New Winslow S6E12
“Are you feeling up to talking?”
Roman wasn’t sure he was, but it also didn’t seem like the type of conversation Celine had in mind was one that he wanted to skip. She looked solemn in a way that she either hadn’t (or had done a great job of hiding) since he’d first woken up in the hospital.
“Yeah, babe,” he said. “What’s wrong?”
Celine took a deep breath and paused like she was looking for the words. Roman waited, unease pooling in his stomach as he watched. Then she exhaled and sat down in the seat beside his bed.
“Do you know how you got out?”
Out of all the horrible possibilities that had been floating through his mind, that wasn’t what he’d expected. He looked at her, wondering if maybe one of his medications was messing with him. Hadn’t they had this talk over the past few days? He didn’t know what happened, and he’d thought she didn’t either.
She kept looking steadily at him. “Are you sure?” she asked, her voice sharp.
“I’m sure, Celine. What-”
“I have to ask,” she continued over his question. “At any point in the past year, did you do anything other than the rituals you told me about? Did you maybe promise anything to anybody? Make any deals?”
The unease turned to nausea so quickly that Roman reached for his plastic water pitcher in case he vomited. The remaining water spilled over the small table and onto his blankets. “No,” he managed to choke out just before puking.
His chest screamed in protest as he vomited and he dimly felt Celine’s hand on his shoulder and tried to shrug it off. But his whole body was heaving and when it was done, he was shaking too hard to do anything but fall back against the raised bed with his eyes tightly shut, the spilled water spreading across his hospital gown and freezing his overheated skin.
“Rome-” Celine started, and he held up a hand.
“I didn’t do anything like that,” he said. “I didn’t talk to anyone, or make any deals, nothing. I swear. Everything I did is on my laptop, you can check it.”
He knew he didn’t have the right to be angry at her for asking, not when he’d spent so long sneaking around and doing magic he didn’t fully comprehend in order to get out. But the opportunities to make a deal had been there in several of the old textbooks he’d found and he’d turned them down. Even if they could work and get him out, he wasn’t going to make some deal with a monster that would put his family in danger. He’d seen enough of that. Even Iris accidentally summoning that Roland jackass had impacted his kids and Roman had nothing to do with that one.
“I’m sorry,” Celine said, and it sounded like she meant it. “I needed to ask.”
“I don’t know,” Roman said, barely hearing her as the smell of vomit lingering in his nose made his stomach turn again. “Nothing I tried worked, and I never got anyone who wasn’t Iris involved. Not since we were younger and I don’t trust any of those ones except Jennings, who didn’t know anything. And I barely trust Iris, but she didn’t do anything either. But I didn’t promise anyone anything to get this and I want to go home!”
His throat tightened around the last words and Celine silently picked up his water pitcher, bringing it into the small attached bathroom. Roman squeezed his eyes shut, his heart hammering painfully in his ears. A sob escaped his throat, and it felt like a stitch tore as it did so.
He was out. Why was he out? And why, after all this time, did he only want to go back? He couldn’t stop the humiliating, gasping sobs that ripped through him as he squeezed his fists uselessly in the light blanket. Celine was back now, tugging him gently against her and he reluctantly surrendered. The lights were too bright against his closed eyes and even though it hurt, his body wouldn’t stop shaking in the warm room.
“It’s alright,” Celine whispered against the top of his head as though he was one of the kids. “It’s going to be alright, I promise.”
She couldn’t promise that. He was out of New Winslow, the thing they’d put decades into solving. And his wife, his home, his children, and his entire life were all still there. And he couldn’t be there, he couldn’t help with any of it or be a part of it. He was stuck on the other side, just like he’d been afraid of. All he could do was lay uselessly in this hospital bed and worry about what was coming next.
He had barely stopped crying when he heard the familiar sound of a nurse’s cart wheeling into the room. “Is everything alright?” the nurse, a tall young woman, asked him.
He sat up and nodded shakily, but she eyed his monitors. “Let’s check you over,” she said, her voice brusque, but her movements kind.
Maybe they should be getting the kids out of there now, Roman thought as the nurse wrapped a blood pressure cuff tightly around his upper arm. What if one of them gets hit with it? What if he doomed his kid to the same mess he was in?
“Mr. Beckett,” the nurse said firmly as she marked down his blood pressure. “You need to relax. I’ll be back in a few minutes. If these numbers aren’t down, then I’ll talk to the doctor on call and see what we should do next. Do you think you can calm down?”
He knew the other option was drugs, which he was probably looking at anyway. He nodded and the nurse whispered something to Celine as she finished taking his vitals.
She walked out and Celine moved to lower the bed until it was only slightly reclined. “Just breathe,” she said as he stared up at the ceiling behind her. “It’s okay, but you just need to breathe.”
His chest hurt as he did so, trying to breathe deeply into his abdomen the way she’d taught him years ago when they were first dating. “Close your eyes,” she said.
Roman obeyed, pressing a shaking fist to his stomach. He heard her humming close by and knew if he opened his eyes, he’d see her weaving something invisible inches above him, just like he’d seen her do countless times. He didn’t know if the warmth that was slowly building in his chest was actually her or just his body reacting to what she was doing. But it was spreading over his healing heart and as he breathed, his heart rate gradually slowed down.
She put her hands over his and he tried to focus on the light he was visualizing in his chest. This was just like when he built that mental wall to keep Roland out. After he’d nearly lost his life for the first time by trying to fight Charlie.
After a few minutes, he felt calm enough to open his eyes. Celine looked worried, tired, and brilliant above him.
“Better?” she asked.
He nodded. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I didn’t want to hurt you, but I had to be sure.”
“I wouldn’t do that,” Roman said, his voice hoarse.
“I love you.”
He was completely drained and closed his eyes as she ran a hand over his hair. “We’ll figure it out,” she said. “We’ll find out how you got out, solve the curse, and then you can come home.”
“And get Andrew out too.”
“And get Andrew out too,” she agreed. “They said if everything looks good tomorrow, you can leave. We’ll fix it all from there.”