Dean was reluctant to leave. He'd been reluctant to let Sam out of his sight for very long. The tightness of the healing burn scar on his left shoulder reminded him of why. But Sam would be okay. He was more alert now and Dean really doubted that anyone would be sneaking up on his little brother anytime soon. Still, protectiveness was a hard habit to break. Dean was going to try. He had a date with an angel.
He wondered at the nerves that jangled in his belly as he pulled into the diner parking lot. Heather told him to pick her up here at 4:00. Dean checked his watch and saw that he was 10 minutes early. He considered going inside to meet her but that would make him appear too eager. He was eager, he just didn't want her to know that. He threw the car in Park and killed the engine. He could wait. He would play it cool and wait. Yeah. Like it was no big deal. Because it wasn't, right? He drummed his fingers and shifted in his seat.
Five minutes later, the door opened and Heather stepped out. She had traded her waitress uniform for a floral peasant skirt and T-shirt. Her hair was still up, but no longer in the severe pony tail. Golden tendrils fell around her face and neck, the curls being caught and teased by the breeze. She stood on the step, scanning the parking lot. She held a tote and a denim jacket in the hands clasped in front of her. Dean didn't even realize that he had got out of the car until she caught his stare and smiled demurely. She started down the steps and he quickly went to the passenger door.
"Hi," she said shyly. She dropped her sky blue eyes briefly before meeting his gaze again. Dean felt a jolt.
"Hi," he murmured, happily dazed. "You look great."
"Why, thank you, sir." Her smile was dazzling. "You, uh…mentioned that you wanted to see the sights."
"Yeah." He knew he was probably smiling like a dope. He didn't care.
"There's some pretty views around these parts. Should we start there? There's also a road house about 15 miles from here. They have live bands on Wednesdays. Local boys but they're good. We could have some dinner there, too."
She could have suggested being tarred and feathered and Dean would have agreed. He opened the passenger door, which creaked loudly, and gestured her in. A pretty blush crept across her cheeks as she smiled and climbed into the car. They took to the highway and she directed him to a few scenic pull offs. As promised, the views of the mountains and valleys were breath taking, but Dean was far more focused on his companion that the scenery. Heather returned his interest, all shy smiles and batting eyes. By the fifth pull off, she sidled closer to him and slid her hand in his. She felt like a furnace and Dean didn't know if it was her or him. By the sixth, the sun was beginning to dip toward the horizon. It played gold and pink in the summer haze, throwing the trees into sharp relief. He barely had time to notice when Heather stepped close and kissed him.
She was chaste at first, simply pressing her mouth to his. Dean felt a hot chill at the first touch and was unaware of anything when she parted her lips and took hold of his bottom lip. Her lip gloss tasted like strawberries. Her tongue flicked, cautious and testing. He sent his own out to meet hers, feeling his way past her teeth and into her warm, wet mouth. Heather breathed a sigh into his mouth and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer. Blood roared in Dean's ears and desire stirred in his lower belly. She smelled like BBQ and lilacs. He held her with one hand on her waist and the other behind her neck. Her hair was soft and thick and curled around his fingers.
Suddenly, she pulled back. He'd been so lost in her that it was an abrupt shock. "Hungry?" she asked, smiling coyly.
It took him a moment to trust his voice. "Oh yeah."
"Let's go eat." She popped another pure kiss on his lips and went back to the Impala. The front of Dean's body where she'd been pressed suddenly felt chilled. He looked out at the vista, trying to collect his thoughts. When did the sun get so low? He shook himself and smiled. God damn,what was it about this woman that was so hot?
Heather directed him down several country roads ("a short cut," she assured him) until they pulled into the large parking area for a long, low bar. Like the diner, several semis were parked snugly together in the gravel. The rest of the vehicles were primarily pick ups with a few Corvettes and Camaros thrown in. Heather laughed musically and opened the door before he came to a complete stop. She was out of the car and waiting anxiously before he killed the motor. When he stepped around to the front of the car, she seized his hand and ran for the door. Dean grinned and allowed himself to be led. By that point, he would have allowed her to lead him right into the mouth of Hell.
The place was packed. From what Dean could tell, there were about three large rooms. One housed pool and poker tables with some dart boards lining the wall. The smallest one had booths. The largest, the one they were in, had many small tables with chairs. Two roadies were setting up the stage. Before the stage, a large, worn dance floor. While one man did sound checks on the mics, Heather led him to a tiny table to the right of the stage, somewhat close to the bar. She pushed him into one chair and promised to return. Then she vanished into the gathering crowd.
When Heather was gone, Dean felt his head clear a bit. He glanced around. The walls in this main section featured posters for country artists, NASCAR drivers, and various nubile models wearing the likes of Daisy Duke shorts and cropped tops. There were also quite a few neon beer and liquor signs as well as an assortment of animal trophy heads. The floor was cement and already littered with discarded peanut shells. The bar was a square U, jutting into the main room off to the side. The bartenders wore farm equipment logos on their T-shirts and either cowboy or trucker hats on their heads. Both men and women. Dean craned his neck to try to see into the pool room better when Heather reappeared with a pitcher of beer and two glasses. She grinned and took the other chair. Dean forgot all about pool.
"Hey," he protested. "I'm taking you out on the date."
She shook her head and expertly poured him a glass. "Bobby Lee, one of the bartenders, is a friend of mine. This one's on the house." She handed Dean his glass and poured one for herself.
"To Bobby Lee," Dean yelled over the growing clamor. They clinked glasses and drank. They chatted for a while, heads close due to the noise. A harried waitress appeared and she and Heather exchanged small talk before Heather ordered for both of them. The house special. The waitress tucked her pen behind her ear and nimbly wove her way through the bustling throng. Their pitcher was gone not long after that. Dean held up the empty. "Another one?"
Heather smiled and nodded, looking a bit tipsy. Despite the big lunch, Dean was starting to feel a little buzzed himself. He managed to get through to the bar and while he flagged down one of the bartenders, the band took the stage. The audience clapped politely and the band members went about testing and tuning. Dean watched as the drummer, bassist, guitar player, and keyboardist fiddled with their instruments and talked amongst themselves. The crowd seemed to have forgotten them and was back to the business of getting drunk and whooping it up. The bartender returned with a full pitcher and Dean exchanged it for a ten. The bartender looked at the bill with large eyes, then grinned and nodded. It always paid to tip big at the beginning. Meant better service for the rest of the night.
When Dean returned to their table, Heather looked up and smiled. Dean paused for a moment, struck by her. There was something about this girl that was so hot and so sweet at the same time. He sat, poured them both a glass, and they toasted again. He couldn't remember to what. By the time their food arrived, the band mostly had their act together. A few in the crowd hollered, impatient but good natured, for them to get the show on the road. The bassist stepped to the mic. "How'r y'all doin' tonaht?" he called out in a thick country drawl. The audience responded with an appreciative roar. Heather laughed, that musical sound managing to be heard over the din. "Well, awright! Let's get this house t' rockin!" With that, the band launched into a spirited cover of "Keep Your Hands To Yourself."
Dinner was pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, beans, and cornbread. All of it home made and all of it delicious. The meal helped take the edge off some of the buzz, but two more pitchers later, it was back. They finished another while the band took a break and by the time they returned to the stage, Dean and Heather were happily drunk. As were just about everyone else in the road house. The beaten wood dance floor was filled through every number. Some couples did the two-step, some were more flamboyant, and some seemed to just sway, propping each other up. When the band started a sweet, lonesome version of a familiar song, Dean held up his glass and hollered, "Freebird!" Heather clapped and giggled, then reached across the table and put her hand over his.
"Dance with me, Dean," she cooed. He was all too willing to oblige.
They managed to find a small empty space on the dance floor. He took her by the waist and impressed both of them by spinning her while not falling over. Delighted, Heather leaned against him, one hand on his shoulder, the other in his own. She beamed at him and Dean felt his entire upper body flush. The band helped matters by making their next few songs slow. They were soon lost in another kiss, comfortable and easy. Tasting the new flavors in each other's mouth, inhaling the scents of smoke and individual musk, they didn't notice when the band fired up "Hold On Loosely". Only when another couple stumbled into them, full of bleary apologies, did they break apart.
"Whooo," Heather declared, fanning herself with her hand. "You make my head swim and my heart flutter, Mr. Winchester."
Dean grinned. All the beer and the heat and the close quarters was making him uncomfortable. He leaned in to her ear as a wisp of her hair brushed his cheek. "Let's get out of here." Her head moved in agreement and she lightly nibbled his ear. Desire surged through him.
They stumbled back to the table and Dean managed to hail their waitress. He paid the bill, finished off the last of his beer, then took Heather's hand and wended his way through the crowd. The night was still warm and humid but it felt cool and refreshing compared to the air inside. Heather tripped on a board of the porch and started to fall. Dean barely managed to catch her and their combined weight drove them back against the railing. The worn rail cut into his butt as Heather's weight pressed against him. Not that he minded.
"Hi," he whispered through a loopy grin.
She blinked slowly and smiled. "Hi…"
Kissing her was something he could get used to. The way her soft lips parted, inviting him in. The way she pressed against him, all along his length, making him hot and wanting. The soft noises she made when he found a new sensitive spot. The way her arms held him, small but surprisingly strong. His hands wandered down her back to the swell of her rump. Round and firm. He could hear his pulse thump in his head.
The door to the road house banged open and disgorged a group of revelers. Startled, they broke apart. The group didn't notice them and continued to the parking lot, hooting and laughing. Heather glanced sheepishly at him, then chuckled. "I think we need to go someplace a bit more private."
"What did you have in mind?"
"Well, I live pretty far from here…" She tilted her head, leaving the thought open.
He was on the verge of suggesting the cabin when he remembered. Shit. Sam. Dean didn't think his little brother would appreciate being given a five and told to beat it for a few hours. Maybe there were more cabins available? He took Heather by the hand and straightened. Then swayed.
"You're drunk," she giggled.
"You're a little tipsy there yourself," he teased back.
"You're right. Let's go!"
He let her into the Impala and used the car to steady himself while he wobbled to the driver's side. He probably shouldn't drive. In fact, he was pretty sure Sam would have some lecture for him about driving under the influence. He had to remind himself that thinking about his brother while trying to get down with a hot woman was a mood killer. As soon as he was in the car, however, the mood was back.
Heather lunged across the seat, grabbed him by the shoulders, and hauled him over to her. Her arms were like steel bands as she kissed him, frantic and insistent. They fumbled and jockeyed for the best position before Heather pushed him into a sitting position and straddled his lap. As she settled on him, her body heat washed through his crotch, making him groan. She descended on his mouth again, her hands everywhere at once. Startled and a bit slow from the beer, it took Dean a while to catch up. He didn't know where this burst of enthusiasm came from and he soon didn't care. He slowly pushed the hem of her skirt up her thighs while she struggled to unbutton his shirt. He came to the elastic of her panties and poked his fingers underneath, sliding his hands along her smooth skin. His shirt came open and she ran her hands over his chest. She kissed her way down his neck, pausing to gently bite his shoulder, then his nipple. Dean sucked a breath when her teeth grazed the sensitive skin. He held one of her ass cheeks in one hand while he moved his other toward the front. He reached down and explored with his thumb. She was swollen and wet and she gasped sharply when he pressed down. Okay, maybe they wouldn't need a room after all.
Intermittently during all of this, he thought he heard a phone ringing. It was muffled and distant but wasn't his ring tone, so he ignored it. But while he worked his thumb over a certain slippery nub, much to Heather's appreciation, he heard someone call her name. That was weird. He had to be imagining it and right now, Heather was grinding against him. Her eyes were closed, her mouth parted, totally lost in what they were doing and there was no way he was going to disrupt this for something that had to be his imagination. He turned his hand and probed her silky wetness for her opening. As he slipped his fingers inside, Heather moaned loudly. She took his mouth with hers, hard and urgent, while she frantically tried to undo his jeans. Which, he had to admit, if one of them didn't do soon, he was going to be mighty uncomfortable.
She got the last button undone and pressed her palm against the lowest part of his belly and started teasing his pubic hair when he heard her name again. Heather froze and groaned, "No, not now," into his shoulder. Some tinny, electronic voice summoned her again. Heather sighed and climbed off Dean's lap, much to his consternation. All he could think was, What? What! Let it go to voice mail! She reached under the seat and pulled out her tote bag just as the voice called again. Firm and persistent. Heather fished out a cell phone and pressed the walkie button. "What?" she snapped.
"Where are you? Why did it take you so long to answer?" the voice demanded.
"I'm—" She looked at Dean, regret and guilt tugging at her brow. "Hold on." She laid her hand over his heart and leaned in to kiss him on the cheek. On the cheek! "I'm sorry, I have to take this." Then she pushed open the door, climbed out, and shut it behind her. Dean was having trouble processing because currently, his blood supply was not in his upstairs brain. He let his head fall back against the seat while he tried to gather his wits. The windows were starting to fog but he could see Heather pacing tightly, one arm wrapped around her waist and the other held close while she gripped the phone. Whoever it was, he got the distinct feeling that he had seen all the action he was going to see. He lifted his head and beat it against the upholstery a few times.
Whoever she was talking to, it wasn't a pleasant conversation. Dean took the opportunity to rebutton his shirt and jeans. He had to do some careful rearranging so that nothing was damaged while he drove, but at least most of his drunk was worn off. Heather angrily disconnected the phone and got back in the car. She sat in silence for a minute, glaring at the dashboard. Dean tried to pull on a non-committal expression and waited. She finally huffed, grumbled, and scrubbed her scalp. She turned to face him. "Dean, I'm so sorry. I have to go back."
He'd suspected as much but his heart sank when she said it aloud. Be cool, be cool…don't be a jerk. "Okay," he said casually. "I'll drive you home."
"Actually, if you could take me back to Sally's. My truck is there."
"Sure." He was going to sprain his eyebrows, trying to keep them raised when he wanted to scowl. He fired up the Impala and headed for the road. Heather deftly directed him back to the highway he recognized. He tried to get her to talk to him, to tell him what was up, but Heather just sat in the passenger seat and sulked. As least she looked as disappointed as he was. They sped past the motel and up the road to the diner. The only light was the one for the parking lot, under which sat a lone, battered red truck from the 50's. Dean pulled up along the driver's side and jammed the gear stick into Park. He got out, walked around, and caught the door as Heather started to open it. She stepped out, a bit surprised at his continued chivalry.
"Thank you. For tonight. I had a wonderful time." She was suddenly shy again. Most likely embarrassed.
Could have been a whole lot wonderfuller if… Okay, no. Not being a jerk. "I did, too."
"And I'm really sorry about the…" She twirled her hand toward the Impala.
Oh, sweetheart, if you only knew. "That's okay. Family stuff. It happens."
She nodded, avoiding his gaze. "Yes. Family."
They stood under the yellow glare for a while, uncertain how to proceed. Heather finally solved the problem by kissing him, firm but quick. "I'm really sorry. This evening didn't turn out like I hoped. I…I really would like to see you again. I know you said you were just passing through, but…well, I hoped…" She said it all in a rush and was so earnest that it touched him. And even if he didn't get laid, he could think of worse ways than to spend another day in Heather's company. They could stay another day. Right? Sam was going to be pissed but he would worry about that later. Right now, he had a beautiful woman, her hands resting on his chest, looking up at him concerned and hopeful. Who was he to dash that?
"I can stay another day. Maybe we can get together tomorrow?"
She brightened immediately. "I'd really like that. We could have a picnic lunch! I'll pack some of my fried chicken."
If at first you don't succeed… "Sounds great. What time do you want me to pick you up?"
"How 'bout I pick you up. Say, noon? I'll come collect you at the motel."
She smiled one of her smiles and Dean forgot any reticence he had about a woman driver. "Sure. I'll see you tomorrow." He bent down and kissed her again, carefully, like the first time they'd kissed. He was careful to keep his hips back while she ran her hands over his head and back. He was going to try, for once, to end the evening on a classy note and a girl feeling his woody through her dress was not classy. They broke, reluctantly, and he helped her into her truck. He watched the round taillights until they disappeared down the road then he carefully climbed back into the Impala.
Sam glanced at his watch. 10:12. If he knew his brother, Dean was wrapped around Heather right about now and probably not due back for quite a while. As it was, Sam was getting tired. He'd slumped further and further down the headboard and was now practically lying on the bed. His eyes burned with fatigue and he was having trouble keeping them open. He managed to find "The Maltese Falcon" on some local station, the only one with any kind of reception. He'd never managed to watch the whole thing and thought tonight might be a good time to accomplish that. But Peter Lore was trying to menace Humphrey Bogart and all Sam wanted to do was close his eyes. The upside would be that he would be asleep with Dean got home and wouldn't have to listen to his big brother's bragging.
A noise outside the door brought him instantly awake but a moment later, Dean stepped into the cabin. Wait—Dean? Sam looked at his watch again, sure he'd read the time wrong. Nope. 10:14. "What are you doing back already?" Dean harrumphed and went to the dresser where he emptied his pockets. "Dean?"
"Why are you back so soon?"
"I'm not. You're up late. It's—" Dean looked at his own watch. "Oh." Dean went to the end of his bed and sat gingerly. Sam swung his legs off the bed.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," Dean snapped, untying his boots.
"Then why...?" A light bulb went off. "Ohhh."
"So, Heather didn't have the same plans as you did?"
Sam bit his lips, trying not to laugh. "Well, you know, you shouldn't make assumptions about what a lady wants."
Dean threw his boot against the wall. "Love advice from my little brother is not what I want right now."
"I thought you weren't interested in love?" Dean stood and spun angrily and Sam noticed that his shirt was buttoned wrong. He looked pointedly at the buttons. "Then again…"
Dean followed his gaze and grunted in exasperation, quickly unbuttoning his shirt. "I'm gonna take a shower," he muttered, flinging the shirt on the bed.
"A cold shower?" Sam called after.
"Shut up!" The door to the bathroom slid and slammed and Sam gave into his laughter. He managed to watch the rest of "The Maltese Falcon". Dean was in the shower for a long time and Sam was sure that it wasn't cold and Dean wasn't just washing in there.
"I swear, if you don't shut up, I'm going to shoot you."
"I'm not saying anything!"
Dean pressed his lips tight and sat back in the booth, looking out the window. Sam finished the last of his griddle cakes in amused silence. This was just never going to get old.
Darlene, the waitress they met yesterday, came over to refill their coffee. "How you boys doin' over here?"
"Fine," Dean gritted toward the window.
Darlene cocked an eyebrow. Sam rushed in to smooth over Dean's bad mood. "We're great. Everything was terrific. That's why we came back." He gave her a wide smile.
Darlene smiled back. "You sure you got enough to eat? We could put some more meat on your bones."
Sam sat back and patted his stomach. "Oh, no. I couldn't eat another bite. It was all so good but I'm stuffed."
"All right, sugar. I'll get'cher bill." She cast a glance at Dean and walked away.
"You know, it's not her fault you didn't get lay—" Dean stopped him with a glare and one raised finger. He glanced down. All Dean had for breakfast was coffee and some bacon. Sam wiped his mouth and added his napkin to the pile of empty dishes on his side of the table. While his sleep was better, it was still erratic. At least his appetite was back. "So, what happened?"
"Or, rather, what didn't happen?"
"Dude! I'm not telling you!"
"I was just curious as to what happened to derail your master plan."
"Dude, just… No. Okay? I'm not telling my baby brother about my sex life."
The grin Sam wore said it all.
"We're staying here so you can go on another date?"
Sam slapped his hand to his forehead. He wasn't amused anymore. "Dean, we have an appointment with Madam Siseria."
"We need to go."
Dean stood at the mirror, trying to decide which T-shirt to wear. "Tomorrow. We'll go tomorrow." He decided on the blue one and tossed the gray one on his bed.
"I don't believe this." Sam flopped back on his bed.
"See? This is why I didn't tell you earlier."
"Why? Because you didn't want the fight to be long?"
Dean pulled the shirt over his head and smoothed down his hair. "Exactly."
"We don't have time for you to chase every pretty girl you spot!" Sam yelled at the ceiling.
Dean had been testing shirt tucked in or left out. "Relax. It's just one more day."
Sam sat up. "Dammit, Dean!"
Dean turned, frowning. "What's the problem here, Sam?"
"I just… You seem a little preoccupied with her. I think that maybe you don't have…the right priorities at the moment."
Leave it out. Better. He yanked the hem out of his jeans. "Are you jealous?"
"Sounds like you are."
"What is with you? Ever since you met Heather, you are so focused on her. You've been… Well, weird. Weirder than usual."
Dean felt himself getting angry. He couldn't explain to Sam the way he felt when he was near her. The way his thinking got fuzzy and all he could see was her. He'd known plenty of pretty girls, but there was something about Heather. Something different…special. Not love, but he felt drawn to her. And he wanted to be near her and with her. Which sounded like a bad romance novel and made him cringe internally. But right now, his priority was to see her again, to hold her, to kiss her, hopefully, to make love to her. Which was a weird thought. He didn't just want to tap that. He really wanted to make love to her. The more he thought about it, the more romance novel it got, which disturbed him. It wasn't like him to feel so turned around by a girl. Demons he got. Girls he could handle. But this girl and the mushy stuff? It was confusing the hell out of him. What's more, there was no real reason for it. There was just something about being close to her.
"You know, if you're in such a hurry, you could go on to South Carolina without me."
He wasn't expecting that and it stopped Sam cold. "What?"
"Yeah. You go ahead and I'll catch up." Dean snagged his keys from the dresser and tossed them to Sam. "I know a place where I can play some pool and get bus fare. I'll meet up with you."
Sam stared at the keys in his hand, then up at Dean. "You're giving me the car?"
"Yeah." Dean sat and pulled on his socks.
"You. Are letting me. Take the Impala. Alone." Sam couldn't have been more surprised if Dean had broken out in a tenor to sing "Ave Maria".
"Sure. Why not?"
"Okay, now I know something is wrong."
Dean jammed his foot into a boot. The façade of calm slipped. "Well, you're in such a hurry, so why don't you just go?" Dean focused on his laces, yanking them hard.
"No, you look, Sam!" He was on his feet and jabbing an accusing finger at his brother. "I'm sick of your moods and sick of your shit and sick of your goody two-shoes crap. I met a girl. I like her. I want to see her again. I don't think that's asking a lot."
Sam was taken aback. He'd seen Dean mad. He'd seen Dean mad at him. But this sudden outburst caught him off guard. He tried to form a response, but this change in Dean's behavior had him stumped. He'd never known his brother to put anything aside for a woman. The female of the species seemed like an afterthought to Dean's hunting. And Dean was just acting so strange about this girl. Dean looked like he was really going to hit him or something.
Dean straightened, still angry. "So, do I have your permission, then?"
"I… Yeah. I mean, you don't need my—"
"Great." Dean checked his watch, his mouth a grim line. He headed for the door and yanked it open. "I'll see you in South Carolina in two days. Have a nice drive." The door slammed behind him hard enough to rattle the window. Sam gaped at the door, stunned. What the hell was that?