Noah got that.
His anger started to steadily build again towards his girlfriend. She was acting like the old Eden. Paranoid, insecure… her moods mercurial and dangerous. Before, that had intrigued Noah, how she could fight through all that and show him that sweet, loyal, passionate girl underneath all the darkness. The darkness was back again. And Noah wasn’t intrigued. He was terrified.
Of losing her.
“What now?” Alain asked softly, his concerned eyes on his Princeps.
Cyrus’ features grew taut with determination. “I have a phone call to make to Landon Anderson.”
Eden frowned. “Who’s that?”
“The Head of The Tribunal.”
“You have the phone number for the Head of The Tribunal?”
“I have the phone number of a Neith with certain abilities. She will be able to give me the phone number.”
“Another Neith with ‘abilities’?” Eden narrowed her eyes. “I thought they were rare?”
“They are,” Val snapped. “Stop questioning your Princeps.”
Ouch, Noah turned with a careful expression to read Val’s. She looked frustrated as all hell. What had happened between those two? Great, he glared up at Eden. She was isolating everybody. Even the only person in the world just like her.
“Get some sleep,” Cyrus ordered the room. “I will let you know when I have some news.”
Eden could feel Noah stalking her as she made her way up to her room. She didn’t know what he expected but he wasn’t getting into her bedroom. He had kept the fact that Romany would be coming to stay at the mansion from her. Not only had he kept that from her but he’d actually picked the treacherous python up from the airport!!! Seething, Eden hurried her footsteps, her heart faltering a little at the sound of Noah’s curse behind her as he quickened his pace. She knew it was childish but suddenly Eden found herself rushing for her door.
“For the love of gods!” Noah snapped as she slid inside. She tried to slam the door shut but his arm shot through the gap before it closed and he shoved it back open with little effort. He glared at her, his eyes a dark amethyst. “What are you, five?!”
“Get out.” She crossed her arms over her chest, her eyes boring into his with flat disdain. Her hope that he would get the message deflated as he brushed past her, kicking the door shut with his heel.
“No,” he growled back at her. She felt the hair rise on her nape and a shudder of warning ripple down her spine. Eden carefully turned to look up at him. Noah was mad.
Noah never got mad.
What the hell was he mad at?! She was the one he had wronged, not the other way around!
“I don’t know what you think you’re doi-mmff…mmm.” Noah’s lips cut her off, a hard kiss that stunned her into silence as much as the iron grip that slammed her up against him. Indignation shot through her and Eden tried to block out the dark, citrusy scent of him that drove her crazy, that made her feel safe. Today she wasn’t safe with him. Pushing against him, trying to break what was a punishing kiss, Eden was so close to bringing up her knee between his legs to make him let go, when the kiss changed. Noah made a deep, soothing noise from the back his throat and his lips softened against hers. His tongue teased hers, his teeth nibbling at her bottom lip, one hand clasped tight around the nape of her neck and the other brushing the sensitive skin on her lower back. The kiss robbed her of her rationale. There was no anger, or Romany, or rebellion. Just Eden and Noah. She sighed into his mouth and leaned into him, her palms pressed against his broad chest, his thundering heart pounding against one hand. Feeling her acquiesce, Noah deepened the kiss and pulled her even closer. Strangely the possessive passion in his embrace only excited Eden and she found herself curling her fingers into his t-shirt in an effort to get closer.
He left her mouth, trailing sweet kisses along her jaw. “I love you,” he whispered, his breath against her skin sending hot shivers down her spine. His breathing was uncontrolled, ragged, and it spurred her on. The fog truly took hold of Eden. With a desperation born from the darkness that adamantly tried to wade through the fog, Eden pulled her shirt up and off, enjoying the fever in Noah’s eyes. He discarded his own top and Eden melted against him, pressing kisses to his broad chest, sighing against him.
“Oh gods,” Noah breathed and reached for her, pulling her up into his arms so she had to wrap her legs around his waist. His kisses were furious again, frantic, deep, erotic. Eden gave him it all back. The bed bounced beneath her as Noah backed them down onto it. His hot lips trailed kisses down her neck, across her collarbone, his deft fingers reaching for the clasp on her bra.
If it hadn’t been for the sound of a security guard speaking to the operations room over his comms as he made his rounds Eden probably would have let the fog take her all the way home with Noah. But that voice cut through it and with it she remembered Romany. Her rage. Her hurt.
“Stop,” she whispered hoarsely, pushing Noah away. She began to slide out from under him but he groaned and rested his forehead against her stomach, his weight pressing her down.
“Eden, don’t,” he pleaded. “Why are you doing this?”
“I’m mad at you,” she snapped, pushing his shoulders back. He took the hint and rolled off her. “I don’t want to have sex when I’m mad.”
“I’m mad at you too,” Noah growled as she bent down to pick up her top.
Eden’s jaw dropped as she pulled the shirt back over her head, flicking her long hair out from under the collar. “You’re mad?! What the hell have you got to be mad about?”
His eyes flashed but he didn’t say anything as he got off the bed and strode over to pick up his own shirt. It was the angriest pulling on of a t-shirt Eden had ever witnessed. His cloudy face and taut features confused and irritated her. They also worried her. Had she missed something? Had she inadvertently done something she wasn’t aware of?
“You promised me you wouldn’t forget how I feel about you and yet you’re blaming me for Romany being here.”
“No,” Eden denied. “You didn’t tell me she was on her way here. And you picked her up from the airport like a goddamn traitor!”
His mouth dropped open. “Traitor?! What the hell aren’t you getting here, Eden? Why do you insist on villainizing Cyrus and me? We’re trying to protect you! You!”
“From Darius?” She huffed. “I don’t need you to protect me from him. I need you to understand why I hate her, why I want to…”
“To what, Eden?” he quieted now, his trembling fingers combing through his hair in uncertainty. “This isn’t about protecting you from Darius. This is about protecting you from you.”
Noah reached for her, his large hand cupping around her waist, drawing her closer. His eyes soft and scared. For her, she realized. Eden wanted to give in to him, to his affection. Noah did love her. She knew that. She had to keep reminding herself that. “Eden, you’ve only ever killed soul eaters and the occasional Neith in self-defense. You have no idea what killing a Neith, who’s only fault was making a mistake in battle, would do to you.”
And just like that Eden forgot to remind herself that Noah loved her. It was as if he’d slapped her. She tugged back from his hand, putting space between them, watching his eyebrows draw together in concern. “What are you saying?” she asked hoarsely. “That her murder of Stellan was just… a mistake? You think she didn’t do anything wrong?” She felt tears of disbelief shine in her eyes and Noah’s concern changed to panic.
“You have to understand,” he answered quickly, making a move towards her. But Eden backed up, not wanting him near her, “If the soul eater in question hadn’t been Stellan you would see this as clearly as we do, Eden. Romany is sorry for what she did. Her mistake was forgetting an order that I gave. She didn’t know your brother. All she saw was a soul eater and her duty to kill him. You don’t have to forgive her for that mistake but you can’t punish her for it.”
“Don’t tell me to understand,” her voic
e was flat, hard and Noah flinched from it. “Don’t tell me to understand when you don’t understand me. It wasn’t a random soul eater, Noah. It was my brother. The only person in the entire world who loved me. Who took care of me. You have no idea what living in that house was like. No idea.” A brittle tear fell and she could barely see Noah through the blur. “He was the safest place I knew and if she hadn’t stolen him from me he would be here and he would be human. He would be free. And you have no idea how much he would have wanted that. He wasn’t like the others. He didn’t want to be one of them. But you don’t understand that.” She sniffed, swatting at her tears like they were an embarrassment. It took her a moment to realize where she was going with this. Perhaps it was just the hurt, the argument, exhaustion. Perhaps she didn’t even mean it. But in that moment she at least believed she did. “You don’t understand me, Noah. I don’t know if you ever did.”
And without waiting for a reply, Eden hurried from the room and from what had sounded an awful lot like a break up.
I So Don’t Get You