"So this is an in and out job, right?" Dean questions her for the third time during their short drive.
"Yes," she says in an exasperated tone. "We go in, we get everything done, and we haul ass home. Trust me, I don't want to deal with this anymore than you do."
"Doubt it," he mumbles as he drives on, speeding quickly down the streets. Fuck, he really didn't want to do this.
"Hey, lose the shitty attitude, huh?" Lizzy complains as they get closer to their destination. "I honestly thought you'd be excited for this."
"Seriously?" Dean questions with surprised doubt.
"Yeah. This is right up your ally," she nearly laughs with his overreaction to everything. "I figured you'd be happy to get out and help me this time around. Been handling things on my own for months now…"
"And I never want you being stuck with having to do the dirty work on your own, you know that," Dean rebuts immediately. "But that doesn't just magically make me want to come along. Still sucks."
"I know," Lizzy nods. "But we have to do what we have to do. No one is gonna just get this shit done for us."
"Yeah, yeah," he brushes off with utter annoyance.
Dean sees the place coming up on the right. He turns sharply into the lot and takes an open spot, throwing Baby into park. He turns the keys and cuts the engine before sighing.
"Come on, let's go," Lizzy tells him as she gets out of the Impala. Dean follows suit and side by side they walk together into their local grocery store. "In and out job," she reminds.
"We shoulda stayed home so I could do an in and out job on you," Dean says with a more grumpy bite than he meant to have.
"And we could starve to death while we were at it."
"Works for me," he returns with, his attitude certainly not improving as the glass sliding doors open up for them.
Dean stares down at the bin of odd looking red fruit with an utterly baffled face. Orange he knows. He's even familiar with pineapple, watermelon, and hey, who doesn't love a good Georgia peach now and then. But this is ridiculous. He reads the sign for the hard skinned fruit as he picks one up in his hand.
"Pomegranate, huh?" he says aloud before turning to face Lizzy as she bags up some onions. "So these are the things getting into all the juices and shit lately?"
"What can I say?" Lizzy shrugs with a smile. "It's a fad fruit."
"Did you know how weird these friggin' things looked?"
Lizzy looks over with an unsurprised look. "Yeah, I was vaguely aware."
"I haven't even heard of half of this crap," Dean says to her, dropping the pomegranate back into the bin without ceremony and reading over the other signs in front of him. "Ugly fruit. Really?" he reads as he picks one up, holding it out for her to see. "Guess they went literal when naming this one."
"Sure did," Lizzy absently answers, barely listening as she makes her way quickly through the produce. This is less fun than she'd hoped for. She wrongly assumed that if he came to help her shop for food that he'd add a little fun or at the very least it would take less time to get the task done. However, she seems to have forgotten that he's more of a curious child sometimes than a helpful adult.
"Star fruit?" he says with surprise as he moves on. "Bullshit. That doesn't even look like a star. It's like a jacked up mini football."
"Well, like that it doesn't look like a star," Lizzy says as she ties closed the bag of onions and drops it in the cart before walking to him. She picks one of the star fruit up and makes him look at it from the end. "But if you cut it in half the cross section looks like a star. See?"
As she looks at him with a helpful smile, waiting for him to see it, Dean gives her an annoyed look. "Cross section?"
"Shut up," she complains instantly with his nit picking her vocabulary. She puts the fruit down. "Go make yourself useful and grab me some grapes."
"Because I like them," she tells him.
"You do?" he says with a little shock. "Since when?"
"Since forever," she laughs, knowing she's eaten them in front of him many a time. "You just never noticed because I was eating healthy food and you didn't ever want to steal some." She laughs a little more. "If they were mini cheeseburgers you would've noticed."
Dean nods with a look of acceptance of the point she makes and heads for the grapes. "You want the white kind or the red?"
"Red," she calls back.
"Huh," he thinks aloud while grabbing a bag and remaining curious. "Kinda more like purple, aren't they?"
"Yeah, sure," Lizzy brushes off as he walks to drop them into the cart. He's already getting on her nerves and they just got there.
"You know you're just eating these things before you should," he tells her, pointing at the bag of grapes now in the cart. "You wait a few years and they'll not only taste good but they'll get you fucked up too. You're too impatient."
"You're gonna annoy the absolute shit outta me during this trip aren't you?" Lizzy asks, her face showing her irritation.
Dean knows that look. She's irritated but not mad… and he can rebound from that in a heartbeat. He displays his patented shit eating grin and steps in front of her, bringing his arms around her shoulders. "I was just trying to get you to see that bringing me on an errand like this is a mistake so you'll never make me come with you again."
"You're smarter than you look, I'll give you that," Lizzy nods and kisses him when he leans down for a quick one.
"Oh I'm the whole friggin' package, baby," he smirks.
"Well then, whole package, let's get the lead out. I wanna get home and sit on the couch with a beer… you know, enjoy my Saturday before I have to work all night."
"Work, eh," Dean makes a disgusted face and backs away. She starts down the aisle and he follows.
"Dude, eventually you're gonna have to get a job, you free loader. I can't afford you. You're expensive."
"I've already put in enough hours in my life. Consider this early retirement," he says to her, eyes wide when they get to the meat section. "Now that is what I'm talking about." He points ahead to the beef display and is off.
"Great," Lizzy grumbles to herself as she watches him look through the options. "This was a terrible idea."
"Holy shit!" Dean says with childlike-happiness as he strides quickly ahead of Lizzy while she pushes the shopping cart. He takes a box off the snack food aisle shelf and holds it out for her to see. "They still make these!?"
"Looks like it," Lizzy says, her expression showing how exhausted she is by him. He's been a mad man through this trip, adding every and anything he can to their quite full cart. One would swear he's never been grocery shopping to stock a kitchen before… oh, right. He hasn't.
"These were like the snack Holy Grail when I was a kid," Dean tells her, looking over the box of Gushers fruit snacks. "Dad never let us get any because it was too expensive. Ha, I once traded my whole lunch for one pack of these." Dean smiles as he reminisces a bit. "That kid was a total dumbass. My lunch was a bag of Funions and a can of Mr. Pibb. Ha. Moron."
Lizzy smiles a bit as he looks over the box. Once more she's reminded of how different their upbringings were. To her the junk food item is nothing special. She's had a ton of those as a child, along with every other kid-aimed snack on the market. To Dean it's something else completely. It's his lost childhood, it's proof of the shit life he's had to lead until now, and it's a chance to feel like he can have what he wants for once.
"Relax before you start singing Streisand," Lizzy says with a smile.
"Memories," he starts in his completely tone-deaf voice.
"Stop now!" she nearly shouts with a grin on her lips. "Just put the box in cart already."
"Yes," Dean whispers as he does just as she tells him to. "You know this whole grocery shopping thing ain't half bad. I might come with you every time."
"You come with me every time and we'll be so broke that we'll be living outta your car all over again!" Lizzy laughs. "I wasn't joking when I said you were expensive."
"Eh, I'm worth it," Dean confidently smirks as he keeps looking through the aisle. His eyes fall on the shelf with endless flavors of Oreos and he stops in place. Picking up a package of the original kind he sighs. "Hey, ah… did you know that these things are one of the only kinds of junk food Sam has ever liked, even as a kid?"
Peering at him with a soft expression she pushes the cart right up next to him. She can see the moment pulling him in, making him go back to a more simple time when he and Sam were kids and they were innocent, not yet fully jaded, and could find happiness in something so small as a cookie.
Lizzy brings her arms around his waist from behind, not caring what the middle-aged lady in the other end of the aisle might think of the odd display in the middle of a grocery store. Fuck that. They've looked weirder before.
"Why Oreos?" she asks him, never having thought of Sam as a cookie guy, or a chocolate guy for that matter.
"No freakin' clue," Dean answers, looking at the package in his hands still. "He just loves them. By the time he was in middle school the kid could house a half a package in a single sitting. He loved when we'd actually buy these, which was pretty rare." He laughs quietly. "And if we did I'd never touch 'em. Didn't have the heart to take any from him. That and I'd probably lose a hand in the process."
Lizzy smiles wide as she hugs him tighter. "Pop them in the cart then."
Dean turns around and looks down, her smile warm and comforting.
"We'll eat them in tribute," she tells him. "And I don't mind taking some Oreos home. They're like, the best stoner food ever so… done deal for me."
"Take it easy, Snoop," he jests with a grin and puts yet more junk food into the cart. Making fun of her stoner tendencies is way easier than getting lost in the sorrow of his damned brother.
"Well, mission accomplished, you massive glutton," Lizzy comments as she walks out of the grocery store while looking over the very long receipt. Dean pushes the overflowing shopping cart that's jammed with packed plastic bags next to her. "You're definitely never coming with me grocery shopping ever again!"
"Fuck that," Dean denies her declaration. "This was awesome. That bakery had every pie known to man and I got all the shit I was never allowed to have with Dad around. You come here without me next time and there will be hell to pay, L. Hell to pay."
"Is that so?" Lizzy mocks as all she hears is an empty threat.
"Absolutely," he tells her with certainty while unlocking the Impala trunk. The oddity of him filling it with food instead of weapons isn't lost at all on him. It feels strange but at the very same time quite nice. "And we're so having burgers for dinner."
"Are you seriously telling me what I'm going to cook for dinner now?" Lizzy asks with slight anger.
"No," Dean innocently answers as he picks up some bags and starts loading up the trunk. "I'm telling you what I'm making for dinner."
"Don't fucking play with me like that, Dean," Lizzy warns while helping him pack the car.
"What? I'm not messing with you," he tells her, honest in his voice as he tells the truth. "I can cook you know."
"Yeah, you can cook… if you're having the blue box blues," Lizzy jokes, not thinking he can make anything past boxed meals that come with instructions. She never seen more than that from him besides the meal he made while she practically held his hand so it's all she has to go by.
"You forget that most of my life I've held several different jobs. Chef was definitely one of them, just like laundry dude, chauffeur, guardian, weapons maintenance… you get the picture."
"Huh…" Lizzy wonders aloud as she drops in the last of the bags. "So how come I've never seen this gourmet prowess in action? Why don't you cook for me?"
"Did it my whole life, like I said," Dean shrugs as he slams the trunk shut. "Got burned out for a while there."
"And now you're willing to go back?" she hopes aloud.
"Eh, sure," he tells her. "Should probably pull my weight sooner or later, right?"
Pausing and dropping her arms to her sides, she looks up at him with a loving expression.
"What?" Dean asks annoyed, knowing the face means something akin to a chick flick moment.
"Just good to hear you say that," she answers. "And if I'm gonna start a second job soon I might need the help at home. I'll be busy."
"Second job?" Dean all but whines with the news.
"Yes, Hot Shot. We need cash to live these days and Mark at the self-defense center said I could get back on track with my certification," she explains while leaning against the back end of the Impala. "Can't pull off credit card fraud when we're always in one place. It's too easy to get caught. So, second job it is for me."
"But you have all that money your parents left you," Dean reminds her. When they passed away she inherited all they had in bank accounts, investments, and property being their only kid.
"I did have all that money my parents left me," she says quietly, knowing the issue at hand she's about to present to him that she has been avoiding admitting is a big one. He has enough on his plate as is. "But it's all gone."
"Every cent!?" he asks with alarm. All this time he assumed they'd be ok and use her inheritance for a bit. He had no idea it was no more.
"Well, almost." Her sheepish look shows how sad and worried she is about the situation.
"How is that even possible?" Dean asks with shock, hands on his hips. Her mom didn't make shit because she taught in a public school but her dad was a successful business man. They were living on Easy Street or so he'd thought.
"I used it up hunting," she shrugs like it's no big deal. "Lou and I didn't do the credit fraud thing too much. Cars and safe houses and storage are expensive. So are supplies. We didn't always rock at hustling people out of their cash at first either."
"So you paid for everything outright!?" Dean's eye bug wide when she nods in confirmation.
"It was our only option for about two years. We got better over time…."
"I thought your uncle invested everything and it was going well." She had told him that once when they met. She said her uncle handled her money and made her more over time.
"Well enough until the economy went down the shitter," she explains quickly. "Between some major investments failing and the handful of rare occult items I've had to purchase to do my job here and there I've gone all but bust. I have about twenty thousand stashed away…"
"That can hold us over for a bit," he rationalizes with a hopeful tone.
"No way," Lizzy immediately denies.
"Why not?" Dean questions her immediate refusal.
"That stash is not to be touched unless an emergency comes up," she explains. "My dad was smart with money and I did actually pick up a few things here and there from him… even if overall I'm pretty clueless with money. In our lives I always figured twenty G's would be perfect in a bind for three hunters with nothing other than a classic car to our names"
"And Baby is not for sale," Dean points accusingly at her all the while knowing she would never ask him to sell his sexy girlfriend on the side.
"I know, dear. Relax," she huffs with a smile. "Even if we're not hunting anymore I like having that money there for whatever might come our way. Other than that I don't have much saved away… except, you know…"
She looks away and lets her statement trail off, prompting Dean to pry immediately. She doesn't do that unless she's keeping something from him.
"Except what?" he asks with impatience.
"I may have set aside another fifty grand that I won't go near."
"You're sitting on fifty large but you're saying we're broke!?" He couldn't have heard that right, could he have?
"We are broke," she reiterates. "Because, like I said, I'm never going near that… unless we have kids."
"College is expensive. I want my kids to have everything they deserve, like a chance at a real education if that's what they want. If we have them, that is." They haven't spoken about their future much yet, especially not expanding upon whatever it is they call a family. Sam's death is still too fresh to look toward more positive and bright things quite yet. It's damn near impossible at the moment. And they were in no place whatsoever to raise kids right now. "That money would be at least a good start for them… I hope."
Speechless. Dean's completely speechless with what she tells him. He didn't see this coming.
"Look, I know you're probably not ready to get out into the real world for good yet and I'm not saying you have to search for a job tomorrow. You've been through enough and if you need time I'm ok with that. But, in the meantime, we need cash to keep paying rent and utilities and food and, since we're still doing our fair share of drinking, booze."
At the word booze Dean snaps his fingers when he remembers another errand for the day he planned to get done. "We're running low. How much you got left on you?"
With a sigh Lizzy pulls out the folded wad of money she had left from this week's tips at the bar. Before she could count he grabs the whole thing out of her hand. She rolls her eyes.
"Calm down. It's a good investment," he smirks. "Memory loss, sleep induction, nerve relaxer, sex kick-starter… it's well worth the money."
He jogs off to the liquor store next to the grocery store in the small plaza and she worries. After a few months Lizzy had hoped his drinking would slow down. She was hoping hers would too but both of their days have been like roller coaster rides; good one second, terrible the next, barely manageable for a while, then back to depressing for a bit. After the night he hunted alone and she walked out on him the drinking has curbed a little but not nearly enough if one were to ask her. As he takes what's left of their money for the week and blows it all on hard liquor and beer she knows for sure now that she needs to get that second job.
Alcoholism is expensive.
"I can't believe you got that old ass grill out back going," Lizzy laughs as Dean walks into the room with two plates in hand. "That's been there since before I started renting this place years ago."
"Eh, a little elbow grease and some knowhow can go a long way," he brushes off, placing her plate in front of her on the coffee table. As Dean sits next to her on the couch, settling in with his own plate of food, he watches as she sits up taller when she sees everything he made for the first time. She already looks impressed and his stomach jumps happily with the reaction. He carefully studies her expression with what he thinks is hidden excitement.
"Whoa," she awes at the look of her meal. Lizzy is shocked to say the least. The food is not only presentable but it looks and smells amazing. The cheeseburger, sitting alongside some thick, wedge cut homemade fries, looks perfectly grilled with all the usual accoutrement. Lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheddar cheese…. "Baby, this looks amazing!"
"Don't say that until you try it," he says while egging her on to give it a whirl, his anticipation growing.
Lizzy smiles to him before taking up her sandwich. She does the usual quick turn of her burger to find that perfect first bite (ok, so maybe that's a learned behavior from a couple years of being on the road with Dean) and dives in. Eyes wide, Dean waits to see what she has to say.
"Holy fucking fuck," Lizzy praises through her bite before chewing a little more. "Are you fucking kidding me with this!?"
"Good, right?" Dean asks for confirmation that he did well, his green eyes still wide and hopeful.
"So fucking good," she continues to chew. "Where the hell did you learn how to pull this off?"
"L," he starts in a serious tone. "I've eaten hundreds of these things…"
"Try millions," she corrects while staring at her burger before moving in quickly for another bite.
"Ok, drama queen… millions," he corrects for her with some bite in his tone. "Just saying that if I couldn't make a killer burger after all that then I'd consider myself a failure." He takes up his sandwich and dives into his own now that he's more than satisfied with her reaction.
"Research well done, my friend," she tells him with a new mouthful before holding up her hand for a high five. She gets one of course. "And you made fries?"
"We don't have a fryer."
"Baked 'em," he says, a full mouth of his own now.
"Oven fries, eh? You know some tricks," she amazes. "Hm, you forgot to get the ketchup." She goes to stand and he grabs her wrist closest to him to stop her.
"Sit down," he tells her in a demanding tone. "Those are so good you don't need anything else. Give 'em a chance."
Lizzy sighs and sits back down heavily. "I want my ketchup." She loves ketchup. Call it a left over love from her childhood along with ballpark dogs and grilled cheese.
"Just try one bite," Dean says, losing patience with her refusal to appreciate his cooking the right way.
"Fine…" she mutters to herself while picking up a fry before joking under her breath, "Fucking fry Nazi." She grimaces at him as he already knows he's breaking one of her cardinal rules of fries. Curiosity still wins as she takes a healthy bite of one of the fries on her plate. She chomps down on it a few times before looking over at him with a serious expression.
"You don't have to say it," he tells her as he turns his attention back to his own dinner. "I know. I'm awesome."
"And I'm never cooking again!" she cheers as she lets the shockingly excellent meal overwhelm her.
"What!?" Dean's face drops as he looks over to her.
"This is so good. It's fucking settled," she picks up her burger and smiles at it. "You hold down the fort and I go out and bring home the bacon." She then takes another huge bite and moans her enjoyment.
"Did you just declare me the housewife?" Dean asks with alarm. No fucking way is that happening.
"Did you just cook this awesome meal?" she questions with food still in her mouth.
"And do you stay home while I go out and earn an honest living?"
"Well, kind of…"
"Then ta-da, bitch!" Lizzy cheers. "It's settled. I wear the pants, you wear the apron."
And that's when a fry hit hits her in the cheek.
"Rude!" she shouts with a bright smile, knowing she's pissing him off while joking.
"Take it back." His voice is stern but smirk in place just enough so she knows it isn't serious.
"Never!" she yells to him after swallowing her mouthful.
"Take it back now!" he yells to her as he moves over towards her, his arms around her middle and tackling her over.
"Fuck you!" she laughs out at he starts in on tickling her. "Get off me, wifey!"
"You're fucking dead!" Dean declares as he launches a full blown attack, pushing her over on the couch and pinning her down while continuing.
"Stop!" she laughs manically as he attacks her.
"Oh my God!" she continues to laugh out. "Stop! Dean! I'm gonna pee!"
"Bonus for me then," he jokes at her expense.
"The food's getting cold!" Lizzy finally shouts in her last ditch effort to get him to lay off.
"Shit," Dean complains as he backs away. He put in a lot of work and she makes a good point.
"Thank God," Lizzy huffs as she pushes him off of her and sits back up.
"When this is done though, I'm getting you back," he fairly warns while picking up his burger again. "I get no respect around here."
Lizzy smiles wide with his complaint and as he takes another bite she leans into him and kisses him on the cheek.
"Thanks for dinner," she says sincerely. "It's really good and I appreciate that you're helping out."
He hadn't been prepared for the honesty after the joking around and with a huge wad of burger in his mouth he blinks once before saying, "Yeah. No problem."
I wish for the life of me I could remember who gave me this prompt! It was an awesome one! I had a blast writing it and this story needs a little fun now and then. Anyone want to lay claim to this one?
Thanks for reading! The next story is almost done (I know, what the hell, right?) and this is only about a quarter published at best. Never been this far ahead in my entire writing life. Holy shit!