New Winslow S7E42
When they got back to Olivia’s house, Noah and Mia were both asleep on the sofa. She was curled up on top of him, his arm protectively over her. Neither moved when the others came into the dim living room, which was lit only with a small string of colorful lights draped over the bookshelf.
Cleo was so numb and so tired that all she could do was fall onto the recliner before she’d even gotten her shoes off. It was over. Just like that, with less than a month in their new apartment, Edie was done.
She couldn’t blame them entirely. Like Jenna, Edie had been clear about what they needed. It was just that it didn’t match up with what Cleo needed. And she could tell herself over and over and over for the rest of her life that she was leaving and that there was nothing that could get her back into New Winslow after her mother got out. But the evidence to the contrary was overwhelming. Everything she needed was in this fucking town, whether she told herself she loved it or hated it.
“Don’t make plans tonight,” Olivia said as she sat down on the unoccupied couch.
“It’s not that late,” Cleo said. “Maybe if I go home now, they’ll talk to me.”
“That’s exactly what I’m talking about.”
Part of her was tempted to lash out at Olivia right then, but it wouldn’t help anything. All that going back to Boston right now would get Cleo was a locked door. And then she’d be the partner begging to be let back inside. And no matter how much she loved Edie, she wasn’t going to do that.
Mia shifted, and Noah groaned, opening his eyes. He noticed the others in the room and laughed.
“Kid just kicked me in the nuts,” he muttered as she nestled in angelically against his chest. Then he spotted Cleo. “Hey, Cleo,” he said, absently moving Mia’s curls out of her face as she slid her thumb into her mouth. “What are you still doing here?”
He looked around the room cautiously and she was tempted to just play it off until tomorrow, but it wasn’t like things were going to be better in the morning. “Edie broke up with me.”
He shifted so that he was sitting up against the armrest, Mia still fast asleep against him. “No, what happened?”
She knew full well that Noah was going to blame himself for her reasoning for coming back, but she also knew that not telling the truth would come back and bite her anyway. So she gave him the summary of the argument, leaving out the parts about him. Still, he looked guilty by the end of it.
“It’s not your fault,” she said. “If it wasn’t this, it would have been something else.”
“I’m so sorry,” he said, swallowing hard. “If I hadn’t-“
“Then it would have been, I don’t know, someone getting hurt or something. Or some unfinished bullshit with my mom’s finances at the mobile home park. I would have always ended up back here and they would have broken up with me then.”
Noah looked like he wanted to say more, but she sat back in the recliner with a heavy sigh. “I just moved in,” she said again. “We just moved into the apartment and now they’re saying we’ll figure it out? What does that even mean? Maybe they want to stay for the remainder of the lease or maybe kick me out, I don’t know. I have to-“
She looked at Liv, then Andrew. “Fuck, I don’t even know.”
“Here’s what’s going to happen.”
The next morning, Cleo and Andrew were in Liv’s bathroom, her sitting on the side of the tub as he got dressed. Cleo looked up at Andrew, who was buttoning his work shirt as he talked. She looked perfectly miserable.
“I’m at the Limerick all day,” Andrew continued. “While I’m there, you take my credit card and go somewhere other than the New Winslow general store and get us a couple bottles of some actual good wine. Then tonight, you stay over at my flat and we’ll have a few glasses. You could use a drink.”
Cleo seemed a little surprised by this, but then she smiled. The smile faded after a second. “What about Liv, though?” she asked. “I don’t want to leave her out, but I don’t want Noah to be all alone while we-“
“It was Liv’s idea,” Andrew interrupted. “She’s going to get Noah out of the house for a while tonight. Go to a few coffee shops in the area for inspiration.”
For a second, he thought that she might be about to say no. But he also knew that if she didn’t have some space to vent soon, she was going to explode. And despite everything that had happened in the past few days, he wanted to have a few glasses of wine while he gave her that space.
“Are you sure?” she asked.
He raised an eyebrow as he tucked his shirt into his trousers. “Do you really need to ask me that?” he said. “You and I lived at each other’s flats for seven years and I don’t think either of us actually ever gave the other a proper invitation. So yes, I am, in fact, very sure.”
She finally laughed and some of the tension that he’d been carrying broke. “Alright,” she said. “You’re buying?”
“The best that my depleted account can provide.”