New Winslow S5E28

One bedroom, one bathroom in Allston with a parking space. Three times what she was currently paying with Edie, but reasonable for Boston. And it would be doable as long as the album sales continued.

Cleo scrolled through the listings online, getting an idea of what was available back in Boston. It didn’t look like things had changed much since the last time she’d been looking at apartments. And it wasn’t like she’d be looking seriously for a long time, if ever. But with her mom now willing to get treatment for her dementia, maybe she’d be more willing to move out of New Winslow and go somewhere closer to Boston. There were more doctors there, and better hospitals. It wasn’t purely selfish of Cleo to want to go back if it meant that her mother would get better care.

She hoped Edie would consider it. They could move there together. It’d make things more convenient for Edie too, since they’d be closer to the rest of the band. And they’d be back in the city, back somewhere with a little more energy and opportunity.

Not that Cleo was going to bring it up to them any time soon. She had to do so much more planning. And get her mother onboard. If that were to ever happen, then she’d speak to Edie.

A studio maybe? She glanced at one listing. It was high, but by Boston standards, it wasn’t that bad. Noah would probably have a heart attack and die looking at that number, but there was a reason for the price. And Cleo was willing to pay it if it meant she could be back in Boston.

On some level, she knew this was ridiculous. This level of attachment to a city was unhealthy. And just because she hated New Winslow didn’t mean she had to be back in Boston. There were plenty of other cities in the world, many of them much more exciting than Boston could ever be.

Maybe she was just desperately clinging to her old life, the life she and Andrew had before everything happened. Where she didn’t have to worry about her mother’s health yet. Or any of their friends back home and their problems. And Andrew could come and go as he pleased. It had been nearly a year now that he’d been stuck in that stupid fucking town.

Cleo let out a long breath. There was nothing she could do about it right now. All she could do was take care of her mother and try to convince her that getting out of New Winslow was the best choice for her. Everything else was out of her hands.

So she was going to get up, go to the grocery store, and get the food she’d promised Edie she’d grab for dinner tonight. Christmas Eve was tomorrow and the place was going to be packed, but hopefully she could get in and out quickly.

Cleo set her laptop down on the bed, grabbed her car keys, and headed out.

—————-

Her phone rang as she was getting in the car and she glanced down to see Andrew’s name on the display.

“Hey, what’s up?”

“Hi. I’ve got some news.”

Like last time, she knew he wasn’t out. He wouldn’t start that particular conversation like this. But her heart leapt into her throat, anyway. “What’s up?” she asked, trying to stay casual.

“So this all happened really fast. But remember how Liv was talking about wanting to open a coffee shop?”

“Yes?”

“The old one in New Winslow is up for sale. And, um, we put in an offer.”

We. While the rest of it did make it into her brain, that “we” was getting stuck. Apparently, she was quiet a little too long, though, because Andrew sounded hesitant as he said her name.

“Cleo?”

“Wha-yeah. Wow. Um, you’re buying a building?”

“Yeah. We’re all going to be partners in it, but I’m not going to be, like, part of running it.”

She wasn’t sure how to feel about this. On one hand, Liv getting her own shop was amazing and Cleo knew that she and Noah would be able to pull it off. But Andrew? Did he just not want to leave? But she knew if she brought that fight back up, it would start all over.

“Wow,” she said again. “That’s incredible.”

“It happened really fast and we don’t even know if our offer will be accepted,” he said, words spilling over each other as he tried to explain. “It’s a lot, but I think it’s a good investment. I had the money for my flat. Well, I mean, that ship’s sailed but you know what I mean. And property here is apparently cheap?”

“You spent all your savings on this?”

“It was my idea.”

His voice had gone sharp and Cleo hurried to move on. “Of course,” she said, the grocery store momentarily forgotten. “I didn’t think that they were taking advantage of you.”

“No, of course not,” Andrew said quickly. “I’m sorry.”

“I’m just- that’s awesome, but it’s really surprising.”

“Tell me about it,” Andrew said with a laugh. “They both insist they’re going to pay me back. But yeah. If our offer is accepted, I’m now part-owner of New Winslow’s newest eatery.”

He sounded slightly stunned. “Are you happy about it?” she asked, then cringed.

“Yeah,” he said. “I won’t be working there. At least not the same way Liv will be. But she’s so excited about it. And I reckon it’ll give me something else to think about now that Dr. Degas has put me on mandatory vacation from all magic through Christmas.”

“Did something happen?”

“I fell asleep in the middle of Iris’s shop and nobody could wake me up.”

“I could have told them that would happen. Remember that yoga class?”

“It was hot, and I hadn’t slept properly the night before.”

Cleo laughed. “Well, congratulations? Keep me updated.”

“Of course.”

“I’ll be in town tonight, but I’m not sure if I’ll see you. I’ll be at my mom’s.”

“Just look out for the snow, it’s supposed to get bad later.”

They hung up a moment later, and Cleo turned on her car. Andrew owning property in New Winslow. That was absolutely not what she ever expected, and she still felt a little apprehensive about it. But he seemed happy enough, and it was nice to hear him happy.

————

Edie’s car was in the parking lot when Cleo got home a little while later. She picked up the bag of groceries and made her way up the front stairs. As she walked up, she noticed Edie had thrown down some sand to keep them from getting slippery. She’d have to make sure to thank them for it.

“Hey!” she called as she walked into the apartment.

Edie didn’t answer. Maybe they were using headphones or something. Cleo set the grocery bag down and went into the bedroom.

“Hey, babe, I grabbed those chicken parm patties you wanted.”

Edie was sitting on the bed. As they looked up, Cleo could see the anger in their eyes. She was about to ask what it was about, then noticed her laptop was sitting beside them, still open to the apartment listings.

“What’s this about?” Edie asked, their voice far too calm.

“It’s nothing,” Cleo said quickly. “I was just…”

There was no good ending for that sentence, was there? For all Edie knew, Cleo had been looking to leave.

“I get that this isn’t exactly what you wanted,” Edie said, voice heavy with hurt in a way that made Cleo flinch. “But I was hoping you’d talk to me about it before you made any decisions.”

“That’s not for now,” Cleo blurted out.

As the words came out, she knew she’d fucked up. Edie took a deep breath and looked back down at the bed.

“I think maybe we’re on different pages here,” they said after a moment. “Maybe I’m wrong. I thought we were moving in together. Like, as a couple. Was that not what you had in mind?”

“It is,” Cleo said. “It is, I swear. But I thought maybe we could, you know, maybe move to Boston together at some point.”

Edie looked up at her, and she squirmed under their focus. “Cleo,” they said slowly. “You know we’re only forty minutes away from there, right? Like, there are T rides within the city limits that take longer than the trip from here to Boston.”

“I know,” Cleo said. “And I’m sorry, I really am. I appreciate you inviting me to live with you. And I love living with you, I swear! But I belong in the city. And I was thinking of the future, that’s all. I didn’t mean to imply anything, and I didn’t mean to make you think I wasn’t serious about us.”

Edie nodded, but Cleo wasn’t relieved. “You believe me, right?”

They paused for way too long. “I do,” they said finally. “I just…”

Cleo’s heart sank as they let out a breath. “I don’t know what to think,” Edie admitted.

“We don’t have to discuss it now. Or, like, any time soon. But if you’d be interested in living in Boston, I think…”

Neither of them spoke for a moment. Then Edie sighed again. “It’s not that,” they said. “I love Boston. But how much of this is about the city itself and how much of it is you trying to reclaim your old life?”

Ouch. They didn’t even need to add the last part, it just lingered silently in the air between them.

A life that didn’t include Edie.

Edie stood up and gently brushed their hand down Cleo’s arm. “I’m going to go run some errands,” they said.

“I need to go check on my mom,” Cleo said. “I’ll be home late tonight.”

“It’s going to snow,” Edie said. “You’d be better off staying at Liv’s.”

They leaned up and kissed Cleo on the cheek. Then, with a sad smile, they headed out the door. Cleo wanted to chase after them, but knew it would be a mistake. So instead, she headed to the dresser to pack an overnight bag.


EPISODE 29


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