It's been two weeks, 3 days, 8 hours and 42 minutes since I saw my older brother get mauled to death by invisible hellhounds. Bobby took his body away in his truck, said that his cement-lined garage would be cool enough to keep it there for a few days, and I'd vomited when he said that because I wasn't supposed to be thinking of my brother as a body. And I sure as hell wasn't supposed to be thinking of my brother's body as needing to be in a cool place.
I wouldn't burn him. I did, the other time he died (after a lifetime of Tuesdays and nightmares,) built up a pyre of wood and watched his body burn and melt away until there was nothing but his bones, bleached white and brittle, but I couldn't do it this time, and the thought made me sick. This time was for real. No Trickster involved here, just demons and death and hell.
I left Bobby after only a few days and he persists on calling me often. I know he's worried. I want to ignore his calls, I want to allow my anger to overwhelm me and block out the sadness that is lurking under the surface (and threatening to erupt) but I can't, so as I'm speeding down the road in the Impala (2 weeks, 3 days, 8 hours, and 42 minutes later) I answer the phone.
"Where are you, son?" Bobby asks. I don't answer, and Bobby sighs. "Fine, Sam. When was the last time you ate?"
I ignore the question again, but I realize when he asks that my stomach is growling. And wrong as it feels, I know that I still have to eat, with or without Dean.
"Listen Sam, get yourself some food and then I want you to get some sleep, okay? Just pull over at the next motel you see. I'm worried about you."
It's midday, but I know that he's right, and Bobby is the only man left on earth who cares about me, so I should show him the courtesy of actually acknowledging him.
"Thanks Bobby. I'm okay."
"You aren't okay, Sam."
There's another silence.
"You do what I said, okay?"
I pull into the next café I see, a small, dull looking building with a flickering light proclaiming 'Jo's.' It's fairly busy inside, and the waitress assigned to my table is frustratingly peppy. She's bubbly, talking animatedly as she waits for my order, standing next to my table, one hip cocked out and one finger twirling in her hair. I grit my teeth and finally slam my menu to the table.
"Don't you have other tables to wait on?" I demand loudly, and she stops talking suddenly. Her mouth opens once then closes again, and a glare settles on her face.
"Yes," she says coldly. "I'll be back with you coffee."
She comes back and roughly sets the coffee down so that some of the hot liquid splashes over the rim.
"Are you ready to order?" She snaps, and I glare at her.
"Yeah, actually. I'll have the chicken caesar salad, and an apple juice."
I'm careful not to order anything greasy and dripping, because I would rather not break down into tears at a café.
The waitress juts out her lower jaw as she writes down my order.
"Look, sorry if I pissed you off-" I say, and she suddenly bursts into tears.
"Where the hell do you get off?" She demands, her voice rising in pitch. I see another, older and probably more experienced waitress approaching quickly.
"I'm having a bad day already, and then you come in here and act all-"
It's too much for me. I know I should just keep my mouth shut…
"You're having a bad day? What, did you wake up with a zit on your face? Did your car break down? My brother just died. I just buried him. So I think I have the right to not be driven nuts by an overly peppy waitress and I think I have the right to be pissy!"
The waitress stares at me. So does the rest of the restaurant. They probably think I'm crazy. The waitress scurries away without another word, bursting into tears again as she heads for the bathroom.
I'm panting, trying not to cry, sipping at my coffee with a trembling hand.
The older waitress approaches, a pot of coffee in tow.
"Sorry about Lizzy," she says, pouring me some more. "She's only been here two weeks."
Dean died two weeks ago.
The waitress puts a hand on my arm.
"At least your brother is in a better place, sweetie," she says, and suddenly everything stops for me. The tears aren't threatening anymore and my heart isn't thudding and I stare at her in shock, completely taken aback.
Dean isn't in a better place. Dean is in fucking hell.
I throw my head back and laugh, unable to keep the rumbling guffaws from pouring out. Everyone in the restaurant thinks I'm a basket case. I can see a couple get up and leave and an elderly woman frowning at me and the waitress standing there with her steaming coffee…
I laugh until tears leak from my eyes and the laughs morph into sobs.