New Winslow S7E38
He lost track of things after Andrew had pulled him to his feet, like the blood had all rushed away from his head, bringing his thoughts along with it. Noah was in bed now and Andrew was talking to him, something about finding his way home. You keep finding your way home, Andrew was saying. You’ll be alright. Andrew couldn’t go home, he was trapped here, and the woman died and Andrew couldn’t go home. He didn’t need to stay, but it was nice to feel him there as Noah fell asleep.
The dreams were foggy, fierce storms intercut with screams as Noah repeatedly surfaced, then sank back down. He was drunk, he knew that. Extremely drunk. But he was in bed and there was someone here beside him. Was he supposed to be doing something?
The thought vanished quickly, and before he realized it, he was awake again. The room was spinning and Andrew was now asleep beside Noah in his bed. He wore the same fitted t-shirt he’d worn at work as he rolled onto his back, one hand resting on his chest and the other reaching for Noah. The room spun around them and Noah knew if he didn’t close his eyes right now, he was going to vomit.
Then there was nothing. Then there was a splitting headache and too much clarity. Even the dim room was too bright as Noah opened his eyes and looked up at the wooden ceiling. And the scene was so familiar that he immediately remembered what he’d done.
That nip he bought to settle the screaming in his head long enough to get help had turned into stealing a bottle of wine from Liv’s cabinet and drinking the whole thing. Then the throwing up and the crying, all with Liv and Andrew right there.
Though at the moment he was alone. Maybe he’d just dreamed that Andrew was here in bed with him, but it didn’t matter because they were both gone. He didn’t want to get up and face whatever was coming, but if there was any way of fixing what he’d just done, he was going to have to.
Before he could decide for himself, he heard soft footsteps in the living room. It sounded like Liv, but he wasn’t positive. Regardless, Noah was torn between desperately wanting her to come in here and for her to go away somewhere he wouldn’t hurt her again.
She came into the room and stood in the doorway, looking at him with an unreadable expression on her face. Noah felt small, useless, and a year ago he would have tried to get away as quickly as possible.
“I brought you some water.”
He still couldn’t read her tone. She was gentle as she came in and handed him the glass, which he drank slowly while she stood in front of him. Why was she here? Shouldn’t she be doing something that was actually good for her for once?
“Are you feeling alright?” she asked as he drained the glass.
“Fine,” he said, as though his head wasn’t throbbing. “I’m sorry, Liv, you don’t need to-“
She sat down next to him and it was so similar to that Christmas morning that the words died in his throat. “How about you take a shower, then we’ll call Roman?”
“No, it’s not- I don’t want to bother him.”
“Noah, babe, you have a choice.”
Liv took his hand and ran a finger gently down his palm, as though she was reading his future. He waited in dread as she found the words. She was leaving, of course she was leaving. He’d fucked it up again.
“First. You shower and get dressed while I call Roman. Or you can call, it doesn’t matter. But then we go talk to him. We’ll get breakfast, you should eat something.”
The way she was stroking his palm was soothing, and he got the feeling that it was intentional. “The other option is we call Dr. Degas and we get you back in treatment.”
Back in rehab. Because the first time didn’t stick. Acid rose in his throat and he swallowed hard, trying to keep it down. He thought about McMann on that last night he was there last year, talking about how he wasn’t going to put his family through another round after that one. He couldn’t go back, that part of his life was over. Noah couldn’t have failed at this already, not when he had finally made progress.
“You can take a few minutes to decide,” Liv continued somewhere above the roaring in his ears. “I’m not going anywhere. But I’m not letting you pull away again. You’re not doing it to yourself and you’re not doing it to me. If you think you need to go back or go somewhere new, I’ll help you figure it out. But we can also just talk to Roman for now.”
His throat was so tight with shame that he wouldn’t be able to get an answer out if he tried. He nodded, blinking back tears. “Andrew is at the Limerick,” Liv said. “He and I are going to trade off in the afternoon.”
Right, Noah was supposed to work at lunchtime. Even if this was the worst hangover he’d had since well before he’d stopped drinking, he needed to be there. He’d made a promise to them. And even if neither of them should have to deal with his latest colossal fuckup, he shouldn’t leave all the work to them.
“Roman,” he managed to get out a moment later. “I’ll talk to Roman.”
“I can call him if you want,” Liv offered.
He knew he should turn her down and be brave enough to talk to Roman himself. But she was picking up his phone from his bedside table and he was embarrassed at how relieved he was.
“Shower,” she ordered, smiling at him.
Then she walked out of the room.
Once Olivia heard the shower turn on, she dialed Roman’s number into her own phone. It rang a couple times, then connected.
She could barely hear Roman’s voice over the blasting music behind it. “Hi Roman,” she said, suddenly nervous. “It’s Olivia.”
“Shit, hang on.”
The music shut off suddenly and she could hear the sound of a car window rolling up. “Olivia? What’s up?”
“I got your number from Noah’s phone, I’m sorry to interrupt. He’s okay, but he relapsed last night.”
Roman let out a long breath. “Listen,” he said. “I’m about thirty minutes out. I can swing by and-“
“No, I’ll bring him,” Olivia said. “You don’t need to come back to town, I’ll drive him anywhere you want to meet.”
“You sure?” Roman asked. “It’s not a problem.”
Not a problem. Not a problem for the man who had been cursed for twenty years to casually come back into New Winslow. She half wanted to hug him, half wanted to smack him. “I’ll bring him,” she said.
“How is he?”
Olivia shrugged in the empty living room. “I don’t know yet,” she said. “He seems kind of alright? He talked to me at least.”
That was better than last year. Progress. While it didn’t feel like progress in any way, she had to remind herself how much things had changed.
“Let’s get some breakfast,” Roman said. “I’m on my way back from a whole Chamber of Commerce breakfast bullshit thing you guys will want to stay far away from and I could use some real breakfast. And I bet you could too.”
She hadn’t even thought about herself eating yet, but suddenly the thought of breakfast seemed like it could change her life.