New Winslow S6E55

When Andrew had next woken up, the room was dark and he was lying on Noah’s couch with a much less scratchy blanket tucked tightly over him. He’d then gotten up to find Noah asleep in his own bed. As tempted as he was to stay up here again, he didn’t want to push his luck and it was only ten at night. So he reluctantly made his way downstairs. As he got to the front door, he opened it as silently as possible, not wanting to wake Liv or Mia.

So of course, he had terrified Olivia as she’d been watching TV in the living room. She gasped as the door opened and Andrew immediately held up his hands. “It’s just me,” he half-whispered. “Just me, I was upstairs. I’m sorry!”

He saw the panic leave her expression faster than it had in recent times, and she nodded. “Sorry,” she said, her voice the same half-whisper. “I couldn’t sleep. I thought you were in your room.”

“No, just up with Noah. We were watching a hockey game and fell asleep.”

Olivia nodded as she muted the TV. Andrew was about to ask her how she was doing, maybe start the conversation about him moving, but something on her face made him pause.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

Olivia was quiet for a second, as though she was trying to figure out the right words. He waited cautiously, closing the door behind him. Finally, she stood up.

“What’s going on with you and Noah?”

His face started burning so quickly that his breath caught. “What do you mean?” he asked.

“You two,” Olivia said. “Is there something going on?”

He honestly didn’t know how to answer that? Yes? No? Depending on the second and the current phase of the moon? But things had shifted recently, and apparently it was obvious to Liv as well.

“I don’t know exactly,” he admitted. “It’s… I’m not sure.”

She was quiet again for a moment, nodding as she turned to glance around the softly lit room. Andrew couldn’t see her expression from here. Was she worried about the shop? If something went wrong with him and Noah, if they did even get together in the first place, it made sense she’d worry. But they could work through that, right? And the idea of not having Noah in his life in some way made something twist inside of Andrew anyway.

Then Olivia turned back to him and there was a flutter of fear somewhere near his heart. Because while there was worry there, he’d have to be dense to miss the undercurrent of anger in her expression.

“Then you’d better get sure,” she said, her voice soft, but steely. “Because if you put him through anything like what happened last time, I don’t know if I can forgive you.”

Fear, indignation, and embarrassment scorched Andrew in equal measure as his mind flailed wildly for the right thing to say. He wanted to tell Olivia that this was none of her business. That what happened between him and Noah was just that. But in the flickering light of the silent television, he could see the tears gleaming in her eyes and the retort died on his lips.

“It’s not…” he tried uselessly, but there was nothing to say.

“I know you’d never do it on purpose,” Olivia said. “But Andrew, you broke him last time.”

Noah hadn’t given any indication that he was worried about what would happen. Yeah, he’d let Andrew have it over his actions last year, when he was drunk and angry. But he’d never said anything sober, nor seemed to be particularly concerned about where all the casual touches and quiet conversations were bringing them.

“He didn’t tell me it was that bad,” he said.

“Of course he didn’t.”

Olivia pressed two fingers to her forehead. “Andrew,” she said. “He spent almost a year hiding a broken wrist from us. Do you really think he was going to tell you the truth about how bad it got?”

Andrew could die right now. Of course he wouldn’t. They all knew he hadn’t forgiven himself for everything, so it wasn’t like he was going to ask for help or tell them if things were getting to be too much. Once in a while one of them might get through, but it wasn’t guaranteed. Even earlier tonight, Noah had brushed off Andrew’s concerns while only showing the slightest bit of vulnerability.

“It was bad,” Olivia said, with a quick glance at the door as though Noah was going to walk in. “He was really hurt, Andrew. It took a long time for him to get over it.”

“I didn’t know.”

“Of course you didn’t. You weren’t there.”

Why had he come down here? Everything she was saying was true, but why had he opened himself up to it?

“He didn’t tell me what happened between you two before you left, but I’m not stupid.”

“That’s between us!”

The words slipped out before he had a chance to consider if it was the right move. But what they’d done right before he left was too personal and complicated, and Andrew still didn’t know how much of it he regretted. But something in this mess had to belong to just him and Noah.

Olivia was silent, and Andrew cringed. He remembered that moment last year when he’d lashed out at her over Noah’s drinking. Even then, he’d been embarrassed and known immediately that he was out of line. But nearly a year and a half later, he was dreading her response.

“That’s fair,” Olivia admitted, but she still sounded mad. “That’s between you two. But what isn’t is what happened after you left. Whatever happened between you, you fucked off right afterwards.”

She glanced toward her closed bedroom door, then back at him. “You were gone, and I was here,” she continued as Andrew tried to remember how to breathe. “And I saw how you wrecked him. You were gone, Andrew! Just like that! I don’t think you left more than a day after you told him you were leaving. He didn’t deserve that then, and he doesn’t deserve it now. So don’t you fucking dare pull some kind of return act when you know damn well you’re going to give even less notice this time.”

Her voice was rising as she shouted at him, and Andrew could see the eight-year-old anger boiling over. He should have known this was coming at some point, shouldn’t he?

“Do you think he sat around waiting for you? Like he doesn’t have his own life here?” Olivia was shouting now, so angry at Andrew that she apparently wasn’t concerned about waking Mia or potentially having Noah hear them. “I know you think this is some little wasteland where no one could ever be happy, but you’re wrong. And I’m sorry you’re trapped, I truly am. But Noah is not part of the curse. And you don’t get to use him to make yourself feel better until you can go live your real life again.”

The panic was building in Andrew’s chest, but he wasn’t going to let it out. She was right about this and maybe he’d been wrong about his own actions. Could he trust his own thoughts about what he was doing? Andrew could barely even grasp his thoughts right now, they were all crashing into each other under the weight of Olivia’s words.

“You don’t get to hurt him like that again,” Olivia snapped, sagging as though all the anger had burned out of her body, leaving behind only hurt. “He deserves better than that.”

Andrew was trying so hard not to cry, but he was failing. She was right. For years, he’d tried to convince himself that if Noah hated him, then that was the price he had to pay to get out of New Winslow. And when it seemed like Noah didn’t hate Andrew after all, then he’d clung to that idea that he hadn’t actually hurt Noah that bad. But maybe he was just using Noah without realizing it.

“Just don’t hurt him again,” she said quietly. “You’re leaving eventually and he’s doing so well. Please don’t fuck that up when you go.”

The words were like physical cuts, and he couldn’t avoid flinching. “I don’t – I never – I never meant to hurt him,” he whispered, staring at the blue braided rug on the living room floor. “I just needed to leave.”

“I know,” Olivia said, and she sounded like she was on the verge of crying too. “I know that. But it took weeks for him to feel human again and I watched him piece himself back together. And I don’t – I don’t know-“

She didn’t finish that sentence and Andrew didn’t want her to. “Just don’t do it,” she said finally.

Andrew didn’t answer for a long time. And eventually Olivia left the room.




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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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