Sam and Dean pulled into a parking spot outside the Cyber Jolt café. There was a sign in the window that boasted, "Only Cyber Café in Kansas!"
Sam pulled his laptop out of the backseat of the Impala as his brother turned off the car and climbed out. The 1967 car stood out from all the other newer cars in the small town of Jericho, Kansas, not too far from their hometown of Lawrence. The only other old car that Sam ahd seen driving into town was an ancient pick up that, as they'd driven by, Sam could have sworn he heard its owner call "Charlotte."
There were a few other people at the café, mostly outside, enjoying the warm spring sunshine.
Sam followed Dean inside the café, past a group of teenaged girls who were snickering about "that weird Dale kid." The object of their laughter, a boy with curly hair and a permanent frown, was glaring at them from a few tables away, seated behind a laptop of his own.
"So," said Dean, as they sat down inside the café. "What exactly are we looking for?"
"Well," said Sam, "I read in the paper about some suspicious suicides in New Bern. I think it's the next town over."
Sam turned his laptop on and opened a search engine. He and Dean began to look up everything they could on New Bern, its inhabitants, and the suicides. Some of the possible victims had been from Jericho, others from their hometown of Lawrence. Most of the dead had family in Jericho.
Dean got up and got himself some coffee, getting some wussy cappuccino thing for Sam. He had straight black coffee. They'd just finished their coffees when the boys heard someone say, on the other side of the café, "That's something worthy of Jake Green!"
Things immediately quieted. Everyone stopped talking, eyes flicking towards a blonde and non-descript man who sat with her. The blonde turned to glare at the man who'd mentioned this Jake Green character. He quailed and said, quietly, "Sorry, Emily."
"C'mon, Roger. Let's go," said Emily, standing and leaving before anyone else could say anything. Roger looked a little apprehensive, but he followed Emily out of the café.
"Huh," said Dean, turning back to Sam. "Wonder what that was about."
Sam typed "Jake Green" in a search engine, but nothing came up, except for a few military mentions. Sam sad, "You think he's connected to the suicides?"
Dean shrugged. "Who knows. You wanna ask around town?"
"I don't know if that's really a good idea," said Sam. He glanced around him. "You saw what just happened when someone mentioned this guy's name."
Dean turned around in his seat, apparently looking for someone or something. There was a red-haired woman behind him, sipping coffee and reading the newspaper.
"Excuse me, Miss," he said, turning on the charm. "Who's this Jake Green person everyone seems to be so upset about?"
The red-haired woman looked around and said, "Well, since you're new around here…" She paused and then began, "He's the mayor's oldest son. He and Jake got into a big fight a while back, and he just up and left one morning. He messed around a lot, doing stupid stuff. He worked as a truck driver for Jonah Prowse for a while, but some things got screwed up, and…he just left. His brother, Eric – my husband–" she added, "says he always used to feel like everything that went wrong was his fault. Everyone calls him a screw-up, and Eric says Jake would have agreed with them. I don't think he is. No one knows where he is, either. But he did always want to be a pilot." She paused, then added, "The only one who gets upset when someone talks about him is the mayor, Johnston Green – he's a good man," she added, almost defensively, "and Emily Sullivan, but that's understandable. They used to be engaged when he left."
Dean nodded, and said again, in a perplexed tone, "Huh. Thanks, Miss–"
"Thanks, April." Dean turned back around to his brother and said, "Nah, I don't think it's this Jake guy."
Sam didn't understand why Dean suddenly seemed so sure that Jake Green had nothing to do with the suicides.
They continued on their way, stopping at Gracie's Supermarket to pick up supplies they might need and were running low on. The older woman – whom Sam heard someone call Gracie – checking their items out at the counter gossiped to them about "that Emily Sullivan girl." She continued, "–I heard she got real mad when someone over in the café mentioned Jake Green's name… And I heard you boys were asking about him. How do you know him?"
Dean looked at Sam, and he hastily lied, "Uh, we, uh, met him in the, uh–"
Sam took over with, "We met him a while back at pilot school… He, uh, seemed like a nice guy. He said he used to live in Jericho."
Dean continued, "He said if we were ever in the area we should look him up, so we thought we would."
The woman gave them a suspicious look. "Well, all right," she said. "You boys best better get on your way."
Dean cleared his throat, and he said, "Yeah, yeah, we were going to."
Walking out of the store, Dean said grudgingly, "Nice save back there."
Sam smirked. Then he said, "So, are we gonna go check things out in New Bern?"
"Sure," said Dean. "I don't think this Jake Green guy had anything to do with it."
"No, he doesn't seem like someone who'd go ballistic and kill people or anything. You heard April at the café – she said he felt that anything that went wrong was his fault."
Sam shrugged. "Okay, whatever."
As Dean drove towards New Bern, he thought about what April had said.
"His brother, Eric – my husband – says he always used to feel like everything that went wrong was his fault."
Dean couldn't help but feel the same way. Maybe if I'd acted sooner, Sam wouldn't have died, and I wouldn't have had to make a deal. Maybe if I'd been smarter, Dad wouldn't have made a deal for me. Maybe, maybe, maybe… Dean thought that he and Jake Green were rather similar.
"Everyone calls him a screw-up, and Eric says Jake would have agreed with them."
I think maybe I'm a screw-up, too.