New Winslow S4E31

It was freezing outside as Noah got to Keegan’s the next afternoon. The wind made his hands raw, and he realized maybe Olivia had a point when she stored hand lotion in her glove compartment. Not that Noah had bothered bringing his truck to work today. He’d left the house thinking, how cold could it be? It’s not even winter yet.

Really cold. Really fucking cold. A phenomenal decision he was regretting about halfway through the fifteen minute walk. But he’d wanted the quiet time to clear his head. Not only had the hurricane dream been back last night, he’d also apparently been sleepwalking. He’d fallen asleep in his bed around eleven, then woken up on the kitchen floor, the coffee maker his sister Erin had sent to welcome him home in pieces beside him. After a moment of panic, he’d remembered that he wasn’t drunk and hadn’t been drunk in weeks. But even still, he wanted to keep this fun little nocturnal activity to himself for now. So he’d waited until he heard Liv pull out of the driveway, then gotten ready for work himself.

He opened the door and walked in, letting it slam shut behind him in the wind. The dining room was empty, which was fairly normal this time of day. The lunch rush, or what little lunch rush there might have been, was over. A couple of tables had trash piled neatly in the middle of them, but there were no people around. Including Liv or Hugh.

Noah shrugged out of his coat and slung it over his arm. He might as well hang it up out back, then do some cleaning. Even though he wasn’t the bartender anymore, he was still perfectly capable of sweeping the floor and bussing tables. He grabbed the trash from the tables as he passed them and brought it up to the bar, being careful not to step behind it as he emptied the scraps into the trash bin behind it. Noah tried to ignore the shame. It wasn’t going to help anyone. He wasn’t allowed back there where he’d spent five years working and he couldn’t be trusted with alcohol. He couldn’t trust himself with alcohol either. It was just a fact of life now.

Right. Hang up his coat, grab the broom, and sweep the dining room. Those tables could use some cleaning too. Liv would probably say she had it under control, don’t worry. But if he could take anything off her plate, he would.

Where was Liv, anyway? It was weird to come in and not see her. “Hey, Liv!” he yelled in toward the back door.

He waited a beat. Nothing. No big deal, she was probably just doing inventory. Noah started heading toward the back.

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A can of tomatoes was digging into the small of Olivia’s back, but she couldn’t bring herself to care that there was going to be a bruise there. Not right now, with Hugh’s warm hands roaming her body and her own lips trailing down his neck. He shuddered against her and she gasped sharply into his collarbone.

They weren’t even trying anymore. The moment the lunch rush had ended, and they’d had more than five minutes without a customer, both of them had found their way back here. Olivia had gone out back under the pretense of stocking the grill area. After such a rush, they needed more paper plates. She might have used five whole plates during lunch. And if Hugh happened to be back here, then he happened to be back here. Which he was, coming back to get some clean bar towels to replace the already-clean ones sitting on the counter.

They should get back out front soon, Olivia thought as he pulled her tighter against him. They had a lot to do and no one else was in until four. It was them and Charlie tonight, she’d looked at the schedule earlier. But there was so much to do and only the two of them to do it.

But it was only the two of them, so they might as well just keep going.

Olivia sighed as his hand slipped a little ways under her shirt. Were they really going to do this here? A little bit of making out was one thing, but what if someone came in and there was nobody out front? What would Bret think?

The thought of Bret was a splash of cold water, but it was quickly gone. Hugh said something to her, but his voice was muffled against the top of her head. She didn’t catch it, but nodded anyway as his hand undid one button on her shirt, then another. And another.

Then the light came on.

Hugh jumped back from Olivia as though she were on fire. Olivia gasped, trying frantically to hold her shirt closed. Fuck, she was getting fired. What the hell was she thinking, making out with an employee at work? She was getting fired, she was getting put on a list. Oh my God, this was the stupidest-

“Excuse me,” Noah said, desperately trying to keep his face straight. “Don’t mind me, I’m just getting the broom.”

He picked up the broom and dustpan that were sitting by the door. Then, with a somber nod, he turned off the light and walked out the door.

Hugh let out a long breath. “Fuuuuuck,” he said.

Olivia nodded, buttoning her shirt. “That was…”

“Yeah.”

“Do you think he’ll tell?”

Olivia couldn’t help the laugh that escaped. “What, Noah?” she said. “The king of lunch break hookups? I think he’ll find it in his heart to keep this a secret.”

Hugh nodded, a little shakily. “Good.”

“Do you want to stop?”

“Never.”

Olivia laughed, but her voice was a little shaky too. “We should get back to work,” she said.

“You go first. I just need to catch my breath.”

He looked rattled enough that she wanted to stay and comfort him, but he gently waved her off. So instead, she walked out and made her way up front.

Noah was sweeping the floor just inside Keegan’s main entrance. He looked up as she walked in, and the smile that spread over his face was simultaneously comforting and alarming. She was safe, but oh, she was in deep shit.

“So,” he said.

She nodded. “So.”

“Good?”

“Yeah.”

He pointed to her shirt. “You missed a button there, Liv.”

She looked down to see that he was right, her buttons were misaligned. Muttering under her breath and face on fire, she turned and headed toward the bathroom. Noah was laughing behind her, and if she hadn’t been so mortified, the familiar sound might have been comforting.

But all she wanted to do right now was hide in the basement and never come out.

EPISODE 32

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