New Winslow S6E54

Andrew could tell that Noah was on edge from the moment that he walked into the apartment. It wasn’t that Noah’s place was a wreck. It wasn’t even its general slightly messy state. Instead, it was almost sterile. He’d clearly been up here scrubbing and rescrubbing every surface. While the countertops gleamed, it was an unnerving sight. If anything, the flat looked more like had when Noah had been deep in alcoholism, not the sunny bachelor pad it had become since he’d entered recovery.

Noah himself was sitting on the couch with a movie on. He turned to Andrew when he walked in. “Over here,” he called, voice a little tight.

Andrew went over and sat down on the other end of the couch. “How are you?” he asked.

“Fine,” Noah said, pausing the movie. “How about you?”

He didn’t look fine, but he didn’t look dangerously out of sorts either. Andrew didn’t recognize the movie that was frozen on the screen, but he wasn’t surprised to cowboys for a brief second before Noah turned it off.

“I’m fine,” Andrew said. “Just tired. It was a long day.”


“I had a customer try to explain how I could access another dimension to break my curse,” Andrew said. “And first off, I didn’t tell her I was under a curse. She figured that out on her own.”

Noah frowned. “You’re not going to do that, right?”

“Not bloody likely,” Andrew said with a laugh. “Iris looked a little too interested, but the last thing I want to do is trust my molecular structure to the woman who couldn’t figure out the credit card reader.”

Noah smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes. “Anyway, that’s the highlight of my day,” Andrew said, aware he was starting to ramble now.

They sat in silence for a moment, as Andrew looked around the room. The living room was equally clean, a basket of fresh laundry the only thing out of place. Noah had been working straight out between delivery driving and the Limerick. When did he have the time to clean this intensely?

“Is there a match tonight?” Andrew asked. “We don’t have to do anything, we could just watch that.”

Noah looked at him for a second, then laughed. “Shit,” he said. “I must look bad if you’re offering to watch hockey with me.”

“We’ve watched hockey together,” Andrew protested.

“Yeah, ten years ago,” Noah countered. “And you were bored then too.”

“Well, excuse me for trying to do something nice for you.”

He meant it in jest, then immediately regretted it. But Noah didn’t seem put out. Instead, he just shrugged. “I mean, sure,” he said. “The game’s in forty minutes and I brought some pizza home from work. If you really want to watch the Bruins with me, by all means. But we both know you’re just going to fall asleep halfway through.”

Andrew scoffed, knowing full well that Noah was correct. But Noah had relaxed slightly, so he’d take the blow to his ego.

About ten minutes later, they were both back on the sofa with plates of pizza. “What do you think of that little flat above the shop?” Andrew asked, shifting to leave some space between him and Noah.

“I think I’d have no interest in renting it out to anyone, if that’s where you’re going with that,” Noah said. “It’s one thing to rent to Liv, if you can even call it that. But not strangers. Trust me, you don’t want that.”

“No, no, that’s not what I meant,” Andrew said. “I was… well, I was thinking about moving in there.”

He didn’t expect the little jolt from Noah as he turned toward Andrew, looking at him carefully. “What?” Andrew asked.

“Did something happen?”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re leaving,” Noah said.

He didn’t say it with any malice, but the pizza Andrew had just swallowed seemed ready to come back up anyway. “Yeah,” he said. “But it’s not… I mean… when?”

He set down his pizza and let his head fall back against the soft cushion of the couch, the exhaustion of the day sinking in. “I don’t know when I’m leaving,” he said. “I just think maybe it’s an opportunity to give Liv her house back.”

“How many times are we going to have this discussion?” Noah asked him. “She likes having you there.”

“Yeah, but eventually houseguests get old. And Mia needs her own room back.”

“Have you talked to her about it yet?”

“Not yet, no,” Andrew said. “I’m going to. Tonight, I think.”

He didn’t need to say it and neither did Noah. But Noah ignored the opportunity to get any digs in and Andrew was grateful for that. “It’s a nice space,” Noah said.

“Yeah,” Andrew replied. “It’s small, but good for one person.”

He looked around Noah’s flat again. It was a bit bigger than the space above the shop. He wouldn’t call it cozy, though Noah being here made it feel comfortable. Or, at least when he wasn’t radiating stress, it did.

“Everything alright with you?” he asked. “You can tell me to fuck off if you want, you just seem tense.”

For a second he thought Noah would tell him to fuck off. Which would be a shame, because the couch was comfortable and he was extremely tired. But instead, Noah gave a bitter little laugh.

“I’m fine,” he said. “It’s just… it’s hard.”

Andrew sat up straight and looked at him. He hadn’t asked Cleo what she and Noah had discussed the night she’d gently cornered him in the yard, but she did tend to be the first one Noah might open up to these days. He didn’t imagine he’d get much out of Noah right now, but this was already more than he’d expected.

“I don’t know,” Noah continued. “I was talking to Cleo about it the other night. It’s just the day to day, you know? One day at a time is all fine until you’re living through every minute of those days.”

Andrew was reaching for Noah’s hand before he realized what he was doing. But before Andrew could drop his hand and flee, Noah ran his thumb over Andrew’s knuckles. “Don’t worry about it,” he said. “It’s not a big deal.”

“Anything I can do?”

Noah gave his hand a squeeze, then let go, leaving Andrew to curl his own fingers in against the phantom warmth of his palm. “Nah,” he said. “I’m fine. But thanks.”

They were silent for a moment. It wasn’t comfortable exactly, but it wasn’t hellishly awkward. Then Noah picked up the remote and turned on the TV. “Pregame’s starting,” he said.

Andrew nodded and settled in as the announcers began talking about things he didn’t understand and didn’t care about. But Noah was next to him and the couch was comfortable, so he didn’t mind. Not when the evening sunlight was coming in just right and he had nowhere else to be.

He woke up a little while later with his head resting against Noah’s warm shoulder. Noah didn’t seem to notice that Andrew was awake, despite the fact that his arm was casually draped over Andrew’s back, his hand resting almost accidentally on Andrew’s head. His body was tense, his entire focus on the TV.

“C’mon, c’mon, oh, God dammit. The net was wide fucking open.”

Noah groaned and leaned back into the couch as the game continued. Andrew should move, especially before Noah noticed he was awake. But there was an old blanket half-draped over him and Noah’s shoulder was just soft enough to be comfortable.

“You didn’t even make it to the puck drop,” Noah said. “That might be a new record.”

Andrew laughed. “Hockey’s boring,” he said. “I’m sorry, but it is.”

Noah scoffed, but didn’t make any move to shove Andrew away. Andrew watched the TV, making an effort to keep up with the game. But it didn’t matter, he was asleep again five minutes later.


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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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