New Winslow S5E58
The next morning, Olivia and Andrew went to the Limerick building to meet with Shannon, the realtor. Since Noah’s usual lawyer wasn’t available, Jude had offered to come with them. Just to make Andrew’s morning even more complete.
But apparently Noah and Jude weren’t a thing anymore? At least as much as they ever were a thing? And they clearly didn’t actually have much of a romantic relationship, because Jude had been telling them about someone named Sarabeth staying over last night and sorry he was a little frazzled, they’d overslept.
And then Noah had called Jude’s phone. And from what Andrew could hear, the conversation hadn’t been that of two heartbroken former lovers. Instead, Jude had laughed and assured him that the space looked fine. And Andrew and Olivia were fine. And everything was fine, seriously. He hung up, then rolled his eyes at Andrew with a knowing smile.
“Alright,” Jude said, motioning them toward one of the two small, dusty tables that were still in place. “Let’s get this paperwork settled. John’s attorney already signed on his end, so Shannon’s here as his representative. I’ll need you two to sign, oh, six or seven hundred times on the dotted line.”
He hadn’t been that far off. By the time they were done signing papers, Andrew’s hand was cramping. Finally, Andrew handed Jude the last piece of paper. Jude stacked the papers, straightened them with a quick tap on the desk, then stood up.
“I’ll get these handled,” he said. “Do me a favor and tell Noah to quit stressing, everything’s not going to fall apart without him here. At least not yet.”
Olivia laughed easily and then stopped as Shannon handed her the tarnished gold keys to the building. “It’s all yours,” she said to them with a smile.
Shannon left a few minutes later. Jude followed after, tossing Andrew a wink as he did. Everything about him still grated at Andrew, but he was being less irritating than usual. And it had nothing to do with the fact that Jude wasn’t with Noah anymore. Of course not, because Andrew wasn’t sixteen.
Finally, it was just Andrew and Olivia standing in the middle of their building. “I’d like to take a look upstairs,” Andrew said to Olivia, who was gazing around them in wonder. “Er, let me know when Noah gets here and we’ll get started figuring out what needs doing.”
Olivia nodded, but Andrew was pretty sure she only half heard him. Still, he wasn’t going to interrupt her joy, so he ducked away and hurried up the wooden stairs out back.
This little upstairs flat was unexpected, but looking around, it wasn’t a bad space. A little cramped, and the occupants would always be above a hopefully bustling coffee shop. But it was nicely shaded by trees outside in the bedroom and the living room was full of light. The kitchenette was tiny, but there was a giant kitchen downstairs that would work just fine for anything beyond a simple meal or a cup of tea.
Maybe it was time for Andrew to stop waiting to go home.
It was theirs. Part of Olivia thought this was yet another dream. Another part of her knew that her dream Limerick wouldn’t have quite as much grime on the windows. She looked around the space. It was dim and dusty, requiring a complete disinfection and scrubbing before they could even start to consider having anyone come inside it. But even now, she could imagine how it was going to look. Her original perception of the place hadn’t been quite right, but it only shifted her daydreams around slightly.
There was everything she needed for all the coffee and teas she’d want to sell. They weren’t going to do heavy meals. But snacks. Pastries and little savory treats like the kinds she’d been researching at night when she couldn’t sleep. Soon she could practice them in the kitchen she’d actually be working in.
And it was theirs. Her and Noah and Andrew. Nobody yelling at her to get costs down, then yelling again about customer complaints. Nobody doubting her, nobody punching Noah. That part of their lives was over.
This wasn’t going to be a fantasy. She knew that. She knew it was going to be hard work and that parts of it were going to be just as miserable as Keegan’s. But it was all on her terms now. The other two trusted her vision and had made that completely clear. It was going to be a lot of work for little money. Even when they hopefully really got moving, this wasn’t going to make anybody rich.
And she wasn’t quite sure how they were going to keep making money as they were getting set up. Andrew had his job and Noah was looking for steady work. Both of them had told her not to do that, to focus on getting this place up and running. So, from here on, this was it. She had her coffee shop. The dream had come true.
There was a knock at the front door, and Olivia jumped. But then she saw Noah waving to her through the dirty glass and she hurried over to let him in.
“Everything’s fine?” he asked as he walked in, carrying a backpack she knew contained his more mobile toolkit.
“Everything’s fine,” she said. “How’s Roman?”
“He’s doing alright,” Noah said, and some of that anxiety she’d been feeling dissolved. “He’s still unconscious, but they said he’s doing well.”
“Celine’s coming home a little bit later, so she said Jamie was fine alone until then. She doesn’t need me to come back, so I’m all yours.”
He looked around the space. Olivia could see him mentally marking all the repairs it needed, but there was a look of disbelief on his face too, one she knew she shared. “This is happening,” she said.
Noah laughed, and it came out a little shaky. “It is.”
He nodded and licked his lips. “I am,” he said. “I really am.”
She nodded. “Me too.”
“Alright,” Noah said, shifting his backpack on his shoulder. “Let’s take a look at what we’re working with here.”