It had taken him forever to fall asleep. Once he did, it turned into a restful sleep. Something he hadn’t had in a long time. An actual peace flowed through him.
Morning light began seeping through the spaces in the blinds. Their kiss the night before had brought forth dreams he wasn’t ready to give up just yet. The dreams so powerful he could actually smell the raspberry shampoo of her hair, transporting him back in time. It’d been years since she used raspberry shampoo. Hell, she used raspberry bath wash, body lotion; she smelled like a raspberry bush most of the time that first year. Not only could he smell her fruity shampoo, he could feel the delicate touch of her hand gently on his chest. This was heaven.
He turned his head while in that place between sleep and waking. Something tickled his nose, causing his head to turn away. He felt a light weight on his leg. What the hell? One side of his body felt something covering it. His left hand moved over flesh and he couldn’t feel it.
His eyes shot open. Cautiously he turned his head to the left. No.
His body physically jerked at the surprise of finding Eden wrapped in his arms, snuggled up close, her leg over one of his with her head on his chest.
“Shh,” she protested, kissing his bare chest lightly.
“Eden, what are you doing here?”
She groaned at the thought of waking. “I’m sleeping. Shh.”
He pulled back slightly. “Eden.”
She tilted her head up and groggily opened her eyes. Looking at him sleepily was having an effect on him. He felt very vulnerable in only his boxers. Especially since another part of his anatomy was waking up at her nearness. And, if she moved her leg the slightest bit higher, she was about to find that out for herself.
“Eden,” he called again when she didn’t say anything.
“I’m sorry Noah, you were so restless last night.”
“That doesn’t explain what you’re doing here.”
“I think Morgan heard you moving around. He was a little restless. After I checked on him, I came in here to see if you were alright.”
She felt he was wound up tight. What she couldn’t figure out was why he was so upset about her being there.
“I think you were having a bad dream or something. I called your name, but you didn’t wake up. So, I climbed in. You calmed down right away.”
He ran his free hand down his face. Was her being here the reason he slept so soundly and peaceful? None of this was making sense.
Morgan’s call put an end to a potential disagreement.
“Duty calls,” she said before pulling away.
Jake had come for an impromptu visit. Checking up on baby sister, no doubt.
Michelle was on her way over to watch Morgan while Eden made her appointment with Dr. Miller.
“Jake?” Eden called to him as they sat in the living room waiting for Michelle to arrive.
“I want to see the car.”
“I want to see the car. Something about this new car is stirring things up in my memory. The real car may give me my memories back.”
“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Jake voiced his concern.
After a while of discussion, Eden told Jake of her appointment with Dr. Miller and her request. The doctor cautiously agreed with Eden’s assessment that it may jog her memory considering what the replacement car evoked within her. He agreed to meet them with instructions not to go near the car until he arrived.
As the three of them walked toward the car in the junk yard, Dr. Miller was the only one to speak to her. Jake was to remain silent.
Her steps slowed as they got closer. The entire front end of the car looked like an accordion. She swallowed at the sight of the twisted metal before them. Deflated airbags hung inside, showing defeat.
Standing on the passenger side, she looked inside. Her dried blood covered the grey interior.
“Eden, take this slow,” Dr. Miller’s soft voice instructed. “Don’t force anything.”
Jake stood watching, his hands in his front pockets. Eden’s eyes were glassed over. He looked from her to the doctor.
“She’s alright,” Dr. Miller told him.
She closed her eyes, “There’s music playing,” she said after a long moment of silence, her voice sounded far away.
“Do you recognize the music Eden?” Dr. Miller calmly asked.
“Yes. Ready to fly is playing.”
“What else do you hear?”
Jake could see she wasn’t there with them.
“Too many thoughts…”
“Alright,” Dr. Miller soothed. “Try to sort them out.”
“There’s fog. So much fog.”
“Okay,” he further encouraged. “Where are you driving to?”
“Who’s Lawrence?” Dr. Miller asked softly.
“I need him to…” she began sounding emotional, “sign something.”
Dr. Miller could see her emotions building. “It’s alright Eden.”
“Noah. Have to see Noah,” she said, tears forming now.
“You’re on your way to see Noah? Why?”
“I need to see Noah!” she yelled. Her hands angrily wiping the tears from her cheeks. “No! I won’t cry for him any more!”
“Eden,” Dr. Miller called to her softly. “You’re safe. Calm down.”
Her breathing became calmer. Her eyes still closed. “I’m ready to fly now. I need to let go.”
“Eden?” Dr. Miller called.
“He doesn’t love me any more. I need to let go.”
Jake simply watched. He wanted to go to his sister. Comfort her. He knew it wasn’t an option.
“Noah doesn’t love you any more?” Dr. Miller calmly asked.
Tears slipped from her eyes. She hastily wiped them away with her hand. “He’s pushed me away. I don’t need him any more.”
She became unsteady. Before Jake or the doctor could reach her, her hand reached out to the car. Her scream filled the air as her hand connected with the metal.
“No! Get out of the way!”
“Eden,” Dr. Miller called a little urgently. “You’re safe now.”
“Noah!” she screamed out as her arms rose to shield her face just before she slumped to the ground.
They both raced to her. Jake sitting down next to her. Dr. Miller calling to her.
“Can’t breathe,” she was beginning to hyperventilate. “So cold.”
Jake’s eyes implored the doctor.
“She’s reliving the accident, Jake,” his voice low. “Eden, concentrate on my voice,” Dr. Miller called.
“So cold. So tired.” She leaned into Jake further. “Noah,” she coughed. “I wish I’d never met you Noah Carrington.”
Jake’s heart broke as she slumped into unconsciousness in his arms.
Dr. Miller exhaled a long breath. Running his hand down his face, he then looked to Jake. “I think we know why she doesn’t remember him.”
“What?” Jake was getting emotional. It was like he was in the car with her just now.
“Her last conscious thought was wishing she’d never met Noah. Her mind essentially erased him. Back to a time she felt safe.”
“Now what?” Jake asked.
“We see if she remembers this.”
Dr. Miller waited a moment before trying to rouse her. As she slowly woke, still in her brother’s embrace on the ground near the car, her hands rose to cup her head.
“Eden, are you alright?” Dr. Miller asked.
“My head,” she ground out weakly. “What happened?”
Once her eyes opened, she realized she was on the ground. Jake was holding her. Why? Once her eyes focused, she looked to Dr. Miller, who was now knelt down before them.
“Eden, what do you remember?”
Her expression far away. “Nothing,” she emotionally whispered.
Back at the house, Morgan was still asleep. Eden was exhausted. Jake helped her up the stairs, lying her down on the bed before returning to Dr. Miller.
“She may recall bits and pieces,” Dr. Miller told him and now Michelle as she joined them.
“What about Noah?” Jake asked. “He’s gonna want to know about this.”
“Since Eden doesn’t recall what happened, I think it’s best, for now, to not give him specifics.”
“Dr. Miller,” Michelle interjected. “Noah will want to know.”
“From what I can gather, this would put an unnecessary strain on her progress. Noah will ask questions. None of us have the answers. Until Eden remembers, I feel this is best.”
“He’s not going to be happy about this,” Michelle said.
“Then we don’t tell him anything,” Jake said.
Jake let the dust settle from the session with Dr. Miller. He knew Eden was agitated and let her guide whether or not she wanted to discuss. Which, she didn’t. He could tell she was internalizing. Analyzing. It’s who Eden is. In that regard, the siblings were similar.
By dinner the next evening, Jake had observed quite a bit in his visit. Eden and Noah had this dance they did. Neither one quite crossing over a line, though Jake sensed they wanted to.
Jake stood at the den door. “Hey Noah,” he called.
Noah looked up, surprised to see him there. He’d been going over contracts and invoices for months trying to figure out what was happening on sites. It simply wasn’t adding up or making sense.
“I’m getting cabin fever. Let’s go out for a while,” Jake said.
“Okaaaay,” Noah responded cautiously.
After getting their jackets on, Jake approached Eden, kissed her cheek and said, “Hey Sis, we’re gonna go out for a couple beers. Hold down the fort.”
Noah waited for the argument. He was thrown when Eden looked at her brother. “Have fun,” she told them then walked into the living room.
They found a tall table at the sports bar. Two beers down, Noah got down to business. “Okay, Jake, what’s this about?”
“Uh, in case you haven’t noticed, we’re having a couple beers.”
“And you wanted me out of the house why?”
“Wow, no getting anything past you eagle eye,” Jake joked. “Look, I just want to hear how things are since Eden’s come home.”
“You have a concern?”
Jake noted Noah on guard. Something he could see daily since his arrival.
“Nah. Ya know it’s just nice to see Eden back to her old self. I’ve missed her.”
That took Noah off guard. What the hell was he talking about, Eden’s old self?
“You live in another state, Jake,” Noah said before taking another swig from his bottle.
“Doesn’t mean I don’t remember my sister. For all the hell we went through as kids, Eden always had a way of taking it one day at a time.”
“Are we talking about the same Eden here?”
Jake motioned the waitress over for another round. Once they had their full bottles, Jake leaned forward, resting his forearms on the table.
“She’s the Eden I remember. What one do you remember?”
Oh no, Noah wasn’t going to fall into that trap. The minute he said anything to a Falcon about Eden’s temperament prior to the accident, he knew he’d have them all all over him.
“Not the one you do,” he finally answered.
Jake sat back in thought a moment. “I was hoping moving away had helped Eden. She needed it, that’s for sure. But, I guess with all that stuff with Mom and Dad, we didn’t see the change.”
“Jake, what are you getting at?”
Jake knew when to be evasive and when to be upfront. Noah needed upfront.
“Look, I remember last Christmas. I know you guys were having some problems and tried to cover, but we could see it.”
“So, I’m not seeing it with you guys right now.”
“That’s because Eden doesn’t remember it yet.”
“Exactly,” Jake confirmed. “But you do. And, you’re walking on egg shells waiting for it to happen all over again.”
“Just give me a minute,” Jake interrupted. “I can kinda see why Abby dislikes you.”
“Thanks!” Noah took another swig.
“I’m sure as sisters, they did the whole girl talk thing. And, Abby’s marriage falling apart a few years ago has her not liking men or marriage at the moment. So, Eden confides in her and Abby feeds that.”
“Jake, the point?”
“The point is Eden doesn’t remember any of that stuff any more than she remembers whatever problems you were having. But, the way you’re acting, she’s gonna start questioning.”
“How I’m acting,” Noah stated his question.
“Here’s what I see. Right now, there aren’t any problems with you and my sister. You, my friend, are waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
“Yeah. I see it. You like these calm waters happening right now. You just figure if you accept them, the ripples are gonna start. That’s no way to live.”
“Ripples,” Noah repeated.
“Look, I’m not gonna sit here and tell you what to do. I’m just saying you and Eden have something. You’re just afraid to embrace it because of ramifications when she gets her memory back.”
“If she gets her memory back,” Noah reminded.
“Then, Noah, you truly are missing the boat here. You’re so afraid of the what was of yesterday and the what ifs of tomorrow, that you’re missing out on today. The here and now. The what is.”
“Am I now?”
“Man, you have a family at home. That’s what you have today. Eden gets her memory back, yeah she may remember stuff you don’t want her to. But, what if what you do today affects how she rethinks the what was?”
“And, what if she takes the what now and figures I’m using that to manipulate the what was when her memory returns.”
“All I’m sayin’ is I’d take what is at face value. What happens happens. Enjoy the moment. Live for today.”
Of all the Falcons, Jake was the simple one. Didn’t take charge like James. Didn’t hold everyone else responsible for her problems like Abby. And Eden. She really was a lot more like Jake was describing in the beginning. Like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon. Developing her own colors and patterns. Why had she turned so cynical like her sister?
And, what if he could just accept today and Eden for what they were at face value? Would Eden factor that in when her memory returned? Or, would she just go back to the way she was completely? Jake was right. Noah was waiting for the other shoe to drop. He questioned every move. Every word. But, was he doing it to prevent her from remembering or as self preservation? There was a million dollar question. Another being what was he going to do?
Jake approached Eden in the kitchen two evenings later. “Hey, can I take the little guy out for a burger or something?” he asked her.
She looked at him over her shoulder. “Jake, what are you up to?”
“Nothing. Just want to spend some time with my nephew,” he told her. “Oh, and can I use your car?”
“Yeah,” Jake’s face lit up. “That car and your kid are chick magnets!”
“Oh, I see. Using my son to pick up the girls. Great!” she toyed with him.
“How else are women going to see my gentle, nurturing side?” he played back.
She laughed softly. “Okay, but no sugar!”
“C’mon Eden, the kid loves chocolate shakes.”
“Then, you can stay up with him until midnight,” she shot back.
“Fine. No chocolate.”
Eden stood in the doorway of the den watching Noah work on his laptop for a moment. He sensed her there and looked up, giving a soft smile.
“Looks like we have the house to ourselves again,” she told him as she stepped into the room.
“He took him out again?”
“Yeah,” she laughed. “It looks like our son is attracting females for my brother!”
Noah chuckled. “Well, the kid is cute.”
“True,” she agreed as she walked around the desk to stand beside him. “Are you going to work all night?”
Noah leaned back in his chair. “I’m just trying to figure out this government project.”
She looked closer at the blueprint on the screen. “What is this?”
He chuckled. “Senior housing.”
“Yeah. They have this large area they want to build senior housing. I just can’t come up with anything that feels – right.”
Noah returned home early in the afternoon the next day. An unusual snowfall had covered the area for late October. The house was eerily quiet as he stepped further inside.
“Eden?” he cautiously called, receiving no answer.
Just as he was about to remove his coat he heard Eden’s scream.
Noah raced for the French doors leading to the back of the house. He made it to the bottom of the deck stairs before realizing what was happening.
Eden was turned away from him, gathering snow in her hands. “You are so going to pay for that Jake!” she laughed and turned, whipping the snowball in Jake’s direction.
Jake ducked out of the way just as Noah reached the base of the stairs. Both Jake and Eden froze at the sight of Noah standing there, completely in shock, his face covered in the snowball that had just left Eden’s hands.
The shock of cold snow hitting his face took his breath away for a second. He locked eyes with Eden.
“Noah, I am so sorry,” she giggled, “I didn’t know you were home.”
As he began walking toward her, Noah reached down and gathered up a handful of snow.
“Noah, what are you doing?” she asked, stepping back as he continued advancing. “Noah!” she called when he gave her a devilish smile instead of answering.
Jake reached for Morgan, “Buddy, I think you and I might be safer inside.”
Eden held her hand out in front of her. “Noah!”
“What’s the matter Eden?” his soft voice asked as he stepped closer, her small steps back no match for his long, determined strides forward.
“Look, I said I was sorry!” she laughed as she turned to run away from him.
The next five minutes were chasing each other around the back yard. Dodging snowballs as they went.
“Noah! Stop!” she laughed as she continued her efforts to get away from his assault.
She looked over her shoulder and saw the snowball coming her way. At the last second, she dodged it, but didn’t realize Noah was hot on her heels.
Her playful scream filled the air as he reached her, his arm wrapping around her waist and falling to the ground, cushioning her fall with his own body.
The momentum of their fall had their bodies rolling, pinning her beneath him. Both of them breathing heavy from the exertion of running and the adrenaline flowing through them.
Eden was still laughing as Noah looked down at her. Her cheeks pink. Her eyes still holding the mischievousness of the moment. Her breath coming out in puffs as it met with the chill in the air.
Noah’s laughter mixed with hers as his eyes gazed into hers. As their laughter slowed, his eyes filled with a new emotion. Eden’s eyes turning dark as midnight as they gazed back into his.
Live for today. Jake’s words echoed in the back of his mind as he lowered his head toward hers. Her slow blink taking in the moment, the anticipation. And then his lips were on hers. A warmth in contrast to the cold surrounding them.
The kiss began soft and gentle. A gentle sweep of his mouth over hers. And slowly it grew. She opened to him as he tasted, searched, explored; leaving no part untouched. And when he lifted his lips from hers, she was breathless. Her gloved hands still in his hair as her eyes searched his.
Her soft smile pulled at him. “I should’ve thrown something at you a while ago,” she teased.
He bowed his head and chuckled before pushing up, standing and holding out his hand to assist her up. Once she was standing, his hand held hers as they walked back to the house. Not a word was said. A comfortable silence enveloping them.
“Mommy!” Morgan ran toward them as they entered.
Jake stood at the entrance of the dining room, a knowing smile on his face. “Hot chocolate for anyone needing warming up,” he announced.
Noah was intrigued by the blush that crept over her face. “I think I’ll go change out of these wet clothes,” she said after removing her boots and outerwear and heading upstairs.
“I can watch this little guy here if you need to change out of yours too, Noah,” Jake said with a smile.
“I’m just saying,” Jake laughed and turned back toward the kitchen.
“More choc-it Jake!” Morgan anxiously followed.
Jake’s visit lasted a couple more days. All the siblings would get together again for Thanksgiving.
Eden entered the kitchen after settling Morgan down for his nap. Noah was rummaging through the refrigerator while talking on the phone.
“Are you sure it’s not on your desk?” he asked into the phone.
He turned and saw Eden standing there. He shot her a smile before turning away to continue making his lunch while talking on the phone.
Noah was dressed just like every other day. Jeans, tee shirt. His shoes were off, so he padded around in socked feet. So why is it, she felt a tug inside every time she looked at him? The guy who bags her groceries wears jeans and a tee. No spark there. And why did she feel a jolt of excitement when he turned that smile on her? Always the perfect gentleman. Didn’t push her to resume marital relations. Maybe that was it. Her hormones were all out of whack due to this dry spell.
She watched him move fluidly around the kitchen. He was making a sandwich for heaven’s sake and she wished his hands were on her instead of bread and cold meat!
“Lorraine,” Noah cajolingly called into the phone. “You need to calm down.”
When he looked at Eden, he rolled his eyes. A playful gesture telling her he felt Lorraine was over reacting.
“Noah!” Lorraine called out to him. “If you have the wrong contract, it’ll be a huge error. One that is entirely my fault!”
“Okay. I’ll look to see if I grabbed it. Let me find my briefcase,” Noah told her then turned to Eden after putting the phone to his shoulder. “Eden, can you look to see if I put my briefcase in the den? Lorraine’s looking for a contract.”
As Eden turned and made her way to the den, Noah began his way upstairs to look in the spare bedroom.
“We’ll find it Lorraine. Stop worrying.”
“Noah, if Lawrence finds out I screwed up like this…”
“What Lorraine? He can’t fire you. He’s married to you.”
“I’m sorry, Noah. I’ve been distracted lately.”
“What from?” Noah asked, sitting on the side of the bed.
“I don’t know. Lawrence has just been acting different lately.”
“Just don’t worry about the contract. If I have it, I’ll bring it in tomorrow. No harm done.”
“Well, it’s not up here. Eden’s checking the den.”
“Eden’s looking for your briefcase?” Lorraine asked panicky.
“Unless I forgot it in my office, it’s either there or up here.”
“Noah, you know Eden. She’s curious. Did you tell her you’re looking for a contract?”
“Oh my God Noah! What if she finds the divorce papers in your case?”
That had Noah bolting for the door.
Eden entered the den and looked around the desk on the floor. No briefcase that she could see. It seemed odd for her to be included in something for Noah’s office. Almost felt – forbidden? Why would she have that feeling? It also felt nice to feel normal. Needed in a way. Since she didn’t have memories, she felt disconnected in so many ways. And, she wanted desperately to feel connected to Noah.
Eden plopped down in his chair behind the desk. He gives you a silly little task and you act like he’s asking you to solve the world’s problems. Get a grip Eden.
Sitting in his chair, her gaze caught the shelves in the corner. Awards he’d received, his degree in architecture, trophies from high school sports. On the second shelf sat a framed photo of her. She was taken aback by that. She hadn’t seen it there before. It was the photo he had on the corner of his desk when she’d been in here before.
Without warning, her mind drifted to another place and time…
Eden grabbed the framed photo off his desk, slamming it on the shelf. Turning, she saw the anger emanating from his stare.
“Put me where I belong Noah!” she angrily shouted at him. “With your prized possessions!”
He came around the desk and grabbed her arm, preventing her from storming out of his office. “Don’t do this Eden,” his low voice demanded.
“Do what Noah? Pretend I’m your loving wife? You and I both know I am nothing more than a trophy!” She pulled free from his hold. “Just like all the rest of your precious accolades!”
“Eden, please,” his voice full of defeat in light of her anger.
“At least be honest with yourself Noah,” she hissed back.
“Eden, I love you.”
“You don’t love me Noah. I’m an accessory to be taken out when clients need to be made. The perfect little family to present to the world.” She turned to leave. “Don’t worry Noah, I know when to play the part.”
Noah stood in the den door. Eden’s eyes glassed over. He’d softly called to her, and she didn’t acknowledge him.
“I’ll have to call you back Lorraine,” he said into the phone.
“Noah! What happened?” Lorraine frantically asked.
“I gotta go.” He pressed the phone off button, set it down and walked over to Eden.
She startled at the feel of his hand on her arm.
He pulled back slightly, releasing his hand. “Hey,” his voice soft. “You okay?”
She lifted her hands to her face at being startled from her vision. She was disoriented.
“Where am I?” she whispered.
“Eden, are you alright?”
She lifted her gaze to his. “Noah?”
“What’s wrong?” he asked. He could see by the look in her eyes she wasn’t quite with him.
“I’m not sure,” she confessed. Standing, she walked to the shelves that had produced the memory.
With unsteady hands, she lifted the framed photo and turned to face him. “Noah, why is this here?”
“I don’t know.”
He honestly didn’t know. It had been on his desk the last time he’d seen it. He took the photo from her and placed it back on the corner of his desk, where it belonged.
When she lifted her eyes to his, a single tear slid down. “Noah, is that a trophy?”
Oh man, this wasn’t good. Of all the damn memories, why did this one have to come forward?
He walked over to her and cupped her shoulders. Looking into her eyes, he told her “Eden, you have never been a trophy.”
“I don’t understand,” another tear slid down her cheek. “Why would I think that?”
He used his thumb to wipe the tear away. Her dark eyes searching his for answers. He’d never seen her as a trophy. She was his wife. Plain and simple. Not arm candy. Not any of what she’d accused him of in the past.
“Never a trophy Eden,” he whispered before brushing his lips over hers. He didn’t know how else to convey the honesty of his statement.
That barest touch of his lips to hers sent a jolt through her. She sharply pulled back at its intensity. She seriously needed to get a grip on these hormones!
Noah released his hands the instant she pulled free. Okay, he’d pushed it too far.
“I’m sorry, Noah,” she whispered. “I’m just really confused right now.”
His hands were still up in a surrender gesture. She turned away and walked from the room. “I’m really tired Noah. I’m going to lie down.”
He slowly ran a hand down his face and let a long breath go. She’d pulled away and he knew it was because she didn’t believe him. If she recalled that memory, what other disasters lie ahead? All because Lawrence had planted that seed. And Eden had nurtured that seed until it had grown into a full-fledged assault on him, their marriage, everything. He didn’t know how to extinguish it now any more than he did then.
He’d seen the hurt in her eyes at the thought of being simply a possession. Eden had never displayed anything but anger over it before. Oh, he’d tried to prove otherwise. Stopped her coming to the office to help out. Gave her space. Disconnecting her from the world of his work. And it all backfired in his face. Accusations everywhere. He worked too long. Wasn’t home enough. Didn’t need her any more. She had no idea how far from the truth it was. Everything he did, he did for her and their son. And it never was enough.
Her head pounded from the headache. Where had that vision come from? Noah hadn’t shown any signs of possessiveness. He didn’t treat her like an invalid because she didn’t have memories. He’d just asked her for help. Granted it was just looking for his case, but the request came so naturally. None of this was making sense. The more she tried to force the memory, the more her head hurt. It was so vague and unsettling. Surely he’d shown her, just as he’d done earlier, that it wasn’t true. And that’s what bothered her most. If she just could’ve stayed in that vision she’d have learned the truth. She’d have seen and felt what she had a short time ago. The overpowering sense of being cherished by him. That’s what had taken her breath away and made her pull back so abruptly. The intensity of the emotion behind his kiss.
Noah paced the den after she retreated to her room. Something she always did when they argued; dealt with it alone. What bothered him about this time was the hurt he’d seen in her eyes. He simply couldn’t get past that.
“Daddy?” Morgan cautiously called to him from the den door.
Noah turned, went to his son and squat down.
“Hey Buddy, aren’t you supposed to be taking a nap?”
Morgan stepped into Noah’s arms, rubbing at his tired eyes as Noah stood.
“Why is Mommy sad?”
Noah let a sigh go and hugged his son close. Not again.
“What makes you think Mommy’s sad?”
Eden and Morgan had a connection he’d never understand. It was as though Morgan sensed her emotions.
Noah hugged him a little tighter.
“Daddy, make Mommy better.”
“I wish I could Buddy,” he told him as Morgan pulled back and looked him in the eye.
“You can Daddy.”
The look his son gave him took his breath away. Morgan believed his daddy could fix everything. It filled him with pride. He’d do anything for his son.
“Tell ya what. You go back and finish your nap, and Daddy will make Mommy better.”
“I’ll do my best,” he answered as he carried him up the stairs and settled him back into his bed.
Once Morgan was back to sleep, Noah went across the hall to her room. He softly knocked. When he didn’t get a response, he slowly opened the door.
He saw her sitting on the foot of the bed, holding her hands over her face.
“Eden?” he softly called to her once he entered and closed the door behind him. If they were going to fight, hopefully Morgan could sleep through it.
She sat there holding her pounding head in her hands, trying to force the memory back. When she heard Noah’s voice, relief flowed through her. She lifted her head and met his gaze with her own.
It hurt to talk.
He tentatively stepped closer. If she was going to fight, she’d have lashed out by now. Screamed at him to leave her alone. Instead, her eyes implored him to move closer. So he did. Until he was before her. Then he squat down, taking her hands in his.
“Are you alright?” he asked her.
She shook her head slowly.
One of his hands rose to wipe tears from her cheek. He was at a loss. She wasn’t lashing out. Yelling. Hell, she wasn’t even talking.
“Eden?” he softly called.
She pulled free, stood and paced in the room. Noah stood and just watched. Waited.
“I’m angry Noah,” she finally said softly.
Oh boy. Here we go.
He did what came naturally with her. “I’m sorry,” he apologized.
She turned and looked at him silently a moment. “Why? You can’t change things,” she told him.
“No, I can’t.”
She stepped closer. Standing before him.
“We had a fight about it, didn’t we?” she asked.
She didn’t remember. Relief flowed through him.
“Noah,” she called at his continued silence. “You can’t tell me we never disagreed.”
He turned away. Needed to stop looking into those eyes of hers.
“Yes, we did.”
He turned back around and faced her. “Someone said something to you and made you think that.”
She stepped in front of him again. She placed her hands, palms flat, on his chest. “But, it wasn’t true,” she said in a whisper.
His hand rose to caress the hair behind her ear. “No, Eden. Never true.”
She rose on tiptoe, sliding her hands up and behind his neck.
“Never true,” she barely whispered as she tugged his head to lower it to hers.
Her kiss was tender and knocked him for a loop. As his arms went around her waist, she angled her head and tangled her hands in his hair.
Her hormones skipped gears and went straight into overdrive. She deepened their kiss. He pulled her even tighter against him.
He sighed her name when he came up for air. She didn’t want air. She wanted Noah. She pulled him back to her, her kiss becoming urgent.
His arms swam over her back, matching her urgency. His blood boiling with want. His common sense filtering in. His body would be angry … again … but he had to stop this.
“Eden,” he breathlessly called.
“Noah,” he heard the pleading in her whisper.
He enveloped her to his chest. If he allowed her to kiss him again, he knew he wouldn’t say no.
“We can’t,” his voice hoarse.
“You’re angry with me,” she said, her head still at his chest, feeling his accelerated heartbeat.
One hand rose and caressed her hair. “No, I’m not angry.”
She pulled back to look at him.
The way she looked at him made him regret stopping. But, he knew it was the right thing to do.
“It’s too soon,” he told her.
If she asked him when, he didn’t think he’d be able to come up with another excuse. Thankfully, she placed her head back on his chest, wrapping her arms around his waist and snuggling close.
He looked to the ceiling, praying for strength. She was getting under his skin. How much longer before his resistance failed?