New Winslow S6E51

“I’m home!”

The next morning, Cleo walked into her apartment after a surprisingly good night with her mother. She closed the door behind herself, locking it both at the deadbolt and chain. Then she turned to see Edie coming toward her. They took her in a tight hug that seemed more for their benefit than hers, so she held on tightly.

“It’s okay,” she murmured into Edie’s black hair, which was getting longer than they usually wore it. “I’m fine, I was at my mother’s.”

“I know,” Edie said. “How is she?”

“She’s good,” Cleo said as Edie stepped back to lean on the counter that split the living room and kitchen. “Actually, she and my dad are thinking about moving.”


“Kind of?” Cleo went to the fridge and started pushing aside packages of leftovers and condiments in search of a seltzer. There was a raspberry lime one still in here, she knew it. But it took her some time to find it behind a box of pancake mix that really had no business taking up that kind of space. “They’re talking about assisted living for Mom. And Dad would get an apartment nearby.”

Saying it all felt strange, despite the fact she’d just had this conversation with her father. She felt like she was lying. That she’d managed to convince herself it was real after months of wanting it to be.


Cleo cracked open the can with a satisfying hiss. “They’re not sure yet,” she said. “Maybe Worcester? But there’s a place closer to Boston that might be a better fit.”


Edie’s gaze sharpened and Cleo suddenly felt like she was under a microscope. “What?” she asked, taking a sip of her drink as she sat at the counter.

“You can say it.”

“Say what?”

Then she felt like an asshole. “Oh no, I hadn’t even… God, I didn’t even get that far.”

Edie laughed, and it sounded genuine enough that the knot in Cleo’s chest loosened. “If they end up going that way, do you want to try to find a place near them?”

“Like move out of here?”

“How attached do you think I am to this apartment?” Edie asked.

“I mean, you can’t bring the bathtub with you.”

“Alright, nevermind, we’re staying in Fitchburg.”

Edie wrapped an arm around Cleo and she leaned into them. “I don’t know,” she said, surprising herself. “I want her to choose the one near Boston and God, yes, I want to move back. But I want you to want to go with me. Would you want to go?”

“I have a band out there,” Edie pointed out. “And a job that I can commute to until I get a new one. And the band honestly makes that a lot easier to do. We were already bringing in a decent profit before you managed to temporarily shoot us into the stratosphere. I’m not going to rely on that, but it’s been consistent. Our financial records are looking very nice for an indie band these days.”

“Why hasn’t Tyler gone to accounting school yet?” Cleo asked with a laugh.

“Give it two more years,” Edie said. “You will not be surprised at all that he’s considered it. But seriously.”

They reached out for Cleo’s hand. “If your mom moves into a place and she’s happy and you want to be closer, I’ll go with you. I’ve never disliked Boston, babe. I love it there. It was everything else, you know?”

Cleo nodded rapidly. “I’ll let you know when I know more,” she said. “I’m not even sure she’s going to do it. But she’s interested, the new house doesn’t feel safe to her.”

Edie looked sad at that, and Cleo knew they were trying not to say anything about New Winslow.

“We’ll figure it out,” she said. “And then we won’t have to go back again. There’s no reason you’ll have to, I promise.”

She wasn’t going to say that she missed it. Despite the fact that they’d all told her to stay out of town, and she and Liv had gotten into a fight two days ago and still hadn’t talked about it, she missed her friends there.

And she really missed Liv. Even when Cleo was mad at her, she missed her. It wasn’t often they fought like this. Hell, they hadn’t had anything like this happen since they were teenagers. Cleo wasn’t sure exactly how to break the silence there. But she was going to have to, since they couldn’t let it just fester.

Her phone buzzed, and she glanced at it.


Can we talk?

It was like Liv read her mind. Maybe she had, it seemed like every day Liv was developing spooky new powers. Shit, Cleo wasn’t sure she was as emotionally prepared for this as she’d hoped. After everything that had happened with her dad last night, maybe she needed to recalibrate a little first.



Not that she was going to make that kind of healthy decision. After a beat, Liv responded.


I’m actually in Fitchburg right now. Can I stop by?

Not that Liv would care about the condition of the house, but Cleo gave it a quick scan anyway. It was joyfully cluttered and the grossness was minimal. She texted back.


Yeah. I’m home.

She punched in her address. “Liv’s going to stop by,” she said to Edie. “Do you mind? We can always just hang out on the porch.”

“That’s fine with me,” Edie said. “Is everything…”

They let the thought trail off. It was odd to see Liv outside of New Winslow, wasn’t it? Cleo knew she left town, she had to run errands and do WIC appointments and other things that weren’t possible within the boundaries of New Winslow. But they never met for coffee or anything like that while she was out. She’d actually invited Cleo once, but it had never happened.

It was about fifteen minutes later that their creaky old doorbell rang. Cleo hurried downstairs and opened the door to see Liv standing awkwardly on the porch beneath the flickering overhead light.

“Hey,” Liv said with a nervous smile.


“I’m sorry,” Liv blurted out. “I shouldn’t have said any of that stuff to you.”

Even though she’d known this conversation was going to happen for a little while now, Cleo wasn’t sure what to say in response. “It’s okay” seemed too trite, but she wasn’t going to dissect her feelings here. She was hurt, yeah, anyone would be after getting jumped like that.

But she knew that Liv wasn’t in the greatest space these days. Cleo hadn’t seen what happened when she was actually possessed, instead coming in at the end when Celine, Roman, and Andrew had brought her back home, traumatized and trembling.

“Come in,” Cleo said, stepping back to let Liv into the house.

She walked in, following Cleo up the stairs to their apartment. The hallway was darker than usual, one of the bulbs must have burned out. Elvis was usually on top of that, so she figured it’d be only a day or so before it wasn’t a problem anymore.

Edie was in the living room when they walked in. “Hi Liv,” they said.


Edie stood up. “I’ll give you two some privacy.”

They walked out the door and Cleo heard their footsteps fading down the creaky stairs outside. In here, Liv looked miserable. Cleo motioned to their couch and she sat down, Cleo following after her.

“I’m sorry too,” she said. “I was being pushy.”

“But I took it way too far,” Liv said. “I know you weren’t saying I was a bad parent.”

“I’d never think that,” Cleo said. “There’s an entire school district there.”

Liv laughed, but there was a bitter tinge to it. “I know.”

“It’s fine,” Cleo said, wanting to push past this part of the conversation as quickly as possible. Apparently they weren’t any good at fighting as adults either. “I want you to be safe, that’s all. And happy.”

Liv opened her mouth, clearly about to say she was happy, then closed it again. Cleo watched patiently while she found the words she was looking for.

“I’m mostly happy,” she said. “But I’m scared.”

“Of what?”

“Everything? Anything happening to anybody ever?”

She laughed again, letting her head fall back against the couch. “I know it’s never going to happen again, but I get scared that it will. Or that the protections Celine set up for Mia aren’t going to work and this same ghost is going to go after her instead.”

“Is that possible?”

“No,” Liv said simply. “It isn’t. Celine forced the ghost to go on to something else. She said he has to decide what happens next. Like, moving on or reincarnation or something.”

“Wait, that’s real?”

“Apparently. And he’s gone and he’ll never bother me again. But even though I know that, it doesn’t stop me from feeling like he’ll be there. Or if it isn’t him, someone else is going to take his place. And if he gets someone else or something else bad happens, it’s going to be my fault.”

That was ridiculous, but the thought of saying those words out loud seemed cruel. Liv gave her a grim smile. “Anyway, that’s why I’m such a bitch lately.”

The laugh escaped Cleo before she realized it. “You’re not a bitch, stop it,” she said, reaching over Liv’s shoulders to pull her in for a side hug. “I love you. And I get it. Are we good?”

“Are we?”

“Yeah.” Cleo didn’t need to think about it. “Yeah, we’re good.”


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