Usual disclaimers etc. Sorry for the late update but my broadband went down and only came back online today! Seriously went into major withdrawal mode and now find myself playing catch up on all those deliciosuly fine stories out there. Just hope you take a moment to read this final chapter and add your pennies worth...!!! Roz.
The effects of Gravity
Chapter 13 - The long goodbye
It felt good to be able to sit up again as the tightness around his chest now had peaked beyond excruciating discomfort to more manageable, albeit opiate relieved, levels. His breathing had evened out, even after his little attack last night, and it looked like he could still make good his escape by Thursday despite what the doctors might think.
Now was the time to keep a level head, he kept telling himself, and not let his dad stop his progress. And as much as he would have liked to he was not going to aggravate the situation by leaping out of bed to beat a bedpan around his dad's head next time they met up. So, he repeatedly told himself, he could do calm when needed.
Now the most demanding task at hand was the green jello fighting its way off the spoon for the third trip in a row, and with a frustrated sigh he decided to spare the green stuff its fate and pushed the tray away his appetite already waning.
Still jello wasn't the most important thing on his mind right now. After his run in with his dad yesterday he was grateful for the time just to think. Dean had gone home late last night and wasn't due back till midday, and for once not even the nursing staff were around to fuss over him. Being alone meant that he could get things a little clearer in his head, and try to get his game up to scratch before the evitable second round with his dad commenced.
Resignedly he brushed the hair out his eyes and drew in a small shaky breath realising miserably that no matter what explanation he gave his dad it was going to lead to more confrontation and trouble. Dad already had little to no faith in him. Perhaps it was justified, because it didn't matter what he did he was never going to measure up in his eyes to Dean. He just didn't have that level of trust in him that he shared with his brother.
It was a painful acknowledgment and a for a second his breath hitched in his throat into a tight squeeze, but he could do stubborn when needed and refused to give into the luxury of tears right now. If he allowed himself such a visible failing it would only belittle him even further to his dad's eyes and he was fed up as being viewed as weak.
Bitterly he realised that even after surviving that damned house he still hadn't he proved himself enough to that man. He couldn't but help ask the question that would it had been so hard for him to even look at him with some enthusiasm and say 'Good job son in keeping yourself alive.' But it was obvious that he hadn't expected him to live, that much he was sure off.
Couldn't even do dying on cue for him when expected it appeared.
Giving off a flash of dimples at the idea, Sam sported a brief sour smile. 'Strike one for Sam Winchester.' he thought cynically, because despite all the odds once again here he was very much alive.
He sniggered humourlessly again, remembering bitterly on how on his second day in the hospital, on coming out of the craziest of dreams, to hear a familiar voice muttering 'Christo' by his bedside as if expecting him to self combust at the word.
'Ha!' he remembered wanting to shout out loud at his dad when nothing happened but being a little too fogged up with drugs and half sleep to voice it out loud. "Ha, fucking, ha!"
That his dad could think of him being something freaky and possessed was just plain unnerving. What was worse was that his dad had literally screamed his thoughts out loud with that one whispered word and that hurt even more. Why couldn't his dad just accept the fact that for once this hadn't been his screw up and that he had made it out despite it all? Why couldn't he just be proud of him for once?
As he stewed in his bed Sam knew that it would easier for him if he gave into to his dad again. It would be the easiest path to just him win the battle of wills by telling him about David, perhaps by doing so affording him some justification about his suspicions and thoughts since making it out alive. But, no, this time he was determined to hang on to a little bit of self respect and pride in what he had managed to do and so he was determined to keep his silence about what had happened in that damned hous.ese.
David was his secret to keep and he reasoned why muddy the waters even further by letting his dad know that something supernatural had helped save him?
Telling him that he had had his own personal Casper wouldn't earn him any brownie points. Predictably he could guess his dad's reaction the moment he mentioned the word 'ghost'. Oh, yeah, he'd freak out for sure, immediately labelling his helper as something evil and unnatural and that's not how Sam wanted to remember the boy.
All he knew was that a small frightened child named David had reached out to him, and shared with him an experience and connection that he knew that his dad would never understand or accept.
Already on the bottom rung of the ladder of respect as it was Sam knew that confessing to his dad about David would do him no good at all. It would only he cause further sarcastic put downs and a reaffirmation of his low status in the Winchester hunting unit.
He knew that the whole Farnborough experience had been a chance to focus back again on what he really desired. David had shown him that not all things could be viewed in black and white and in the crazy screwed up life of the Winchesters the fact that he owed a ghost his life had to mean something. May be it was a kind of balance being restored in this demon-hunting world of theirs that his dad kept insisting they walk on.
Maybe David and all that went with it was meant to remind him about living and not just about following orders.
So he gave the deepest sight, realising that although the blinkers had been lifted off his eyes with the strange encounter with the supernatural the blinkers still remained attached to his dad and in man ways his own brother. For now he realised it was wisest to keep his firmly shut and keep the memory of David inside of him.
Perhaps later he could tell Dean. Perhaps he might understand. And then again perhaps one day his dad might hold him tight and tell him that for once he did well. Perhaps that was the day freaking day pigs might fly.
Blinking back the warmth of fresh tears he was comforted that at least David and Katie had found some kind of peace, denied to them for too long a time. They had needed each other so badly, just like he had needed Dean.
A genuine broad smile split his face thinking just about his big brother. The words awesome and fantastic just seemed so inadequate when he looked at him now. His brother had been the only one not willing to give up on him, and he at least had had faith in him. Some day he was determined to prove to his dad that Dean had been right all along – that it had been worth the effort in believing in him just this once.
His eyes tracked back to the green jello on his try and flicked it over with a satisfying splat, watching it jiggle and wobble before stilling and knew that it just about summed up his relationship with is dad right now.
Very wobbly indeed.
A small call of his name woke him from a hazy dream and his eyes as they focused soon lit up at seeing A.J. sitting by his bed. It was late morning he realised as the sunshine streaming through the window bathing the room in a bright fresh light
"Hey Sam, how you doing?" asked Jennings in his deep gravely voice, patting the boy's hand gently, as Sam roused himself from sleep. He hadn't wanted to wake him from such a deep sleep but he knew that it was best that he said his goodbyes before John showed up again.
"I'm doing good Professor. Really good." replied Sam with a cheerful grin using the controls on his bed to raise himself to sitting position. "They said if I keep this up I can go home on Thursday. With a little bit more R & R I'll be fighting fit again. You just wait and see."
"So no lasting damage eh?" asked Jennings, noting how quickly Sam had understood that the question had been about his reaction last night as he nodded quickly.
"No, it's still all good," he paused. "And thanks for stepping in like that last night. I knew that he was getting angry but I couldn't stop myself and…"
"No need to explain son. I just wish that I could stay around a little longer, but I'm needed back at Berkley." He winced at seeing the shadow in the boy's eyes appear. "You know that I would stay if I could?"
Sam nodded, biting his bottom lip against his disappointment. "It's okay. I'm just really glad that you were here. You've been great." Struggling to keep his voice level Sam added. "Just wish that you'd come back because of something more positive than watching me getting my behind physically and verbally smacked again."
"From where I've been standing Sam you gave back as good as you got, if not more in the verbal stakes." Jennings laughed at the confused expression take on the boy's too young face. "It was good to see you stand up for yourself like that yesterday, that's all I'm saying."
"Don't think my dad would agree with you somehow A.J."
With a low growl Jennings gripped his shoulder again, locking eyes with his young protégé. "Listen son, I know I'm supposed to be the adult here but sometimes your dad just brings out the worse in a person. Giving him a verbal kick up the backside may well do him some good."
And even the odd smack or two might have helped get his point home he told himself silently. At least he hoped so for the boy's sake. If not Sam and John would be on a collision course in the future that neither one of them would escape the fallout from.
Sam sighed and asked softly. "You and dad have had a falling out, haven't you? Was it because of me? That's why you're going, isn't it?"
"Yeah well listen here Sam none of this was of your making. Your stubborn father could have a falling out with God himself if the mood took him."
Sam nodded his understand and Jennings demanded quietly of the boy at noticing the too bright glint to his eye which surely must be reflected in his own. "Promise me son that you'll keep in touch."
When Sam didn't answer Jennings squeezed his good shoulder again gently adding. "I'll always be there for you Sam. Always. When the need arises just don't forget that. Okay?"
Sam swallowed back his emotion and mutely nodded, his hand covering the grizzled hand of his mentor in a quick grab as if to stop him from leaving. "I sometimes think that I shouldn't expect so much from you." He lowered his voice to a tight whisper adding, "Thank you for believing in me Professor."
Thank you for offering that lifeline.
As if reading his thoughts Aaron smiled in return, not ashamed to the let the tears roll down his cheeks. "Lad, that's the easiest thing in the world for me to do. You just have to believe in your own worth Sam. Don't let anyone, anyone, tell you otherwise."
Especially that idiot father of your. Don't let him screw you up like he has Dean. Stay true to yourself son. Don't stop them from letting me help you.
With a final pat, and a quick brushing away of his tears, Jennings nodded at Sam, a small smile playing on his lips that they had an understanding, a trust that wouldn't be broke by anything John Winchester might do next.
"Stay in touch laddie and keep yourself safe." He drew himself away from Sam's side, his heart breaking at walking away from him like this but the bad blood between him and John meant that he couldn't stay. Taking a final deep breath he walked to the door, feeling Sam's eyes following after him, before pausing in the doorway and turned a final time and gave him a small nod. " See you soon Sam."
Sam watched the door close behind his tall frame and felt his heart stutter at the loss. Soon was too long a wait. With A.J. gone all he had left was to wait for the return of his brother with his dad in tow. And meeting up with his dad again was going to be so much fun!
The knock on his door so soon after A.J.'s departure caught him by surprise and he cranked his head up to see the bulky form of Sheriff Carnock in the door way, before the slim figure of Penny sped past him and raced over to his bed. Before he could even think to say her name her arms wrapped around him in a tight hug and the air felt like it was being driven out of his lungs again. With a muffled gasp and a small grunt of pain he managed to reach out his own good arm and hugged her in return.
For a good long second all he could think of was how delicious she smelt, his face burying into her long fragrant hair as she whispered her relief in his ear. For the longest time back at Farnborough he doubted he'd ever see her again but now here she was by his side, as pretty and as gregarious as ever. Life could be good at times, he reminded himself with a deep sigh as she clung to him wrapped in her perfume.
"You scared me to death Sam Winchester" admonished Penny through her tears of joy. "I thought…." She was unable to voice her fears, her throat constricting tight at the memories of how she had once thought him lost to her. Instead her fingers twisted into his with her unspoken fears, pushing her forehead against his to facilitate an understanding against her inability to speak.
"I'm sorry Penny." Sam whispered in return and then felt the familiar touch of her lips on his as she made her relief known. Her lips were hard, meeting his with a desperate need and despite the tugging on his wounds or her weight against him it was too enjoyable to ever want it to stop.
Sheriff Carnock's eyes had widened at the passion his daughter displayed in front of him. Was this really his baby girl who only a few years ago would have rather died a death of embarrassment at the thought of kissing a boy, but who was now swallowing the Winchester lad's whole face off in front of him?
When on earth had his little girl grown up to be this young woman, he wondered. Still his eyes noting that the kid was still hooked up to a slew of machines coughed out loud. "Penny give the boy some air, before you have all the doctors rushing back in again as all those pesky alarms go off."
"Oh Sam, are you okay? Did I hurt you? responded Penny fearfully as she drew away from Sam her eyes noticing all the wires he was hooked up to as if they were snakes readying to bite back.
Taking a shaky breath Sam shook his head and reached out to pull her back to him, though in a gentler embrace than the over enthusiastic one of before. "It's so good to see you Pen." He paused, noting that her dad was still standing in the door way and gave him a polite nod. "Sir."
Clearing his throat the Sheriff nodded in return, just pleased that this time the boy had been awake for their visit and was able to see his daughter. Having to take his daughter home in tears yesterday because the boy had still been too medicated to see her had been hard. Now in the space of a day the kid was sitting up and looking decidedly improved, and judging by his reactions was as equally pleased to see Penny as she was of him.
"How are you doing?" he asked politely noting the colour on the boy's cheek and wondered if that the last vestige of a fever or just the close proximity of his daughter.
At the back of his mind he was screaming a denial about the possibilities of their relationship being more than just mere 'kisses' and made a mental note to remind his wife to have another of her little chats with Penny – sooner rather than later.
Sam never got the chance to answer the Sheriff as the door swung open and Dean and his dad traipsed in. For an awkward moment there was a shocked silence as the three standing men eyed each other up and down.
Sam cringed, noting the all too familiar sour look on his dad's face at seeing the local Sheriff in his room and with Penny still sitting on his bed he knew that the game was up. He could only guess the tongue-lashing he was going to get later. Yesterday he guessed would seem like a walk in park by the time his dad got through with him later.
Worse still was the knowing sneer on Dean's eyes on clocking eyes on Penny and whatever colour had been on Sam's cheeks deepened to a dark blush.
Plopping himself down on the other side of the bed his brother cocked a charming smile at the teenage girl who smiled back weakly. "So you must the girl that I've heard nothing about? Pleased to meet you I'm sure. I'm Dean his older and more handsome brother."
Penny giggled under his scrutiny and gave him her name with a blush. He winked in return and cheerily he dropped into his brother's lap a packet of gummies. "Looks like you're going to need them more than I do. Gotta keep your strength up somehow little brother."
Sam groaned out loud at his brother's glibness and glanced a quick look at Sheriff Carnock and could see the same unimpressed look on his face that his dad sported.
Dean and his dad were not the type of men you introduced to your girlfriend's dad without good planning and forewarning.
'Oh. Yeah', he muttered to himself, 'he was well and truly screwed and may not live to see his seventeenth birthday – yet again!'
The fact that this particular girlfriend's dad was the local Sheriff didn't help his cause one bit at all and he could see the dark eyes of his father hooding over as he reached out a hand to politely shake Carnock's hand. By the tone of their rather cagey introductions he could feel the tension in the air increasing.
Worse still was that his adorable gullible Penny, was totally oblivious to the escalating testosterone levels of the two alpha males eyeing one another, and bounced excitedly on his bed offering up a welcome smile to his dad. "Hey Mr Winchester, Sam has told me so much about you. I'm so happy to meet you at long last."
"Like wise" smiled back John dangerously, casting a knowing look over at his youngest. "Sam certainly has kept you under wraps for far too long."
'Oh god, can I die now. Please.' begged Sam inwardly, wilting under the full scrutiny of both pairs of eyes of the older Winchester men. He just knew he was so going to be ripped into shreds later and would sooner get it over and done with.
The law and the Winchesters were never a good combination, and he guessed if he looked in the John Winchester 'Do it my way or Else' little book of rules he must have broken a dozen or so in dating Penny. So, yes, judging by the snarkey looks thrown his way by his dad, he was in trouble big time. Again.
Dean watched and waited for his brother to wake up moulding his solid frame into the hard plastic chair as best he could. Sam was doing just fine, he kept telling himself, ignoring the pain it brought to his gut every time he allowed himself to think on the reasons how and why his brother was lying in that bed.
It felt strange looking at the too still form of his brother but at least he was here getting better with each new day. Whatever angel he had hovering by his shoulder at Farnborough had served him well, and for that he would be eternally grateful. His and dad's mistakes had almost let them lose Sammy. Next time he would listen just a little bit more carefully at everything Sam had to say before a hunt. This lesson was one he was not going to forget in a hurry.
He chewed on his bottom lip, wondering how he would react to his father not being here this morning. Yesterday had been too weird to want to deal with it in repeat form today, so he was just glad that dad had come up with a half decent excuse last night and had not come with him to the hospital this morning.
He couldn't help but admire his brother's barefaced cheek at not only hooking up with the local cop's daughter but also the way he had kept it hidden from them from the get go. The crafty little bugger would need closer watching from now he realised, not wanting another fast one pulled on them like that again. It was just plain embarrassing to have his big brother radar undermined like that.
As he waited for Sam to wake up he acknowledged with a smirk the fact that his little brother wasn't such an innocent anymore, especially with the girls. Still, judging how that little Penny kept herself permanently draped over him last night he must have been doing something right. He must have inherited a few more of the Winchester charm genes than he had given him credit for in the past.
That little talk he had been hinting at to his brother about girls and their effect now seemed a little redundant. Sam had gotten it all figured out by himself and had been juggling this little relationship along with everything else so skilfully it couldn't have been his first try. It just proved a fact to Dean that he had always known and that was Sam was always way too goddam advanced.
As he waited for his brother to wake up he couldn't help but smile at recollecting their dad's reaction at him and the Sheriff playing happy families last night. Sweet Jesus the look on their dad's face had been priceless and he was more than a little surprised that the much anticipated tongue lashing didn't take place when the girl and her father left later on.
Now that had been weird and he could tell that Sam felt the same way, just as astonished by the taciturn silence that followed from their dad. It felt unnatural. As if the man was fighting his own inner demons down to keep the barely veiled civility between him and his brother from breaking down completely.
Just what was going on between the two of them was really staring to niggle now and neither one of them were saying anything so all he could do was guess it was something to do with what happened at Farnborough.
Given time he knew he would be able to beat it out of Sammy in some form or another. Sam could never keep a secret from him - well he had liked to think that was the case until Penny came onto the scene.
With a grin he leant forward and picked up the orange juice from his brother's breakfast tray eyeing the cereal bowl hungrily and whispered a warning. "Better wakeup soon sunshine or you're gonna miss the best meal of the day!"
His brother's eyes opened lazily and met his grin with his own. "Touch my Lucky Charms big brother and your dead."
Dean gave him a silly grin as he popped the first marshmallow into his mouth. "I don't suppose Penny has any problems getting to your 'Lucky Charms' though does she Sammy?"
He had the grace to blush. "Jerk."
Dean just laughed, popping another piece of his brother's cereal into his mouth. It felt good again to be able to bitch with his brother.
John flinched as Dean sauntered back into kitchen with half a cup of coffee to knock back. For a boy who had his head smacked around to a severe concussion and had spent the last few days watching his younger brother get back to oxygen drawing fitness he was looking pretty good.
Gone were the dark shadows under his eye or the waking moments of panic wondering how his brother was. The dark fears that had once crippled him were now being replaced by that all too familiar swagger that only his oldest son possessed.
For Dean he couldn't keep the exuberance out of his step, his whole body screamed relief that his brother was coming home today and that it just felt so right that he couldn't keep a big grin of his face.
"Hey dad its time to go pick up Sam," pressed Dean, draining the last bitter dregs of his coffee quickly.
It would be good to have the kid back home again, as the house had been too damn quite without his little brother's quirky ways to fill it. He looped the car keys in his finger and twirled then around waiting impatiently for his dad to follow.
John Winchester looked over at his eldest and saw the how happy the boy was and sighed. A call that morning had changed his plans and he had put off telling Dean that he was on his way out to another job. "Look Dean you're gonna have to pick up Sam by yourself today. Something has come up."
Dean cocked a knowing eyebrow at him. "A job?"
"Yep. Caleb's been hunting a bad infestation of black dogs over in Montana. I can't leave him to it. The young idiot is more than likely to blow his foot off left alone than bag a hound, so…."
"Sure, dad, I understand. I can go get Sammy by myself – no problem," answered Dean. He didn't realise he had been holding his breath until the sigh escaped. "You going to call Sam to let him know before you go? Or do I tell him?"
John shook his head. "It would be better coming from you son. I've already signed all the paperwork. All you've got do is pick him up."
John paused, a frown knitting his forehead at remembering seeing his youngest fast asleep early that morning before he snuck back home. To his eyes Sam still looked too fragile and he knew that he in some part was the cause of that. 'I'll make it good with him', he promised himself determinedly. In Montana he'd pull his family back together, just give it time he told himself. Sammy would come round eventually. He had to.
Breaking free of his thoughts John finally he added. "Dean, just keep him safe and when he's well enough follow me out to Montana. Okay?"
With a deep sigh he rubbed his fingers over his chin, eyeing the crummy apartment for the last time. "Sam's is not going to be happy about moving again Dean. Think you can cope with the tantrums to come?"
"I'll sit on him if he gets too snippety, so don't worry about Sammy dad he'll be okay," lied Dean and knew that his dad was making his great escape before the fireworks exploded. Sam was going to be mightily pissed that much he was sure off. The promise from his dad that he could finish out the school year this time round was yet another one broken.
"Good man," acknowledged John as he started the familiar process of packing up his gear. If anyone could keep Sam under control it would Dean, and although he knew he was taking the easy way out here some time apart from his youngest might just prove the break they all needed to heal and get the status quo back again.
"Just tell Sam that I…" John paused, unable to find the right words for a moment. "Just tell your brother to keep himself well and not to over do it. I need you both fighting fit and I'll see you sometime next week in Montana. I'll give you the new address later."
Dean nodded, not quite able to look his dad in the eye. "Sure thing dad, I'll watch out for him. Don't worry about Sammy he'll do just fine."
John clamped a hand on his oldest son's shoulder. "You do that son. Keep him safe for me. Okay?"
Just two days since being discharged from hospital Sam Winchester was readying to leave California behind. It hadn't taken long to get their meagre belongings packed up and now all that was left were a few personal belongings to put away. It was a chore so familiar that he could do it automatically, which was a good thing because that was the mode he was working on ever since his brother had told him about the move.
Dean watched his brother folding his clothes into the large duffle bag awkwardly one handed and wanted to intervene but the set look on his brother's face kept him hovering in the doorway.
To be honest he had expected a more vocal response from his little brother at the news that they were leaving for Montana but all he had got was quick dark disbelieving look before an unnatural silence took over. It was the same unnerving silence that had greeted him in the hospital when he told Sam that dad had gone off to a job in Montana.
Sam was giving away no real emotion, certainly not the expected outburst of anger that usually came with each time they were forced to move on. It was as if he had learnt to internalise all the anger and frustration and Dean worried just where and when this might explode into something more dangerous.
The only time he had seen this stoic façade crumble a little was when he dropped him off at Penny's so that he could tell her in persona about the move.
He had waited in the car and when Sam returned walking up the short path he had a look of such a forlorn look guilt on his face, with a tear stained Penny standing forlornly by the doorway watching him walk away from her, that Dean felt physically gut punched.
Leaving Penny behind was going to be difficult for him but given time he knew he would recover, because First love could be such a bitch – but at least he was there to help soften the pain. He hoped.
The final 'goodbye' sign of California signalled the onward journey to a new home, a new hunt. Dean eyed his brother silently as the music blared out, AC-DC screaming out an anthem that threatened to seriously impair their hearing in later life.
Sam sat there, left arm in a cast, and cradled in a sling, looking for all the world like a kid who had been told for the first time that Santa wasn't real. His silence was damning and to Dean so unnatural he wanted to scream for him. Or best still hug him to him like he used to when Sam was younger and still allowed him to get rid of all the hurts that came his way. Now all he could do was wait and hope that at some point in their long trek to Montana the old Sam would resurface and let him back in again.
Still he couldn't resist to the urge and finally asked the question that had been burnign a hole in his tongue for the last few days. "So you and Penny. More than just good friends there, eh Sammy?"
"None of your business" responded Sam with a knowing smirk, his face blushing though at the question.
"Oh well bitch it will be my business if that guerrilla of dad of little Penny tracts you down to put your family jewels in vice if you managed to get her knocked up or something! I dont want him smacking my face into hamburger by mistake, that's all."
"So no chance of a little Samantha popping up 8 months down the line then." smirking before adding serously. "Which is a good thing. I've trained you well kiddo..."
Spluttering at the idea Sam punched his brother half heartedly on the arm. "You dude taught me nothing except how to duck and run..."
"Precisely..." remarked Dean proudly.
"Yeah I too would duck and run if I had to be seen with really ugly girls.. like your last date. Tricia, wasn't that her name? Man only a blind man would want to go anywhere need that. Even Penny thought she was a little bit past her best sell date...!!"
Dean scowled, Tricia had been an easy moment and sometimes a guy just had to seize them for what they were. Then a scowl went across his face realising that Sam and his little girlfriend must have seen them and the only time he had met up with Tricia was in that nice sleazy bar just of main street. He had parked the car by the entrance... and then it hit him just how his brother had spied on him. "You little fuck. Were you and Penny screwing around in my car?"
Sam snorted a confession and then laughed, genuinely laughed, and Dean felt the tension lifting between them. The drive to Montana wouldn't be that bad after all if they could still laugh.
So it was a new town, a new school. Less than a four weeks after leaving the hospital Sam found himself doing the familiar round of introducing himself to new teachers, new classmates, having gone through this so many times now it was a too familiar routine.
This time round the hardest part of moving was having to leave Penny behind, but on seeing her tears something that he had been putting off firmed up his resolve. So less than half a day into a new school he knocked on the faded blue door and as he was called in he noted the diploma on the back wall with a soft wondering smile.
A degree from Berkley held high prominence in the Miss Greens office, and he hoped that he had found the perfect ally in this School counsellor. God knows he was going to need her support if he was going to pull this one off. If he thought hiding Penny from his dad and brother had been hard, this one would test all his abilities to get this one past them.
Mrs Green greeted him with a warm smile beckoning him to sit down with her hand. Casting a quick look at the folder on her desk she looked at him with bright eyes and he felt immediately more at ease. "So Samuel how can I help you here at Riverdale?"
"It's Sam ma'am,." responded Sam in almost a whisper, as if frightened to be overheard. "I sort of need your advice. I want to go to college and I need a full scholarship to do this."
Miss Green cast another eye over him before responding to his abrupt request. "Well I haven't had a proper chance to go over all your past school records" and she paused to raise an eyebrow in surprise. "And well there have been quite a few schools that you been through Sam. But what I've seen so far puts you in the top 5. Keep it up and I can see that with the right support that there will be good few colleges out their clamouring to let you in."
She was rewarded with widest dimpled smile she had ever seen, and the shy young man that had first appeared in her office was transformed into a more confident and expressive student.
"You really think so? I really need to do this." he paused fingering the worn envelope in his hand, adding softly. "I also have an open letter of support from a Professor Jennings from your old Alma Mater Miss Green."
"Professor Aaron Jennings?" asked Miss Green in surprise looking at the letter with open admiration. "Well I never. What a small world it is at times. I have to confess that he was my old professor of Ancient Studies. It was one the best classes I ever took." She scanned the letter further and gave him an affirming nod. "Sam, with this letter of support and your exemplary grades I can see you making it into most any college of your choice."
"Thanks Miss Green. There is something else though." he paused giving her a brief flash of dimples to ally her concerns as she frowned, used to the tales and worries of teenagers in all their angst driven lives. "I have to do this independently. Neither my dad or my brother can know about this."
Miss Green studied the tall fresh faced boy in front her with a more careful eye. He had a will and determination about him so advanced of his years that she could feel it radiating of him. "That's going to be hard to arrange Sam. You're not legally an adult yet and some of the paperwork that goes with this needs to be done by an adult."
He coughed slightly and shuffled in his seat. "Professor Jennings said he will cover that side of things. He's a close family friend and I trust him to do what's best for me. I have his contact numbers, you can call his office and he will confirm that's okay."
Miss Green nodded her complicity and Sam rewarded her again with another wide smile and she knew that half the girls in his year would die to see a smile like that flashed their way. God the boy was beautiful and she found herself a little bit jealous thinking of all those girls readying to sidle up to him and make him their own. Jesus growing older in this young world of pretty young things was such a drag.
Sam didn't see the small pout on her lips - all he could see was that for thefirst time in his short life he could see away of escape, a chance to be free and lead a normal life.
He was getting into a college, come hell or high water. Nothing would stop him now. Nothing.
Not even the mighty John Winchester.
So (big sigh of relief) I've finally been able to get to an ending of sort! Thanks ONE AND ALL for all the lovely reviews and feedback – they all really helped keep this very tardy writer focused and also helped write each new chapter as they appeared. Big mega thanks to you all. Roz.