn’t know who I am. How can a three year old deal with that?”
Dr. Miller approached him. “Noah, I think there is some recognition of you on some level. She instinctively trusted you. She’s made her greatest physical improvements when she’s been with you. I believe on some level, the same would be for Morgan, if not more so.”
Noah paced. “I’ve wanted this. Now I don’t know. Every time I’ve mentioned Morgan, all of you have shot me down. Now, I want to say no.”
“Noah, Eden wants to get her memories back. So, we’ve made a deal.”
“You made a deal. With Eden.”
“Yes. First, she becomes familiar with your home. See how it progresses. Jogs her memory. I’ll check in with her daily. When it comes to the initial meeting with Morgan, I will be there,” Dr. Miller said.
“This is so not a good idea,” Noah softly said.
Over the next twenty-four hours, Noah arranged for Michelle to continue keeping Morgan. He’d bring Eden back to the house. Their house. He’d visit with Morgan at Michelle’s and help with his bedtime just as he’d been the entire time of her hospitalization.
Noah pulled the car in front of the patient discharge area. Eden sat in the wheelchair, which she insisted wasn’t necessary, watching him as he approached. Over the past couple of weeks, she’d become familiar with some of his body language. At times when he helped her stand, and then progressed to walking, he was truly at ease. Other times, his voice and words said he was calm, but his tension showed in the rigidity of his back or slump of his shoulders.
As he rounded the hood of the car, his back was ramrod straight. His smile as he stepped closer was betrayed. He was just as nervous as she was. Something Eden didn’t think was possible.
“Hey,” he greeted.
“Hey,” she softly greeted back.
Noah helped her stand and walked beside her as they approached the car. Dr. Miller flanked her other side. Dr. Miller opened the passenger door.
Noah felt her hesitation. “Eden?” Noah called to her. “You okay?”
“Is this, you know,” she looked at him, “the car?”
He shook his head, “No.”
“And, you drive well, right?”
He chuckled, “I’d like to think so.”
Eden gave a cautious look to Dr. Miller. “It’s alright, Eden. I told you, anything can produce a memory.”
She nodded before folding herself inside the passenger seat.
As they drove along the freeway, Noah would glance her way. Her fingers on her casted hand fidgeting with those on her left. Her eyes watching the passing scenery.
“Anything?” Noah asked.
She turned to face him, then down. “Nothing.”
More silence. What was going to happen when she walked into the home they shared yet had walked away from? If her memories returned at seeing what had become their shattered home, he didn’t think he could take it.
This Eden, post-accident, was the Eden he’d fallen in love with. So trusting. When her memory returned, so would the woman she had become. A woman he had no idea who she was. A woman so unlike the one sitting here now. Damn this was a mess.
The half hour drive took them off the freeway to a newer development in a suburb. As he turned into the development, she noted how all the homes, in neutral shades of tans, browns and creams, lined the streets.
“They all look the same,” she thought aloud.
“Modern architecture,” he said.
He opened the door to the house from the garage and gestured her to enter first. She removed her shoes and quietly walked a few steps further in.
“Nothing,” she answered the question she knew he wanted to ask. She grabbed his arm as he began stepping forward, “Noah?”
He turned and looked at her with a sideways glance. Her heart fluttered wildly and unexpectedly.
Swallowing, she then said, “How about we just agree I’ll tell you when I remember something, okay?”
“If that’s what you want,” he answered. Right now, he was feeling just as anxious as she looked.
“I just don’t want you feeling like you have to ask all the time.”
“Alright,” he shrugged it off. “Are you hungry?”
She shook her head. “No thanks.”
She followed as he went further into the house. Straight ahead was the living room. She took it in. An overstuffed cream sofa sat across the room from a matching loveseat. A glider rocker with ottoman near the loveseat. The three pieces of furniture positioned to face a wall with a large TV on it? She walked over and touched it.
She turned and found him watching her. “Is this a television?”
He chuckled. “Yeah. Want me to turn it on?”
She turned and faced the fireplace in the corner. Covering the mantle were framed photos of Morgan. All sizes from eight by tens down to snapshots.
She reached for one and brought it closer. As Noah approached and stood behind her, she sniffled. “He has a sweet tooth, doesn’t he?”
Noah being ten inches taller, easily peered over her shoulder. She held the photo of Morgan on his first birthday. His chubby hands and cheeks covered in the birthday cake. Noah on one side of his high chair, she the other.
One of her hands went to the back of her head. “Look at my hair!” she laughed and cried.
Her auburn hair was long then. Midway down her back. For his party, she pulled it back on the sides and curled the top. Mixed in with the auburn were blonde highlights. Not like it was now. Cut short.
“I loved your hair,” he softly said and regretted it the moment it left his mouth.
“I did too,” she said while replacing the photo on the mantle. She turned slightly to see him. “So why did I cut it all off?”
Because I loved your hair. “You wanted something different I guess.”
“I can’t imagine ever wanting to cut my hair,” she said as she stepped past him to look some more. “But, since I can’t imagine having a baby either right now, who knows.”
After leaving the light colored living room, he took her to the kitchen. There, all white appliances filled the room. A canister set of pale yellow lined the counter on one side, a knife set next to the stove. A long counter separated the kitchen from the dining area. The cupboards above it and below creating the divide while the openness of the counter brought the rooms together. The only thing on the top of this counter was a vase filled with silk flowers in shades of yellow.
He retrieved a can of pop from the fridge while she took in her surroundings. He leaned his hip against the counter, watching her. She circled around the counter into the dining area. All that was in here was a table with four chairs and a high chair. The center of the table held another vase of silk flowers. Light filled the dining area through the French style patio doors that led to a deck.
She looked through the glass doors. A gas grill, a couple of lounge chairs and an octagon picnic table was all there was on the deck.
Also on the main floor, an expansive laundry room with folding table. A half bath in the corner across the hall. Opposite the laundry room was the den. His office. He stood at the entrance to the kitchen as she contemplated entering what had to be his private domain. How many times had she just burst into his office to fight about one issue or another? Now, he saw her hand tremble as it lie flat against the wood. Deciding against entering, she walked away.
She’d made a complete circle of the main floor. Steps down lead to a sitting room, a full bath, and bedroom. All as sparsely furnished and spotlessly clean as the others. Framed photos along shelves the only evidence anyone actually lived here.
He watched as she took two steps up to the upper level and stopped. Her knuckles white as she grasped the railing.
Carrington, you’re an ass! he chastised himself before setting his pop down and walking to her. His hands grasped hers, prying them lose.
“Let’s have some lunch,” he offered, turning her and guiding her back down the stairs.
She picked at the plate of cold sandwich and chips he offered.
“Not hungry?” he asked, bringing her from her thoughts.
She shook her head, “Not really.” She looked up and met his gaze. “But thank you. I’m sure this can’t be easy for you either.”
She lifted her good hand in a gesture to silence him. “No. I never thought of how this would be for you. I’m sorry, Noah.”
He took their plates to the sink. He didn’t know what to do. This wasn’t the Eden who’d lived in this house. She’d been a bitch when she lived here, he wasn’t going to sugar-coat it to himself. But, this woman, so much could be seen in her eyes. Could he let go of his own apprehension? Let down his guard? He kept going back to the same question: What happened when her memory returned?
“Noah?” her voice called. From the sound of it, she must have called him a few times.
He turned to face her. “Sorry.” Now that he was used to saying to Eden. Repeatedly. Only he didn’t get an understanding smile in return like he was getting now.
They made small talk for a while. She avoided the task of going upstairs, he avoided bringing it up.
He walked her around the backyard. A sandbox off to one side. No toys inside it though. Sitting on the deck, she took in a deep breath.
“I think I can’t avoid it much longer.”
He was enjoying their time together.
“Avoid what?” he asked, taking a sip of his coke.
“You sure you’re ready for that?”
“No,” she honestly answered and he was again taken back. Eden was always ready for anything. And if she wasn’t, she sure as hell never let anyone know about it. “But…”
“Say no more,” he said, rising from his seat. She stepped back into the house before him.
As she took each step up the stairs, she felt a reassurance at his presence just one step behind.
The upper level contained three bedrooms, a master and two others; a full size bathroom off the hallway and an even larger master bath off the master bedroom.
She stood in the door way of the master bedroom. A huge king-size bed and two dressers filled half the room. The walls covered in a soft rose color with wallpaper border of pink roses halfway up the wall. The walk-in closet held some outfits on hangers on one side with half as much of what appeared to be his on the other.
Built-in drawers also fit inside. She opened one drawer finding some lingerie and quickly closed it. Noah smiled softly at the idea she was embarrassed.
She entered the master bath. A Jacuzzi tub in one corner, regular tub and shower opposite it. A double sink and fully stocked linen closet. Vanity top void of everything except essentials.
Nothing. No memories. This was getting frustrating. She stood in the midst of what was her life and couldn’t conjure up a single image.
She stopped briefly as she re-entered the bedroom. Noah was seated at the foot of the bed. Obviously just waiting for her, but caused a ripple to travel down her spine. Why?
The bed was covered with a quilt that matched the wallpaper border, as did the curtains. Numerous throw pillows at the head of the bed. One alarm clock.
She went to the bedroom furthest from the master bedroom. It was darker than the rest of the house. A light brown paint. The bed was a queen size, she thought. Smaller than the master bed obviously. Covering it was a quilt of navy, emerald and wine. The tall dresser had toiletries on top. Men’s toiletries. When she turned, she found he hadn’t followed her into this room. Here, he remained leaning against the doorjamb. Arms folded…defensively?
“You said my brothers and sister stayed with you here?”
“Until your discharge,” he answered.
She looked at the dresser top then to him. “Jimmy’s? Jake’s?”
He pushed off the door frame, “Mine,” he answered then turned to go into the hall.
She admitted she was nervous at the thought of her sleeping arrangements. Was he as well? Is that why he moved into this room?
She approached him, placing her left hand on his forearm. “Noah, you don’t have to leave your room. Really, I’m more of a guest here.”
“Your room is the pink room, Eden.”
She was taken off guard by his shutting down. He left no room for discussion. He’d simply walked to the last bedroom on this level and opened the door.
She stood immobile. Her breathing came in short bursts. Her eyes met his. His smile showed empathy, but his eyes were now closed off to her. It unsettled her more than the prospect of entering the room of her son. A son she still didn’t remember.
She wanted to reach for his hand. Wanted to feel support from him as she’d felt that first time on the hospital patio. When she didn’t know who he was, but knew she could trust him.
“If you aren’t ready,” he said, bringing her back to the moment.
A tear escaped and she quickly brushed it off with her fingers. Chin up, she made her way to the room.
He likes cars. His toddler bed was a race car. Sheets and blankets in the racing theme. They matched the curtains on his window. Little cartoon faces made from headlights and grills. The room painted a soft blue and race car stickers covering various walls.
Above his dresser hung a hand made cross stitch birth announcement. Morgan Matthew. Six pounds four ounces. February twentieth. Her left hand rose and lightly touched the frame.
“He was so tiny,” she said.
“You didn’t think so at the time,” Noah told her.
She looked at him silently a moment before unfolding the closet doors. Some outfits hung before her. She lifted one.
“Those don’t fit any more,” Noah told her.
Various bedding neatly folded were contained on shelves off to the side in the closet. A hand made blanket caught her attention. She reached for it and unfolded it.
The blanket was white with a race car crocheted in. The border stripes of pale blue and white. She ran her hand over the blanket, feeling the softness of the yarn.
“This is beautiful,” she whispered.
“You made that for him,” he told her.
She turned to face him. “I did?”
“Before he was born,” he answered.
He didn’t see it coming. She grasped the blanket to her chest as she collapsed to her knees, sobs engulfing her.
He ran to her, kneeling beside her. “Eden?” Had her memories returned?
She looked at him so vulnerable at that moment, it took his breath away. “Why Noah?” she cried. “Why can’t I remember him?”
He pulled her to his chest and hugged her close. “I don’t know, Eden,” he answered. “I don’t know.”
She pulled back slightly, looked into his eyes. “Where are his toys Noah?”
He hadn’t expected that question. “What?”
She completely pulled away and stood. She spun around once before facing him. “His toys Noah. There’s no toys down stairs. Barely any in here.” She stormed past him to the bathroom off the hall. “Where’s his baby shampoo? Where’s his wash cloth?”
He stood looking at her. He’d never seen her emotional like this before.
“Where Noah?” she demanded.
“He hasn’t been staying here,” he answered honestly. As her gaze remained with his, he knew she wasn’t satisfied with the broad answer.
“Morgan has been staying with Michelle,” he told her. “He gets too upset here. So, his toys and clothes are where he is.”
“I’m sorry,” she lowered her gaze now. “It’s just, not seeing things here. It looks like he doesn’t live here.”
He stood before her, his hands running up and down her biceps. “Let’s go downstairs.”
She nodded and leaned into him as they descended the stairs, his arm around her shoulders.
She didn’t eat much dinner either. Even the brownies weren’t tempting enough.
That evening, she sat alone in the living room after Noah left. He told her he needed to help Michelle with Morgan’s bedtime, something he’d been doing every night while she was hospitalized. Why aren’t the memories coming? She was so frustrated.
Noah felt the exhaustion of the day as he pulled into the garage. The house was dark, but he was used to that. He’d lived alone here since she’d walked out the front door. Only, he wasn’t alone tonight. She was within the walls of the house that was supposed to become their home. The house she decorated and insisted remain uncluttered and immaculately clean. Everything with its place.
His head craved sleep. He wanted her to remember, and yet didn’t. This new Eden was so much like the girl he met and fell in love with. Once her memory came back, all he could hope for was not losing his son all over again. He’d bonded with him while Eden was hospitalized. He loved his son. Always had. He just missed so much with working.
He rest his head back on the driver’s seat headrest. She couldn’t remember anything, and he couldn’t forget. God what a mess.
“You’re never home, Noah!” Eden shouted at him in anger.
“Eden, you know I don’t have a choice. I have to work! I have to provide for you and Morgan!”
“That was in the beginning Noah. When you were getting the business up and running. You know Lawrence can run things too.”
“This is MY business Eden! Lawrence is…”
“What Noah? Lawrence is your best friend who invested his money with yours to make your stupid dream come true. What about my dreams Noah?”
“What do you want from me Eden?” his shout filled the air.
“Nothing from you Noah! We’re roommates, nothing more!”
He grabbed her arm as she went to walk past him to see to Morgan, who had begun crying as a result of their latest fight.
“I love you Eden,” his eyes bore into hers, trying to make her see that.
Her chin lifted defiantly. “I don’t love you Noah,” she whispered, her eyes staying with his. “Not any more.” She pulled her arm free and left him standing alone in the kitchen.
Their fights over the past two years always ended the same. He wasn’t good enough. Couldn’t be what she wanted. The more he tried, the more she’d shoot him down for the effort. She was his wife and he loved her. You married someone for life. Through good and bad. When they were good, damn it was good. But just as severely, their bad was the worst. The last seven months were her constantly telling him she didn’t love him anymore.
She’d told him so many times she didn’t love him any more. He’d stay at work until he could barely stay awake. Sometimes sleeping on the sofa in his office. He’d moved into the spare bedroom upstairs. She didn’t want his touch and pulled away whenever he tried. Rather than face constant rejection, he stopped trying. Thinking time was what they needed. Until she had enough time to think a divorce was the answer. A divorce he didn’t want then. Didn’t know what the hell he wanted now.
He climbed out of the car. His back hurt. Morgan wanted an extra long bath tonight. “Daddy! Make the boats go!” His giggles filling Noah’s heart. By the time he’d left Michelle’s, his tee shirt soaked, his back a dull ache.
The house filled with darkness as he entered. He set his keys on the table near the door and quietly walked up the stairs. As he reached the upper level, he turned on the bathroom light, allowing enough light to illuminate a look inside their … her room. His hand was rubbing the back of his neck as he lifted his head to look inside. Just to make sure she was okay. He wasn’t going to enter.
Panic raced through him at the sight. The bed still made, no Eden in sight. He raced into the room, turning on the ceiling light as he did.
“Eden?” he called frantically, going to the master bath. Nothing.
He raced across the hall to Morgan’s room. Nothing touched in there since they’d been up there either.
Shit! He raced down stairs; grabbing his keys and yanking open the door to the garage.
“Noah?” her sleepy voice called.
He stopped dead. “Eden?” he called, loudly dropping his keys back on the table.
He turned and saw movement in the living room, on the sofa.
Not wanting to scare her any more than he probably already had, he took quick strides toward her. Kneeling before the sofa while she remained lying down. Her eyes still sleepy as she looked at him.
“What are you doing down here?” his voice calmer than he felt as he brushed hair back from her face before pulling his hand back.
Her white … sorry cream sofas were not for sleeping on. He’d made that mistake once.
“I tried to wait for you to come back. I just got too tired. I didn’t know how to turn the TV on, so I guess it was just so quiet, and…”
“I should’ve called. Bedtime took a little longer than usual tonight.”
She sat up straight. It was then he noticed she still clutched the race car blanket.
“Is he alright?” he heard the panic in her voice.
He fell back on his heels, feeling less stressed knowing she was fine. “Morgan’s fine. First he wanted a longer bath. Then he wasn’t satisfied with two stories, he needed four.”
She turned on the light on the table next to the sofa, giving the room a soft glow. When she looked at him, she noticed his shirt. She cautiously reached forward.
“You’re shirt’s wet.”
He chuckled. “Yeah. Your son likes speed boats as much as his race cars.”
My son. The thought went into her brain and evoked nothing.
Her silence worried him. “Eden?”
She lifted her gaze to match his. The love for his son so apparent in his eyes. What had it been like when he looked at her like that? Did he?
“He’s lucky to have you,” she said.
Now there was a sentiment she hadn’t voiced before.
“You’d better get some sleep, Eden,” he said as he stood and extended his hand to her.
Instead of reaching for his hand, she patted the spot beside her. He looked confused at her invitation, but sat down just the same.
“What’s he like?” she asked.
“Morgan?” he asked and she nodded. “Well, he’s a lot more active now than he was just a few months ago.
“And, he has a mind of his own. He has no problem saying what he wants, when he wants it,” Noah chuckled.
“Strong willed huh?”
“Just like his mama,” he responded then saw the sadness wash down her face just before she broke down into sobs. “Eden, I’m sorry.” Crap, he’d messed up again.
She had a death grip on the blanket. “Just one memory,” she whispered. “Just one.”
“Eden, it’ll come,”
She stood then turned to face him, “You don’t know that! What if…”
He stood before her. “Maybe you’re trying too hard.”
She stepped closer. “Noah, I don’t remember feeling him grow inside me. His first breath.” She looked up at him now. “Your face when you first saw him.”
“Shock would be a good way to describe it,” he answered.
“I want to know everything about him,” she told him.
He held her at arm’s length, looking at her. “Eden, let’s see if things come on their own. Okay?”
“Okay,” she reluctantly agreed.
One hand lifted to pinch his nose with his thumb and forefinger.
“Noah, you’re exhausted. I keep forgetting how much you’re trying to handle.”
He wasn’t going to argue. The ache in his back and neck were starting again. “Morgan’s long bath has done in my back.”
They walked up the stairs, his turning off lights as they went.
“No!” she called as he began closing her door. She saw the confusion in his eyes. “Please leave the door open.”
“Call me crazy,” she chuckled but continued, “I’m feeling a little claustrophobic.”
“Alright. I’m just across the hall if you need anything.”
He lifted his hand from the door knob, turned and began his way to his room.
“Good night Noah,” she softly called.
He gave her a sidelong glance and smiled, “Good night, Eden. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
She bit her lip and smiled as she turned away. He shook his head as he went to his room.