New Winslow S5E30

“You aren’t planning to leave tonight, right?”

Cleo was gazing out the window at the snow when Noah’s voice was suddenly right behind her. She jumped and spun around, nearly knocking into him. “What? No, no, I’m staying here.”

“Good,” he said, moving to stand next to her and look at the snow piling up outside the window. “I was going to say, I can maybe get you as far as the road, but I don’t imagine the main roads are going to be much better.”

“Edie suggested I stay here tonight,” Cleo said, regret pooling back in her stomach.



The snow was coming down in clumps that caught the light as they landed in the bushes outside. “I think it’s just because of the snow, but I kind of messed up too.”

“What happened?”

Cleo glanced behind them to see that the living room was empty. Olivia was bathing Mia while Andrew was in the kitchen. She felt an urge to spill everything, but didn’t want to do it where Andrew could hear. “Do you mind if we go upstairs?”

“Of course not,” Noah said, frowning, his voice soft to match hers. “Come on.”

They slipped out the door, and she followed him up the stairs to his apartment. The living room was a mess, with what looked like Noah’s bed sheets and blanket tangled on the floor beside the couch.

“Sorry for the mess,” Noah said, kicking the blankets to the side. “I’ve been having problems with, um, sleepwalking.”

“That’s rough,” Cleo said, shaking her head. “I used to do that as a kid. My mom put up a gate.”

Noah laughed. “Jude said the same thing,” he said. “What did you want to talk about? What happened with Edie?”

Cleo sank onto the couch, and Noah sat down next to her, face filled with concern. “I fucked up,” she said. “I’m really happy with them, but I just miss living in Boston, you know? So I was looking into apartments, not seriously. But I’ve been making some money and maybe, if me and my dad can get mom to agree to an assisted living facility near there, I could…”

She groaned, letting her head fall back against the couch. “I was an idiot and left the search open on my computer. Now Edie thinks I’m planning to move without telling them and-”

She stopped short, suddenly wishing to cram the entire last two minutes of speech back into her stupid mouth. Apparently she was silent a little too long, because Noah turned to her.

“Listen,” he said, a lopsided smile on his face. “I’m not going to fall apart because something reminds me of what happened with Andrew almost a decade ago. It’s fine. Did you talk to them?”

Feeling foolish now, Cleo nodded. “Yeah,” she said. “I did, but I’m not sure they believed me completely. I’m not planning to leave. If I was going to go back, I’d want them to come with me. I love them. I’m in this for real and I think they’re worried I’m just staying until something better comes.”

Noah’s hand was on her shoulder, and she sighed. “It’s fine,” she said. “We talked and I think they believed me. But I just don’t know for sure. It was a stupid move on my part.”

“We all make them.”

“They said they didn’t think it was Boston at all. They said it was my old life that I missed. The one without them.”

“Do you?”

She turned to him, amused despite her anxiety. “I see therapy’s going well.”

Now it was his turn to look a little sheepish, but he laughed. “I’m just asking questions.”

“I do and I don’t. Like, I really miss living there. It was great. I know you hate it, but I love it. But it’s not like I’m going to go running back to my ex-girlfriend. I want what I have right now. I just… want it somewhere where I can catch the train wherever I want to go. And I want Andrew to have that back too.”

“And that’s why you wanted to come up here instead of saying all that downstairs.”

“I’m not that insensitive. Just dense enough to leave an apartment listing open where Edie could see it and question our entire relationship.”

He laughed at that, loud enough to wake up Gray Lady, who was sleeping on the nearby recliner. The cat jumped out of the chair and stalked away, glaring at them as she passed. “Sorry, Your Majesty!” Cleo called after her.

“Do you want to go downstairs or do you want to stay up here?” Noah asked. “Obviously you’re welcome to sleep up here.”

“Thanks, but I’m going to stay with Liv. Has she…”

She didn’t know how to finish that, but she apparently didn’t need to because some of the laughter fell from Noah’s face in response. “It’s rough,” he said. “She won’t admit it, but it’s rough.”

How many months ago had it been Olivia saying those same words about him? Cleo nodded in response. “I don’t want to be pushy,” she said. “She seemed comfortable going to my mom’s house and she’s been talking about the cafe. Which I love, by the way!”

“We’re still waiting on an answer,” Noah said. “But I’m so hopeful. I think this will be really good for her, you know?”

Cleo had a million questions and not just a small pang of loneliness at the idea of the three of them working together on something. But it wasn’t what she wanted, she reminded herself. And would she really be happy running a coffee shop?

No. No, she wouldn’t. Especially not one in New Winslow.

“Alright,” Noah said, standing up. “I want to get a little bit of shoveling done before it gets too heavy.”

“Want some help?” Cleo asked, trying not to eye his injured arm too obviously.

“If you really want to.”

She didn’t, but she wasn’t letting him do this alone. So instead, she followed him out and down the stairs to the front door.


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