New Winslow S1E39 – SEASON FINALE

Noah still wasn’t feeling great, but he wasn’t going to skip work for a hangover. Cleo had stopped up to say goodbye before he’d left. It had been a little awkward, which Noah knew made sense. She’d been worried, but clearly uncomfortable talking about it. And he’d been too embarrassed to do much more than hug her back when she silently gripped him.

He hadn’t seen Andrew at all, and he was completely okay with that. Okay, that was bullshit. He wasn’t completely okay, but the alternative was having to look him in the eye and confront everything between them. So he was fine with hiding in his apartment, then slipping out to go to work.

Olivia arrived at Keegan’s as he was wiping down the bar one last time. “Hey,” she said.

“Hey,” he responded quietly.

“How are you?”

“Fine,” he said shortly.

She clearly heard the dismissal and ignored it. “You sure?”

“No, I feel like shit,” he snapped. “But I did it to myself so I’m going to suck it up and do my job.”

“Yeah, because the bar is really what I’m concerned about,” Olivia said. “Come on, it’s early. Come have lunch with me.”

“Not hungry, but thanks,” Noah said, going back to his cleaning.

“I didn’t ask if you were hungry, you need to eat. Did you eat at all after you went home yesterday?”

Noah pulled a face and didn’t answer, knowing he’d lost. “Grilled cheese and tomato soup,” Olivia said. “Come on, before we open.”

Noah sat at a nearby booth and Olivia went back into the kitchen, coming back a few minutes later with two grilled cheese sandwiches, two bowls of tomato soup, and two cups of water. She set one meal down in front of him, then sat in the opposite seat and started eating hers.

He looked down at the food. It smelled amazing, but his stomach was too knotted up to eat.

“What’s wrong?” Olivia asked after swallowing a bite of grilled cheese.

Noah opened his mouth to say something sarcastic, then filled it with soup instead. None of this was Olivia’s fault or responsibility. She had already done more than enough for him.

“So I figure tonight’s going to get a little hectic,” Olivia said casually. She took another bite of her sandwich, chewed, swallowed, and continued. “No one’s back at work, but everyone wants to get out of the house. So let’s take some time to prep. Charlie’s on at two, so he’ll be available for backup. You want to take kitchen tonight?”

Noah stopped chewing the bite of sandwich in his mouth. Mortification set in as he realized what she had just said. Kitchen. Off the bar. Because he couldn’t be trusted around the alcohol.

Olivia’s eyes widened. “Oh God, Noah, I didn’t mean it like that! I just meant – I thought maybe you’d want to work out back tonight if you’re not feeling well. I swear!”

He forced himself to swallow, then said, “Yeah, that sounds good.”

“You don’t have to,” Olivia said. “It’s not like I don’t trust you to-“

“No, it’s fine.” He said. He decided not to mention the fact that lately, he’d needed at least a couple shots to get through any given shift. Like he’d said, he was fine. He just needed to stop.

“If you’re sure,” Olivia said uncertainly.

“I’m sure. That’s a good idea.”

He stood up. “Thanks for lunch, Liv. I appreciate it.”

“You barely touched it.”

“I’m just a little sick,” he admitted. “I’ll finish it later, I promise”

“Okay, but I’m putting it under a heat light, so I’ll know if you don’t.”

He smiled thinly and made his way to the kitchen. He needed to get organized if he was going to be back there tonight.

Noah ended up back at the bar a few hours later. It was busy enough that he and Olivia both needed to be where their strengths were. So he tried not to think, just made drinks on autopilot and smiled blandly at customers. His usual charm and small talk were gone and he was conscious of this, but didn’t give a shit.

At one point he came close to pouring himself a shot without realizing what he was doing. The shot glass was on the bar and he was turning toward the shelf. Horrified, he slid the glass down the wooden bar and poured a cup of water instead. His head was pounding and there was a slight tremor in his hand that was a little concerning.

Olivia had left for a little while to say bye to Cleo and Andrew and make sure they were all set. But now she was back at work and the two of them and Charlie had been going nonstop for an hour or so after she got back.

They were just about on top of things when the door flew open and Cleo stormed in. “Cleo!” Noah exclaimed, spilling the gin and tonic he’d been making.

There was a quick flash of something (Confusion? Worry?) in Cleo’s eyes as she saw him holding the liquor bottles, but it disappeared before he could completely comprehend it. “Noah, there’s a huge problem. Where’s Liv?”

“Out back. What’s going on?”

“Andrew got hit on the way out of town.”

Noah felt his stomach fall. “He got hit by a car? Oh my God-”

“No, not literally. It’s the curse, Noah. He’s stuck.”

Oh God. “Oh fuck,” Noah breathed. “OLIVIA!”

Olivia burst through the kitchen doors. “Noah, what’s- Cleo? What’s wrong?”

“Andrew got hit. He can’t leave New Winslow.”

“Shit,” Liv said. “Where is he?”

“He’s in the car,” Cleo said. “He’s…he’s not taking it well.”

“Okay,” Olivia said, clearly trying to form a plan in her head. “Okay. Get him back to my house. My mom has Mia at hers so it’ll be empty. Take my keys. He’s okay, everything is going to be fine.”

Cleo nodded, but Noah could see how extremely shaken she was. Olivia could obviously see it too. “I’ll be home in a couple hours, are you okay with just the two of you?”

“Me and Charlie can handle this,” Noah said. “You go too.”

Olivia turned to him. “Are you sure?”

Something throbbed behind his eyes. “Positive. You go, I’ll finish here. It’s only a few hours.”

Olivia leaned across the bar and kissed him on the temple, a move so casual and so her that it made something in his chest loosen just a little.

“Come over when you get home,” she said.

He nodded and she and Cleo walked out.

Cleo was parked in the fire lane, engine idling, breaking the law and not giving a shit. Olivia could see Andrew sitting very still in the front seat.

She tapped on the window and he looked at her. She mimed rolling down a window and he did, though slowly. “It’s going to be okay,” she told him. “We’re going back to my house and we’ll figure out what to do.”

He nodded and started rolling the window back up. Cleo got in the driver’s seat and Olivia climbed in the back, pushing aside a duffle bag and buckling her seatbelt.

The ride was silent for the five minutes it took to get home.

The night crawled by after Olivia left. Noah stayed behind the bar for the most part, offering a very limited, simple menu. Thankfully, business slowed back down and stayed that way until close.

By the time it was time to lock up, the headache had consumed his entire head and he was so tired it was difficult to keep his eyes open. Charlie had no fares tonight so, between the two of them, the bar was clean and wrapped up ten minutes after closing.

He stepped out into the frigid air and immediately felt a little better. He was still so tired, but the crispness of the air eased his headache a little.

The bar was a fifteen-minute walk from his house. Normally he savored the chance to walk in the quiet night, but tonight he just wanted to be home in bed. But he couldn’t, not even when he got home, because they had to help Andrew.

Andrew whom he hadn’t spoken to since Christmas Eve.

Andrew has bigger problems than you right now, he reminded himself.

The light was on in Liv’s living room when he slowly opened her front door. Andrew was sitting on the sofa with his back to Noah. Noah could see his hair was a mess. Beyond him, Cleo and Liv were sitting on the other couch. All three were holding beers.

The air changed slightly, and Noah felt nauseous again. He noticed the two women casually set down their drinks as they greeted him. Andrew turned around, met his eye, and they both looked away.

“Hey Noah,” Olivia said. “Come on in. We have a lot to figure out.”


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1 Comment

  1. New Winslow S1E38 – Enfield Arts

    […] EPISODE 39 […]

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