The Road Runner jostled violently as it veered into the hard right turn with excess speed. Amy's grasp on the handle tightened and the already taut muscles protested against the added strain. She'd been clutching at the door since they'd left the Roadhouse and hadn't let go of it once.
Up until three hours ago, she'd labeled Dean as the most reckless driver she'd encountered. That title now belonged to someone else because, when it came to neck-breaking speeds and suicidal driving skills, Dean Winchester had nothing on Regina Becker.
Amy bit her tongue, about to finally say something, when the flickering of bright yellow letters caught her attention. The neon sign that appeared as they rounded the corner was a beckon of hope. It signaled the end of this torture.
"Is that it?" Amy questioned, careful not to let her anxiety filter into her voice.
These were the first words uttered in the car by either of the two women.
"I think so." Reggie replied off-handedly.
She took a drag from her cigarette and Amy was gripped with the urge to ring her scrawny little neck.
That was her seventh; seven cigarettes.
Yes, Amy was counting. And why? Because in the last three God forsaken hours Amy herself had had exactly zero. Not one smoke. And why?
'Because you can't freakin' light up when you're holding onto dear life!'
Zen exercises didn't exactly work on Amy, but she gave them a shot anyway. Inhaling deeply through her nose, she exhaled through an 'O'-shaped mouth and the murderous thoughts dimmed a bit. Not so much due to the breathing but because they were overshadowed by a nagging doubt - If this was the motel they'd agreed to stay for the night… and if it was just two hundred yards away… then…
'Why are we still going at 100 mph?'
Amy gaped at Reggie. One second… The motel kept coming closer and closer… Two seconds… And the car still wasn't slowing down…
'Ok… I'd say right about now would be a good time to put those breaks to good use…'
Amy's mental coaxing had no effect on the driver.
Was she blind? No. That couldn't be it! No matter how impaired GI Jane's vision might have been, it was kinda hard to miss the giant building straight ahead!
'Oh, God… We're gonna crash!'
Was she in some kind of trance? Possessed, maybe?
'Oh, my God!'
The woman was insane!
'This is it… I'm gonna die.'
After all that she'd been through, this was how she was gonna go? By crashing into some sleazy motel? Life was so unfair!
'Ohgod, ohgod, ohgod…'
She braced herself and prepared for the inevitable collision when, unexpectedly, the Road Runner let out a high-pitch shriek. At Reggie's command the Plymouth gripped the road avariciously, the sudden change of speed violently propelling Amy forward. The poor car whined and jerked all the way, coming to a full stop twenty inches shy of the porch that ran along the front of the motel.
Slamming back into her seat, Amy shakily pushed her disheveled hair away from her flushed face and gawked at the woman sitting to her left. Reggie, however, appeared to be blissfully unaware of her companion's state of unrest. Without a care in the world, she popped opened the door and stepped out. A languorous moan slipped from her lips, stretching her arms over her head.
As for Amy, she was still inside, struggling to regain full motor control over her trembling legs. She waited and only exited the car once she was sure her knees weren't going to buckle under her weight.
She shot Reggie a dirty look, which was once again dismissed, since the hunter was busy checking the road behind them. A smirk lit her face when the familiar headlights of a 67 Chevy Impala came into view. Amy's heart skipped a beat while Reggie swaggered over to the black car. She leaned on the hood and smugly crossed her arms over her chest.
"Time is catchin' up with you, old man. Looked like you were driving Miss Daisy back there." Reggie's jeering was directed at Dean.
He swung the door closed and arched an eyebrow at her.
"And you drive like a lunatic." He snorted, brushing past her and into the motel.
"Hey." Sam greeted the two women.
Amy replied with a nod while Reggie served Sam a Cheshire grin that caused him to instantly drop his gaze and recoil his hands into the safety of his jacket.
"I-I'll see if Dean needs some help." He stammered, awkwardly walking off.
By the time the two brothers were back the last two cars of their convoy were in the parking lot. Not bothering with the formality of greetings or asking for opinions, Dean began handing out the corresponding keys as he spoke:
"We got four rooms, 5 through 8. Sammy and I'll take 5, Reggie and Carrington you take 6."
'Oh, goodie, I get to be roommates with psycho-Barbie. How swell!'
The fact that Dean strategically sidestepped her in order to give Reggie their room key didn't go by unnoticed by Amy.
"Garrett and Luke'll stay in room 7 and - Ellen and Bobby - you get number 8."
With the exception of Amy, no one seemed to have a problem with the arrangement, and all eight filed out of the parking lot and headed for their rooms.
Once settled into their accommodations, Amy eyed Reggie. Something was bothering her. She looked impatient, walking in circles, fumbling with the belt loops of her denim shorts.
"You nervous or something?" Amy eventually questioned, having had enough of this restless pacing.
"Nah, I'm ok." Reggie attempted to sound casual, even adding her trademark smirk to her statement.
Amy was unconvinced.
"Just need a bit of air." The blonde picked up her leather jacket and threw it over her shoulder before leaving the room. "I'll be right back."
Sam pulled back the curtains draped over the window, revealing the extra parking space between Reggie's Road Runner and Bobby's truck.
That's what Dean had said - he'd be right back.
He let out a sigh. This was just like his big brother, to up and leave without telling anyone where he was going. Knowing Dean, Sam figured he'd left in search of the nearest watering hole, but at least he could have invited him to come along. Sam wasn't much of a drinker, but tonight, with everything that was going on… he really needed some extra help to unwind.
Frustrated, his attention drifted to the duffle bag abandoned on the floor. The oldest Winchester always carried a couple of bottles of tequila with him and Sam pondered whether or not to hit Dean's private stash. Eventually, and keeping in mind his own wellbeing, he opted for the latter. A soda would have to do for now, so he zipped up his jacket and stepped out onto the porch to find Amy leaning against the railing.
She whirled around.
Sam furrowed his brow. She looked surprised to see him.
"Yeah… why wouldn't I be?"
The question seemed to cause her some unease and she shrouded badly with a shrug.
"Nothing… I noticed that the Impala was missing. I thought you'd gone with them." She'd chosen her words carefully, fishing for some kind of reaction from him.
And Sam didn't disappoint. His expression told her he'd picked up on the fact that she'd said them instead of him. He didn't know that Reggie was MIA.
"Reggie's not inside?" He tilted his head toward their room.
"Nope. Said she needed some air and left. That was half an hour ago." Amy kept her eyes on Sam.
She could almost hear the cogs turning in his head and after a moment and a dry gulp he came to the same conclusion Amy had:
"They probably went out for a drink…" He paused, and when he spoke again his voice was strained. "…or something."
"Yeah… or something…"
The two stood in silence as their treacherous minds quickly came up with alternate locations for the missing couple. Sam's offered the gruesome image of a random, seedy alleyway. One of its dark and dank walls was all Dean would need. Amy's scenario wasn't as elaborate - the back of the Impala would suffice for what they were probably doing.
The walls of her stomach cramped up at the mental picture and she had to swallow back the acid that threatened to creep its way into her mouth.
Next to her, a dejected Sam was having a similar reaction.
The dimming porch light above them flickered and suddenly he stood up to his full height. Amy looked up at him quizzically; the usually soft lines of his face were hardened by resolve.
"Do you want a drink?" Sam offered out of the blue.
"Um… yeah… but we don't have a car…" She searched for a solution and came up with: "We could ask Garrett to-"
"No need. I got tequila."
Amy tried to get a read on him. His jaw was set, his shoulders squared, his features devoid of any emotion other than determination.
Giving up on trying to understand what was going through his mind she smiled and accepted the proposition:
"Lead the way."
Amy figured she had more than her fair share of alcohol when her vision became unfocussed. Yet she continued to guzzle down the golden liquid until the walls started to move. That's when she decided it was time to go from sitting to lying on the bed.
'Much better. No more pesky walls doing the East Coast swing."
Now all she had to worry about was the amazing tap dancing ceiling.
She shut her eyes and scrunched up her nose in a vain attempt to fight the wave of nausea that hit her.
"You ok?" Sam asked, alerted by her painful groan.
Reluctantly, Amy turned her throbbing head and popped a single lid open. Sam was lying next to her; his cheeks tinted by an unhealthy shade of green. It almost certainly mirrored her own skin tone.
"I'm fine. Quit hogging the booze." She grumbled, snatching the bottle from him and taking a generous swig.
He watched with uncertainty. This was their second bottle.
"Maybe we should call it a night."
"No." She stated plainly, laying her head back down.
"You look like you're about to throw up." He pointed out hesitantly.
"Don't worry. If I do, I'll aim for the other bed." She assured him, waving her thumb in the direction of Dean's mattress.
"We emptied out his stash. He's gonna be pissed."
Amy jutted out her lower lip and brought her shoulders in to showcase her indifference.
The mention of his brother brought out the memory of what had prompted their drinking binge and a heavy weight settled over his already constricted chest.
For the last hour he'd been on a rollercoaster of emotions, ranging from sorrow, to anger, to flat out jealousy. Yes. Now that his brain was soaking in alcohol, Sam could finally admit it, at least to himself. He was jealous.
He still couldn't figure out why… but he was, in fact, jealous.
As if she was reading his mind, Amy supplied him with an explanation:
"You like her, don't you?"
He jolted a bit and instantly regretted it. His head was pounding.
"Come on, Sammy… we're completely trashed here. We probably won't even remember any of this… you can admit it." She coaxed him.
Sam took his time by rolling onto his side and carefully propping himself up on his elbow so he could get a better look at her.
Amy's lips stretched for an impish grin and she waggled her eyebrows at him.
"I knew it."
Whether it was because he'd said it out loud or because of Amy's boastful reaction, he wasn't sure, but an intense dread made him hastily try to retract his previous statement.
"I mean… I-I'm not sure."
Amy rolled her eyes and snorted.
"I don't… like her. I just…"
"Just what, Sammy?"
He exhaled his frustration and sat up.
"I don't know. She makes me feel…"
She waited for him to pick the right words. The ones he chose came as a surprise:
"Sick? Really? She makes you sick? What, like food poising?"
"I don't know how to explain it. It's just… strange… and different… Not like with…" The name got stuck in his clenching throat and Amy mercifully provided him with it:
"Yeah…" He ran his hand through his shaggy hair as if straightening the unruly threads would miraculous translate into a falling into place of the random thoughts jostling inside his head. "She was different. Everything was easy with her. She made me happy, made me feel safe…" He waited a beat before confessing: "… normal."
"And what about Reggie?"
"Ha…" He forced out a snigger. "Reggie's nothing like Jessie. She's… um… She's a freight train… with faulty brakes."
Amy arched an eyebrow at him.
"So she's a freight train and she makes you sick? That doesn't sound good."
"Exactly!" Sam exclaimed.
Amy watched him carefully as he went into a rant:
"When she's around I… I don't know… I get this pain in my gut. Suddenly, my hands get sweaty and I don't know what to do with them. It's like my arms are too big or something. And-and… I stutter! I can't…" The effort of organizing a coherent thought process made him pant, and eventually he just blurted: "It's like she sucks all the air out of the whole freaking room."
The silence that followed his outburst made his discomfort double and, once again, Amy came to his aid.
Cautious not to trigger her queasiness with any sudden moves, she folded her elbows behind her and slowly raised her back. Though she was obviously three sheets to the wind, making lucid reasoning damn near impossible, she nevertheless gave it a try:
"Medically speaking… what you just described is an adrenal discharge. Sweating, heart racing, heavy breathing… It's just adrenaline being pumped into your system."
Sam listened dutifully.
"It happens when you're in the heat of battle, during a panic attack or… when you really like someone." She emphasized the last part, making sure it sunk in, and just in case it hadn't, she spelled it out for him. "Since you and Reggie aren't slugging it out, that leaves two options. If it's a panic attack, a little Xanax and you're good to go, or…"
"Option number two?" He gulped.
"Or you've got an odd taste in women."
"Where have I heard that before?" He snorted in dismay, standing up, momentarily sobered up by the revelation.
She gave him a sympathetic smile. He did a couple of circles at the foot of the bed, before coming to an abrupt halt. And thankfully so, because following him around with her gaze was making her woozy.
"So how do I make it go away?"
"Sorry, Sammy, medicine can only get you so far." She apologized.
"Great!" He half-growled.
"Why don't you try to talk to her?"
"This is Reggie, remember?"
"No. You know what? I'm not gonna do anything. I'm just gonna wait for it to go away."
"Look, maybe it's not… you know… maybe I don't like her. Maybe she just makes me nervous. Gives me… what was it? Panic attacks?"
"Sam… we both know that's not it." She reasoned with him.
"'Cause of the look on your face when you realized she and Dean went out… together." She pushed back her own visceral reaction to the recollection.
"The green eyes monster look. Doesn't suit you, by the way."
"Jealous? I'm not jealous!"
Amy sighed at his bullheadedness.
"I'm not!" He insisted. "Reggie and Dean have been hookin' up forever and I never got jealous before. Why would I get jealous now?"
He waited for a response, but Amy was frozen in place. He replayed his words in his mind and suddenly recognized the emotion twisting the corners of her eyes - pain.