New Winslow S7E8

Dr. Degas was at the reception desk when they got to the clinic, waiting alongside her confused assistant. “Noah,” Dr. Degas said gently. “Thank God, we were all getting worried.”

He looked at Olivia, confused. But she just patted him on the shoulder. “Go with her,” she said. “She’s just going to check you over.”

“Am I sick?”

She wasn’t sure how to answer that. But Dr. Degas was already steering him down the small hallway to the exam room. Olivia and Cleo waited until the door had closed, then both went into the tiny waiting area and sank into the hideous upholstered chairs under the window.

“Fuck,” Cleo muttered, leaning her head back against the wall.

“It’s something Iris did, I know it,” Olivia said. “I’m going to go over there and smash her head against the floor until she tells me.”

“It’s not the same,” Cleo said, more to herself than Olivia. “He’s only thirty-four, it’s not what’s happening with my mom.”

“No, of course not,” Olivia said quickly, reaching over to take her hand. “No, this is something else. She’ll have an answer, I’m sure.”


Dr. Degas had no answers for them when she and Noah came out of the exam room about thirty minutes later.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “We did all the tests I could think of and everything seems fine physically. Noah said it was alright to tell you two anything, but I don’t have anything to add. I know there was a lot of trauma involved in what he and Iris were doing, even if it was secondhand. So maybe that was…”

She trailed off as though she didn’t quite believe what she was saying. Beside her, Noah looked confused. “What is going on?” he asked. “Liv, where’s the baby? Did you have her yet?”

She looked at Dr. Degas, who looked helpless. Which scared Olivia more than anything else had. Noah stepped away toward the waiting area with a quiet “thank you” to Dr. Degas. “So he’s not in danger?” Olivia asked, keeping her voice low enough to hopefully not scare Noah.

“Not physically, no.”

“I think we should take him home then.”

“You could talk to someone else,” Dr. Degas said.

For an excruciating moment, she thought Dr. Degas was about to send her to Iris. “I don’t think the emergency room is appropriate, but we could try to get him evaluated. The program he was in last year might have some leads for appropriate mental health professionals if we don’t think it’s…paranormal.”

Thankfully, by this point Noah was looking out the window at the quiet road outside the health clinic. She had a feeling he thought that they were discussing her pregnancy or the new baby, depending on where his mind was at that moment.

“My gut says it is,” she said, hoping it wasn’t just her gut blaming Iris because of her own experience. “Do you think maybe if he rests it’ll wear off? Like a spell?”

“You’re asking the wrong person,” Dr. Degas said, and that fear was back. “Maybe you could talk to someone else about that. Maybe…”

She stopped as she clearly remembered who she was talking to. Over at the window, Cleo was talking to Noah, who kept looking happily surprised to see her there.

“Celine Beckett would know, if anyone would,” Dr. Degas said finally.

Shit, she hadn’t told Roman they found him. She’d have to call him the second she was out of here. But first, she needed to steel herself to handle Noah again.

“Thank you,” she said.

“I’m here,” Dr. Degas said. “Any time of day, just call me. For any of you, I mean it.”

Olivia could tell she did. So she gave what she hoped was a solid smile, then went over to the window and gently touched Noah’s elbow.

“All set?” he asked.


“Cleo’s been going on tour, she tell you that?”

“She has, yeah,” Olivia said.

“Alright, let’s head out,” Noah said, breaking her heart as he grinned at her. “You feeling sick? I can at least make a grilled cheese when we get there without setting the house on fire.”

Had he forgotten he was just in the exam room? “I’m not pregnant,” Olivia tried, bracing herself.

He just looked at her, then laughed. “Of course.”

They headed out to the car, the sun beaming down on them as they crossed the small parking lot. Why was it so hot in April? Things had to cool off by tomorrow, she was roasting and it wasn’t even close to summer yet.

And then there was their shop, sitting empty only a few weeks after opening. And it was necessary, but the thought made her stomach twist. They were losing money every day, though thankfully not as much as they would have with a mortgage to pay. So it was a little easier to move her attention away from that and back to the emergency at hand. Again, Cleo took the keys and this time, Noah sat up front with her while Olivia climbed in the back seat and took out her phone. There was a missed call from a local number and a voicemail.

“Olivia, hi, it’s Celine. I just had this strong feeling I should call you and wasn’t going to ignore that. Can you call me back? Not on my cell, at the House of Pizza, please?”

She rattled off the phone number as though Olivia didn’t have the House of Pizza’s number saved in her phone for too-regular use. She quickly called back.

“New Winslow House of Pizza, this is Charlie speaking. Takeout or delivery?”

“Charlie, it’s Olivia. Is Celine there?”

“Olivia! Yeah, hang on. Is everything okay? Did you guys find him? I wanted to keep looking but I couldn’t leave Celine alone and-“

“It’s fine, it’s fine. Yeah, he came home. He’s, um, he’s okay.”

“Is he…”

“No, no, he’s not. Nothing like that. Is she there?”

“Shit, yeah, sorry.”

Charlie set the phone down and it was only a few seconds later that Celine picked up.

“Noah’s safe? Thank God.”

“Yeah,” she said again, wary of how much she should say in front of him right now as he chatted quietly with Cleo in the front seat. “I think we need some help though. Are you free tonight?”

“I can be.”

Relief crashed over her. “Thank you,” she said. “Oh my God, thank you. I can’t talk about it right now, but I’ll call you when we get home.”

She hung up as they were getting into the driveway. As they were coming into the house a moment later, she could hear Andrew in the kitchen with Mia, singing her a silly nursery rhyme that cut off almost immediately as they walked in the door. She glanced over at Noah and saw that the easiness he’d had since showing up in the driveway that afternoon was gone. He looked deeply uncomfortable. Catching her eye, he jerked his head toward the front hallway and started walking back out, leaving Olivia to follow after.

“Liv?” he asked as the door closed behind them.

“What’s up?”

“Why does Andrew know where we live?”

Too many things came to mind right then. “You know we live here?” she said.

Again, that strange look in his eye for a second, almost confusion. “Yeah,” he said. “I’m up there.”

So he was beginning to remember. This was good. It was good, maybe he was just in shock after what had happened. A good night’s sleep would help get him back to normal.

“Yeah,” she said. “Your house is up there. Gray Lady is up there.”

“Why is my dad’s cat up there? He’s going to want her back.”

Fuck. She remembered Mrs. Stevenson suddenly, talking about how to handle Cleo’s mother when Olivia was over there with her. Go along with whatever she’s saying, she’d said. Noah didn’t have dementia and God willing this was a very temporary issue she wouldn’t have to address. But maybe she should tell him.

“Noah, do you remember what happened to your dad?”

“Yeah, he…”

He trailed off, then shook his head. “No, but why is Andrew in your house? What the hell is he playing at?”

“He’s been here for a year, Noah.”

“That’s ridiculous. He left like five years ago.”

It was like nothing was sticking. But they were interrupted when Cleo opened the door, on her phone and not seeming to notice either of them yet. “I know,” she was saying. “Hang on, my service isn’t- no, Edie, I’m going to come home after I go to Mom’s. Yes, I’m going over there right now. She’s not feeling good, I think it’s just the move, but Dad’s got about eight other things happening this week as well and-“

She noticed Liv and Noah standing in the hallway and jumped back slightly, startled. “Hey guys, I need to go to my mom’s for a while,” she said, moving her phone away from her mouth. “Are you going to be alright?”

She looked reluctant to leave, but if she was going to her mother’s, then it must be necessary. “Yeah,” Olivia said. “I’ll call you later.”

“Hey, don’t be a stranger,” Noah said, taking Cleo into a hug. “I missed you.”

Again, that stern resolve she’d been showing slipped a little as Cleo held him tightly for a moment, then let go. “I missed you too,” she said.

She left, continuing what didn’t seem to be a cheerful conversation, and Olivia went to try to keep talking to Noah, but he slipped into the apartment before she could get ahead of him. Helpless, she chased after him as he strode into the kitchen.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” he demanded.

Andrew dropped the plate he was holding on the floor. Thankfully it was plastic, so it didn’t shatter as it landed. But the toast fell off, landing jam side down on the floor. Mia started wailing in her seat and Olivia had to force herself not to be angry at Noah for it.

Noah jumped and looked at Mia, whose face was scrunched in anger as tears slid down her red cheeks. A romantic part of her had hoped that even if she or Cleo or Andrew didn’t set off any recognition, then maybe Mia would. But he just looked at her, puzzled, then looked away again, resettling on Andrew as Olivia scooped up Mia.

She looked at Andrew, who looked devastated just under the surface, but he nodded and she reluctantly took Mia out of the room to settle her down.




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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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