New Winslow S6E64
Andrew had opened the Limerick this morning, worked the morning shift, then hurried straight over to Iris’s shop to spend the afternoon working there. Dr. Degas and Roman had both said they were available this afternoon, so rather than meet in the evening when the shop was closed, they’d decided to talk in the early afternoon instead. Between Charles Baxter’s looming threats, the complete lack of new information or ideas, and the fact that Billy McBride was still silent, the mood was fairly grim.
Roman, from his glitchy screen, had offered to kill Baxter for Andrew. Unless he was planning to fly over and drop a pipe bomb on Baxter’s house from thirty thousand feet, Andrew didn’t see a way in which that would happen without Celine killing Roman in the end. Even if Andrew had been willing to have Roman commit murder for both of them.
But by the time Roman’s call cut out for good and Dr. Degas was packing up her things to go back to the clinic, Andrew was feeling a little discouraged and very hungry. Thankfully, Noah had promised to stop by with some food for him between working lunchtime delivery and the afternoon at the Limerick.
The bell above the door jingled cheerfully just as Iris had stepped away into the backroom with vague mentions of a new book that might have arrived. Noah came in holding a brown paper bag in his hand, with sunlight streaming around him through the doorway into the dim shop. He greeted Dr. Degas, then came over to where Andrew was standing by the counter.
“There’s a sub, some chips, and a water bottle in there,” he said, setting down the bag and his keys with a smile that made Andrew’s stomach trip ridiculously.
“Thanks,” he said.
Then he looked a little closer at Noah’s face, where a light bruise was forming on his cheekbone. “What happened there?” he asked, motioning on his own face.
Noah touched the spot. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “I woke up with it this morning. It’s nothing.”
That familiar concern about relapse was there, just like always, even if Andrew hated it. “Were you sleepwalking again?” he asked.
The smile remained, but it was far more strained than it had been just seconds earlier. Now Noah’s body language was screaming that he didn’t want to have this conversation. “No idea,” he said. “It’s just there.”
“Are you alright?” Dr. Degas asked, looking up from where she’d been searching her bag for her own car keys.
“I’ve been sleepwalking some, that’s all,” Noah insisted. “I don’t know, it’s probably stress.”
“You’ve been talking too,” Andrew said.
Noah looked like he was about to argue with him, then paused. “Wait- how would you know?”
“When I, um, walked you back from the stairwell,” Andrew said, his face heating up. “And Liv told me she heard you too.”
“Oh great,” Noah snarled, taking off his baseball cap and running a hand through his hair. “So you’re all talking about how I’ve been doing even more creepy shit in my sleep.”
“Not too creepy?” Andrew offered, trying to ignore Noah’s increasingly aggressive tone. “You kept saying you want to go home. Um, you said you missed your mother.”
“And that’s the creepiest thing of all,” Noah said, shrugging. “I don’t know, I don’t remember saying any of this. And no one said anything, I thought maybe there was just those couple times, but…”
He groaned, sitting heavily on the chair Andrew had vacated a few minutes earlier. At the other end of the counter, Dr. Degas was looking perturbed. No, Andrew could see she looked alarmed.
“Noah,” she said. “Can I speak to you in private?”
Noah sighed. “Yeah,” he said. “Might as well.”
She motioned toward the exit, and he followed her outside. The room was quiet after the two of them left and Andrew glanced into the bag of food that was no longer quite so appealing. Iris stepped in as they walked out and she looked at Andrew questioningly. “What was that?”
“It’s personal,” Andrew said, trying to keep his voice light.
Noah was willing to come here and bring him food, but he imagined discussing Noah’s private life with Iris would be a hard boundary.
They waited in an awkward silence that wasn’t likely to get any better when Noah and Dr. Degas came back in. But Andrew’s discomfort intensified tenfold as the door swung open and they returned. Noah looked shook and Dr. Degas didn’t look much calmer. Seeing her rattled, more than anything, was what sent a jolt through Andrew.
“What’s up?” he asked.
Noah looked like he was debating saying anything. But then he just shook his head. “Apparently I said creepy shit when she was setting my broken wrist too,” he said.
“Not creepy,” Dr. Degas protested. “Just unusual.”
Noah looked like he wanted to leave. Andrew sympathized, but something seemed so close to sliding into place right now. It was like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle scattered throughout a dark room, slipping closer and closer to one another.
“Do you want to talk about it later?” Andrew asked. “Perhaps when it’s a little less busy?”
When no one was around to listen, was the rude way of putting that. Noah looked grateful for the offer, but shook his head.
“No, I may as well just get it out in the open,” he said. “Apparently I knew where the breaks were in my wrist. And something about me…” He grimaced. “Was it my mother? Making me go somewhere.”
He glanced at Dr. Degas for confirmation and she nodded. Noah turned back to Andrew and shrugged. “Anyway, I don’t know what that has to do with the ships and storms I keep dreaming about every fucking night, but that’s what I’ve got.”
Ships. He’d mentioned storms, but this was the first Andrew was hearing about ships. Lunch forgotten, he glanced over at Iris and saw she’d gone wide-eyed. “Um, ships, you said, Noah?” she asked, voice trembling with what sounded like both fear and excitement.
“You said you were talking about ships?”
“Ships and storms,” Iris said quickly, scribbling something down as the pieces fell into place for Andrew, smashing together in his brain with a force that took his breath away. “And you don’t know anatomy, right? Would you have any reason to know which bones in your wrist were broken?”
“No,” Noah said, a touch of impatience returning to his tone. “I don’t know anything about medicine. Iris, what-”
“And the sleepwalking,” Iris pushed, her interruption sending a spike of irritation through Andrew even as his own heart was speeding up. “Does it seem to be different all the time? Or are you on a path of some sort? Like a loop?”
“How the hell would I know?” Noah demanded. “Can you please tell me what’s going on?”
Iris had the decency to look somewhat chastened as she flipped the notebook closed and came a little closer to where Noah was trying not to inch toward the door. “I think someone’s trying to talk to you,” she said. “Have you ever been in contact with spirits?”
Andrew wanted to save her. He stole a glance at Dr. Degas, who had her car keys in her hand now. Then he met Noah’s eye and Noah gave him a quick head shake as he turned back to Iris. “No,” he said. “There’s no reason someone would want to contact me.”
“Maybe you’re not the primary target,” Iris said. “Maybe someone else is.”
Then it was like she realized where she was and who she was speaking to. Noah was watching her warningly and Iris stopped talking as though worried she was going to hit a tripwire any second. Instead of barreling forward with whatever she was about to say, she hurried back over to her notes, flipped a few pages forward, then paused.
“Noah?” she said after a moment.
“How would you feel about me hypnotizing you?”
Andrew looked curiously at Iris, who was slightly red in the lamplight. “This is going to sound ridiculous,” she said. “But I think those dreams you’re talking about are messages.”
“You’re right, that does sound ridiculous. I need to go.”
Noah picked up his own car keys while Iris looked like she might regret saying anything. But then she looked toward the blocked windows of the front of the shop, then back at them. “Has Andrew told you about what we’ve been researching?”
Now Noah looked both irritated and nervous as he looked at Andrew. “Like the Alderidges,” Iris prompted. “Or their neighbors?”
Her voice rose meaningfully on the second part, making her intentions obvious to Andrew.
“The Alderidges, yeah,” Noah said. “Yeah, that house you showed me. I know about them, I guess.”
“And their neighbor?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Andrew was about to say he’d told Noah about all of them, but then he remembered. That conversation had been cut short out in the woods. Noah had gotten sick and Andrew completely forgot everything he’d been about to say. And with Iris now being as vague as possible, he wondered if maybe that was a good thing. Especially as he realized Noah had gotten sick on the McBrides’ property.
“We were up at the property,” he said. “But we didn’t talk about that. He got sick.”
“Andrew, what the hell is going on?” Noah asked, an edge of fear creeping into his voice now.
“Your dreams might be connected to something we’ve been looking for,” Andrew said carefully, torn between wanting to comfort Noah and keep things vague. “But you don’t have to do anything you’re not comfortable with.”
Iris looked betrayed for a split second, then quickly changed her expression as Andrew looked over at Dr. Degas, who was still standing where she had been. “I need to go,” she said slowly and deliberately, looking directly at Noah. “I have an appointment coming in twenty minutes. But is this a conversation you’d like me to be here for?”
Noah shook his head. “I’m fine,” he said. “Thanks, though.”
Dr. Degas looked at Iris, who turned even redder. But she didn’t say anything and finally, Dr. Degas picked up her bag. “Call if you need me,” she said. “I mean it.”
Then she walked out.