Chapter 19: Noah
I was still lightly petting Olivia's hair, my hand clasped tightly in Mason's in bed when the sun began to peek through the window in the corner. I hadn't fallen asleep despite being completely physically and emotionally exhausted, too many thoughts and plans running through my head. I knew just a few things: I love Mason and Olivia like they were the very air I breathed. I wanted to be with them. But, I couldn't continue on as I had been. I needed to go back to Denver and figure out who I'd been in order to figure out who I really was now. I was fucking terrified, but I knew it was the right choice.
The sigh I let out must have been louder than I thought, because my lovers stirred in the bed next to me. I schooled my face into a neutral expression before letting them see where my head was at. I leaned over and pecked both of them on the lips before untangling myself from our web of limbs.
"Where going?" Olivia's mumble made me smile, but it was a sad one. Who knew how long I was going to miss moments like this one?
"I'm just going to start some breakfast. Take your time you two."
Olivia moved to follow me, but Mason stopped her with a hand, pulling her into his body. He gave me a nod, and I realized he could tell I needed a moment to myself. I was so grateful for that, and I gave him a small nod back before padding down the stairs. I could feel the ache in my ass from the night before, but it only reinforced my decision; I needed to make sure I was worthy of being a part of their world, and I couldn't do that from here.
I went though the motions of making coffee and a small breakfast for the three of us, and was just setting everything on the table when Olivia and Mason came down from the room, their clothes on and hair mussed up. I smirked at the blush on Olivia's cheeks and pride filled me to see the marks on her neck that I'd left. Shifting on my feet, I understood now why Mason had enjoyed hitting me with the crop. That mark of ownership was impossible not to relish.
We all sat sown and started serving food to ourselves, the atmosphere mostly comfortable in the quiet, but filled with an anxious anticipation.
"So," I said at the exact same time both Mason and Olivia did. We all looked at each other and burst out laughing, the tension dissipating instantly.
"Great minds think alike, huh?" Olivia and I chuckled at Mason.
"Apparently," I said and then cleared my throat. "Alright. There's no easy way to say this, so I'm just going to say this."
"You're leaving, aren't you?" Olivia's quiet words had me reaching out for her hand, and then Mason's. They looked at me and grabbed each other's hands as well, making us look like we were about to say grace.
"I am. I need to figure out who the hell I am. I love you both so much, but this is something I can't ignore."
"We know," Olivia sniffled.
"Are you going to come back?" Mason's voice was tight, and I knew he was trying to be strong for Olivia. I was glad for that, because she'd probably need him while I was gone.
"I... I'm not sure. I want to. So fucking much. If I could spend the rest of my life here with you two, away from everyone and every thing else, I would. I just don't know what it's going to be like when I get back to Denver. I don't know... anything."
They both nodded, understanding.
"Just know that whenever you get things figured out, we'll be waiting here for you. No questions asked." Olivia added her agreement to Mason's statements, and with that it was settled.
We got back to breakfast, planning what needed to happen next but not talking about anything farther in the future than today.
And when Mason and Olivia dropped me off at the nearest town like I'd asked later that afternoon, I pretended my heart wasn't breaking as I watched them drive away before turning around to find a ride into Denver.
I was miserable.
I’d been back to my “normal” life for a week now, and I hated every fucking thing about it. Everything was too loud, people were rude and scheming and selfish, and seeing as how I used to be one of those people I was completely disgusted with myself.
Coming back here to my office and seeing the damning letter in my desk had broken the veil on my lost memory. Fragments had splintered through, the shards burying themselves in my heart as the person I was before I’d been kidnapped and left for dead in the mountains had resurfaced.
I didn’t want to be the man who’d lied and cheated to get where I was, the king of a rotten empire. I don’t know if the beating had knocked something loose in my head or if it was Mason and Olivia’s influence in the weeks I’d spent with them, but I was sickened by who I’d been before. Ashamed. It was the main reason I’d pushed Mason and Olivia away; now that I remembered who I was, I knew they didn’t need someone like me in their lives. They both deserved better.
They’d reached out to me multiple times and I’d ignored their calls, threw away or deleted their messages. I felt like trash for ghosting on them, but halting communication was safer than a real goodbye. For everyone.
Ignoring the aching in my chest at the thought of my two lovers, I pulled open the right hand drawer on my desk and took out the letter to once again read the proof of my shame, torturing myself further.
Glad to see that everything has gone according to plan. You can count on the money showing up in your account; in fact, it should be there already. No one will miss that dump anyway.
The damning letter was written on a seemingly normal piece of paper, the handwriting sharp and cruel, just like his words. The dump Xavier had been referring to had been a small mission home run by a few elderly nuns, and it had been used to help feed and house the homeless in the area. And I’d helped to organize its tear-down merely because it was an eyesore in the neighborhood.
I crumpled the letter up in my fist while cursing myself, Noah Slate Pierson, to hell and back for the things I’d done. Amazing that all it took was this one letter to get the rest of my memories back, even though parts of me wish now that I never had. That I never had to live the rest of my life knowing what a worthless ass I’d been.
But then, being ignorant was the coward’s way out. I could feign amnesia in front of others, but I could never make myself forget again. Never forget the man I was before Olivia and Mason. Never forget the man I was with them. All I could do was move forward. With a new kind of determination filling me, I ripped up the note and threw the pieces away. I knew what I had to do, and it was time to move forward.