New Winslow S6E63
Roman was trying not to think about the fact that he was missing Jamie’s track meet. Celine was there, and so were the little ones. If he hadn’t gotten out, he’d be there. It was the sickening flip of his old situation, where away games just didn’t exist for Roman. But now, not only was he missing Jamie’s athletic events, he was also missing bedtime, daycare pickup, household chores, and his entire job. And even the little moments at home – the ones he always told himself not to take for granted and did anyway – those were gone, and he had no idea when he’d get them back.
So now here he was in the cozy bedroom that felt smotheringly small, feeling trapped despite the fact that he was actually less trapped than he’d been in the past twenty years. The sun was going down, the cool April air coming in the small space at the top of the window where Celine had opened it this morning.
Maybe he should go back. After all, he had made an entire life there and the idea of asking the kids and Celine to completely pack up and move their own lives so that he could be fully a part of it seemed so unspeakably selfish that Roman could barely get himself to think it. Especially Jamie. It was nearly senior year and, cursed town or not, Roman wanted him to have a good end to his high school career in a place he knew and loved.
He was out, Roman tried to remind himself as he stood up and walked over to the window. And he hadn’t left New Winslow in a box.
The Countess’s spacious backyard looked up at him. The gardens were classically beautiful, even now when the early spring blossoms were somewhat sparse. Tulips and irises lined the gravel path that wound through the property and he knew that most of that work was done by Missy on her own. He should offer to help with some of it. It’d be nice to do something with his hands again and he didn’t have the audacity to offer to take over the kitchen.
He caught a glimpse of movement where the tree line began and he squinted, hoping to make out what was down there. Not that anything was getting in. As he’d reminded Jamie when he was little and a bear had roamed their backyard, the animals weren’t getting in the house unless they knew how to operate a deadbolt. And if it wasn’t an ordinary animal lurking out there? Then the sheer amount of weird power emanating from this place would be enough to keep it from stepping inside.
He didn’t know what kinds of protections there were in an inn like this, but he knew it was protected to Celine’s standards and her standards were pretty high. For magic, if not husbands.
He saw it again, just a flicker of darkness on darkness that maybe he didn’t even see with his eyes. He needed sleep, but this wasn’t just a hallucination. Roman stayed there for a long moment, but it didn’t return before his phone buzzed.
“Hey, babe,” he greeted, eyes still on the woods.
“Hey.” Celine sounded tired. “I’m dropping the kids off, then I’ll be by.”
“You don’t have to,” Roman insisted, as though he hadn’t been counting the minutes until she came back. “I know you’re wiped.”
“It’s fine,” she said. “How are you?”
“Fine,” he lied.
Whatever had been there was gone now, at least from his view. “Do you think I should go back?” he asked her, finally blinking. “There’s too much to do and I feel awful that you’re taking on so much and-”
“Roman, if you set foot over that town line, I swear to God I’ll kill you myself.”
He laughed, some of the tension he’d felt simmering all day finally releasing. “You need to stay there,” Celine insisted.
“I just miss you,” he admitted.
Instead of telling him he’d seen her ten hours ago and would see her again in one, she was quiet. “You know what?” she said after a moment. “We’re going away next weekend. You, me, and the kids.”
“What about the shop?”
“We close it,” Celine said. “Tatiana’s off and I’m not going to try to drag her back for overtime. Or maybe Charlie will be able to run one night and we’ll close for the other. Either way, we’ll close up and get a hotel. We could go to the city for a couple nights.”
Apparently his panic was visible on the phone through the bonds of marital telepathy. “Or we could go somewhere else,” she said. “The Berkshires? Vermont? Wherever you want to go.”
He tried to imagine going back to Pittsfield, but there was a block of some kind, as though his mind wasn’t ready for that one yet. “I’d love that,” he said, his voice choked. “Vermont sounds nice.”
“I’ll be there in half an hour, let’s talk more then,” Celine said.
“Yeah,” Roman said. “I love you.”
She hung up, and Roman took his time disconnecting on his end. Whatever he’d seen outside was gone now.