New Winslow S6E29

Tyler and Ryan were at their apartment when Cleo got home and she half-considered walking right back out. Not that she didn’t love them, but she was exhausted after a very stressful day with her mother. And looking at them was a reminder that not only did Ryan at least think she’d blown her chances with her temporary viral fame, but she was still tearing herself apart to figure out ways where she could have done things differently. Even though she was coming up with nothing, and the others agreed with her (and so did her dad, as much as he clearly wanted to fix the problem for her), she couldn’t help thinking it was her fault. And in the weeks since they’d last seen each other, Cleo had been twisting this around in her head every day, certain she could have done something differently.

But walking back out of her own apartment would be ridiculous. Plus, she was at least five years older than both of them, so she didn’t want to look childish. And they saw her, so there was no way she could get away with it, even if she wanted to. Which she still kind of did.

Based on Ryan’s expression when she walked in, she wasn’t the only one who had been haunted by their last interaction. He shifted on the chair like he was going to stand up, then stopped as Cleo reluctantly closed the door behind her.

“Cleo-” he started.

She didn’t know where this was going, but she was too tired for it to go any way that led to her feeling like shit again. “Listen,” she said, pushing her bangs out of her face. “I had a really bad day with my mom. I’d rather go to Europe too, but I can’t. So I’m just going to go shower and get ready for another shitty day tomorrow.”

She knew it was cold, but she was being honest, she really did have another bad day lined up. She was about to walk past them and into her own bedroom when he spoke again.

“Shit, I’m sorry,” Ryan said. “I’m serious, I’m really sorry. That was so inappropriate for me to say that to you.”

She paused and looked at him. He seemed sincere, clearly trying to look at her rather than look anywhere else. She couldn’t blame him, because trying to look at him was nearly painful right now. He was a reminder that no matter what choice she made, something was going to go wrong.

“I really wanted to go,” she said quietly. “If there was a way I could do it, I would.”

“Your family needs you,” he said. “I was a jerk, I was so caught up in the music part of it that I- I’m sorry.”

She nodded. “Thanks,” she said. “I appreciate it.”

“We’re going to get some pizza,” Edie said. “Want some?”

Cleo shook her head. “I just want to go to bed,” she said. “It’s not you guys. It really is me.”

Edie looked at her in that way that made Cleo feel like everything she’d ever thought or felt was written on her skin in permanent ink. But then they reached over and squeezed Cleo’s hand, where it was hanging limply by her side. “I’ll save you a slice,” they said.

Cleo squeezed back, smiled at the guys in a way she knew didn’t look right, and hurried into the bathroom. She turned on the shower as hot as it would go, which was decently hot. The enormous bathtub was the centerpiece of this apartment. Edie had said more than once that it was the main reason they’d stayed for so long. That, and the cheap rent from the elderly landlord who lived downstairs. The landlord was fine, but Cleo had to agree with Edie on the tub. Even when she was just using the shower portion, the pressure pounded out the kinks in her shoulders as she bowed her head and let the spray run down her hair in sheets, surrounding her face and blocking everything else out.

She stayed in the shower for a decadent ten minutes compared to her usual rushed washing these days. Then she got out of the bathroom with some reluctance and headed into their bedroom. She could hear the band out in the living room, talking about something she couldn’t quite catch. Part of her wanted to be out there, talking gigs and songwriting, but she almost felt like she had when she’d been scrambling to survive last year in Boston. Like her music had to be deliberately shoved aside and compartmentalized if she was going to survive this season of her life. She could work on the album – she needed to work on the album – but it had to be separated from everything else she was doing.

And Cleo fucking hated that feeling.

The fact that she was only wrapped in a towel made the decision for her anyway, so she slipped into their small, cozy bedroom and pulled on the first pajamas she found in her dresser. Soft shorts and a t-shirt from a band she barely remembered from a gig so long ago.

There was a knock at the door a second after she’d pulled on her shirt. Then the door creaked open and Edie poked their head in.

“Can I come in?” they asked.

“It’s your bedroom too.”

Edie smiled, then came in and closed the door behind them. “The guys are still here,” they said. “I just wanted to check in with you for a few minutes.”

“I’m fine.”


Cleo laughed, a slightly bitter tinge in there. “Yeah,” she said. “Bullshit. But it’s nothing new. I’m just tired.”

“I ordered you a spinach pizza,” Edie said, running a slender hand through Cleo’s hair.

Cleo caught their hand and brought it to her lips, kissing their fingers gently. “You’re the best,” she said.

”Of course.”

She leaned down to kiss Edie. Their lips were soft on hers and the little sigh they gave at the contact sent electricity zipping down Cleo’s spine. If she wasn’t so tired and the rest of Edie’s band weren’t right outside this door, Cleo might have tugged Edie into bed with her.

But she was and they were, so instead, Cleo reluctantly broke off the kiss, then brushed her lips gently on Edie’s cheek. “I love you.”

“Love you too.”

Cleo motioned toward the book she’d left open and upside down on the bed. “I’m just going to read for a little bit, then go to bed. Take your time out there.”

“I will.”

Edie leaned in for one more kiss, then slipped out of the room, leaving Cleo feeling far more peaceful than she had when she’d walked in the apartment.




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The Northern Worcester County branch of the Foundation for Paranormal Research is one of the organization’s top investigation and cleanup teams. So when a case comes in involving a century of mysterious disappearances, they figure they’ll be done before their lunch break is supposed to end. Investigators James and Amelia go to the site while their coworkers remain behind. But in seconds, Amelia vanishes in the cursed house and the others are forced to find her with no help from their bosses. Will they be able to get her back or will the house claim one final victim?

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