New Winslow S6E35
Andrew was awake, lying on the couch with a movie playing. It was about midnight and the house was silent except for the low volume of whatever stupid film he was watching because he couldn’t sleep. Olivia had gone to bed a little earlier, after making sure that he was okay. He was, he really was. He was glad that Edie had gotten out when they did. They didn’t deserve to be stuck here, nobody did. He wasn’t going to resent that. The same way he wasn’t going to resent Roman.
Or, at least he was going to try not to resent either of them. But that didn’t make him feel any less depressed tonight.
The movie was some comedy he’d turned on, then immediately forgotten the name of. So now he was stretched out on the couch under his favorite purple blanket, occasionally closing his eyes and hoping maybe he’d fall asleep midway through and stop thinking for a little while.
He heard footsteps upstairs and looked up. Noah was apparently awake right now too. He hadn’t come downstairs after his meeting ended, so unless Liv had crept out at some point to tell him, he didn’t know any of what had happened earlier. It was all resolved, so they could tell him in the morning.
Even so, Andrew was a little tempted to go up and talk to Noah now, even if he wasn’t sure he was ready to discuss it himself. The sound of footsteps was moving through the living room, the ceiling creaking softly. It was nice to hear the sound of someone else in the house right now, kind of comforting when he was in a mood like this.
He’d miss it when he moved into the flat above the shop. But it was the right choice to make. He just had to actually make the choice, then talk to the others about it.
He turned back to the movie, where apparently someone was robbing a bank? He must have been more tired than he thought, because there was no way he was keeping up with this plot.
A door opened upstairs, and Andrew sat up. Maybe Noah had forgotten something down here. Or he was sleepwalking again. If he was, Andrew should probably make sure he didn’t hurt himself on the stairs. A thud sounded from somewhere behind the front door and Andrew got up to investigate.
Noah was standing in the middle of the stairwell when Andrew flipped on the light. He seemed to be staring at the wall, but he wasn’t visibly hurt. Andrew walked over, carefully going up the stairs until he was a few steps below Noah.
“You awake, mate?”
Noah didn’t answer, but his eyes were open as he faced the dingy beige wall. “Hey,” Andrew said softly, stepping close enough to tap his shoulder.
“I want to go home.”
He spoke so softly that Andrew almost didn’t catch what he was saying. “We are home,” Andrew said. “Come on, you should go back to bed.”
He steered Noah back up the stairs, relieved that he didn’t fall or stumble as they were going into his flat. “Please let me go home,” Noah whispered. “I miss my mom.”
Yeah, he was definitely asleep. Because there was no way an awake Noah would say anything remotely like that. “Back to bed,” Andrew repeated as they reached the front door.
“I need to go home…”
His voice trailed off as Andrew walked him to his dark bedroom. The bedclothes were scattered on the floor and Andrew pushed them aside as they walked through. Noah fell onto his pillow and Andrew was harshly reminded of the last time he’d put Noah to bed like this. But that was a year and a lifetime ago, so he picked up the quilt and gently put it over him. This time, Andrew didn’t understand what Noah mumbled, but he pulled the quilt halfway up his face and stayed where he was.
Would it be strange for Andrew to stay up here tonight? Logically, he could argue that someone should make sure Noah didn’t fall down the stairs and break his neck. And Andrew couldn’t lock his door from the outside, nor should he be able to. But the more honest part of him could admit that he was feeling lonely and out of place tonight. Everyone else in the world could leave this stupid little town, but Andrew didn’t have that choice.
He walked out of Noah’s room and into the living room, moving toward the couch before he’d fully made a decision. The movie was still playing downstairs, he should go turn it off. But even as he was thinking it, he picked up a blanket that was messily folded at the end of the couch and laid down.
Apparently he could fall asleep because the next thing he realized, someone was gently, but firmly, shaking him awake. He opened his eyes and looked up through crooked glasses to see Noah standing over him.
“What are you doing up here?”
Right, he was on Noah’s couch. He sat up, shoving his glasses up to rub his eyes. “Sorry,” he said. “You were sleepwalking again. I just walked you back to bed, then stayed up here in case it happened again.”
“You didn’t have to do that.”
Noah’s voice was gruff, and he turned away before Andrew had his glasses back in place. Weak sunlight was coming in the window and Andrew was tempted to close his eyes and just go back to sleep where he was. Not that Noah seemed happy to have Andrew up here, though.
Noah was in his running clothes; sweatpants, a heavy sweatshirt, and a black beanie. He’d worn the same workout clothes since they were teenagers, only the New England sports team logos varied. Today it was the Celtics logo across his chest, the letters peeling slightly around the edges.
“Edie got trapped last night,” Andrew said.
Noah had already crouched down to pick up his running shoes. He stood and turned around toward Andrew. “What?”
“Edie got hit with the curse last night when they were leaving. They got out at the hour.”
His stomach lurched as Noah gave him a long look, then sat down beside him on the couch. “Why didn’t you tell me?” he asked, his tone gentler now.
“It was while you were at your meeting,” Andrew said, trying to keep his voice light, as though he wasn’t drowning in envy and guilt because of how mad he was at this whole situation. “I suppose we were going to tell you this morning.”
He was worrying the old blanket between his fingers, rubbing the worn fabric. It had been fluffy once, but years of use and hundreds of trips through the dryer had made it coarse and itchy. But he barely noticed he was doing it until Noah’s large hand was over his, stopping his movement.
“Are you okay?” Noah asked.
Andrew nodded, well aware of how obvious his lie was. “I’m glad they’re out,” he said. “They were scared.”
“I bet,” Noah said. “But are you okay?”
Andrew shrugged. “It is what it is.”
“It’s fucked up is what it is.”
And then they were laughing, both ragged. “Listen,” Noah said, moving his hand away. “I’m heading out for a little bit. But you can stay up here, if you want to go back to sleep. It’s early.”
Andrew considered it. He also considered asking Noah to stay. But even if that was an appropriate thing to ask, the two of them weren’t fitting on this couch comfortably. He nodded. “Yeah,” he said. “Yeah, thanks.”
Noah looked a little sad? Just for a second, then he reached over for his shoes. “How can I help you with the curse?” he asked.
Andrew had been about to set his glasses precariously on the armrest of the couch and lay back down. He looked over at Noah, who looked cautious, like he thought he might have crossed a line. “What do you mean?”
“You shouldn’t be stuck here,” Noah continued. “I want to help. I haven’t been helping much.”
“You mean beyond everything you’ve already done?” Andrew asked. “There’s not really anything right now, I suppose. Iris is looking into these ghosts she’s certain hold the key and we’re looking for some missing pages from a town history that might just kindly answer everything for us. But if they don’t work, I’m sure I’ll need all the help I can get.”
“I’ll help in any way I can,” Noah insisted. “Just tell me what you need.”
Andrew wasn’t sure how to respond to that. But Noah had finished putting on his running shoes and didn’t seem to need an answer as he got up. “I’ve got errands when I’m done, then I’m going to the Limerick after,” he said. “See you there?”
“I’ll be there.”
Noah smiled and headed out the door. Alone again, Andrew settled back in under the itchy blanket.