The house is almost too small to be called that, especially put up against the sprawling estates beside it and across the Long Island Sound, but it's got a roof and four walls and Sam's exhausted from the long trip on the train, so he gives it a weary smile and slumbers in, brushing hair out of his eyes that he's given up on cutting. The immediate foyer carries with it a dry, musty smell of disuse, but he can worry about that later when sleep isn't his highest priority, when he can add more to his "to do" list like exploring the rest of East Egg and visiting his brother and buying groceries.
For now, it's enough to just kick his shoes off and crash onto the thin mattress, letting the distant sounds of guests at the neighbor's house wash over him like the sound of falling rain. Just before his eyes drift shut for good, he catches a glimpse through the high window beside the bed of the neighbor's balcony, and the silhouette of a solitary man staring across the Sound.
Dean's exuberant when he comes to the door, grinning and slapping his younger brother on the shoulder and ushering him inside, calling orders over his shoulder for the servants to relieve Sam of his coat and bring drinks to the sunroom. "How've you been? How was Stanford?"
"Loud," Sam admits, getting pulled down a long and vibrantly decorated hallway into a breezy room fluttering with curtains. Dean's house sits on West Egg, the neighborhood for old money, which, while Dean isn't, his wife is.
"Sam, good to see you," she announces now, stepping out from around the couch, the lingering British accent in her voice flavoring her words like strong tea. "We met at the wedding."
"Right," he says with a tight smile, shaking her hand. "Bela." Her hair frames her face in a black bob, making the angles of her face jump out.
"Have you met Sarah Blake?" Bela asks him while cocktails are passed around, pointing to a slender woman with short brown hair by the window. "She's an art dealer, just got back from Paris."
"Nice to meet you," Sam says, stepping forward.
"And you, Mr. Winchester," she answers with a refined nod that's somewhat intimidating. "You live in East Egg? I've heard it's sensational."
Before Sam can open his mouth, Bela jumps in and says with a shake of her bangs, "I think it must be terrible, all those shady houses and wild people- I hear they're all bootleggers."
"Well, at least everything's not covered in six inches of gloss," Dean cuts her off with a knock on the glossy doorframe, visibly trying to ease the tension. Bela flashes a quick smile of agreement that pales when she looks back at Sam, and he can't help but wonder if something is off between the two of them.
"Have you met any of your neighbors?" Sarah asks, looking up at Sam, who's towering a bit in the middle of the room. When he looks back at her to answer, he can feel Dean and Bela watching on with rapt attention, and it occurs to him that it was no coincidence Sarah Blake was at the house when he arrived. It's almost as if Dean's back to their grade school days, pushing Sam together with any girl he thinks is right for his little brother.
"Uh, no, not yet," Sam tells her, though he's seen them romping on the beach late at night. "I haven't really had a chance to walk around yet."
"You must know Mr. Novak," she counters, and immediately there's a flustered noise from the doorway where Dean's stumbled and spilled half of his cocktail down his shirt, staining the lapels of his jacket.
"Novak?" he manages while Bela looks alarmed. "What Novak?"
But before Sam can say anything about the man he'd watched standing alone last night, dinner starts up and the conversation fades into less personal issues like books and weather.
In the middle of the meal, the phone rings from another region of the house, and Dean flinches like he's been stricken but says nothing, reaching for more salad. "It's the journalist's office," the butler announces, and Bela fidgets with her napkin before tossing it down and standing up.
"Probably Mrs. Armstrong, calling to ask about yesterday's luncheon," she says with a wan smile, but it sounds weak. "I'll be right back." She disappears into the folds of the house.
After an awkward moment during which Dean wrings his cloth napkin around in his hands like he's trying to strangle it, he finally pushes the chair back, mumbles some excuse about getting more wine, and follows her in. Sam opens his mouth to speak but Sarah shushes him with a quick flapping of her hand.
"I want to hear," she whispers, craning her head towards the open door.
"Hear what?" Sam asks, slipping into a whisper as well, his fork hovering over the forgotten pasta.
"Well," she says, straightening up like she's imparting valuable wisdom, "I bet you that's Bela's man on the phone."
"She's got a man?" Sam asks, confused. "What do you mean?"
"I mean," Sarah says between her teeth with the hint of a smile at Sam's befuddlement, "she's got a man in the city. A man not her husband." Sam's hazel eyes widen marginally. "See?"
"Dean likes to pretend he doesn't know," Sarah explains conspiratorially. "As for the man, I don't know his name, just that he writes for the paper." Shrugging, she sips her wine while Sam looks mortified. "Welcome to West Egg."
After dinner, which proceeds with a terse silence from Dean and a terse loudness from Bela, Dean tugs on his brother's jacket sleeve and leads him outside to the freshly cut lawn. Stars scatter across the sky, and a green light at the edge of the Winchesters' dock flares across the water. Sam almost asks about the phone call but then remembers how much it irritates Dean to talk about matters of emotions and snaps his mouth shut.
"Have you been picked up at a firm yet?" Dean asks, not finding the eager and inspired law student his brother had been last Christmas in Sam's weary and aloof expression.
"Not yet," says Sam, sounding discouraged. "I thought I might take a year off. Try writing." Though he stiffens a little, as if the thought of writing brings his mind back to the phone call at dinner, Dean smiles, remembering the little books Sammy used to put together out of old newspapers when he was a kid.
"I think you'd be great at it," he tells Sam, clapping his brother on the shoulder again while music from a distant house gets carried past them with the breeze.
When he gets back home, Sam pauses at his door and turns back, picking out the green light in front of Dean and Bela's home, and he notices that same man whose silhouette he'd seen the night before, standing at the edge of the dock and reaching out like he can touch the light.