New Winslow S5E26

Olivia still wasn’t entirely sure this wasn’t a dream. The realtor, Shannon, was vaguely familiar from high school as she greeted her, Noah, and Andrew at the front of the Limerick building. Trying to quell the butterflies in her stomach, she smiled at Shannon and shook her hand.

“The owner is looking for a quick sale,” Shannon said as she fished a small key ring out of her coat pocket. “He’s liquidating some of his holdings, and the tearoom is at the top of the list. I’m not going to try to pressure you into a sale, I swear. But at this price, even New Winslow property is going to go pretty fast.”

Olivia nodded again, shooting a nervous glance over at Noah, who caught her eye and smiled. She looked over at Andrew, who was studying the trim on the front of the brick building.

It was a small building for a business, maybe slightly smaller than the duplex. But as she glanced in the dirty windows, she could see the storefront and the remaining tables scattered across the tile floor. If she could bring this business back to life, it would support her and Mia. And maybe they could even expand in the future. It was a detached building, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t…

Shannon had said something, but Olivia hadn’t caught it. She was about to cave and ask her to repeat it, but Noah intercepted.

“We’re really only looking at this property,” he said. “It was just a possibility that came across our path.”

“And you’re business partners?” Shannon asked.

Olivia liked the sound of that one. “Yeah,” she said with a nod. “We are.”

“Excellent. There’s so much opportunity here. And honestly, I think New Winslow could really use a small cafe,” Shannon said. “I know the general store does coffee and sandwiches, but that time when we actually had the tearoom was so nice, wasn’t it?”

Andrew looked like he wanted to say something, and Olivia was grateful he kept it to himself. She still couldn’t quite believe he actually wanted to do this with them. After nearly a year of trying to leave, he was putting down something akin to roots. Not that this meant he’d be staying in town. But going into business, which he’d made it clear he wanted, meant a permanent connection beyond just them.

“So, you can see the outside is a little rough, but the foundation’s in good shape and there’s nothing a coat of paint couldn’t fix,” Shannon started, motioning toward the chipped paint along the massive windows. “You’ll probably need a new door at some point as well.”

She unlocked the door and opened it, motioning for them to go in. Olivia took a deep breath, then stepped inside the building she’d been dying to enter for so long.

It was dusty inside. Dust specks danced in the light coming from the grimy windows. The counter was chipped, and she was pretty sure a fossilized donut was sitting on the bottom shelf of the display case. Equipment behind the counter was covered in thick tarps.

“Everything that’s in the building is included in the sale price,” Shannon said, motioning toward the three old metal tables pushed against the wall.

Olivia stepped behind the counter and lifted one of the tarps. An old espresso machine sat beneath it. It looked like it was in working order, but she’d have to remember how to operate one of these things. Andrew followed her and started examining it.

“It’s old, but it probably still works,” he murmured.

Noah was walking around the perimeter of the room, looking at the walls. She heard him interrogating Shannon about the utilities for the building and Shannon followed him as he started walking toward a doorway that led somewhere dark and likely haunted. As they left, Olivia began pulling tarps off of everything.

It was all still here. Dusty and probably in need of major maintenance, but the espresso machine, the small oven, and all of the storage were still here. Olivia was right about the donut, and she found a dusty tea bag lying on the floor. There was no cash register, but they’d figure that out. And they’d need to purchase a refrigerator to fill the gaping hole that had clearly been filled with one.

The counter space looked good, but she knew she had to actually look at the rest of the place before making any decisions. So she kept walking behind the counter and into a small storage area. There were a few metal shelves in place, but two of them looked broken. There was no prep space back here, just storage. And not much of that.

She stepped out of the storage room, then noticed the small space behind it. Andrew followed her back there, and she found a massive sink and sanitizer, as well as some more counter space.

“This works,” she said, quickly calculating the space that would be needed. “There’s sanitation there. Storage in that room. We’d need a freezer, as well as a storage refrigerator. There’s no walk-in, which sucks. But we could figure that out.”

“Where’d Noah go?” Andrew asked as they walked back out to the main space.

“He and Shannon went that way,” Olivia said, pointing toward the dark doorway.

She saw Andrew hesitate for just a second before following her through the doorway and down a rickety flight of stairs. Olivia resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Noah wasn’t down here seducing their realtor. At least she was about ninety percent sure he wouldn’t do that. But no, when she got to the bottom, she saw him carefully inspecting a circuit breaker box as Shannon tried not to express any sign of boredom beside him.

“The wiring is updated,” he called over to her and Andrew as they approached. “It doesn’t look like we’d have to do a ton, but we still absolutely need an inspection.”

“If you want to look on the second floor, we should probably keep moving,” Shannon said.

Second floor? It hadn’t occurred to Olivia that there was any more space. But she immediately felt a little jittery as she followed the others back upstairs. The nerves and excitement were bubbling in her stomach. They had to get this place. She knew there were so many things to consider. They hadn’t heard back on their loan yet, though it looked good. And what if John didn’t accept the offer? Or someone else bought it out from under them?

It wouldn’t be the end of the world, but it’d probably feel like it for a little while.

“What’s upstairs?” she asked as they went back into the main space.

“The apartment,” Shannon said. “Wasn’t that in the listing?”

She thought back, but she was pretty sure there’d been no mention of an apartment. She looked at the other two, who both looked surprised as well. But they followed Shannon across the room and toward the back of the building, where what she had assumed was the back exit was hanging slightly off of its hinges.

Shannon pushed the door open and led them into a small hallway. There was a flight of stairs leading up into darkness. She flipped the light on and the dim, yellow light showed a dark wood stairwell. The stairs creaked under their weight as they went up the stairs, which led straight into a small living space.

Olivia loved her apartment, but this was cozy. Or, at least it would be if there was anything in it. The stairs led into a tiny living room filled with dark wood paneling. It seemed to contain most of the space in the unit, with a small kitchenette off to the side. There was an oven, but no fridge. There was an equally tiny bedroom off to the side, which probably wouldn’t fit more than a twin bed. Then there was a very old and worn-out bathroom.

“What do you think?” Shannon asked them.

Noah seemed to have taken the lead, which made sense considering he’d bought a house a few years ago. He walked around the space, opening cabinets and inspecting the corners. Olivia did the same, though she now had that feeling this was all too good to be true. It was too much. The shop she’d been dreaming of for such a long time, a little hidden space above it. This wasn’t going to happen.

After they’d all had a chance to look through the small apartment, they made their way back down to the cafe. Shannon politely stepped aside to give them some time to talk.

“I like it,” Noah said. “It’s in good shape. Honestly, I could probably do most of the repairs that it needs.”

“And it’s a good location, it’s a proven business,” Andrew added.

They both sounded so professional and Olivia knew that she was equally up to the task. But all she could hear was her own pounding heart.


She nodded. “Yes,” she said. “Yes, it’s perfect.”

Shannon seemed thrilled when they told her they wanted to put in an offer. She said she would send them all the paperwork and once they heard about their financing, she would get the offer sent through.

So that was all that was left, Olivia thought a little while later as she drove them back home. All they had to do was wait for the loan to be approved.


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