New Winslow S6E31
That afternoon, Roman was bored. He was tired, he was lonely, he was afraid in that lingering way that was becoming second nature. But above all that, he was simply bored. Celine had left a little while ago with Aidan and he was sitting here in this room, just bored.
He hadn’t been tempted to drink this strongly in years and he didn’t have a sponsor these days. For a long time, he’d just gone to AA meetings every so often for maintenance, sometimes going more regularly when he felt like he needed the support. But it had been over ten years since his last drink, and he’d had a few years of sobriety before that relapse, so generally he could move past those cravings fairly easily. But this fucking boredom was putting them front and center right now.
Sure, he could call Noah, the kid would absolutely talk to him. But something held Roman back from that. Maybe he didn’t want to show any more weakness in front of him, not after nearly dying in Noah’s truck. It didn’t make much sense, and he knew it, but that didn’t stop the hesitation. But he was sitting here now, bored and absently considering how to find some liquor.
They probably didn’t have any here, unless they offered it during breakfast. A lot of places offered cocktails with brunch. His grandmother regularly gave him a screwdriver when he was a teenager and she had her friends over for breakfast. So it wasn’t out of the ordinary. He hadn’t noticed any indications when he brought breakfast back to his room in the mornings, but he could ask. Not that he was planning to.
Fuck, he just needed to take a walk. Maybe some time out of the room would be enough to soothe some of this bored, itching restlessness.
Roman got up, wincing a little as he did so. All things considered, he felt a lot better. The small incisions in his chest were healed by now, but that didn’t stop the itching, even if it was psychosomatic. But he wasn’t exercising enough yet, so his body creaked and groaned in ways that should have been alarming, but were mostly irritating.
His room key was sitting on the dresser, next to a grocery bag and a bowl half-filled with apples. As he grabbed it, he slid his phone into his pocket too. There was usually service here, maybe he’d give Celine a call. She just left, but they were married. So of course she’d be happy to hear from him. Right?
The elevator was a few doors down and he considered taking the stairs for a moment. After all, it was only one floor. But before he got to the staircase, he’d changed his mind and pressed the button. The elevator rattled down from the floors above and the doors opened a moment later with a weak ding. Roman stepped in gratefully as the elevator doors slid shut behind him. It was only as it began moving that he realized he wasn’t alone.
“Need a break?”
Roman swore and jumped, spinning around to see a woman about his age standing at the back of the elevator. She was very thin and pretty, though something about her put him on edge as she smiled. How had he not seen her when he walked in?
“You don’t have to feel better now,” the woman continued, a hint of condescension in her tone. “It’s still early. It’ll come with time.”
“Can I help you?” Roman asked, temper flaring up as the doors opened on the ground floor.
“Sorry, that was so rude of me,” the woman said. “Vivien Dyer.”
She held out a perfectly manicured hand and he shook it. As they touched, Vivien frowned, then smiled, showing perfect white teeth. “Oh, she’s protective, isn’t she?”
“What are you talking about?” Roman demanded, pulling his hand away and starting out of the elevator.
“Your wife,” Vivien said as she followed him out. “The pretty one. Her power is all over you.”
“I’m sorry,” Roman said, stopping in the front hallway. “Is there something I can do for you?”
“No,” Vivien said, stopping as well. “I just wanted to introduce myself to the Countess’s newest resident, that’s all. See, I stay here fairly often and I like to stay in touch with the community within these walls. I was getting a lot of readings from you. A lot of fear… a lot of pain. I can help you with that.”
“I’m all set.”
Maybe he should just go back to his room. He was about to try the stairs to get away from her if that was what it took. Vivien smiled softly, patronizing. “You know about energy?” she asked.
“I know plenty. Look, it’s nice to meet you, Vivien. But I really just want to be alone right now.”
“You don’t,” she said. “But I understand what you mean. It’s nice to meet you, Roman. And remember, if you want me to help, I can. I know how it works, I’ve helped a lot of people this way. The pain, it’s all energy. And energy can be cleaned.”
Fucking wackjob. But Roman nodded as pleasantly as he could. Then, to his relief, Vivien walked out the front door, leaving him alone in the overheated main foyer.
He was tempted to call Celine right now and tell her all about this, especially as he realized he hadn’t actually told Vivien his name. He wanted to see the frustrated amusement on her face, maybe tease her a little about that protective comment.
Fuck it, he’d break. He pulled his phone out, dialed quickly, and waited as it rang twice.
“Hey, is everything alright?”
“Hey, babe,” Roman said. “Listen, do you want to bring the kids out for dinner? I know it’s a school night and you just left. I just…”
He trailed off, the casual tone breaking just when he needed it most. “Of course,” Celine said. “Give me an hour, we’ll all be there.”
“I love you too.”
He looked around the empty foyer for any sign of Vivien’s presence, found none, and started back toward his room. Maybe he’d take the stairs this time.