New Winslow S5E9

Olivia didn’t have service on her cell phone in the parking lot or for most of the drive home. So if Bret was furiously trying to call her, it didn’t matter. But she didn’t care. Olivia could hardly believe she’d just done that. She’d just quit Keegan’s. Was she insane? Not that it mattered, because she’d finally told Bret what she’d been thinking all this time. And it wasn’t like she could take it back, even if she wanted to.

She got to her driveway and pulled in. The sun was not only still up, it was high in the sky. It was only one-thirty in the afternoon. God, Olivia hadn’t been home at one-thirty in the afternoon since she could remember. The air was crisp as she made her way up the walkway, her worn no-slip shoes clicking softly on the pavement as she went. The front yard looked new, somehow, like she was looking at it through fresh eyes. The dead brown grass sparkled with frost and Mia’s overturned wading pool was a glistening blue mound underneath her living room window. Olivia laughed at nothing, that giddy feeling bubbling through her. She’d done it. She’d actually fucking done it.

Still shaking, she unlocked the front door and walked inside. Then she kicked off her shoes and walked into her own apartment.

Andrew was watching Mia today, and she heard him singing a silly nursery rhyme to her in the kitchen. His voice stopped as she opened the door. “Hello?” he called.

“Just me!”

Her voice sounded almost drunk in her ears and she started walking toward the kitchen as he appeared in the doorway, face lined with concern. “Are you alright?” he asked her. “What’s going-”

“I just quit Keegan’s.”

There it was out loud. She’d done it. In the most dramatic way possible, she’d quit her job of seven years.

Then it hit her with the force of a train she hadn’t seen coming. She quit her job. The only job she had, with no other prospects.

The sudden panic closed her throat, squeezing tightly as she gasped for breath. Andrew gripped her arms and steered her toward the recliner. “It’s alright,” he said, voice confident. “Just breathe, it’s alright.”

Olivia nodded, again trying to calm everything back down. After a moment, the constriction in her throat loosened. “I just quit my job,” she said. “Andrew, what the hell was I thinking?”

“That you work a terrible job? What happened?”

“Bret was yelling at me because the assistant manager closed early last night. He said it didn’t matter if I was on or not, it was my responsibility.”

“That’s bullshit.”

“I know, right? I worked six nights this week. But he was docking my pay.”

The phone rang in the kitchen, interrupting what was sure to be an obscene diatribe from Andrew. Olivia went to stand up, but Andrew held up a finger and she sat back down as he walked into the kitchen. “Hello?” he heard him greet the caller. “No, she’s not in at the moment. May I ask who’s calling?” Pause. “Hmm, yes. If I see her, I’ll be sure to have her call. Cheers.”

He hung up and walked back in, Mia following behind him. “What a wanker,” Andrew muttered, shaking his head with an exasperated half-smile toward Olivia.

Mia climbed up into Olivia’s lap and nestled in as though nothing weird was happening. Olivia gripped her tightly, breathing in the scent of Mia’s sweet baby shampoo as she tried to relax. Her phone buzzed in her pocket, and she pulled it out. Six missed calls from Bret and two from Hugh. As she watched, it buzzed again with an incoming text.


Hell yeah. U ok?

She texted him back that she was fine, then put her phone back in her pocket. As long as Charlie wasn’t worried, she didn’t care about any other calls that might come in. “I’m an idiot,” she said as Mia played with the amulet around her neck. “This was my only income, and I just told him to go fuck himself. And Noah’s job isn’t going to cover the whole mortgage. And it’s gone after Christmas and he doesn’t know what he’s going to do either. What-”

Andrew put a warm hand over hers and she stopped as he smiled at her again, a warm look on his handsome face. “We’ll figure it out,” he said. “I’ve got plenty in savings, I’m working, and don’t you dare try to argue with me after you’ve shared your home with me for a full year now.”

She did want to argue with him and refuse his money. But she knew it would be pointless. So instead, she just let out a long sigh. “Thank you.”

Andrew walked back into the kitchen and Olivia leaned over to kiss Mia, who was squirming to get down. As Mia walked over to the stack of toys in the corner of the room, Olivia tilted her head back against the recliner and closed her eyes for a second as the adrenaline seemed to leave her body all at once. She’d quit Keegan’s. She was never going back.

What the hell was she going to do now?

Andrew walked back into the room, and she opened her eyes. He smiled and handed her one of the two glasses of white wine in his hands. “Before anything, a celebratory drink,” he said. “To leaving that nightmare behind. Congratulations.”

Olivia tapped her glass against his and took a sip of wine, savoring the tartness on her tongue. It was fine. It had only been less than an hour, of course she didn’t have a solution to all of her problems just yet. But she was going to be fine. They all were.


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The Northern Worcester County branch of the Foundation for Paranormal Research is one of the organization’s top investigation and cleanup teams. So when a case comes in involving a century of mysterious disappearances, they figure they’ll be done before their lunch break is supposed to end. Investigators James and Amelia go to the site while their coworkers remain behind. But in seconds, Amelia vanishes in the cursed house and the others are forced to find her with no help from their bosses. Will they be able to get her back or will the house claim one final victim?

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