It ain't every day a legend walks into your motel office. But he did that day. I didn't know he was a legend right then. It wasn't until a couple years later that I learned who John Winchester was, what a path he cut in the hunting world. All I knew on that worst day of my life was that he walked into my motel office. Tall and needing a shave and a haircut, and I hoped he wouldn't get either. Wearing boots and jeans and a flannel shirt I wanted suddenly to feel the softness of.
"We need a room for the night." He said and his voice was like worn leather.
"For how many?" I remembered to ask, trying to not get lost in that voice.
"Three." With a casual move he gestured over his shoulder to the car outside and the two boys leaning against it. Teenagers. One, the older one, had his hands in his pockets and was giving the eye to one of my maids walking by. The other boy - thirteen maybe, he had that look - had his nose in an old book so deep I could only see the top of his head.
I had a feeling when he first walked in that this man was a hunter. When I saw the book his boy was reading, I knew. So when he tried to hand me his plastic, I gave him my standard line.
"Your money's no good here."
Most of the time that remark gets me consternation, concern, sometimes outright anger. From this man I got a smile that makes me catch my breath even ten years later.
"And why would that be?"
"Hunters get the first night free."
He didn't lose the smile as he put away his credit card. Either he believed my offer or he was out the door and down the road. Then his eyes met mine again and I forgot that today was the day I'd chosen to give up on all men.
"And what is it you think I hunt?"
"Judging from the book on Latin Prayers your boy is reading, I'd say you're hunting something mighty nasty." He still didn't lose the smile but I could see he was skeptical.
"Meganne Wagner." I said, introducing myself. "My Daddy is Jake Wagner, uncle William. Don't know if you ever heard of 'em but hunting goes way back in my family."
His smiled changed then, he relaxed. "Don't tell me your sister is Adeleida Wagner? I crossed paths with her outside Reno."
"I hope you had the good sense to stay outta her way."
"I did. John Winchester. My boys Dean and Sam."
"Well it's good to meet you John Winchester." I gave him my best smile, forgetting in the space of less than ninety seven seconds that I'd been planning to spend the rest of my life nursing the broken heart that my so-called boyfriend had ridden his Harley over the night before. "You're in luck, our best room is available. Two beds and a pull out couch. Or I can get you a roll-away if you want."
"Couch'll be fine, thanks. How late's your diner open?"
"Twenty four hours a day. First meal is free too. Just charge it to your room and it'll be taken care of." I laid his key on the counter. "You let me know if you need anything."