Another week passed. He began heading into the office, leaving her with Morgan alone for the mornings and returning for the afternoons. Gradually increasing more time away. She was getting more comfortable in the house. Still no memories. No recognition. Her bonding with Morgan appeared as though it had never wavered. Morgan accepted her unconditionally. Noah, on the other hand, still held apprehension. Waiting for her to inform him of his slip-ups.
He stood frozen in the kitchen one afternoon as her conversation with Morgan blasted him to the past.
She took a juice box out of the fridge, handing it to Morgan as she balanced him on her hip.
“Here you go Baby Boy.”
When did she remember calling him that?
“Not a baby,” Morgan responded, just like always.
Please, not again.
“You’re my baby boy,” she cooed, kissing his cheek.
He held his breath as he turned to face her. Anticipating the angry glare from her saying He’s my baby boy Noah.
As he turned, he watched her walk toward him, rubbing her nose at Morgan’s cheek.
“I’ll bet you’re Daddy’s baby boy, too,” she said.
“Not a baby!”
She lifted her eyes to meet Noah’s. No scorn. No anger. No hatred.
He shook free from her gaze before cupping Morgan’s head in his hand. “No, not a baby. Daddy’s big boy,” his voice catching before he kissed Morgan’s temple.
“Big boy!” Morgan excitedly agreed, bouncing in her arms.
Noah looked at her, waiting for it. The angry glare of How dare you? But, it wasn’t there. She quickly averted his gaze, kissing Morgan’s other temple.
“No, not a baby,” she conceded. “Big boy.”
He bounced more, with the cast still on her wrist, she needed both hands to contain him.
They both snapped their attention to Morgan. He was looking right at Noah.
“Kiss Mommy!” he repeated.
Realization of what he was asking, no demanding hit them. Their gazes locked. Noah’s eyes growing golden, causing her breath to catch.
With both her hands needed to hold Morgan, unless she stepped back, she was close enough to do just as Morgan had ordered.
Cautiously, Noah lifted his right arm, sliding his hand at the nape of her neck, sifting his fingers into her hair as he slowly leaned in.
Her heart raced. He’s going to kiss me! Oh, she had wanted this. Everything felt in slow motion, his kiss getting closer.
Her eyes turned almost black just before closing as his lips touched hers. His hand holding her still. Holding her to him.
The kiss was amazingly brief but thorough. His lips giving a hint of what he could do if allowed to kiss longer. Setting off a tidal wave of need in her belly of a promise of what was.
His wide smile before he turned away was devilishly sinful. Almost like he knew the fire he’d started and leaving her to burn. One kiss and her toes almost ripped into the linoleum beneath her bare feet.
She stood motionless for a moment. Noah’s attention back to gathering pots and pans for dinner. Here she stood dumbfounded like a love-struck teenager, and Noah was back to life as usual. This is so not fair!
Gathering herself, she left the room with Morgan, telling him nap time was as soon as they reached the top of the stairs.
Hearing them ascend the stairs, Noah finally released the breath he’d been holding, setting his hands on the countertop and bowing his head.
All you had to do was kiss her on the cheek! But no. You idiot! You had to go and kiss her!
He reasoned he was only caught up in the moment. Had nothing to do with the anticipation he saw shining back at him from her eyes. Couldn’t be. Eden didn’t anticipate anything from him any more. He had been seeing things. Her eyes did not darken with need. Longing. Desire. He didn’t evoke those feelings within Eden any more. Hadn’t for over two years.
And she sure as hell didn’t just respond to him! That was totally a fantasy on his part. Eden avoided. Eden got angry. Eden repelled. Eden did not respond!
He jammed his hands in his hair as he paced. Looking at the ceiling wondering what the hell was going on. Trying to come to terms with things that just weren’t possible. Telling himself it was not something that was going to be repeated. Kissing Eden was off limits. They hadn’t been intimate for over eight months. He wasn’t going to have a taste of something he couldn’t devour. And right now, his body screamed for him to have an entire Eden meal, not just a nibble.
After pacing and cursing himself for twenty minutes, he realized he didn’t hear movement upstairs. A horrific thought flashed through his mind. She’d remembered and was now packing up. Getting ready to leave again.
When he got to the upper level, Morgan was sound asleep in his bed. Covered in the handmade car blanket Eden had virtually forbidden to be used before. The blanket Morgan wanted all the time now.
Eden! Had she snuck out while he was distracted trying to analyze a kiss in the kitchen? No, she wouldn’t leave Morgan.
He found her also asleep, on top the covers in her room. He stepped closer. Who was this woman?
Sitting on the edge of the bed, he simply watched her. Curled on her side, her hands together beneath her cheek on the pillow. She had a serenity about her. A complete calm and peace almost radiating from her. And on her left ring finger, a gold band for the first time in months. The one that matched his.
After a moment of taking in this woman who was stirring things he hadn’t anticipated, his hand reached out and gently shook her shoulder. Waking her.
She cooed as she woke, a sound that went straight to his heart.
“Hey,” he softly called to her.
She moaned at the thought of waking. Though she denied having Morgan with them was tiring her, it was evident. Dr. Fredericks told her she should be like a new mother, sleeping when the child slept. Eden decided she could jump right back in to life full time. Not wanting to miss another moment.
“Eden, we need to go see Dr. Fredericks this afternoon.”
“What?” she asked as she looked at him sleepily.
“Your cast comes off today.”
With Michelle at the house with Morgan, Eden and Noah sat in the waiting room of Dr. Fredericks.
“Will you come back with me?” she asked him.
“You want me to?” Noah asked, surprised at her request.
“I’ve never had a broken bone before, have I?” she asked, clarifying she hadn’t had one during their time together that she couldn’t remember.
“Not that I know of,” he told her.
“Well, according to the nurse, it would have been easier to tell me bones I didn’t break in my wrist. And, he has to take the pin out he put in during surgery. They say it doesn’t hurt, but I’m really nervous.”
Noah was blown away. Eden, this Eden had just confessed to things she would never have before. At least not to him.
“Okay,” he finally agreed. He liked that she found safeness with him. Liked that she trusted him. She was going to be very angry when her memory returned. And that anger was going to be directed at him.
She had him sit next to her on the side of the exam table as the nurse removed the cast and pulled it away. Eden watched with her usual curiosity.
As the nurse pulled the gauze away and exposed the pin sticking out at the side of her wrist, Eden’s head began to spin.
“Oh my!” the nurse exclaimed when she looked up at Eden.
“Eden!” Noah called, wrapping his arm around her shoulders when she started to sway.
The nurse left the room and came back with a glass of water. “Here dear, drink this.”
Eden’s left hand trembled as she brought the paper cup to her lips. The nurse took that time to cover her right hand with a towel.
“Better?” she asked Eden.
“I’m sorry. I’m not sure what just happened.”
“It’s not all that unusual dear. I see it all the time.”
Noah stayed behind as the nurse took Eden for x-rays. The doctor wasn’t going to remove the pin until he was certain the bones were healing.
She sat next to Noah as they awaited Dr. Fredericks. His arm was back around her shoulders. Her left hand on his thigh.
Dr. Fredericks entered. After taking note of their closeness, he smiled. “Good news Eden. Your wrist is doing extremely well.”
“You’re taking the pin out?” she asked nervously.
He stood before her. “There’s no reason to keep it in,” he told her.
Dr. Fredericks looked to Noah, who lightly shrugged. What was he supposed to tell him? Hey doc, my wife never panics over anything, is totally in control at all times, and I have no idea why this woman sitting here, who happens to look like my wife, is clinging to me. Oh, and by the way, I absolutely love this new version of my wife.
And that was something he knew not to get used to. Feeling needed by Eden. Feeling like a true half to a whole.
“Okay Eden,” Dr. Fredericks’ voice broke into Noah’s thoughts. “I want you to pick a number between one and ten.”
“Why?” she asked confusedly.
“That’s the number I’ll pull the pin out on.”
“Six,” she said nervously.
She snuggled in close to Noah as the doctor held her right wrist in one hand, his other going to the pin.
She closed her eyes tightly as she snuggled in closer.
“Eden,” Noah called to her.
She opened her eyes and looked at him. Smiling those lips so close to hers.
“It’s out,” Noah told her.
“It is?” She sat up and looked at her wrist. Feeling a little queasy again at the small hole the pin had left behind, which was soon covered by a plain band aid.
Next, Dr. Fredericks put a wrist guard on her. “I want you wearing this the next two weeks. Take it off to bathe or if you’re resting. Otherwise, keep it on and slowly increase the time you’re without it.” Dr. Fredericks looked into her eyes. “Definitely when you’re lifting that boy of yours.” He winked.
“That’s it?” she asked.
“I’ll see you back here in four weeks.”
Eden wrapped her arms around Dr. Fredericks’ neck. “Thank you!”
“You’re welcome.” He gave further instructions to take something if there was pain, but they were good to go.
“Dr. Fredericks?” Eden called apprehensively.
The doctor turned and met her gaze.
“I need to know something about my accident,” she said.
Noah stood beside her, looking as confused as the doctor.
Dr. Fredericks nodded for her to continue.
“Was I pregnant when I had the accident?”
Noah couldn’t explain the emotion that slammed through him at her question.
Dr. Fredericks opened her file and read through it.
“There’s no indication here of it,” he told her. “Why?”
Eden bit on her bottom lip. “I keep having this dream of a baby crying out for me,” she told him.
“Dr. Miller told me you had a nightmare a while ago,” Dr. Fredericks said.
“I thought the baby crying was Morgan. But it’s not. It’s not Morgan’s cry, but I know the baby crying is mine.”
“I’m sorry Eden, there’s no indication of you being pregnant.”
“But, I feel such a loss when I wake up. Like I’ve lost someone.”
Dr. Fredericks looked in thought a moment.
“It could be the loss of your parents in some way,” he thought out loud. “Or it could be the loss you feel of not remembering your son.”
“But, it’s been two months since the accident. I haven’t had a period at all.”
Dr. Fredericks looked at Noah. “Mr. Carrington?”
Noah shook his head. “Uh, Eden couldn’t have been pregnant,” he finally answered.
Both Eden and Dr. Fredericks looked at him asking why with their eyes.
Because we hadn’t had sex in six months before the accident, that’s why.
“Eden’s on long term birth control,” he finally answered.
Noah looked at her. “You get a shot every three months or so.”
“Ah, that explains it,” Dr. Fredericks said, causing her attention to turn to him. “If you get your shots on time, you won’t experience any bleeding.”
“But, but … I hate shots,” she stammered.
“Eden, check with your doctor. I’m afraid this is not my area,” Dr. Fredericks told her.
The ride home had Noah distracted. Not that there was any traffic to contend to, it was early enough rush hour hadn’t begun yet. His distraction was completely on the woman sitting next to him. Not in the passenger seat. But right next to him. Her thigh touching his as she rest her head on his shoulder.
Her anxiety of getting the cast and pin removed had tired her out. She was so grateful Noah was with her. Especially after getting nauseous at the sight of the pin in her wrist. His ability to soothe and comfort was a Godsend. She could tell he was nervous as well, but he still was a rock of strength for her.
His aftershave drifted over to her and she closed her eyes as her head rest at his shoulder. She kissed his cheek softly. “Thank you for being there today Noah,” she said as she set her head back down.
Maybe he was the one who had been in an accident and this was all some twisted dream he was going to wake up from. That was it. He’d wake up, Eden would be gone. Morgan would be gone. And, his heart would be experiencing an emptiness that was unbearable on a good day. He would not be experiencing a closeness to a woman snuggled up on his shoulder right now who trusted him enough to allow him to comfort her and was now asleep on his shoulder if her breathing was any indication.
He ran his left hand down his face. This was so not happening.
Eden’s curiosity was never something she could fight. As they sat at dinner, she had to know. “Noah, why don’t we want a brother or sister for Morgan?”
Noah just about choked on his food. He wanted a big family. Eden had always said the same. Then, out of no where, just days following Morgan’s first birthday, she told him about the birth control shots. His mind went back to that tense moment…
“Eden, why on Earth did you make that decision without at least talking to me first?” he asked.
“Noah, Morgan is a lot of work. He’s starting to walk and will need more of my attention,” she answered.
He stepped closer to her. She hadn’t slept much for a couple of days. Her complexion had been pale all week. She’d told him she thought it was the flu. Her eyes were always bloodshot, as though she’d been crying all day long. It was the beginning when she started pulling away from him. When they did make love, it just wasn’t the same after that. There’d been a wall there that hadn’t been before. Whenever he’d asked if he’d done something, she’d simply say no. She was tired. Morgan kept her busy. Any number of excuses to pull further and further away from him. Until it got to the point he’d moved into the guest room.
If she had been pregnant at the time of the accident … no he wasn’t going to entertain those thoughts.
“Noah?” she called at his continued silence.
He returned to the present. Looking at a woman so different now.
“It’s not that we didn’t want a sibling for Morgan, you just wanted to enjoy him a while I guess,” he answered.
“Eden, I don’t know what else to tell you. I’m sorry.”
He pushed back his chair. His appetite gone. He didn’t have the answers she was looking for because for two and a half years, she’d shut him out. Slowly, bit by bit, they grew further and further apart.
He hated how it had become with them. It was like a part of her died. Along with it, a part of them.
Eden sat at the dining table a mass of confusion. She hated shots, yet had been getting one every three months to prevent a pregnancy? And Noah didn’t know why? That just didn’t make sense. Yet, she couldn’t stop that feeling of loss. The dream provoked such intense and real emotion. One memory. But, would that be one memory she’d want at the expense of any others she could wish for?