New Winslow S6E38

Roman knew it was impossible to completely plan out how to avoid that Vivien lady. But if he was quick and quiet when he made his way through the Countess, maybe he’d lessen his chances of another encounter with her. There was a possibility that she was nice under all that blustering, but she was weird and unsettling. And he might not be magic, but when he felt like listening to them, his gut instincts tended to be pretty good. And they were currently telling Roman to stay far away from her and her “energy wiping.”

Of course, he was so distracted looking out for her that he almost walked directly into Iris as she came out of one of the multiple parlors off of the Countess’ main foyer.

“Roman!” Iris exclaimed. “How are you?”

Tired after a doctor’s appointment and in dire need of a bathroom. But she looked like she was seconds from tears looking at him, so he reluctantly stopped and accepted the hug she gave him. Then she pulled back and he worried, as he did far too often lately, that she might be reading his mind.

“I’m so sorry I didn’t know.”

Didn’t know what? He’d spoken to her before now. Hell, they’d been on a couple pretty bad meetings attempting to keep going with the curse. He didn’t know if it seemed more or less likely they’d break it now that he was out himself. But he had an obligation. Both to Andrew and anyone else who might get trapped, to get them out. And to Baxter, since he couldn’t go back and kick the man in his shriveled spleen until the curse was lifted.

“I swear, if I’d seen anything I would have told you.”

Iris was nearly crying now, and Roman’s annoyance with her evaporated so quickly it was jarring. “Jesus, Iris,” he said, rubbing the back of his neck. “That didn’t even occur to me.”

“I didn’t see anything and when Andrew told me what happened, I thought maybe I’d missed something. Like, I’d misinterpreted something I saw.”

“It was a heart attack,” Roman said. “There was nothing paranormal about it. I treated my body like shit for too long and it finally gave up. There was nothing you could’ve done.”

Celine was the one who had gotten all of those messages and even she hadn’t been able to save him. No, this was a combination of bad decisions and bad luck.

Iris gave him a watery smile and despite his fatigue and general irritation, he realized it was nice to see her. “Swear to God,” Roman said, holding up a hand like the Boy Scout he’d been thirty-five years earlier.

“But you’re okay?”

For once, that actually seemed like a question. “I’m okay,” Roman said, feeling a bit like how he did talking to Jamie lately.

Iris was looking at him intently now, like maybe she really was reading his mind. “What?”

“Sorry,” she said. “It’s just strange seeing you out of town.”

Leave it to Iris to cut right to the awkward heart of it. “It’s strange to be out of town,” he admitted. “I still don’t know how I got out. You don’t have any new thoughts on that, do you?”

Iris shook her head. “I wish I did,” she said. “I’ve been trying to think of anything. I’m sorry I haven’t been more help with that, either.”

Okay, now he was tempted to tell her to stop beating herself up. He was too tired to deal with self-pity, even his own and especially Iris’s.

“It’s fine,” he said. “Listen, I need to get going. It was good to see you.”

He almost felt pity himself at the way her face lit up at those words.


Despite knowing the woman from the vendor would be coming by, the knock at the front door of the Limerick still made Olivia jump. Andrew looked over in alarm and she sheepishly motioned toward the door. “I’ll get it,” she said.

He nodded, still buried in plans that were scattered in notebooks all over the now two wobbly metal tables they had set up. She passed by him and opened the door.


The woman standing there was young, probably about her age or a little older. She had olive skin and short dark hair that was mostly tucked under a blue hat. “Yeah,” Olivia said, holding out a hand to shake.

“Isabel Rivera,” the woman said.

Her hand was warm despite the cold and her handshake was brisk and efficient. “Do you want this through here or is there a back door?”

Olivia looked behind her toward the truck, where a pallet full of boxes waited. “Out back,” she said, the familiarity of the situation helping. “I’ll open it.”

The woman grinned and something caught in Olivia’s chest. “I’ll meet you there.”

She walked back to her truck and Olivia closed and locked the door. Then she hurried toward the back. “Order’s here,” she said as Andrew stood up to follow her.

“Get the charm off the back door,” he said.

Right, there was an enormous rope of charms there to keep everything out. Olivia was hesitant to move it, but it was draped over the door frame and she wasn’t sure if there’d be consequences for even people who came in without bad intentions.

“Is Noah here?” she asked as she slid the rope aside, folding it up and over a ladder that was leaning against the wall.

“No, I think he’s working,” Andrew said.

He hadn’t mentioned anything about working today, but he’d also been uncomfortably evasive when she’d seen him that morning. He’d apologized for the sink yesterday and the pipe he still hadn’t fixed, as well as a few other minor repairs Olivia honestly hadn’t noticed. But before she’d been able to assure him it was fine, he’d ducked away saying he needed to go to the store. Olivia didn’t want to jump to conclusions, so she’d just be patient and talk to him tonight. But for now she was going to try to focus on the shop.

Andrew pushed the door open, quickly silencing the new alarm they’d both forgotten about just as the truck parked directly in front of them. The woman – Isabel – hopped out of the driver’s seat and came back to open the back of the truck.

Fuck, she was gorgeous. Olivia hadn’t been able to get a good look at her up front through her nerves and the swiftness of their interaction. But from here, she could tell that Isabel was a little taller than her, with a lean, confident body. The nerves spiked back up, but it wasn’t just paranormal trauma that was impacting them this time.

“Where do you want it?” Isabel asked, pulling down the ramp and climbing into the truck.

The question sent a number of inappropriate answers short-circuiting through Olivia’s brain and it took a second for her to actually answer. “Oh, um, right in here,” she said, knowing she was blushing furiously.

She didn’t dare look at Andrew as they stepped inside to allow Isabel through. The other woman pushed a pallet jack down the ramp and seamlessly into the back room of the Limerick.

“I do remember this place,” she said as she turned and set the pallet down in an open space across from the door to the apartment upstairs. “It was a tea shop for a little while. Not under you guys, right?”

“No,” Andrew said, saving Olivia. “We bought it from the previous owner a couple months ago. We’re set to open in April, God willing.”

Isabel laughed, picking up a clipboard that had been on top of the bound pile of boxes. “It’s nice to see it come back to life,” she said.

She held the clipboard out to Olivia, who took it and deliberately marked off everything that had been delivered. Nothing was missing, so she signed and handed it back to Isabel with what she hoped was a winning smile.

“Thank you,” she said.

Isabel’s returned grin was charmingly crooked in a way that actually reminded her of Noah. She fished into her coat pocket and pulled out a business card. “Let me know how it is,” she said. “Nice to actually meet you, Olivia.”

Her hand was cold when she took Olivia’s in a confident shake. She shook Andrew’s hand too, then made her way out of the back door, letting it swing shut behind her. Andrew carefully reset the rope of charms, then turned to Olivia. She waited, but he didn’t say anything.

“What?” she finally asked, breaking the unbearable silence.

He just shrugged and smiled, but she could see the smirk behind it. Face hot, she turned back to the pallet and considered what to do next.




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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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