New Winslow S7E44

Later that night, Andrew and Cleo were sitting on his squashy, comfortable couch in the privacy of the Limerick’s upstairs flat. Work had been busy that day, but it still seemed to him to crawl by. Cleo had gone to see her mother in the afternoon and Andrew had half-expected her to resolve things with Edie and go home to Boston. But instead, she’d showed up five minutes before close, eyes a little red and subtly carrying two bottles of red wine in her bag. She’d run them upstairs to Andrew’s house, then come back down to see the others.

“We’re heading out for a couple hours,” Olivia had said as they locked the doors, motioning to herself and Noah as she held Mia on her hip. “Me, him, and the girl are going to see what sandwiches different places in the region are serving, how much they cost, and whether or not they’re terrible. We’ll see you two tomorrow.”

Noah smiled awkwardly and Andrew could tell that he knew they’d planned all of this. But leaving him or Cleo alone to brood also wasn’t going to happen and it wasn’t like they were going to just crack open a bottle of wine in front of him. Or avoid it altogether when he wasn’t there, not that he would ever ask them to. So he was going to have to fake a smile and eat some lousy sandwiches for a few hours. Andrew hoped it would cheer him up at least a little. God knew he could use it too.

Now Cleo and Andrew were both a glass in. “Thank you for this,” Cleo said. “I didn’t…God, I don’t know. I’m just a mess.”

She laughed, circling a finger over the rim of her glass in a move very similar to Olivia. “This is my fault,” she said. “They said they didn’t want me coming here anymore than I had to. I told them I wouldn’t but I kept coming back. And it was important to me, but I told them I wouldn’t.”

She drained her glass, then reached for the bottle and poured a new one. “Can I be incredibly shitty to you right now?” she asked, handing him the bottle after.

Andrew laughed, topping off his own glass and toasting her with it. “By all means.”

“I just moved back. I finally fucking got back to Boston. We’ve been in that apartment for a month and there’s still over a year left on our lease. Like, we were so confident that we decided to just stay signed on when the landlord asked us to either go to this September or next September on our lease. And it was all set and everything was fine. And then it exploded.”

“Did they kick you out?”

“No, we’re apparently sharing for now. We’re both on the lease, but they’re the one with the steady income,” Cleo said. “I drive fucking food delivery and no one is hiring me. So if anyone is going to get the apartment, it’s going to be them.”

“Still, it’s kind of fucked that they didn’t care about you coming here until the curse hit them.”

“That’s what I said!” Cleo exclaimed, wine sloshing in her glass as she swept her arm around. “Whoops. But that’s exactly what I told them. It’s not like it wasn’t cursed before we came back for Mia’s birthday. Was it really stupid to come back for a two year old’s birthday?”

“No more stupid than coming back for anything else.”

“Maybe I should just stay,” Cleo said. “Shit, that wasn’t cool. I’m sorry.”

“I don’t know what I’ll do if I do get out.”

She looked over at him. Andrew hadn’t intended to talk about his own problems, but apparently the words had just kind of slipped out after she mentioned finally getting back.

“I’d help, but apparently I’m going to be ‘discussing’ my apartment later this week,” Cleo said. “So I’ll either be living with someone who hates me or my dad.”

“They don’t hate you,” Andrew chastised, back on track for the evening. “I think they’re being a prick.”

“I said I’d stop,” Cleo said. “They said that. They said they’d never win against you guys.”

“Well, we’re all really hot” Andrew said, taking a long sip of his wine.

It was really good, she’d chosen well. He wasn’t much of a white wine drinker, though he’d picked up a bit of a taste for it at Liv’s. They didn’t like to keep much in the house for obvious reasons, so he’d never asked her to pick up a red while she was out of town. But he and Cleo tended to be red wine drinkers back in Boston, so it made the whole evening feel a touch more familiar.

“You told me,” Cleo said quietly. “A few months ago. You told me that I should stay out and I didn’t have to worry about losing touch with you all.”

“Is that why you came back?” Andrew asked.

“No,” she said. “The first time I was worried Noah died and the second time…”

She trailed off. “I didn’t want to leave you alone,” she said. “At the shop, I mean. Which is dumb, I know that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you guys were closed for a day or whatever. But at the same time, it wasn’t just that. You’re my best friends and I don’t want to be away from you during a hard time. And not just what happened the other night, I mean everything lately. I’ve felt so detached, like I’m missing important things and I need to be there for you the same way you’re there for me. But I’m not, not if I’m afraid to step over the town line.”

She shrugged. “It sucks, it really does. But I don’t regret it.”


“What are you going to do when you leave?”

They were a few glasses in now, Cleo lying on the couch and Andrew on the soft rug in front of it as a movie played quietly on his little TV. He didn’t even remember what it was, just something he had borrowed from Liv a few weeks ago and never returned. He looked up at Cleo. “Hmm?”

“When you leave New Winslow,” she said, “What’s your plan?”

“No. Fucking. Clue.”

He laughed and she joined in, reaching for her seltzer can with her eyes closed. “I’m such a bitch for asking,” she said.

“Nah, I think about it too,” he said. “If I get out. Big if.”

She blew a raspberry, then took a sip of her seltzer as Andrew paused. “I guess I’ll find another job in Boston,” he said. “Stay part time at the Limerick, get a flat. Christ, I’m going to need flatmates again.”

“We’ll get a place.”

She sounded half-bitter, but also a little serious about it. Andrew shrugged, reaching for his own water and managing not to pour it on himself. “Hmm, perhaps.”

“Did I fuck up?”

He shrugged. “You said you wouldn’t come back,” he said, tilting his body awkwardly to drink without spilling. “And you did. So, maybe? But would you have still done it?”


She groaned. “I want to finish that bottle, but we’re too old for this. Are you opening the store tomorrow?”

“No, thank God. Olivia is a blessed saint. You should take her out this week.”

“Good idea. She needs a break.”

“You take her and I’ll stay with Noah.”

She rolled over and looked at him slyly. “Oh?”


Cleo shrieked. “I knew it!”

Andrew reached under his head and pulled out the throw pillow he was using, tossing it at Cleo. “We hooked up,” he said.


“And it was fucking great,” he said, taking his throw pillow back. “And then Vivien went and burnt herself to death and so he tried to drink himself to death and I yelled at him out back. But I really just wanted to bring him up here and shag him until he didn’t look so goddamn sad anymore.”

“Sounded like you wanted to yell at him too.”

“Oh, I did. I was livid.”

“Here’s the plan,” Cleo said, propping herself up on her elbow. “I bring Liv out so she can take a goddamn break and drink a martini without worrying about having it in the house. And you fuck Noah on his sofa. Not this one, it’s too short, you’ll break him.”

Andrew choked on his water, spilling it down his shirt. “Damn,” he muttered, standing up slowly to go change it.

“Well, maybe you and Liv can go do the same and we’ll all live happily ever after,” he said as he staggered over to his dresser, which was still against the wall near his bedroom door.

“Did you see Liv tripping over the woman who does the deliveries, though?” Cleo asked. “I was down there this morning right before I…” she cleared her throat. “Right before I left. And damn. But Liv’s not wrong.”

Andrew stripped off his wet shirt and grabbed a t-shirt from his drawer. “After that Hugh knob fucked things up, she deserves to have someone good,” he said, coming back over. “Have you ever seen Noah’s tattoo? Compass rose thingy? God, I could kiss it all day.”

“You gonna keep doing magic when you leave here?”

Blinking slowly, Andrew pulled on the other shirt. “Magic? Yeah, I suppose? Or maybe no. Nah. No real reason to.”



Cleo shrugged from where she was lying. He pushed Cleo’s legs over and sat down beside her as she shifted and sat up. “Sofa’s plenty long,” he muttered.

Cleo looked at him for a long moment, then burst into tears so suddenly that he almost spilled his drink again. “I love Edie,” she said between sobs.

“I know you do,” Andrew said, pulling her into a hug. “It’ll be alright, I promise. It’ll be alright.”




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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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