New Winslow S6E66
Andrew waited until they were alone in the car before saying anything to Noah.
“You alright, then?” he asked as he pulled away from Iris’s shop.
“Hmm?” Noah said, looking out the window at some men doing construction on one of the insurance shops downtown. “Yeah, fine.”
Noah didn’t say anything else and Andrew didn’t want to push. So he stayed quiet for a few minutes as they turned off of Main Street and started heading into the scarcely populated neighborhoods toward home.
“I’ll make some tea when we get back,” he said. “Want some?”
Noah still seemed distracted as they pulled into the driveway, not that Andrew could blame him. Outside of the fact that Noah had seemingly just spent about thirty minutes in some kind of dream world, they were both coming off of long days that weren’t quite over yet. He was tempted to suggest Noah stay home and get some rest, but Liv was alone at the Limerick today and there were still a couple hours until close. And while Liv might agree with Andrew, he knew Noah wouldn’t.
Despite this, as they were pulling into the driveway, Andrew was slightly wishing they’d gone straight over to Limerick. He could make tea there. In fact, there was a much nicer assortment of teas to choose from. But a couple mugs of Lipton would be fine for now.
They got into the house and Noah started up the stairs to his flat. Andrew had assumed they were both going into Liv’s, but it was easy enough to shift course. “I’ll be up in a minute,” he said. “Um, with the tea.”
“I’m going to shower.”
Andrew went into the empty downstairs flat, trying not to think about Noah in the shower. He went straight into the kitchen, filled the kettle, and got to work making tea. The movements were automatic by this point and normally that was fine, but he wanted some little bit of distraction.
If Billy McBride was trying to contact Noah, there had to be a reason for it. And that reason better fucking not be that he was trying to reach Liv. Liv was one of at least three mediums in New Winslow, there were other options. One of whom had been trying to reach Billy for months. Andrew could feel for the kid, but he needed to know that he wasn’t welcome here.
Plus, the fact that Billy was somehow getting past the wards was troubling. And as Andrew thought of it, he realized it wasn’t something that could wait. As the kettle bubbled to life, he went to the phone and dialed Iris’s number.
“Forest Charms,” Iris said after the second ring.
“Andrew, is everything okay?” Iris asked. “Did something happen with Noah?”
“Better not have,” Andrew said lightly, though he could still hear the thread of warning in his tone underneath it. “No, I have a question. Can ghosts communicate through wards? Like in dreams?”
How had he not thought about this before? Celine’s amulet kept Liv invisible to spirits, which he assumed meant in her dreams as well. So did that mean the messages were getting through, but then somehow bounced over to Noah? “It depends on the ward,” Iris said. “I’ve had… I mean Roland has…” She cleared her throat. “Certain wards. Which ones are in your home?”
“The ones I put up are very standard,” Andrew said. “It was the best I could do. But there are others that Celine created. Plus she gave Liv an amulet to keep spirits away.”
“Then that… shouldn’t happen,” Iris said slowly. “Celine would be able to block them completely. I mean, unexpected things can happen, but it’d have to be something far more powerful than the ghost of a teenager in order to do that.”
While that made him feel better about Liv’s safety, it made things with Noah even more confusing now. “Then this ghost – this Billy bloke – wouldn’t be trying to reach Liv and going to Noah second,” Andrew said.
There was silence on the other end. Then Iris sighed. “You’re right,” she said. “Shit. But that has to be Billy McBride. Everything Noah said, both before and during the session, all lined up with Billy’s story.”
“It’s not like we discuss Billy McBride over breakfast,” Andrew said. “I barely knew anything about him until you explained. So he certainly doesn’t.”
“I need to think about this for a little while before I do anything,” Iris said. “Do you think he’ll definitely come back?”
“I’m not going to force him,” Andrew said. “But he said he would.”
“Is he there right now?”
“No, he’s in the shower. What do you want me to tell him?”
“Nothing,” Iris said. “I’m just going to think about this for a little bit. He’s alright?”
The last part was clearly an afterthought, but he had to give her credit for trying. “He’s good.”
She hung up without saying goodbye. Andrew rolled his eyes, set the phone back on the cradle, then went to where the kettle was hissing. After making a couple cups of tea, he dug out Liv’s old tray and put the cups on it, along with a couple slices of one of her test batches of pumpkin bread. It was a little out of season, but Andrew figured Noah could use something sweet and he knew he always could.
He got to the top of the stairs a moment later and gave a quick rap on the door. After a beat, it opened and Noah was standing there, hair wet and a towel around his neck. But fully clothed, to Andrew’s relief. He looked from the tray to Andrew with a wry smile. “I didn’t order room service.”
Andrew laughed and stepped in, moving to put the tea down on the table. “I just talked to Iris,” he said. “She said between the wards and the amulet, nothing should be getting anywhere near Liv. And those wards should prevent spirits from getting to you in here either. So that opens up a lot of other questions, but we can hopefully set aside the idea of anything using you as a spiritual voicemail while trying to get to Liv.”
“Thank God,” Noah said, taking the tea that wasn’t sweetened.
“What was it like?” Andrew asked, despite telling himself he wouldn’t.
“Weird,” Noah said with a laugh. “Really weird. I don’t remember all of it. But I do remember seeing things that seemed familiar from my dreams, but they were just a little different. I don’t know, it was kind of like dreaming, but I knew I was dreaming? Like, half of me was in that room and half of me was in the dream. If that makes sense?”
Andrew shrugged and picked up his own tea. “It makes sense to me.”
“I’m going to go to the shop soon,” Noah said. “Olivia’s expecting me in a little while.”
“Iris was checking in on you, by the way.”
“You’re still mad at her.”
“Of course I’m still mad,” Noah said. “I don’t think I’ll ever not be mad.”
“You don’t have to work with her again if you don’t want to,” Andrew said quickly. “If you’re uncomfortable, don’t do it on my behalf.”
Noah shrugged. “I don’t mind.”
He smiled at Andrew and Andrew knew the warmth that spread through him had nothing to do with the steaming mug in his hands.