"Sam, what in the world is the matter with you?" Jessica finally asked. Sam had been sitting and starring at his text book for over an hour now, she knew he wasn't focusing on the material, and he wasn't focusing on her when she spoke, he had picked at dinner, and ever since Christmas he had been acting somewhat distant and spending a lot of time just starring at his cell phone.
"What?" he asked and slowly turned to face her.
"You're acting weird."
"I'm sorry, I don't mean to be." He sat up a little straighter and turned his eyes to hers, trying to look as if he was back at full attention. Jessica sighed and took his hand.
"Come on big guy, couch time for us."
"I have to study Jess…"
"You have starred at the same page for over an hour. You aren't studying as it is."
"But I need…"
"What, the illusion of studying. Sam. Come on. Come sit on the couch with me, rub my feet."
He chuckled and allowed her to drag him to the couch. She threw her feet on his lap and the lotion was soon to follow, it almost clocked him in the face. He scowled at her and she just laughed. "Okay. What is your problem?"
"Nothing. I'm fine."
"That's an out right lie. Ever since Christmas, you've been just weird. Really, ever since Dean left. Did something happen? You know, when you said good bye. Did you two fight or something?" That was her ultimate fear. She invited Dean because she wanted Sam to have family there, wanted him to be happy like she was happy. Wanted him to have someone there that knew him when he was little and could share stories about him like her brothers did about her at family gatherings. That wasn't what happened. The two of them barely spoke at dinner, and Dean refused to stay, saying he had to be with their dad for the holiday. Sam had made the comment before getting into bed that he was sure that Dean had lied, but for the life of her Jessica couldn't figure out why he would lie about something like that. What had worried her ever since the following morning when she found Sam awake sitting in the bed starring, was that something had happened between the brothers when Sam went to wish him a good night and he wasn't telling her, she was afraid that she had ruined his holiday.
"No. We didn't fight." The way he said it indicated that there was more to this story.
"Then what Sam. If you two didn't fight, then what did he say?"
"Sam. What is it? And don't give me that line of bull that it's just family drama." Sam nodded, and looked, really looked at Jessica, saw the concern in her eyes, the worry lines around her eyes, and he sighed.
"I left Dean alone for Christmas."
"He said he spent it with your dad. Why don't you believe him?"
"Because after you went to sleep, I went and looked for my brother. I found him. He was in a wooded area not too far from your house, sleeping in the car."
Jessica was taken aback. "What? Why? Why didn't he stay at my house? Why didn't he go to a motel?"
"No money. He doesn't make a lot. He has a hard time getting paid for helping people." Sam shrugged and then added. "He didn't want to ruin my Christmas."
"Ruin your Christmas? But you're his family."
"But I made it clear when I left that I didn't want anything to do with him or Dad."
"I was mad. I said things I didn't mean, and then, I guess I didn't think Dean thought I meant him, then he didn't call, I was too proud to call, I got more angry, and he got…well…he just disappeared. Like I asked him too. I regret so many things."
"Well, call him. Invite him over for the weekend."
"This weekend is your birthday."
She shrugged. "So, if it's my birthday I should get to make the guest list."
"Jess, no, it's your birthday. You don't need to be immersed in my family drama. We need to take you out, get you drunk, enjoy your 21st birthday. Not sit and emo it out with my brother."
"Sam, you act like your brother being around is such a hardship. Like he's just something to be tucked away and hidden. He is a very nice man. I enjoyed his company at dinner. My mom won't quit asking me about him, and my dad was truly serious about the whole job thing. I'm not sure what your deal is." She got up off of the couch and she went for Sam's cell.
"What are you doing?" he asked and turned.
"I'm inviting people to my birthday dinner."
"Jess, you don't….really you don't have to."
"Hello? Dean? Hi. It's Jessica Moore."