New Winslow S7E9

Andrew looked so good and so present and God, Noah didn’t know if he wanted to kiss him or not. He did, however, want to yell at him and couldn’t see any real reason not to do so as they stood in this somewhat familiar kitchen, looking at each other.

“Five years!” he snapped. “Five years and you couldn’t be bothered to fucking text?”

He saw the way Andrew looked behind him and spun around, but nobody was there. “Look,” Andrew said softly, “I…can we take this outside?”

That was unexpected, but Andrew went to the back door before Noah could say anything else. He hurried after, anger and fear and longing all blending together, but the anger winning out over everything else.

“Why are you here?” he demanded as soon as they were out in the backyard, a little ways off of the back deck.

“Look, Noah, there’s something wrong,” Andrew said calmly, holding his hands up.

“Yeah, I’ll say there’s something fucking wrong. You shouldn’t be here. What the fuck? Now you’re here? Now you’re back?”

Andrew looked sad, and that just made Noah angrier. “No, you know what? Fuck you,” Noah snapped. “I have nothing to say to you. You gave me a handjob and ignored me for half a decade, you think you’re the only guy to ever do that? You’re not special.”

He wasn’t sure where that last part had come from, Andrew certainly was the only guy to do both of those things. But Noah was so angry and things weren’t adding up and that just made him even angrier. So he ignored anything Andrew might be about to say and stormed back into the house, going through the empty kitchen and living room and up the stairs to the empty apartment that he knew on some level was his.

Noah owned this building, didn’t he? And Liv lived downstairs because she was going to have a baby and he wanted to make sure she was alright. And he lived up here alone.

Gray Lady, his dad’s old cat, was sleeping on his dad’s recliner, which was also in the living room. Why did he have his dad’s cat and favorite chair? He didn’t recognize the sofa, but it was long and looked comfortable. Noah laid down on it to stare up at the ceiling for a little while. That, at least, felt safe enough.


After Olivia had called Celine and told her everything, Celine said she’d be over in an hour. Andrew was sitting in the kitchen as she came back in, staring blankly at a steaming mug of tea sitting in front of him despite the heat. Olivia tried to talk to him, but he’d just shook his head without even looking at her.

Olivia went upstairs to see that Noah was sitting on the couch beside the fan, petting Gray Lady, who was curled in a tight ball beside him.

“Hey,” she said cautiously as she stepped inside.

He looked up and smiled warmly at her. “Liv! Hey, come on in.”

She closed the door behind her, then sat down beside them on the couch. Gray Lady opened an eye to look at her, then closed them again and continued purring.

“She’s a sweet old fuck,” Noah said affectionately, scratching her behind the ears.

He looked at Liv. “Are you feeling better?”

“I’m fine,” she said. “What about you?”

He laughed, leaning his head against the sofa. “I’m totally fine,” he said. “Gonna get this place set up for dad. I know he’s all, ‘I could sleep in my recliner.’ But that doesn’t mean he should.”

He rolled his eyes in good-natured exasperation and Olivia tried not to throw up. “Celine’s coming over in a little while,” she said. “Um, can we talk for a few minutes before she gets here?”

“Who’s Celine?” Noah asked. “Is that a date? You coming home tonight?”

He winked at her, and despite everything, she smiled. “Um, no.” she said with a laugh. “No, Celine Beckett. Noah, can you tell me anything about yesterday?”

He shrugged, still petting the cat.

“Nothing at all?” Olivia pressed.

“Nah,” he said. “Why?”

“How old are you?”


That lined up with when his dad died, but not when she was pregnant. They’d both been thirty-two when Mia was born.

“No, you’re not,” she said. “You’re thirty-four.”

Noah looked at her, the smile on his face fading as he saw her expression. “Liv, what are you talking about?” he asked.

“Noah, you’re thirty-four years old,” she repeated. “We both live in this duplex, we have for years. My daughter is named Mia and she’s two years old.”

“Liv, that’s-“

“It’s not ridiculous,” she said. “Andrew is here too, he’s been stuck in New Winslow for a year and a half.”

Noah shook his head. “Stop it,” he snapped.

“Noah, it’s true.”

He gave her a long, searching look, then stood up, Gray Lady skittering off indignantly as he did so. “Where are you going?” Olivia asked.

“I left so many plants in my truck bed, they’re probably roasting,” he said in that same light, cheerful tone that made her want to cry. “Let me do that and I’ll buy us dinner tonight. You feeling up for eating? I’m just thinking pizza or something. Or I can make you something light.”

She swallowed her scream. Celine was going to be here in about thirty minutes. They’d have more answers then. Instead of screaming, sobbing, vomiting, or all of those things at once, she plastered on a fake smile that felt far too familiar. “I’m fine,” she said. “Thank you, though.”

“Let me know what you want in the yard,” he continued lightly, looking around for his boots. “I know it’ll be years before the baby can handle a swingset, but I can get some of those baby slides or whatever. When do they start using those?”

Mia’s plastic baby slide was buried in the basement, long outgrown. The swingset Noah had bought and had planned to put up this week was stacked in pieces in the yard, ready to go. He’d told her before going to Iris’s shop the other day that he was going to figure out how to build that fucking teeter-totter if it killed him. But if she told him that, he was just going to get angry again, wasn’t he? She just had to hold on until Celine got there.




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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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