Sharlee thought to herself, “I don’t know when you’re going to get that little brother. It’s hard to get pregnant when your Daddy is seldom home, and when he is home, he’s always working out in the garage or studying.”
Sharlee frowned. While she was happy that Noah made sure to spend time with Skylar when he was home, Sharlee wasn’t getting any time with him. She realized that she just plain missed him. It seemed like as soon as they decided to have another child, Noah became even busier. She had to admit that she was busy too. Maybe it was the wrong time for another baby.
The last time they had made love had been during the weekend that they had done their Harley shoot in Arlington. Sharlee remembered that the shoot had not gone as smoothly as their others.
Sharlee’s usual stylist, Caroline, wasn’t there. Caroline had been on vacation, and another stylist, Trisha, had been assigned to work with Sharlee. The first outfit that Trisha had Sharlee wear wasn’t one that Sharlee particularly liked, but Sharlee didn’t say anything about it. She put it on, and they did her hair and makeup.
“What is this?”
“It’s your next outfit. Put it on now so the hairstylist can touch up your hair. We have a schedule to keep.”
Sharlee put it on to see if maybe it would be better on than it looked hanging. Trisha had already gone outside.
She smiled and continued speaking. “I’m a big fan of yours, and I was wondering if you would like to go out and get a drink with me after your shoot is over?”
Emily had still been speaking, but she trailed off when she saw that she didn’t have his full attention. Noah’s expression as he looked at Sharlee surprised her.
“I hate to say this, but Aunt Krystal would wear that. However, I don’t know of any other women who would. Especially not a woman who would be interested in the Harley brand. Isn’t it also a stylist’s job to dress her models in a way that suits them. I mean my sister is gorgeous, but that doesn’t look right on her!”
“What in the world is going on?”
Gene looked at the outfit that Sharlee was wearing and frowned.
“What is that, Trisha? Where did it come from?”
Trisha was a new stylist for Harley, and this was Gene’s first time working with her.
He walked around Sharlee, checking out the outfit. “That’s not one of ours, and I know that it was not on the list that Caroline left for you. I always pre-approve the outfits for any shoot that I do. That looks more like an outfit suitable for “Whips and Chains” magazine and not Harley! Where did you get that?”
Gene asked. “Harmony do you want to do it?”
“Alright. You two let me know when you’re ready.”
Evan and Harmony went into Sharlee’s trailer to figure out what Sharlee should wear next. Harmony sent a robe out for Sharlee to wear over the offending outfit until her next outfit was ready.
Gene looked over the early footage for Sharlee’s part of the shoot and had it destroyed. They retook those photos in the appropriate clothing. Sharlee felt a lot more comfortable.
Then he had gone to find Sharlee after their shoot was finished. He found her straddling a Harley with a man sitting close behind her. In Noah’s opinion, the man was sitting closer than he needed to be. Sharlee saw Noah’s displeased expression and explained.
“Gene said that they’ve received fan mail asking if I can ride a Harley. So he thought it would be a good idea for me to learn to ride one. This is one of the crewmen. He teaches motorcycle riding as well as his job working for Harley on location shoots, and Gene asked him to teach me. He just wanted to give me some quick pointers now, and he’s going to come to Santa Fe and give me lessons. Mitchell, this is my husband, Noah; and Noah, this is Mitchell.”
“I didn’t know that you were interested in learning to ride. Is that what you really want to do or is it because of the fan mail?”
“Well, if you decide that you do want to learn, let me know. I’ll be glad to teach you.”
This shoot had made Noah more determined than ever to make his idea successful so that Sharlee would not have to renew her contract with Harley. He wanted her next pregnancy to be as worry free as possible. No worry over their finances or her appearance like she’d experienced when she was pregnant with Sky.
After Skylar made a selection, Sharlee took their purchases to the register. When they finished shopping, she and Skylar went home. Noah came home for lunch and played with Skylar. Then he put her to bed for a nap. He left home after Skylar fell asleep. Just before dinner time he called Sharlee and told her that he wouldn’t be home in time for dinner. He called again at Skylar’s bedtime to read to her and sing her to sleep on FaceTime. It was after 11:30 when he arrived home and Sharlee was asleep by then.
Sharlee was checking their credit card bill to make sure that she wasn’t double charged a purchase. During her pregnancy, Noah had taken over paying the bills and they hadn’t seen a need to give that responsibility back to Sharlee. So it had been a long while since she’d seen the bill. As she looked over the charges, she realized that there were none for Noah’s sessions with Sarge. For insurance reasons, Noah used the credit card to make those payments.
“No, Mr. Hall has canceled his last three sessions. I’ve left several messages asking about rescheduling. The Doctor wants to speak with him to find out why Mr. Hall hasn’t been in to see him.”
Sharlee thanked her and told her that she would give Noah the message to call Sarge. She continued sitting in the chair for a few moments, troubled by what she had heard. So, if Noah wasn’t at Sarge’s office during those times, where was he? She didn’t want to be a pushy, distrusting wife, and so she hadn’t questioned him about why he was late and cancelling their plans lately. However, hadn’t the same thing happened to Rene? She pushed that line of thought away. No, Noah was not Darion. She would trust Noah until she couldn’t.
That night, Noah was late getting home again. Sharlee was in bed, but he could tell that she wasn’t sleeping. She was lying in bed stiffly and didn’t turn to greet him. Noah undressed and climbed into bed beside her. He touched her gently. “Babe, I love you.”
She’d written something similar to him years before when he’d especially needed to hear it.
Sharlee awakened very early the following morning. Noah was already out of bed. She got up out of bed and checked on Skylar. Skylar was still sleeping and then Sharlee went downstairs to find Noah. She heard the garage door raising and realized that Noah was already leaving! So now he wasn’t even going to follow their morning routine anymore! She was suddenly angry! She flew out of the house and stopped Noah before he started his motorcycle.
“You know better than that! I got permission to use the auto shop today before classes start!”
Sharlee wasn’t even listening. She turned her back on him and went back into the house!
Noah sat on his cycle fuming. Then he forced himself to calm down and think clearly. He knew now that Sharlee was at her limit and that soon he would have to tell her what he was doing. He’d wanted it to be a surprise and didn’t want to tell her until he was sure that it would work out.
However, it would all be for nothing if he lost her. She’d trusted him unquestioningly for a lot longer than other women would have. He saw his neighbor standing in her yard with her dog, and Noah knew that she’d overheard the argument. Noah sighed and got off of his bike and went into the house.
“Babe, what I’m doing is for our family. I know that I’ve been very evasive and kept you in the dark, but I promise that soon, I will tell you everything. Please trust me just a little while longer. I haven’t spent as much time with you lately, and for that I am sorry. I’ve missed you. I’ve missed us! But, I had to do it. I can’t come home for lunch today, but I’ll make sure to be here for dinner. Then after Sky is asleep, we can spend the evening together, just you and me. No studying or working, just me trying to make up in a small way for neglecting you.”
“I’m going to bring dinner home. You just relax this evening.”
One of Noah’s instructor’s stopped him in the corridor after he finished his last class. Other students looked on curiously as she spoke quietly with him. This was her first year teaching at the technical school, and she was a good looking younger instructor. She was just a few years older than Noah. A couple of students overheard what she said to Noah.
He pulled out his cellphone not looking forward to the call that he had to make.
It was becoming dark outside when Noah left the building. The parking lot was almost empty. He’d done some work in the auto shop and now it was time to keep his appointment. He jumped on his chopper and drove out of the campus parking lot.
When Skylar’s bedtime came, Sharlee was surprised that Noah didn’t call to talk with Sky and do her bedtime routine. Sharlee waited as long as she could and then swallowed her pride and called him. Her call went straight to his voicemail.
Sharlee could see the disappointment on Skylar’s face, and it caught at her heart. It was one thing for Noah to be upset with her, but how could he do this to Skylar!
After Skylar was asleep, Sharlee went into her office to study. When it got to be midnight and Noah wasn’t home and still hadn’t called, she knew something was very wrong. She tried calling him again and her call again went straight to his voicemail. Sharlee’s stomach was tight with anxiety.
Thanks Kater for loaning me Harmony! ❤
Emily Didonato was made by Praline Sims.