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New Winslow S6E67

After a shower and a quick cup of tea with Andrew, Noah felt like he was almost back on even footing again. Not completely, but almost.

“I’m heading over,” he said to Andrew, putting both mugs in his kitchen sink. “What are you doing tonight?”

Andrew laughed. “Good question,” he said. “I’ve got work to do, but I’m not sure what else. It might be my last night here.”

Shit, Noah hadn’t thought of it like that. He and Cleo were picking up Andrew’s things from the storage unit in the morning, so of course Andrew was going to sleep over at the apartment tomorrow. An unpleasant twist in his stomach had Noah mentally flailing to act normally.

“True,” he said, hoping it sounded casual. “Are you excited?”

Andrew shrugged. “Yeah,” he said. “I think I’m ready. And I won’t be far.”

For now. Noah smiled again, hoping it looked real, then went to find the shoes he’d kicked off somewhere in his kitchen.

—————

It was busy when Noah got to the Limerick and he felt a pang of guilt for not getting there earlier. Now that he was away from the peace of his own apartment and Andrew’s presence, he was feeling unsettled again. It was better than it had been in the shop, with the candles and crystals glittering far too brightly around him. But it was brighter and busier here than it was at home. He had a trace of a headache still and his brain was picking over what had happened, including the parts he couldn’t quite remember.

Andrew was there the whole time, Noah reminded himself. If anything too out there happened, Andrew would know. But nothing had. Apparently, he’d just had a more vivid version of his usual dream and shared it with the class.

“I can take over there,” he said in way of greeting to Liv, who was making one of the three drinks lined up in front of her.

“Thanks,” she said, her hair frizzing around the hat she wore as she stepped aside.

Noah took her place and glanced at the orders. All simple ice coffees. He was realizing that he liked working at the drink station. It was enough like bartending that he could fall into the rhythm of it easily, but without the complications that returning to bartending would cause. And even now, as drink orders began piling up, he was in the zone, making drinks and grabbing pastries for waiting customers. He didn’t recognize everybody, but those he did got a warm smile and a moment of brief conversation that he forgot pretty quickly after.

About forty minutes after he’d arrived, the shop was empty again. Noah grabbed a washcloth and began wiping down the messy counter as Olivia poured herself a glass of water.

“I have no idea where that all came from,” she said with a laugh.

“Some of them might have been from out of town,” Noah said, wringing out the towel and bringing it over to the small laundry bin he’d put under the counter the day before. “Maybe they were here for the thrill of it.”

Olivia shrugged. “Could be,” she said. “I won’t complain. How’d things go with Andrew? I assume you were over there after work.”

Noah blinked at her for a second, then realized what she was talking about. Iris’s shop. She was just working around saying it.

“Fine,” Noah said. “Actually, it seems like they might be making progress.”

Olivia looked at him with a grin. “No shit?” she said. “That’s great, what happened?”

No use not telling her. “Those dreams I’ve been having are apparently connected to the curse. So I let Iris hypnotize me.”

Just as he expected, the smile dropped immediately. “Noah, are you out of your fucking mind?”

He glanced over at the door, but nobody was coming in. “No, listen, it’s fine,” he said, as though she’d actually believe him. “It wasn’t anything, like, weird or anything. Okay, it was weird. But it was just to help me remember the dreams more clearly. She thinks they might be messages.”

“Don’t do it,” Olivia said, genuine fear on her face now. “Seriously, I don’t trust her.”

“I know,” Noah said. “But this might be what breaks the curse and gets Andrew out. And he needs to get out, especially if-” He lowered his voice, as if Charles Baxter was going to stroll through the door right then, “-if things are getting more dangerous for him.”

He waited for the explosion, but it didn’t come. Instead, Olivia took a deep breath and let it out agonizingly slowly. “How?” she asked.

“We decided they shouldn’t tell me the details,” Noah said. “I don’t want to muddy anything. But those dreams I’ve been having? They line up with some things Iris knows and she wants to see if someone is trying to contact me.”

She still looked nervous as she ran the edge of her apron through her fingers. “You know what you’re doing?” she confirmed.

Not even a little, but that didn’t matter. “Yeah,” Noah said. “It’s just bringing up these dreams or messages or whatever and figuring out where they’re coming from. That’s all.”

She nodded, but didn’t look convinced. “I think we’re almost there,” he continued. “I want to do this for Andrew.”

“Obviously,” Olivia said. “You think you’d do it for anybody else?”

He opened his mouth to respond, then realized he didn’t have anything. She didn’t sound angry or defensive. It was just matter of fact. “I mean, you, of course,” he said. “But…”

That was as far as his brain had gotten. “Just be careful,” Olivia said. “I know she means well. Just please don’t get hurt.”

“I won’t,” he said. “At most, she can make me cluck like a chicken or something.”

He’d hoped she’d laugh at that, but Olivia still looked scared. Noah scooped her into a hug, relieved when her arms slid around him. “It’s fine,” he said. “We’re going to figure it out and everything is going to be alright.”

He waited, but she didn’t argue any further. Then the bell rang and Olivia let go of him, straightening her apron and turning toward the door. But it was just Andrew.

“You’re not on,” she said.

“I know,” he answered. “But I was in the living room and it seemed to make more sense to come here and work rather than just sitting there all on my lonesome.”

He looked directly at Noah and smiled, then sat down at one of the tables and pulled out his laptop. Noah watched him for a moment, then went out back to do dishes.

—————

CONTINUE TO EPISODE 68 

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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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