Summary: In the crowded lecture hall, Sam had stood out from all the other college students, and it was more than just his height that set him apart.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Things were getting dire.
It had started out small, just a trickle of water leaking from the pipes under the kitchen sink. Jessica's roommate, Mike, had promised to get it fixed today. This, of course, from the same Mike who left his dirty clothes all throughout the apartment, slept until two in the afternoon, thought grocery shopping consisted of buying a case of beer, and didn't know how to spell 'wrench' let alone use one.
She wasn't really that surprised to come home from her evening class to find the pipe still dripping and the pan she'd left under it overflowing. Mike was nowhere to be found, but then again, it was a Friday.
Her own attempt to fix the pipe had been disastrous. The trickle was now a steady stream, and it was all she could do to keep up an ongoing exchange of pots and pans. She'd gone through the list of plumbers in the yellow pages without much success. The earliest anyone could come by was Saturday morning.
She'd called all of her friends after that and had had even less luck. Seemed they were all at the same party as Mike. As a last ditch effort, she had called Sam.
She had met Sam Winchester in her Art History class. He was also in the study group that she was in with Laura and Mike – when Mike deemed to show up to their study sessions, or class for that matter.
She had just dumped another full pan of water in the sink when a knock sounded at the door. She ran to open it and threw the door wide in relief.
"Thank you so much for coming!"
Sam stepped quietly through the door, a soft smile on his lips. "No problem."
Jessica had been taken with Sam since the moment she'd laid eyes on him. In the crowded lecture hall, Sam had stood out from all the other college students, and it was more than just his height that set him apart. He was so much more quiet and reserved than the average twenty-something. Jessica didn't peg him as shy, though. There was this underlying sense of confidence in him, from the way he spoke and moved to the intense way he studied his surroundings and the people near him. He definitely pulled off the tall, dark, and mysterious appeal.
Jessica had been dreaming up ways of getting him in her apartment all semester long…this just wasn't really what she'd had in mind.
"You sounded pretty urgent on the phone. Is everything okay?"
Jessica sighed, remembering the problem at hand. "Mike was supposed to fix the leak under the kitchen sink, but…" she glanced back toward the kitchen and noticed an overflow of water spilling out onto the tile floor from inside the cabinet and realized that the pan she'd put under there had already hit its max. "Oh, damn."
She rushed over to the sink, with Sam following quickly behind, and switched the pans out again. "As you can see," she gestured at the floor.
"Mike is in typical form?" Sam finished.
She nodded, then added sheepishly. "I tried to fix it myself, but I just made it worse."
He gave her a grin, then squatted down to look under the sink. "You have a wrench handy?"
She picked it up from where she'd left it on the counter and passed it down to him.
"It doesn't look too serious, I think if I can just tighten it a little…" There was a metallic shriek, and suddenly Sam was getting drenched in a spray.
Jessica's eyes went wide, but before she had time to panic, the pipes shrieked again and the spray shut off.
Sam leaned back and looked up at her. His hair was soaked and plastered to his forehead, and Jessica had to fight the urge to reach out and brush it back.
He wore an embarrassed grin as he said, "I can never remember if it's clockwise or counter-clockwise. The leak is gone though. It should be safe enough until you get a professional to look at it."
He stood, then, and Jessica could see the full extent of the damage. Not only was Sam's hair dripping wet, his shirt drenched too, molding nicely to his chest, she noted. "Oh, wow. Let me get you a towel."
Sam chuckled. "I'd appreciate that."
She ran to bathroom and grabbed a towel, then made a stop at Mike's room to grab a t-shirt from his dresser. She hurried back to the kitchen but stopped dead in her tracks just at the entryway.
Sam was standing at the sink, bared from the waist up as he wrung his shirt out.
Jessica flushed as she took in the broad shoulders, the curve of his spine, and the hint of boxers peeking out from the waistband of his jeans. The room felt about fifteen degrees warmer.
Then she noticed the scars.
A long, dark line across his ribs, curving around his side out of her line of sight. A semi-circle of tears on his right shoulder as if he'd been bitten by something. Four jagged lines on the back of his upper arm, almost like claw marks. Half a dozen other, smaller scars were visible as well. He looked like a war veteran or the survivor of a bear attack. She wondered what kind of stories went with the scars. Did he get them all at the same time or did each scar have its own story?
She stepped into the room, clearing her throat as she moved.
Sam turned, and her eyes traced the scar from his ribs to where it trailed down his abdomen. There were other scars there, too.
She forced her eyes up to meet his guarded ones, and he glanced quickly away. "I was going to clean up the floor, but I couldn't find any paper towels or napkins or anything…"
He let his words trail away, still avoiding her gaze.
"Yeah, it's Mike's week to do the shopping, so basically we have chips and beer." She moved over next to him and held the towel out.
He took it from her, briefly meeting her eyes again with a grateful smile that made him look like a little boy, a deep contrast to the scars littering his body.
"I grabbed one of Mike's t-shirts for you, too," she added, watching as he ran the towel over his hair and then shoulders. "I don't really understand his laundry system, but I think it's clean."
"Thanks." He dropped the towel on the floor, letting it soak up the water there, and then took the shirt from her, pulling it over his head.
Sam seemed almost hesitant now, wary even. There was tension in him that hadn't been there when he'd arrived.
She couldn't deny that she was curious about the scars, but the last thing she wanted was for him to bolt. In fact, she wanted him to stay.
She tugged on her bottom lip with her teeth as she deliberated, then took a deep breath and decided to just go for it.
"So," she stepped close, trying to catch his eyes again, "I figure since you basically saved me from losing my safety deposit, the least I could do is take you out to dinner."
He was quiet for a moment, long enough that Jessica thought he was working his way up to a gentle letdown, then the corner of his mouth quirked almost slyly. When he met her eyes this time, his guarded look had diminished, replaced instead by a playful glint. "Are you asking me out on a date?"
Jessica mock-sighed. "Okay, you caught me. This whole thing was a set-up to get you to go out with me," she joked. "So tell me…did it work?"
"Depends." Sam brought a hand up to his chin as though giving it some serious consideration. "Will this dinner involve chips and beer?"
"Nah, I figured I could at least spring for some MacDonald's."
"Well, in that case, my answer is definitely yes."
Jessica grinned. "Good. How does now sound?"
Sam grinned back. "Now sounds good."